Entries in Vote (7)


Egyptian Voters Approve New Constitution

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Egyptian voters appear to have approved a controversial new constitution.

President Mohammad Morsi and his allies argue it will bring stability and let them focus on a crumbling economy.

Yet, opposition groups say the constitution wasn’t approved by enough voters, it allows conservative Islam to dominate society and doesn’t protect the rights of women or minorities.    

Vice President Mahmoud Mekki resigned on Saturday before the results of the votes were counted, Egypt state TV reported. According to the new constitution, the vice presidential post is eliminated.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Islamist Party Leads Tunisia Vote

GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- Tunisia may soon have a government that many there consider the best of both worlds; that is, one with core Islamic principles meshed with a Western-style democracy.

There is optimism that it could happen following Sunday's historic vote that resulted from last January's overthrow of authoritarian leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali through a popular revolution fueled by social networking sites.

It appears that the Ennahda party, which considers itself a "modernist political movement," has won at least a plurality in the new 217-member assembly whose first tasks will be to form a new constitution and a caretaker government.

In fact, Ennahada, which claims it will be dedicated to the principles of democracy and pluralism, could wind up with a majority in the assembly once all the votes are tallied.

Party members have promised to work with other liberal blocs to forge a government that will likely go easy on legislating morality, which is a relief to women who've obtained certain rights under the old regime.

Libya and Egypt, two other nations that have undergone upheavals, are watching to see how it’s done in Tunisia, although the country has several advantages, including a homogenous, educated population and a military willing to step aside for civilian rulers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clashes Erupt in Greece as Workers Begin Two-Day Strike

LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Clashes between police and demonstrators erupted in Greece again Wednesday as workers there began a two-day general strike in protest of new austerity measures being proposed by the government.

The BBC reports protesters in Athens have been throwing stones and smoke bombs at authorities, who have been firing back with tear gas.

The protesters, who numbered in the tens of thousands, are angry about a parliamentary vote expected later this week: the Greek government is looking to make more budget cuts in order to receive bailout packages from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, and avoid defaulting on its debt.

As the 48-hour strike kicked off on Wednesday, flights were grounded, public means of transportation were halted, and schools and local businesses were closed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Women in Saudi Arabia Allowed to Vote, Run in Future Local Elections

Abid Katib/Getty Images(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- Women in Saudi Arabia will be given the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, and will be appointed to the all-male Shura advisory council, King Abdullah announced Sunday.

Women will not be allowed to vote in municipal elections this Thursday, but will be able to in the following municipal elections in 2015.  Women will be appointed to the Shura Council, an advisory body established in 1993 that is selected by the monarch, starting with its next term, the king said.

Abdullah made the announcement Sunday during his annual speech at the opening of the new term of the Shura Council.

“Because we refuse to marginalize women in our society in all roles that comply with Sharia,” Abdullah said, referring to the Islamic law that governs many aspects of life in the kingdom, “we have decided, after deliberation with our senior clerics and others to engage women in the Shura Council as members in line with the Sharia regulations, starting from the next term.  Secondly women have the right to run for municipal council membership.  They also have the right to vote within Sharia regulations.”

Abdullah is known as a reformist in the ultra-conservative nation, but change has been slow-moving.  Women still cannot drive or leave the country unaccompanied, and the sexes are segregated in public.

Over the summer, fueled by social media and recent uprisings in the Arab world, Saudi women took to the capital’s streets in their cars to protest the ban on female drivers.

“[Today's announcement] is definitely an important step forward that there is a promise that women will be allowed to vote in the next municipal election, but not a promise that means anything for the election happening now,” Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, told ABC News.

“This announcement does nothing to address the systematic and institutional discrimination against women which includes not only no right to drive, but no right to make decisions about their everyday lives, including the right to seek an education, the right to employment, the right to travel, the right to open a bank account, even the right to obtain medical care without the permission of a male guardian,” she said.

There is a fear that when 87-year-old King Abdullah dies, the reforms he has put in place will be disregarded.

“It is a promise, it is not actually a legislative reform,” Whitson said.  “It’s not sanctified in any kind of law.  The risk is if the next king comes in and says, ‘We won’t do that after all.’  One of the biggest problems of King Abdullah as a reformer is that the actions that will last beyond his lifetime are really at question and at risk.”

But despite the potentially unofficial nature of the change, the United States was quick to support the decision.

“We welcome Saudi King Abdullah’s announcement today that women will serve as full members of the Shura Council in the next session, and will have the right to participate in future municipal elections.  These reforms recognize the significant contributions women in Saudi Arabia make to their society and will offer them new ways to participate in the decisions that affect their lives and communities,” read a statement from National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor issued Sunday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


UN Authorizes Strikes in Libya; Gadhafi Vows Offensive

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations Security Council has approved a resolution authorizing the international community to take "all necessary measures," short of sending in ground troops, to protect civilians in Libya.

The vote comes just as leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces are planning a major offensive on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Libya, where opposition forces were seen cheering the vote.

The council voted 10-0 with five abstentions, including Russia and China.

U.S. officials say the authorization will be used by a coalition of nations, including Arab countries, France and Great Britain, to bomb military targets inside Libya.

With attacks likely imminent, Gadhafi addressed the rebels on state television, warning them, "We will find you."

"We are coming tonight," he said to the rebel forces. "There won't be any mercy."

The resolution, a copy of which was provided to ABC News by a U.N. diplomat, also authorized the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya as a way to protect the opposition fighters and civilians from Gadhafi's jets.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Sudan One Step Closer to Becoming Africa's Newest Nation

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(KHARTOUM, Sudan) -- Official results from South Sudan's vote last month are in, and one of Africa's largest and most volatile countries is one step closer to dividing into two nations.

The final results of last month's poll showed that nearly 99 percent of southerners voted for independence.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir said he'll accept the vote peacefully.

But maintaining peace won't be easy.  More than 50 people have been killed over the last few days in border clashes, and issues of oil revenue sharing, demarcation and the status of the border region Abyei must be decided before Africa's largest country can officially become two.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Than 99% of South Sudanese Residents Vote For Secession

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(KHARTOUM, Sudan) -- Results were released from the vote for southern independence in Sudan on Sunday, and were overwhelmingly one-sided. Of the nearly four million residents that voted, 98.83 percent of the votes were in favor of the southern region of the country seceding from the north to form a new nation. Of southern residents, more than 99 percent were in favor of the change.

The vote comes as the result of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a nearly 20-year civil war between the north and the south, which claimed over two million lives. The two regions clashed over many issues including religion and oil. The north is a largely Islamic area, and the south is predominantly Christian and rich with oil.

U.N. officials praised the vote, but still expressed concern over possible issues in the future including border disputes, and fair distribution of oil revenues.

Southern independence is scheduled to go into effect on July 9.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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