Posts Tagged ‘Rigged Election’

Najib set to unveil election manifesto vowing to ‘make Malaysia great’

April 7, 2018

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A man watches televisions on display at a shopping mall store as Malaysian PM Najib Razak announces the dissolution of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, on April 6, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling coalition wants to “make Malaysia great”.

Barisan Nasional (BN) is expected to officially unveil the “Hebatkan Negaraku” (Make My Country Great) slogan tonight, when Datuk Seri Najib launches BN’s election manifesto in front of some 40,000 supporters in an event broadcast live on television.

Read the rest:

From Reuters:

Najib is under pressure to deliver an emphatic win for the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, as he struggles to appease Malaysians unhappy with rising costs and a multi-billion dollar scandal at a state fund he founded.

The 64-year-old leader is expected to retain power due to a rift in opposition ranks between Mahathir’s bloc and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

But analysts predict a tough fight from Mahathir, who transformed Malaysia into an industrial nation from a rural backwater during his iron-fisted 22-year rule until 2003.

The opposition says the election will be unfair.



Cambodia invites foreign observers to election after dissolving opposition — Cambodia joins Egypt, Malaysia in rigged election trend

April 4, 2018

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodia on Wednesday invited foreign observers to monitor a July general election, as required by law, which long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen is poised to win after the main opposition party was dissolved.

The National Election Committee said the foreign observers would have to submit written reports on their findings.

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, an election watchdog, said international observers should think before accepting.

“They should be more cautious in responding to the invitation. Many of them have standards on prerequisite principles for their engagement decision,” he said.

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Hun Sen

Hun Sen and his supporters have waged a campaign against critics, including members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), in what opponents say is a bid to prolong his leadership after 33 years in office.

The CNRP was dissolved and its lawmakers banned from politics in November after the Supreme Court ruled that it had tried to overthrow the government – something the CNRP has denied.

The CNRP dissolution was followed by the arrest of CNRP leader Kem Sokha for plotting to overthrow the government with U.S. help, an accusation both the United States and Kem Sokha have rejected.

Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Nick Macfie

Malaysia parliament passes electoral boundaries motion put forward by PM Najib — Critics say “ignores the rule of law and manipulates the electoral rolls”

March 28, 2018

Channel News Asia

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A general view at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s parliament has passed a controversial proposal put forward by Prime Minister Najib Razak to redraw electoral boundaries after 129 voted for and 80 voted against it on Wednesday (Mar 28).

The opposition and other critics said the proposed electoral boundaries would give Najib’s ruling BN coalition, which is facing arguably its toughest polls since independence over 60 years ago, an easy win by putting large numbers of opposition-leaning voters into fewer seats and dividing constituencies along racial lines.

The Bill’s introduction was delayed by about an hour after opposition lawmakers objected.

Things got heated with one veteran opposition, Lim Kit Siang, kicked out even before the debates began.

He was allowed to return eventually, but Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman later raised a motion to suspend him from Parliament for six months.

The plan was drawn up by the Election Commission (EC) and the government said it is free from political interference.

“The government did not disturb or influence the EC in their work, and respects decisions made by EC in the interest of the people and the country,” Najib told Parliament as he tabled the report.

He added that it was time redelineation was carried out after three polls using the old election maps.


Parliamentarians were given 10 minutes each to argue for or against the content of the reports.

Five opposition MPs argued that the distribution of voters across seats was not even. The redrawing of boundaries means that some large pro-opposition constituencies have more than 100,000 voters, while some pro-government seats are much smaller.

For instance, in Selangor, the biggest parliamentary constituency would be Damansara – held by the opposition – with 150,439 voters, while the smallest one would be Sabak Bernam – held by BN – at 37,126.

The country’s richest state and one of the few controlled by the opposition will see voter demographics change in 18 of its 22 parliamentary seats.

Johor, where the ruling coalition is expected to face a tough battle, will see changes to 19 of its 26 parliamentary seats.

Electoral boundaries were last changed in 2003, under the leadership of then-premier Mahathir Mohamad. He, too, was accused of manipulating the process in favour of the ruling coalition, which has held power since independence in 1957.

Mahathir, 92, who led Malaysia for 22 years, is now running as the opposition’s candidate for prime minister against Najib.

A general election must be held by August, but Najib is widely expected to call elections in a matter of days, Reuters reported. The proposal will not change the number of parliamentary or state seats.


Earlier on Wednesday, hundreds of pro-democracy activists and opposition party leaders marched to parliament carrying banners and placards.

Security was heightened at parliament’s main gate, which was blocked by riot police, some armed with teargas guns.

“We totally do not agree with the (EC) report. This is the biggest cheating to ever happen,” said Maria Chin Abdullah, the former chairwoman of civil society group, Bersih.

“They want to bulldoze the report that contradicts the constitution, ignores the rule of law and manipulates the electoral rolls,” she said.

Additional reporting by Sumisha Naidu

Source: Reuters/CNA/ng




Malaysian PM Najib tables electoral map changes as hundreds protest outside Parliament

March 28, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s new electoral maps, likely to be used in the upcoming election, were presented in Parliament on Wednesday (March 28) by Prime Minister Najib Razak, amid heavy criticism from the opposition for gerrymandering.

The Election Commission (EC), the government body under the Prime Minister’s Department tasked with redrawing electoral boundaries, has been accused by critics and opposition lawmakers of creating electoral maps that favour the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).

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Prime Minister Najib Razak

In his parliamentary speech, Datuk Seri Najib sought to defend his administration against critics. “The government has not interfered or influenced the EC in doing its duties, moreover the government always respects decisions made by the EC,  for the good of all, for the sake of people and country,” he said, to jeers from the opposition.

Opposition MPs had attempted to stop the presentation of the redelineation maps with the argument that there are ongoing court cases challenging the delimitation exercise by the EC.

However, the challenge was thrown out by the Speaker of Parliament on account of Parliament’s power being separate from that of the court.

Veteran opposition lawmaker Lim Kit Siang was given a six-month suspension from Parliament by Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia after questioning reasons for the embargo on the redelineated maps.

Mr Najib told Parliament that it is “tough” to have evenly distributed seats with almost equal number of voters due to “rural areas that have different topography and demographics”.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, former premier turned opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad turned up at a protest held by electoral reform group Bersih, two hours before his former protege, Mr Najib, presented the redelineated maps in Parliament.

The 200-strong crowd gathered at the National Monument – a symbolic sculpture marking the country’s fight for freedom just 500m away from Parliament – called for the withdrawal of the redelineated maps.

Tun Dr Mahathir, once criticised for his dictatorial-style leadership and accused of allowing gerrymandering in previous redelineations during his 22 years in power, took another stab at Mr Najib on Wednesday.

“We have to be brave to oppose it. Najib won’t know whom you vote for. Don’t be afraid,” Dr Mahathir told the crowd.

Based on the maps, which retain the 222-seat composition in Parliament, boundaries were redrawn to pack voters deemed as lost cause to BN into certain constituencies, creating superseats that would likely be won by the opposition. In return, multiple smaller seats have been created that favour BN, based on racial and party lines.

According to analysts, the state that saw the most blatant changes is Selangor. The country’s richest state has been helmed by federal opposition pact Pakatan Harapan (PH) for nearly a decade, with BN vying to win back the coveted state in the upcoming polls.

“Pakatan Harapan would become weak but it won’t lose the state,” said Mr Wong Chin Huat, analyst at the Penang Institute.

“The state government is quite popular with the people but they (PH) won’t have the comfortable majority they got in 2013,” added Mr Wong.

All of Selangor’s parliamentary seats held by PH are affected by the redelineation, except for the Sepang constituency. PH holds 16 parliamentary seats out of the 22 in Selangor.

In the state assembly, PH holds 29 of the 56 state seats. Another opposition party, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), holds 13 while BN has 11 seats. There are two independents and one vacant seat.

In 2013, PH collaborated with PAS, allowing it to obtain the majority to retain the Selangor state government.

According to opposition MP Ong Kian Ming, the changes result in the packing of seats, vastly increasing the number of Malay voters.

One example is the Sungai Buloh seat, with the proportion of Malay voters increasing from 47 per cent to 64 per cent, after the redrawing of boundaries.

Selangor state will see the most number of seats nationwide experiencing a name change, with name changes affecting five parliamentary seats and nine state assembly seats.

In the last election in 2013, BN lost the majority vote, but scraped through with a simple majority of 131 seats out of 222. It lost its two-thirds majority of 148 seats.

Data crunched by analysts has shown that constituencies won by BN have fewer voters than PH – 48,000 voters versus 79,000. This paints a picture of the opposition having won areas with larger numbers of voters in the 2013 polls.

Malaysia has 14.6 million registered voters, and analysts say that BN needs to win only 33 per cent of those votes to retain power.

“To form a simple majority in government in Malaysia, you need to win 112 seats out of 222,” said Mr Danesh Chacko, an analyst with electoral reform group Tindak Malaysia.

“Since there is significant disparity among the seat populations from Perlis to Sabah, the first 112 smallest seats amount to 33 per cent of the voters of the country,” he said.

The number of voters varies widely in constituencies, which constitutes malapportionment, with the smallest Malaysian constituency in 2013 having 15,700 voters (Putrajaya) but equals one seat, while the biggest area (Kapar) has about 145,000 voters, also making up one seat.

In an ongoing court proceeding filed by the Selangor state government challenging the redelineation process undertaken by the Election Commission, it was revealed that a parliamentary seat – Petaling Jaya Utara – was renamed Damansara, and now has 150,000 voters after the redelineation. It previously had 84,000 voters.

The move by the EC in creating imbalances between constituencies has also been criticised as unconstitutional since a provision of the Federal Constitution requires the number of voters within each seat in a state to be roughly equal to one another.

This has resulted in charges of malapportionment and gerrymandering, the manipulation of electoral boundaries to favour a certain party or class.

The EC has vehemently denied the accusations in a statement following a report by The Economist on the upcoming polls.

“The EC denies claims that there is manipulation in the electoral system and in the redelineation exercise to ensure the victory of specific parties in the 14th general election,” the commission’s chairman Hashim Abdullah said in the statement.

Refuting the article by the British magazine, Tan Sri Hashim added: “The EC feels that the statements made are slanderous in nature and are not based on concrete evidence and are meant to confuse.”

Malaysia’s Parliament is likely to be dissolved within days, and polls are expected to be held by May at the latest.

The Economist has been very vocal about the election process in Malaysia….

Malaysia’s PM is about to steal an election (American officials say he already stole millions from taxpayers)


Flares prove forum disruption premeditated, says Warisan leader

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A flare is set off in Shah Alam at a political event for Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Photo: AFP

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Malaysian President Najib Razak with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

EU’s Juncker under fire for ‘nauseating’ Putin letter

March 20, 2018


© AFP/File / by Damon WAKE | EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker is under fire over a “nauseating” letter congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election even as Britain blames Moscow for a deadly toxin attack

BRUSSELS (AFP) – EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker came under fire Tuesday over a “nauseating” letter congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election even as Britain blames Moscow for a deadly toxin attack.Juncker wrote to Putin, returned for another six years in power on Sunday with a record vote share, pledging to “always be a partner” in improving security cooperation with the Kremlin.

Russia is currently under a punishing regime of sanctions for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and is accused of running a sustained campaign of disinformation and cyber attacks against several EU members.

“I have always argued that positive relations between the European Union and Russian Federation are crucial to security of our continent,” Juncker said in the letter, which he shared on Twitter.

“Our common objective should be to re-establish a cooperative pan-European security order.”

Juncker added: “I hope that you will use your fourth term in office to pursue this goal. I will always be a partner in this endeavour.”

Juncker’s letter came just a day after EU foreign ministers offered Britain “unqualified solidarity” in a dispute with Russia and despite the EU’s own diplomatic service voicing concern about “violations and shortcomings” in the election.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said her government believes that Moscow was behind the March 4 poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury using a Soviet-designed nerve agent.

– ‘Disgraceful’ –

The head of May’s Conservative Party group in the European Parliament said that with his letter Juncker was effectively “appeasing a man who poses a clear threat to western security”.

“This is a disgraceful letter from Jean-Claude Juncker,” MEP Ashley Fox said in a statement.

“His failure to mention Russia’s responsibility for a military nerve agent attack on innocent people in my constituency is nauseating.”

The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt joined the criticism, saying on Twitter “this is no time for congratulations”.

The former Belgian premier insisted that ties with Russia “must be conditional on respect for the rules based international order”.

European Council President Donald Tusk — a former Polish premier who often takes a tough stance on Russia — had not congratulated Putin, an EU official said.

“President Tusk has not sent such a letter and I would not be surprised if he doesn’t send it at all,” the official added.

May will brief fellow EU leaders on the Salisbury investigation at a summit in Brussels starting on Thursday, where they are to issue a joint statement pledging to “coordinate on the consequences” for Russia.

The 28 leaders will wait to see what answers Moscow provides on the nerve agent attack on Skripal and his daughter, according to a draft text seen by AFP.

A senior EU official said leaders would debate “attribution of the attack” and see if there was “room for improvement” in the wording of the statement.

“Until now, nobody is talking about additional sanctions,” the source said,

EU sources say some states, including Greece, have been reluctant to put pressure on Moscow over the incident.

The Kremlin has denied London’s charge over the poisoning — the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II — demanding London either come up with proof of Russia’s involvement or apologise.

The EU has been increasingly concerned with a more assertive Russia in the past few years, especially after Moscow annexed Ukraine in 2014, triggering the first in a series of European sanctions.

by Damon WAKE

Kenyan TV stations to stay shut after covering opposition `inauguration’

January 31, 2018

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Three Kenyan TV stations will stay off the air indefinitely as the government investigates a “swearing in” of opposition leader Raila Odinga, the interior minister said on Wednesday, following the symbolic but direct challenge to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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Raila Odinga holds up the Bible as he swears-in himself as the ‘people’s president’ at Uhuru Park, Nairobi. AFP PHOTO

Independently owned Citizen TV and Radio, KTN and NTV were switched off on Tuesday after they transmitted live coverage of an opposition ceremony to “swear in” Odinga into office.

Fred Matiang‘i, who is also the minister in charge of security, accused some elements in the media of facilitating the “illegal act”, putting lives of thousands of Kenyans at risk.

“The government took a decision to shut down the concerned media houses, until further notice, as it launches a full investigation,” he told a news conference.

Odinga, whose supporters say he is Kenya’s legitimate leader and Kenyatta’s election was neither free nor fair, took a symbolic presidential oath at the ceremony.

Matiang‘i said the opposition event was an attempt to subvert and overthrow the legally constituted government, adding they were also investigating the “swearing in”.

“The investigations will extend to co-conspirators and facilitators,” he said, promising appropriate legal action against those found culpable.

Police later arrested Tom Kajwang, an opposition lawmaker who administered Odinga’s “oath of office”, James Orengo, an opposition senator, told Reuters.

Kajwang, who represents a constituency in Nairobi and is a lawyer by profession, turned up at the opposition gathering in a white wig and a black robe, mimicking the official robes the chief justice wears when inaugurating a president.


Earlier, executives in the media industry accused the government of keeping them in the dark over the switch-off of their broadcast stations.

“There was no comment from the government when the action was taken, and there’s been none since,” said Wachira Waruru, managing director of Royal Media Services, which owns Citizen TV and Radio.

Attempts by Reuters to reach Kenya’s Communications Authority for comment by telephone on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

“We’re trying to reach out informally to government officials, but we are not getting any answers,” Waruru said. “Our business is advertising-based so we are making huge losses,” he said, declining to give a figure.

The stations are considering filing a petition to the Kenyan courts in the hope of having their broadcasts restored by court order, he said. “We are trying to resolve through dialogue, but if it doesn’t work we will go to the courts,” he said.

“It’s shocking that the stations are still shut down,” said Isaac Okero, president of the Law Society of Kenya.

“This sets a very worrying tone for the country and really reveals to us that the state’s supposed commitment to constitutional order is very brittle if there at all.”

On Tuesday security forces made no move to stop an opposition gathering in downtown Nairobi attended by more than 15,000 people, which authorities had said would be illegal.

But the government later declared the opposition “National Resistance Movement” a criminal group, paving the way for potential arrests.

On Monday, Linus Kaikai, chairman of the Kenya Editors’ Guild, said editors had been warned by authorities that they could be shut down if they covered the event.

Additional reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by William Maclean

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.
In a statement, they also called on Egyptians not to recognize the presidential vote’s outcome if it goes ahead.
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.
All potentially serious challengers to him have been arrested, forced out or quit the race.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Issam Heggy, a scientist and former presidential adviser, also signed the statement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Liberal Media Covered-Up Hillary Clinton’s Health Problems — Donna Brazile’s Book Fills In The Details

November 8, 2017

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post

Silly, silly Donna Brazile. She’s publishing a book detailing turmoil in the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, highlighted by her concern that Hillary Clinton was seriously ill and might need to be replaced by Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.

What’s the big deal? There’s no news here because all this was well-known and covered at the time by the big national newspapers and networks, right?

Wrong. If Brazile were rehashing things we knew, there would be no book and no bombshell headlines now.

Hillary Clinton leaves 9/11 event early RS _00005305

 Hillary Clinton collapse

Video shows Clinton stumble leaving 9/11 event 01:51

Instead, she has thrown open a new and very big window on 2016 — and exposed yet again the consequences of the political biases of the Democratic media.

The missed stories are not merely the result of mistakes or sloppy reporting. Brazile’s book is a revelation in that it shows that many left-leaning journalists didn’t so much cover Clinton as cover up for her.

Put it this way: How is it possible that the leader of the Democratic Party was talking to colleagues about trying to replace its nominee during the general election because of health concerns, and none of the thousands of journalists covering the campaign got wind of it?

It’s not possible — if the media had been playing it down the middle and holding both candidates to the same standard of scrutiny. But big media missed a big story because so much campaign “news” coverage was tilted toward defeating Donald Trump and electing Clinton.

Anything that could possibly suggest Trump was unfit for the Oval Office — bingo, front page, top of the broadcast.

On the other hand, anything that could hurt Clinton was downplayed or ignored. Nothing to see here, move along.

The coverage of Clinton’s health was a prime example of the tilt. Her coughing fits, especially a long one on Labor Day, and a history of falling were pointed out by the popular Drudge Report, some Republicans and smaller, conservative-leaning sites to suggest she was not being honest about her health.

But her campaign always denied anything was wrong — allergies, the candidate and her flacks insisted, caused the persistent coughs, and major news organizations mostly nodded their heads and stayed mum, accepting the official denials without skepticism.

The dam cracked a bit on Labor Day, when an NBC reporter filed a 91-word, four-paragraph story that said Clinton had been unable to finish her speech in Ohio because of a coughing fit.

The truth was dangerous, so the Praetorian Guard sprang to Clinton’s defense. The NBC reporter, Andrew Rafferty, was mocked and insulted, first by the campaign, and then by journalists, including some MSNBC commentators who turned on their colleague as if he had violated a secret oath.

CNN joined the Clinton amen chorus, and at the Washington Post, political writer Chris Cillizza denounced the topic of Clinton’s health as “a totally ridiculous issue” and declared it a “sure-fire loser” for Trump.

“It’s hard to plausibly insist, based on the available data, that Clinton is ill,” insisted Cillizza, who is now at CNN.

Five days later, Clinton was unable to walk on her own and collapsed at the 9/11 ceremony in Manhattan as she tried to get into a van. The campaign insisted she was just “dehydrated” until a short video of the incident aired, then admitted the candidate had been diagnosed with pneumonia days earlier.

In other words, the claim of allergies was a big fat lie. That prompted Brazile to contemplate starting the process of replacing Clinton, writing in her book that the campaign also was “anemic” and had “the odor of failure.” She says she considered numerous tickets to replace Clinton and Sen. Tim Kane, and decided that Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) would be the best.

It’s not clear how long she deliberated or how many people she talked to, but Brazile writes that Biden called her on Sept. 12. In the end, she says, she made no move because she couldn’t disappoint Clinton’s supporters.

Her book is called “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House,” and it’s got lots of other juicy bits, including evidence that the party rigged the primaries to help Clinton beat Sanders and that Clinton possibly broke federal campaign finance laws by scooping money donated by big donors to state parties, far in excess of individual federal limits.

Brazile also writes that the Clinton team treated her like “a slave,” and she accuses its male hierarchy of sexism.

Kenya to charge opposition leader’s sister with incitement to violence

October 23, 2017


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Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses a Jubilee Party campaign caravan rally in Nairobi, Kenya October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner Reuters

By Duncan Miriri

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan authorities will arrest and charge the sister of opposition leader Raila Odinga with incitement to violence after attacks on the election board, the chief prosecutor’s office said on Monday.

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Raila Odinga

Odinga has pulled out of the re-run of an election he was due to contest on Thursday against President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying problems with the election board meant the vote would not be fair. He has called for protests and a boycott and on Sunday said on Twitter there would be “no election”.

“We resume our picketing at IEBC (election board) offices countrywide on Tuesday and Wednesday. We maintain that there will be no election on Thursday,” he said, without giving details.

Kenya is East Africa’s richest economy and a trade and transport gateway as well as a hub for diplomacy and security, so its stability is considered vital for the region.

Odinga’s supporters disrupted a training session for election officials last week in the western city of Kisumu, which is his political stronghold. They attacked election staff and destroyed tents and polling material, witnesses said.

Ruth Odinga, who is the opposition leader’s sister and a former deputy governor of Kisumu county, was present at the protest, according to Reuters witnesses. Prosecutors instructed police to arrest her, opposition Senator Fred Outa and others.

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Ruth Odinga

She will be charged with incitement, destruction of property, obstructing election officers and trespassing in an electoral center, according to a letter that the director of public prosecution’s office posted online.

“The suspects should immediately be charged,” the letter said. Neither Ruth Odinga nor Outa could immediately be contacted for comment.

The arrests could anger Odinga’s supporters and escalate tension over an election season that has divided the country and led to the deaths of at least 37 people since the first election was held on Aug. 8 including four in the last two weeks.

Odinga says the election board had made insufficient reforms to prevent a repeat of the same mistakes that marred the previous presidential polls on Aug. 8.

Kenyatta won that election but the Supreme Court last nullified the result, saying there had been procedural irregularities and a repeat must be held.

The election board and Kenyatta say the poll will be held regardless of whether Odinga participates.

(additional reporting by George Obulutsa; editing by Katharine Houreld and Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

Maduro foes in Venezuela seek to block new assembly

August 4, 2017


© HO / Venezuelan Presidency / AFP | Handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency showing President Nicolas Maduro (L) talking during a meeting with constitutionalists in Caracas on August 2, 2017


Latest update : 2017-08-04

Venezuela is headed for a fresh showdown as President Nicolas Maduro prepares to inaugurate a powerful new “Constituent Assembly” on Friday, with his opponents vowing massive protests and state prosecutors seeking to block him in court.

Maduro faces accusations at home and abroad of trampling on democracy with the election last weekend of the assembly in a vote boycotted by the opposition and allegedly marred by fraud.

Attorney General Luisa Ortega’s office said on Twitter that state prosecutors had filed a case to block Friday’s inauguration, “based on suspected crimes committed” during the election.

Ortega, one of Maduro’s most vocal critics, has ordered an investigation into “scandalous” electoral fraud, after a British-based technology firm contracted for the vote, Smartmatic, said Maduro had exaggerated the turnout.

Since all candidates for the assembly were Maduro allies, turnout was the key gauge of public support.

The 545-member assembly — whose members include Maduro’s wife and son — will have sweeping powers to dissolve the opposition-majority congress, pass laws and write a new constitution.

It was initially due to start work Thursday against a backdrop of opposition protests.

But Maduro rescheduled the inauguration to Friday, vowing the assembly would open “in peace and calm.”

His opponents responded by pushing back their protest, calling on Venezuelans to “defend the constitution.”

Denial of tampering

For four months Venezuela has been in the grip of violent protests that have left more than 125 people dead as opposition demonstrators battle security forces and armed motorcycle gangs of Maduro supporters.

On Thursday, two people on motorbikes threw Molotov cocktails at the Spanish embassy in Caracas, causing no casualties. Prosecutors did not link the attack to the political tensions, though Madrid is a fierce critic of Maduro’s moves in recent days.

Maduro insists the new assembly is the solution to a drawn-out economic and political crisis gripping Venezuela, whose 18-year-old, oil-fueled socialist economic model has been driven to the brink of collapse by a plunge in global crude prices.

The United States imposed direct sanctions on Maduro, calling him a “dictator,” while the European Union joined the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina in saying it would not recognize the new assembly.

Maduro has denied the accusation of an inflated turnout figure, dismissing it as a “reaction by the international enemy.”

Venezuela’s pro-government electoral authority had claimed more than eight million voters took part — 40 percent of the electorate.

The opposition says turnout was closer to 3.5 million, mostly state employees fearful for their jobs.

More than 70 percent of Venezuelans oppose the new assembly, according to polling firm Datanalisis.

Consolidating power

Maduro moved swiftly to consolidate his authority after the election.

Two prominent opposition leaders were hustled off to jail in the middle of the night by armed members of the Venezuelan intelligence services.

Security forces and pro-government motorbike gangs actively stamped out public signs of dissent.

Delcy Rodriguez, a former foreign minister who is now part of the new body, said the Constituent Assembly will kick the lawmakers out of the chamber they occupy in the legislative palace, take it over and “never leave.”

Faced with mounting international outcry, Maduro on Wednesday named a new foreign minister to fill the newly elected Rodriguez’s shoes: former vice president Jorge Arreaza.

Arreaza is married to the eldest daughter of late president Hugo Chavez — Maduro’s mentor, the father of Venezuela’s socialist “revolution,” and the architect of the 1999 constitution the new assembly will rewrite.

Several major Latin American nations have underlined their wariness over the direction they believed Venezuela was heading.

On Thursday, Argentina called on its citizens to not take non-essential trips to Venezuela.

The Argentina foreign ministry said “cases of insecurity and violence perpetrated by governmental forces and confrontations with the civilian population” prompted its appeal.

Chile, meanwhile, said six Venezuelan opposition figures were taking refuge in its embassy in Caracas. Four of them were judges named by the opposition to sit on a parallel supreme court, to counter the high tribunal stacked with pro-Maduro magistrates.

The six were seeking diplomatic protection but no requests for asylum had been received, according to Chilean officials.