Posts Tagged ‘election’

Egyptian opposition figures say boycott presidential vote

January 29, 2018

Mohammed Anwar Sadat, nephew of Egypt’s late leader Anwar Sadat and the leader of Reform and Development Party speaks during a press conference at the party headquarters, in Cairo, Egypt. He was among five opposition figures who called for a boycott of the March vote. (AP)
CAIRO: Five opposition figures, including a 2012 presidential candidate and two top campaign aides for now-arrested presidential hopeful Sami Annan, called on Sunday for a boycott of the March vote, saying it has lost all credibility.
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In a statement, they also called on Egyptians not to recognize the presidential vote’s outcome if it goes ahead.
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The incumbent general-turned-president Abdel-fattah el-Sisi is so far the only candidate in the race for the March 26-28 vote. He can win a second, four-year term if he secures the support of five percent of registered voters, about 60 million people.
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All potentially serious challengers to him have been arrested, forced out or quit the race.
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Sunday’s statement by the five opposition figures is a bold move that could be perceived as an attempt to derail the electoral process by authorities that have shown little tolerance for dissent under el-Sisi. It is also likely to encourage more expressions of discontent over what critics see as the president’s increasingly authoritarian traits.
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El-Sisi led the 2013 ouster of a freely elected but divisive president, Muhammad Mursi, and has since overseen what is perhaps the largest crackdown in the country’s living memory. Thousands of Mursi supporters have been jailed, along with secular activists. Most critics in the media have been silenced, the work of rights groups restricted and scores of online news sites blocked.
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“We call on our glorious people to entirely boycott these elections and not to recognize whatever outcome they produce,” said the statement. “This is not only in response to the absence of an electoral contest, but rather out of concern that this policy clearly paves the way for amending the constitution to remove the limit on presidential terms,” it said, alluding to the constitutional ban on presidents serving more than two terms. The statement also called on “active opposition forces” to form a coalition to study the “next choices and steps.”
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The signatories of Sunday’s statement include 2012 presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Aboul Fotouh, former lawmaker Mohammed Anwar Sadat, who quit the race saying he feared for the safety of his supporters, and Annan’s top campaign aides Hazem Hosny and Hisham Genena. The military arrested Annan last week, accusing him of incitement against the military and forgery.
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Issam Heggy, a scientist and former presidential adviser, also signed the statement.
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Earlier on Sunday, eight local rights groups expressed their “extreme denunciation” of an attack on Genena, saying it was part of a pattern of retaliations against would-be presidential candidates and their supporters.
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Lawyers for Genena said he suffered serious injuries to the face and leg during an apparent kidnapping attempt outside his suburban Cairo home Saturday. They said three men armed with knives tried to force him into one of their two cars when passers-by rushed to his rescue.
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Police say the incident began when Genena hit a pedestrian while driving his car. A brawl then ensued between Genena and the victim’s friends, who allege in a complaint that the 63-year-old former judge, his wife and daughter assaulted them.
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The statement by the eight groups, which include the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms and the anti-torture and rehabilitation Nadim Center, said “revenge acts” have targeted anyone daring to challenge el-Sisi in the upcoming elections.
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In 2015, Genena claimed that corruption was costing the country billions of dollars. A pro-government daily quoted him as saying that Egypt lost 600 billion pounds or ($67.6 billion) in corruption in 2015 alone.
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He later said he was misquoted and that his remarks referred to the last four-year period. El-Sisi dismissed him in 2016, following an investigation that hurriedly concluded that he had misled the public.

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Donald Trump looking forward to speaking with Mueller — Trump said he would be willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller,

January 25, 2018

Reuters

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

“I‘m looking forward to it, actually,” Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said of an interview with Mueller, a former FBI director. “I would do it under oath.”

Although Trump has pledged cooperation with Mueller’s probe before, Trump made his assertion as the White House and allies in Congress have stepped up attacks on the investigation’s credibility and Trump himself has hedged on whether he would answer questions.

Trump’s attorneys have been talking to Mueller’s team about an interview, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. “I would like to do it as soon as possible,” Trump said.

Trump said, however, that setting a date certain for an interview would be “subject to my lawyers and all of that.” Asked whether he thought Mueller would treat him fairly, Trump replied: “We’re going to find out.”

Ty Cobb, the lawyer in charge of the White House response to Mueller’s probe, said in a statement that Trump was speaking hurriedly to reporters before departing on his trip to Davos, Switzerland. Cobb said Trump emphasized that he remained committed to cooperating with the investigation and looked forward to speaking with Mueller.

Cobb said Mueller’s team and Trump’s personal lawyers were working out the arrangements for a meeting.

Sources told Reuters earlier on Wednesday that senior U.S. intelligence officers including CIA Director Mike Pompeo had been questioned by the special counsel’s team about whether Trump tried to obstruct justice in the Russia probe.

Such questioning is further indication that Mueller’s criminal investigation into purported Russian interference in the election and potential collusion by Trump’s campaign includes examining the president’s actions around the probe.

In his remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Trump repeated past statements that there was no collusion between the campaign and Russia and “there’s no obstruction whatsoever.” The Kremlin has denied conclusions by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election campaign using hacking and propaganda to try to tilt the race in Trump’s favor.

Trump on Wednesday denied a Washington Post report that last year he had asked then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe whom he had voted for in 2016, which according to reports, left McCabe concerned about civil servants being interrogated about their political leanings.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a working session with mayors at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas“I don’t think so. I don’t think I did. I don’t know what’s the big deal with that, because I would ask you,” Trump said to reporters.

COMEY FIRING

In interviews last year with Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, the sources said Mueller’s team focused on whether Trump had asked them to lean on James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director until Trump fired him in May.

Comey said Trump dismissed him to try to undermine the agency’s Russia investigation. His firing led to Mueller’s appointment to take over the FBI probe and is central to whether Trump may have committed obstruction of justice.

Mueller also asked the officials if Trump tried to shut down intelligence investigations into Russian election meddling and into contacts between Russian officials connected with President Vladimir Putin’s government and associates of Trump or his campaign, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

Representatives for the CIA declined to comment on whether Pompeo had been interviewed.

More than 20 White House personnel have voluntarily given interviews to Mueller’s team, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

It is unusual for FBI interviews to be conducted under oath, but even if Trump is not interviewed by Mueller’s team under oath, it would still be a crime for him to lie to federal agents, said Andrew Wright, a professor at Savannah Law School and a former associate counsel to President Barack Obama.

That is the charge to which former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos have both pleaded guilty.

An oath would be administered if Mueller issues a subpoena for Trump to testify before a grand jury as opposed to a private interview, Wright said.

In 1998, charges that then-President Bill Clinton lied under oath to a federal grand jury about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky help lead to his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives. Clinton was acquitted by the U.S. Senate.

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Trump Says He Is Willing to Testify Under Oath in Mueller Probe

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-he-would-like-to-testify-in-mueller-probe-1516839151

Ex-military chief of staff to run in Egyptian presidential election

January 12, 2018

File photo: Egypt’s former army chief of staff Sami Anan. (Reuters)

CAIRO: Former military chief of staff General Sami Anan will run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential election, the party he leads said on Thursday, days after the most serious potential challenger to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi pulled out.

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An election commission said on Monday Egypt would hold the vote on March 26-28, with a run-off on April 24-26. Candidates must register between Jan 20 and 29.
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“The party leaders took a decision for General Sami Anan’s candidacy and informed him of the decision and there was no problem at all and no objection,” from him, said Sami Balah, the secretary general of the Arabism Egypt Party.
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Balah said party members and officials across the country had been contacted about collecting the required votes of nomination, starting from Saturday.
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Election regulations stipulate that would-be candidates must obtain the backing of at least 20 members of parliament for their candidacy or be supported by at least 25,000 eligible voters in at least 15 governorates.
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The party will hold a news conference in the next few days for Anan to officially announce his candidacy, said Ragab Helal, a leading member in the party and member of parliament.
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Anan’s candidacy news came days after former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, and Sissi’s most serious competition, said he was no longer considering running for president in this year’s elections.

State of emergency in Honduras after post-vote violence

December 2, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Violence erupted for the second consecutive day after opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla claimed fraud and urged his supporters to take to the streets in protest

TEGUCIGALPA (AFP) – The Honduran government declared a state of emergency late Friday and imposed a 10-day curfew in an attempt to stop violent demonstrations across the country triggered by claims of presidential election fraud.Police said at least two officers and 12 civilians were injured, some by gunfire, after clashes in several parts of the country between riot police and opposition supporters.

The violence was sparked by opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla claiming election fraud and calling his supporters onto the streets.

 

An executive decree issued by President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who is seeking re-election despite a constitutional ban on a second term, imposes a nighttime curfew from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Representatives of the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and political parties, national and international observers and journalists accredited to cover the elections are exempt.

Thousands of Nasralla supporters blocked roads across the country, and footage of their confrontations with the police — who attempted to disperse demonstrators with tear gas — went viral on social media.

In the capital Tegucigalpa, protesters lit bonfires of sticks and tires on boulevards and on exit routes.

The unrest sparked panic, with people rushing to supermarkets and gas stations to stock up, fearing the riots would prevent them from leaving their homes.

Shops closed by the afternoon and some international flights were suspended at the capital’s airport.

– Cliffhanger vote –

With nearly 95 percent of the ballots counted from last week’s vote, Hernandez had a razor-thin lead of 42.92 percent over Nasralla’s 41.42 percent.

TSE president David Matamoros postponed until Saturday a special count — with officials from both camps present — to review ballots with inconsistencies, blurs and other errors before a result can be declared, following new demands from leftist leader and ex-president Manuel Zelaya.

“Within three days, we will have the result. We accept to recognise the final result if they accept these points,” Zelaya said.

But in an television interview, Nasralla demanded a full recount, warning of possible collusion between the TSE and the government.

“Do not let them steal the presidency,” said activist Juan Barahona of Nasralla’s Alliance of Opposition Against the Dictatorship.

Police said they had arrested 50 people for alleged looting between Thursday and Friday.

Security forces said rioters had damaged businesses and vehicles, some of which had been doused in gasoline and set on fire.

Earlier, Hernandez broadcast a statement calling for calm and predicting “we are going to do very well” in the vote.

The Organization of American States observer mission urged the TSE in a letter Thursday to ensure that 100 percent of the ballots were processed before declaring a result.

“Political parties should be given the opportunity to present challenges. These will have to be dealt with impartially and within a reasonable timeframe and following due process,” it said.

“This is the only way to restore confidence in this election and in the integrity of the popular will.”

Kenya rights groups: government trying to shut down election court cases

November 6, 2017

By George Obulutsa and John Ndiso

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s government is trying to intimidate democracy and human rights groups that could file a legal challenge against an Oct. 26 election won by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the groups said on Monday.

The government’s board that monitors civil society organizations (the NGO Board) summoned three such groups for an audit on Monday, the groups said. Monday is the deadline for filing any challenge to the election at the Supreme Court.

 Image result for President Uhuru Kenyatta, photos
President Uhuru Kenyatta,

Kenyatta won 98 percent of the vote, handing him a second five-year term leading East Africa’s richest economy. Opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted the vote, saying it would be unfair because the election commission had failed to implement reforms.

The Supreme Court voided the first election in August citing procedural irregularities following an opposition challenge, so any possible fresh legal case is being closely watched.

“It is not a coincidence that the NGO Board has decided to come after these organizations. All three have been instrumental in calling for free, fair, and credible elections,” said a statement from Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, a coalition of civil society groups that monitored the election.

The name means My Vote My Voice in Kiswahili.

The three organizations summoned on Monday, Katiba Institute, Muslims for Human Rights and Inuka Trust, belong to the coalition. The head of Muslims for Human Rights said he had planned to file a court challenge.

Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu deployed 2,000 monitors for last month’s vote and said it found multiple cases where results from polling stations differed from results on the forms posted on the election portal.

“They are trying to attack everywhere to see who is preparing to go to court so that they stop it,” Tom Oketch, secretary general for the Coalition for Constitutional Implementation, told a news conference.

Kenya is a regional hub for trade, diplomacy and security and its prolonged election season has disrupted its economy.

Calls to Fazul Mohamed, the NGO Board’s executive director, went unanswered. Mwenda Njoka, a spokesman for the interior ministry, under which the board falls, said only Mohamed could comment.

After the August election police and tax authorities raided the Africa Centre for Open Governance, a group that had highlighted problems with election preparations.

The government threatened to shut the group and the Kenya Human Rights Commission over alleged procedural irregularities before the interior minister suspended the moves.

Editing by Katharine Houreld and Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Catalan separatists would lose votes in December election: polls

November 5, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Catalonia’s parliament voted in October to declare independence from Spain and proclaim a republic, leading Madrid to impose direct rule on the region
BARCELONA (AFP) – Catalonia’s separatist ERC party, whose leader is in custody, would win December regional elections but the independence coalition as a whole could lose its absolute majority in parliament, according to opinion polls published Sunday.

PDeCAT, the party of deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who is currently in Belgium and refused to appear before a judge in Madrid last week, would only come fourth, the two surveys suggest.

According to one poll published in Catalan daily La Vanguardia, independence parties ERC, PDeCAT and the far-left CUP would only win 46 percent of votes, 1.8 percent down on the last election in September 2015.

The poll — which was carried out from October 30 to November 3 — also suggested pro-unity parties would win more votes than in 2015.

It said the conservative Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the centrist Ciudadanos and Catalonia’s Socialist party would together win 44 percent, or five percent more.

Most of the remaining 10 percent, it said, would go to Catalunya en Comu, a party that is anti-independence but supports holding a legal referendum.

Catalonia is currently under direct rule from Madrid after its majority separatist parliament last month declared independence, and Rajoy called a December 21 election in a bid to “restore normality” to the region.

And on Thursday, a Spanish court detained ERC leader Oriol Junqueras and other deposed regional ministers over their role in Catalonia’s independence drive.

The poll in La Vanguardia found that the three independence parties would get 66 to 69 lawmakers in the 135-seat regional parliament, where an absolute majority is 68.

The clear winner would be ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia), followed by Ciudadanos, which was founded in Catalonia as an anti-independence party, and the Socialist party.

Puigdemont’s conservative PDeCAT would come fourth, with 14 to 15 seats.

In another poll published by the conservative La Razon daily, the three separatist parties would only secure 65 lawmakers, seven less than in the 2015 election.

It also said the number of pro-independence voters would drop from 1.9 million in 2015 to 1.7 million out of a total electorate of over five million people.

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Pro-Catalonia independence parties seen winning election: poll

November 5, 2017

November 5, 2017

MADRID (Reuters) – Pro-Catalonia independence parties will win the regional election in December but are unlikely to take a parliamentary majority, a survey published in La Vanguardia showed on Sunday.

According to the GAD3 poll of 1,233 people between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3, pro-independence parties ERC, PDECat and CUP would win the election with between 66 and 69 seats in the 135-seat parliament.

Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Robert Hetz

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BBC News

Catalonia election: Puigdemont calls for united independence front

  • 4 November 2017
People hold banners reading "Freedom Political Prisoners" during a gathering in support of the members of the dismissed Catalan cabinet after a Spanish judge ordered the former Catalan leaders to be remanded in custody pending an investigation into Catalonia"s independence push, outside Barcelona"s town hall, Spain, November 3, 2017
More protests were held in Barcelona on Friday against the detention of Catalan separatists. Reuters photo

Catalan ex-leader Carles Puigdemont has called for separatist parties to unite in upcoming regional elections to continue a push for independence.

The snap poll was called by Spain after the Catalan parliament declared independence and Madrid reacted by imposing direct rule.

Mr Puigdemont’s appeal came a day after a Spanish judge issued an EU warrant for his arrest – he is in Belgium.

Despite being sought by the courts, he says he is ready to run in the poll.

Four of his allies in Belgium also face possible extradition, while eight other former officials remain in custody in Spain.

They all face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for pursuing Catalan independence. There have been large demonstrations in Catalan cities in protest.

Mr Puigdemont has said he will not return to Spain unless he receives guarantees of a fair trial.

He says he can campaign in the December 21 election from outside Catalonia and the Spanish government has said that any accused politician can run in the election unless they are actually convicted, the Associated Press reports.

In a tweet on Saturday, he said it was time “for all democrats to unite. For Catalonia, for the freedom of political prisoners and for the republic.”

He included a link to an online petition calling for secessionist parties to unite against Madrid in the regional vote. The petition now has more than 39,000 signatures.

Belgian authorities, meanwhile, are reviewing the arrest warrants issued by the Spanish judge.

The process could take up to three months “under exceptional circumstances”, the justice ministry said.

The other warrants are for:

  • Meritxell Serret, former agriculture minister
  • Antoni Comín, former health minister
  • Lluís Puig, former culture minister
  • Clara Ponsatí, former education minister

Spain issues warrant for Catalan ex-leader

Five senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court. Their hearings have been postponed until 9 November.

The regional parliament in Catalonia voted to proclaim an independent republic just over a week ago, following an illegal referendum on independence organised by the Catalan government on 1 October

No other country recognised the move and the Spanish central government moved swiftly to impose control, using emergency powers under the constitution.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41871276

UK officials want to know if Russia meddled in the Brexit vote

October 25, 2017
They’ve asked Facebook to provide information on Russian-purchased ads.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

UK officials are wondering if Russia tampered with its Brexit referendum and they’ve now officially asked Mark Zuckerberg to look into whether Facebook possibly played a role, The Guardian reports. Damian Collins, the UK’s chair of digital, culture, media and sport committee sent Zuckerberg a letter saying that the committee was investigating fake news and wanted Facebook to provide them with any information it had on politically-divisive advertisements purchased by Russian actors.

In the letter, Collins said, “Part of this inquiry will focus on the role of foreign actors abusing platforms such as yours to interfere in the political discourse of other nations. It is for this reason that I am requesting that Facebook provides to my committee details relating to any adverts and pages paid for or set up by Russian-linked accounts.” Specifically, the committee wants to know if Russia-linked accounts purchased ads on Facebook, how much they paid to do so and how many times those ads or pages were viewed.

Facebook announced a few weeks ago that Russian groups purchased around $100,000 worth of ads used to spread fake news during the 2016 US presidential election and that around 10 million people viewed them. Those ads and related information have been handed over to congressional investigators. Following the US election and the reports that Facebook played a hand in the spread of fake news, the company made a concerted effort to minimize its impact on the French and German elections earlier this year.

Collins and the committee have asked that Facebook provide them with the requested information by November 7th.

Argentine president’s coalition sweeps midterm elections

October 23, 2017

AFP

© Argentine Presidency / AFP | Argentinian President Mauricio Macri during the legislative election, in Buenos Aires on October 22, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-10-23

Candidates allied with Argentine President Mauricio Macri enjoyed sweeping victories in Sunday’s mid-term election, strengthening his position in Congress while dimming prospects for a political comeback by his predecessor Cristina Fernandez.

A free-spending populist who nearly bankrupted the country during her 2007-2015 rule, Fernandez came in a distant second in her race for the Senate representing Buenos Aires, Argentina‘s most populous province.

With 98 percent of ballots counted by the interior ministry, Macri‘s former education minister, Esteban Bullrich, had 41.34 percent versus 37.27 percent for Fernandez in the province that is home to nearly 40 percent of Argentine voters.

Macri’s “Cambiemos” or “Let’s Change” coalition won the top five population centers of Buenos Aires City, and Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Santa Fe and Mendoza provinces. No single party had won all five in a mid-term vote since 1985.

“Today the change elected in 2015 has been consolidated,” Vice President Gabriela Michetti told voters.

The election results, largely in line with pre-vote opinion polls, robbed the opposition of the two-thirds majority needed to block presidential vetoes, said Ignacio Labaqui, a local analyst with New York-based consultancy Medley Global Advisors.

“This is a significant boost for the Macri administration, particularly because of the defeat of Cristina in Buenos Aires province,” Labaqui said.

Fernandez’s second-place showing still grants her one of the province’s three Senate seats under Argentina’s list system.

One third of the Senate and half of the house were elected, and Macri’s coalition will not have a majority.

The private sector has worried about a political resurgence by Fernandez, who is loved by millions of low-income Argentines helped by generous social spending during her administrations.

Fernandez thanked voters at her campaign headquarters and said her Citizen’s Unity party would remain a firm opposition to Macri’s economic model.

Isolated

Critics say Fernandez’s growth-at-all-costs policies stoked inflation and distorted the economy through heavy-handed currency controls. She has been further isolated politically by graft accusations.

Fernandez, who as a senator will have immunity from arrest but not from trial, says there may have been corruption in her government but denies personal wrongdoing.

Bullrich and Fernandez were tied in a non-binding primary in August but Bullrich pulled ahead in polls soon after, helped by a burst of economic growth as Fernandez failed to unify the Peronist opposition behind her.

“People are more confident in the future, the economy, in making investments. They are tired of corruption and populism,” said Cecilia de Francesca, a 50-year-old writer who was celebrating at the Cambiemos campaign headquarters.

Argentina’s Merval stock index and its peso currency have strengthened on bets Fernandez would not get enough support to launch a serious bid for the presidency in 2019.

Investors, particularly in Argentina’s vast agriculture and budding shale oil sectors, have said they want to see Macri push through labor and tax reforms aimed at lowering business costs in Latin America’s third-biggest economy.

(REUTERS)

Kenya bans opposition protests as election crisis deepens

October 12, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Tristan MCCONNELL | The ban on protests came a day after opposition supporters in Kisumu blocked streets and burned tyres. Several people were injured in clashes with police

NAIROBI (AFP) – Kenya’s government on Thursday banned protests in main city centres, citing lawlessness during opposition rallies against the electoral commission ahead of a scheduled presidential poll re-run.

The move comes as opposition leader Raila Odinga called for daily protests next week to keep up pressure on election officials to reform, after his refusal to take part in the October 26 vote plunged the country into uncertainty.

“Due to the clear, present and imminent danger of breach of peace, the government notifies the public that, for the time being, we will not allow demonstrations within the central business districts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu,” said Security Minister Fred Matiangi.

“The inspector general of police has been advised accordingly.”

Opposition MPs said they would defy the order and continue the protests which have seen hundreds of opposition supporters march through the streets, sometimes burning tyres and clashing with police who have used tear gas to disperse crowds.

Though relatively small, the protests have caused outsized disruption, forcing shops to close up and deterring some from visiting city centres on demonstration days.

There have also been incidents of pickpocketing and muggings on the edges of the protests.

Matiangi said the protests had resulted in “attacks on police stations, attacks on police officers occasioning grievous bodily harm, serious disruption of normal business, assault on innocent civilians, destruction and looting of property,” and threatened legal action.

“It is the responsibility of the organiser that all participants remain peaceful. The organisers shall be held personally liable for any breach of law during the demonstrations,” he said.

– Stage set for clashes? –

Odinga said this week that he was withdrawing from the scheduled re-run, against President Uhuru Kenyatta whose victory in the original August poll was annulled last month by the Supreme Court citing widespread irregularities.

Odinga said that without fundamental reforms to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the vote would not be free and fair.

“All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one,” he said, announcing his withdrawal Tuesday.

The IEBC has dismissed most of Odinga’s demands and on Wednesday said that he had not filled in the appropriate form withdrawing from the re-run and therefore was still a candidate alongside Kenyatta.

The commission also agreed to add six candidates who contested the original poll after the High Court ruled they should not be excluded.

In the most recent protests, on Wednesday, several people were injured in the western city of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold, where protesters clashed with police.

The banning of demonstrations sets the stage for more violence if NASA leaders push ahead with their threat to protest, with the next one promised on Friday.

Violence in the days following August’s vote left at least 37 dead, according to a rights group, with almost all of the victims killed by police, according to a local human rights group.

by Tristan MCCONNELL
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