Entries in Election (22)


Moderate Candidate Wins Iranian Presidential Election

(TEHRAN, Iran) -- In a surprising message of change, Hassan Rouhani was elected as the new president of Iran on Saturday.

Rouhani, considered the most moderate candidate on a ballot full of conservatives, will take over for former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was not allowed to run for another term after leading the country for the last eight years.

By winning 50.8 percent of the vote, Rouhani avoided a second round run-off election. He gained a much attention after indicating during his campaign that he would pursue a less confrontational foreign policy and would enact a "civil rights charter" in Iran.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


High Turnout for Historic Election in Pakistan Despite Violence

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- Pakistan will make history on Saturday when up to millions of Pakistanis showed up at the polls to mark the first democratic transition in the nation's history.

Pakistan, technically a democracy, has been led by President Asif Ali Zardari, an ex-convict, since 2008. Zardari's wife, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated in 2007. Before Bhutto, the country was led by a military general who took power by kicking out the previous prime minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif.

In pre-election polls, Sharif was considered a serious contender to rise from the ashes and reclaim power in Saturday's election.

Despite bomb blasts that have killed at least 16 people, over 86 million Pakistanis showed up to vote on Saturday.

The outcome of Saturday's election will have far-reaching impacts, including on the United States' war on terror. The leading candidates have criticized the war on terror, with Sharif calling for a complete rethinking of the war. His opponent has said he would pull Pakistan out of the war completely.

Whichever candidate wins, when the votes are counted, Pakistan will have a new government. Despite the explosions and Taliban threats, the country will have changed hands from one civilian government to another purely through democratic means for the first time ever.  

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Israelis Voting Tuesday in General Election

Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- As President Obama begins his second term, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won't know until later Tuesday if he'll continue as his country's leader.

Israelis are going to the polls in a general election that will decide the fate of Netanyahu and his joint Likud-Yisrael Beitenu party.

Most pundits say the 63-year-old prime minister will return to office.  Although his party stands to lose some seats, Netanyahu will likely cobble together a new right-wing coalition with just enough of a majority in the 120-member Knesset parliament.

Although Netanyahu is too conservative for some Israelis' tastes, he might wind up moving even further to the right in his next term because of the challenge posed by Naftali Bennett, the prime minister's former chief-of-staff.

Much to the chagrin of the Obama administration, Bennett opposes any two-state solution to solve the perpetual Israeli-Palestinian conflict and also advocates annexing large swaths of the West Bank, which angers more moderate Palestinians.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


All-Night Election-Watch Party in Obama’s Ancestral Village

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images(KOGELO, Kenya) – The people of this typically sleepy village in rural western Kenya who call President Obama their “favorite son” know this will probably be the last party like this in their lifetime, so they aren’t planning to miss a minute of it.

Hundreds of Kogelo residents are either dancing the night away or are wrapped in shawls and blankets while camping out patiently on plastic lawn chairs in front of a large television screen waiting for election results that aren’t expected to come in before 7 a.m. local time.

Obama’s late father grew up in Kogelo. His step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, and other relatives still live here.

"If Obama wins, this party could go on until Friday,” said Nelly Misiko at the Kogelo Village Resort where the village’s lively election-watch party is being held.  The hotel, recently built for the tourists who now come to Kogelo, is an example of how the historic 2008 election of the first U.S. president with African heritage has changed the village, and why people here are holding prayer vigils for his re-election.

The president wrote about his journey to Kogelo to explore his absent father’s family history in his best-selling memoir, Dreams from My Father. When Obama returned to visit the village again in 2006 as a U.S. senator, little had changed.  But when he became a contender for president two years later, international media descended on the village, and with that attention came development.

The government built a paved road into Kogelo, strung power lines to provide electricity to businesses and homes, and some aid agencies expanded operations to include Kogelo.  In addition to the two new hotels, which were built to accommodate foreign tourists, President Obama’s half-brother Malik Obama has built a new recreation center where the Kenyan flag and U.S. flag fly side-by-side.

Residents of Kogelo are nervously awaiting the results of the U.S. election not only because they feel a kinship with President Obama but also because he is the man who put their village on the map, and they believe more development will come if he spends more time in office.

And if the election doesn’t go the way they hope?

“This party will be over right away, but we don’t believe that can happen,” said Misiko.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Russia Takes Swipe at US Democracy Ahead of Election

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Moscow’s Foreign Ministry took a shot at American democracy on Wednesday.

“The #US lectures the world on democracy and human rights, but looks only to its own laws when flaws in its voting system are pointed out,” the ministry tweeted from its English-language account.

“The #US electoral system is decentralised, fragmented and obsolete,” the ministry added in another tweet moments later.

Opponents of the electoral college (which could include more Americans if one candidate loses next Tuesday’s election despite winning the popular vote) might not disagree with the broad strokes of that second point.

Of course, recent Russian elections have been marred by reports of widespread voter fraud. And since President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration in May, human rights activists have sounded the alarm about a string of new, increasingly restrictive laws and policies that appear aimed at intimidating Russia’s opposition.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statements came amid rising anti-American rhetoric from the Kremlin and echoed criticism from Russia’s election chief, who penned a lengthy piece ripping apart the American election process in a state-owned newspaper on Wednesday.

“The elections for the president of the USA are not direct, not universal, not equal and do not preserve voting secrecy,” Vladimir Churov wrote, according to Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “It’s a stretch of the imagination to talk about the right of American citizens to choose their president.”

The ministry’s criticism also followed a pair of tweets slamming threats by the Texas State Attorney General that international election observers could be prosecuted if they try to enter polling places there.

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, an arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is one of several international observers that keep an eye out for voting fraud around the world and plans to operate in Texas.

“The situation around the #ODIHR observers monitoring the upcoming #US presidential election in #Texas is disturbing,” the ministry tweeted Wednesday, before adding some criticism of the OSCE as well.

“Unfortunately, the #ODIHR has not fully assessed the #Texas authorities’ threats to file criminal charges against international observers,” the ministry tweeted.

Last week, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to warn that the OSCE was still subject to Texas state law.

“It appears that OSCE is under the misimpression that the State Department can somehow help its representatives circumvent the Texas Election Code,” Abbott wrote. “Texas law prohibits unauthorized persons from entering a polling place — or loitering within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance — on Election Day. OSCE monitors are expected to follow that law like everyone else.”

In the end, Russia’s concerns and Texas’ uproar may all be for nothing. OSCE Ambassador Daan Everts, dismissed Abbot’s concerns, saying his observers had no plans to enter polling places.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that the OSCE is attempting to resolve the situation.

“The OSCE has reassured us. They have also made commitments to Texas that they have no intention of violating any U.S. laws. They are now talking to Texas authorities about how to proceed here, and that’s the right channel for the conversation to go on,” she told reporters last Friday.

Nuland also confirmed that the OSCE monitors “are eligible for full immunities in the United States.”

“We don’t think that it’s going to come to having to invoke these. We have every confidence that OSCE representatives in Texas and any other state where they are observing will be able to work things out,” she added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghanistan to Elect New President in 2014

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Afghanistan has set a date to choose its next president.

Just as U.S. forces pull out of the country, Afghanistan is set to elect a successor for President Hamid Karzai on April 5, 2014, reports The Wall Street Journal. Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission set the poll date Tuesday. Karzai is not allowed to run for a third term, according to the country's constitution.

While the Wall Street Journal speculated Tuesday whether Karzai would name his brother Qayum as a "preferred candidate," a spokesman for the Afghan president said Tuesday that Karzai has not named a preference, the Journal reports.

Calling the electoral process is "inclusive" and "not exclusive," Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi said, "He has not named anybody, but he has held a series of meetings with different people around the country to create a road map for elections."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egypt’s President-Elect to Be ‘Judged by Actions, Not Religious Affiliation’

AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that he’d heard the criticism that Egypt’s choice to elect a Muslim Brotherhood candidate to the presidency showed that the Arab Spring was a debacle, but he cautioned that, “we judge individuals and parties that are elected in a democratic process by their actions, not by their religious affiliation.”

Critics of the Muslim Brotherhood have pointed out that the group has called Israel an "enemy entity" and has celebrated jihad against the West. The Obama administration has painted the Muslim Brotherhood as a "moderate" group.

“We hope President-Elect (Mohammed) Morsi will take steps to advance national unity, uphold universal values and respect the rights of all Egyptian citizens including women and religious minorities such as Coptic Christians,” Carney said, reading a statement aboard Air Force One Monday.

He said that concerns about relations with Israel being hurt should be tempered by the fact that Morsi acknowledged Egypt would continue to uphold its treaty obligations with the Israelis. As for Iran? Carney wouldn’t say the U.S. would urge or demand that Egypt steer clear of formal relations with Iran but suggested that it’s, "perfectly appropriate for a nation like Egypt to have relations with its neighbors but again we look to Egypt to continue its significant role as a pillar of regional peace and stability."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greece Syriza and New Democracy Parties Neck to Neck in Election 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Preliminary exit polls in Greece show that the election is neck to neck, with the left-wing, anti-austerity Syriza party earning 27 to 30 percent of the votes, and the conservative New Democracy party earning 27.5 to 30.5 percent of the votes.

The parties are at odds over whether to continue with the tough European Union bailout deal, or reject it and boost social spending. Leaders fear a rejection of the bailout deal could devastate the euro and wreak havoc on the global economy.

Results are expected later on Sunday afternoon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greek Election Results Could Spur Global Financial Crisis

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greek voters may hold the future of global banks and the single currency euro in their hands when they head to the polls on Sunday for the country's Parliamentary election.

One of the two leading parties is opposed to the austerity measures placed on Greece in exchange for its financial bailout. Should the party gain control of the country's government, they could scrap the bailout and withdraw Greece from the euro, setting off a chain reaction that may lead to the failure of a number of banks worldwide.

The world's central banks are said to be standing ready to act in case of a financial crisis.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egypt Holds Historic Televised Presidential Debate

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GettyImages(CAIRO) -- Despite a lower administrative court's decision Wednesday to suspend the election planned for May 23 and 24, the two leading Egyptian presidential candidates faced off Thursday for an unprecedented televised debate.

During the four-hour broadcast of the Arab world's first-ever presidential debate, according to BBC News, Egypt's most popular talk show hosts grilled the two expected front-runners, Amr Moussa, former head of the Arab League, and moderate Islamist Abdul Monmeim Fotouh on the topics of education, jobs and health care.  But the questions that engaged many viewers had more to do with how to avoid becoming a dictator.

When asked what authorities a president needs and does not need in order to avoid dictatorship, Moussa replied that future presidents would be bound, constitutionally, to two terms. He also suggested that upholding a democratic system would not bring another dictator.

Fotouh said that he supports a presidential/parliamentary system with limited powers of the president, but had objected to the parliamentary system because it is too early for political parties to get on their feet and share power.

The two candidates also challenged one another on their ties to the former government under ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, BBC News reported.

"Vote for me because I represent national unity and the 25 January spirit without which we cannot build the country....Don't vote for the one who was against the revolution," Fotouh said, according to BBC News.

Moussa also appealed to voters, telling them, "Vote for me because I have been tested, I have experience.  This proved to have been marked by honesty and devotion."

Egypt has existed in a power vacuum since President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office in February 2011 and a military council has ruled the country, much to the chagrin of Egyptians desperate for free and open elections.

Both Moussa and Fotouh decried the ruling to suspend the election.

If the original election dates are reinstated, a runoff vote will be held on June 16 and 17 in the event that no single candidate wins an outright majority, with Egypt's next president formally named four days later.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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