Elections

ANC Says That Present Situation Is Not Positive For Elections

It was made known by Jammu and Kashmir Awami National Conference (ANC) that ANC Says That Present Situation Is Not Positive For Elections the present situation in Kashmir was not suitable for elections. 

Mir Mohammad Shafi, the General Secretary of ANC, said, "The current situation in the state is not conducive at all for electoral process and such exercise will have disastrous implications which can engulf the entire country," 

He further said that his party did not favour the polls and instead dialogue should be resumed at every level to move forward with the peace process.


EC: 55% polling in Chhatisgarh

EC: 55% polling in ChhatisgarhLarge scale Naxal violence marred the first phase of Assembly elections in Chhatisgarh with an estimated 55 percent turn out.


BJP likely to give 10 seats to allies in Rajasthan

BJP likely to give 10 seats to allies in RajasthanBJP is considering its options to give 10 assembly seats to its allies in Rajasthan.


EC says 'No' to any change in J&K poll schedule

EC says 'No' to any change in J&K poll scheduleThe Election Comsission has said 'NO' to the demand for postponement of polling in J&K areas that have received heavy snow fall.


Congress releases list for Rajasthan polls

Congress releases list for Rajasthan pollsCongress has released a list of 19 candidates for up coming Rajasthan polls.

BJP MP Vishwendra Singh who joined the Congress on Friday will contest from Deeg-Kumher. Singh left the BJP on Thursday. He had alleged that party tickets were sold for assembly polls.

Former MLA Mohan Lal Rathore will take on Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje from Jhalrapatan.

Former BJP MLA Atar Singh Bhadana has been fielded from Nagar.

On the other hand, the ruling BJP while releasing the second list of candidates had left 10 seats for its alliances.


J&K polls: record 102 candidates in fray for I phase

Despite the poll boycott call by separatists, a record number of 102 candidates are trying their luck for first phase of polling from 10 constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir.

First phase of polling will be held on 17 Nov.

The Election Commission had announced a seven phase polling programme for J&K.

The contituencies going to the polls are - Gurez, Bandipora and Sonawari in the Kashmir Valley, Leh, Nobra, Zanskar and Kargil in the Ladakh region and Surankote, Mendhar and Poonch-Haveli in the Jammu region.

Sonawari and Bandipora will see 22 and 19 candidates respectively in the fray. There are six candidates in Gurez, Poonch-Haveli has 13, Mendhar 12, Surankote 11, five each in Kargil, Leh and Zanskar and four in Nobra.


68 % polling in Chhattisgarh

68 % polling in ChhattisgarhThe second and final phase of voting for Chhattisgarh Assembly elections recorded a 68 per cent turnout and passed off peacefully. An estimated 68 per cent polling was recorded in the remaining 51 of the 90 Assembly constituencies and it might go little higher, Deputy Election Commissioner Jaiprakash told. "The polling was peaceful" and there was brisk polling right from the morning, he added.

But People in five polling stations boycotted the polls citing lack of development work in their area. On the other hand, some unidentified persons attacked the vehicle of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi in Bilaspur.


EC orders to register case against Chhattisgarh CM

EC orders to register case against Chhattisgarh CMThe Election Commission of India has ordered to lodge a case against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh for seeking votes over FM radio even as second-phase polling was underway.

EC has directed the Returning Officer to file the FIR. The complaint was made by independent candidate Virendra Pandey. Pandey alleged that Singh spoke on two local FM radio channels seeking vote in favour of BJP.


Protests rock Srinagar ahead of polling

Violent protests rocked Srinagar ahead of second phase of polling in J&K.

Protests were also marked in Ganderbal, Baramulla and Sopore towns in north Kashmir and south Kashmir town of Anantnag where police and CRPF lobbed tear smoke shells and used batons to disperse separatists, who were opposing the ongoing poll process in the state.

10 persons got injuries in stone pelting incidents, said a police official.

In Ganderbal, the protesters attacked an election rally. Police had to open fire to control the incident there and one person was injured in firing.

Second phase of polling will be held on Sunday in Kashmir.

On the other hand Authorities have made tight security arrangements for peaceful polling.


2,194 contestants for Rajasthan polls

2,194 contestants for Rajasthan pollsIt's final. A total of 2,194 candidates are going to contest Rajasthan assembly polls.

Rajasthan has a 200 member assembly which will go to polls on Dec 4.

Out of 200 seats going to polls, the ruling BJP has fielded 193 candidates, Opposition Congress 200 followed by BSP 199.

Besides recognized parties, altogether 1,019 Independents are contesting the upcoming polls.

Of 2,194 contestants this year, there are 2,052 male and 142 female candidates. BJP and Congress fielded 32 and 23 women contestants respectively.


Re-polling in 16 Chhattisgarh booths today

Re-polling in 16 Chhattisgarh booths todayRe-polling in 16 booths across five districts in Chhattisgarh will be held on today.

The districts are Sarguja, Jashpur, Korba, Raipur and Rajnandgaon.

Some of these booths had recorded more polling than the number of listed voters, while balloting could not take place at the others due to different reasons, officials in the State Election Office said.


250 companies of police for MP election

250 companies of police for MP electionMore than 250 companies of police force have been deployed for the November 27 Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh.

The force was drawn from Central Reserve Forces, MP Police, Special Armed Force and from 11 states -- Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Bihar, West Bengal and Tripura -- for conducting free and fair polls in the state, an official release said.

A total of 47,209 polling booths were established in the state. Among them 12,500 booths are identified as "sensitive" by the Election Commission.


863 Candidates for Delhi polls

863 Candidates for Delhi pollsA total of 863 candidates are in fray for Delhi polls, which will be held for 69 seats of the 70-member Assembly.

Polling to the Rajinder Nagar seat has been postponed to 13th December following the death of BJP candidate and sitting legislator Puran Chand Yogi.

The campaigning for the polls ended on Thursday. Delhi is witnessing a keenly fought electoral tussle between Congress and BJP where Mayawati-led BSP is likely to play a spoilsport.

BJP has projected senior party leader Bijoy Malhotra as its Chief Ministerial candidate.


BJP MLA's murder blot on MP polling day

BJP MLA's murder blot on MP polling dayBJP candidate from Prithvipur assembly segment Of Madhya Pradesh and two-term MLA, Sunil Naik was shot dead allegedly by the brother of Congress candidate contesting from the same constituency.

Naik was shot in the neck by Congress MLA Brijendra Singh Rathore's brother Yashpal Singh Rathore in the Naya Khera area of the constituency.


EC issues notice to Jaitely

BJP leader Arun JaitleyThe Election Commission of India issued notice to senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley for violating the model code of conduct.

It was alleged that Jaitely used his official pad bearing the national emblem to appeal to people to vote for a BJP candidate fighting elections from Delhi.

The Commission has called for an explanation and asked action should not be taken against him.

Jaitley was issued the notice under section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 that does not allow the use of the national emblem, national flag or religious symbols in electioneering.


Delhi goes to polls today

Delhi goes to polls todayThe stage is set for the Delhi Assembly Elections to be held on Saturday.

The polls would be held in an unprecedented blanket of security in the 69 constituencies of Delhi.

A total of 863 candidates are in the fray for 69 seats of the 70-member Assembly.

Polling for Rajendra Nagar seat, where BJP candidate Puran Chand Yogi allegedly committed suicide during campaigning, will take place on 13th December.

Over 1.07 crore voters, including 4.28 lakh youths will cast their votes for Delhi election.


60 % polling in Delhi

60 % polling in DelhiMore than 60 percent voters exercised their franchise for Delhi assembly polls.

Total number of voters in Delhi is over 1.5 crore.

The polls saw stray incidents of violence but remained by and large peaceful. The elections were peaceful though there were four incidents of minor violence during the polling which began at 8 am amid 52,000 police personnel keeping a tight vigil, said Chief Electoral Officer Satbir Sailas Bedi.

Four BSP workers were injured in clashes in Okhla area while two persons were arrested in Mehrauli for trespassing into polling booths unauthorisedly, he added.


Azad files nominations from Bhaderwah constituency

Azad files nominations from Bhaderwah constituencyFormer Chief Minister of J&K and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad filed his nomination papers from Bhaderwah constituency. He filed his papers on the last day of nominations on Saturday for the sixth phase of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Elections for sixth phase will be held on December 17.

A record number of 321 candidates including another former Chief Minister and PDP Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed are in the fray from 16 constituencies going to polls in the sixth phase.


Cong. wins Goa by-poll

Cong. wins Goa by-pollCongress retained its Pale constituency seat by defeating BJP rivals in the by-polls. Polling for the seat was held on November 26.

Congress candidate Pratap Gawas defeated his nearest BJP candidate Pradip Sawant, by 1,534-votes. The results were declared on Saturday.

Gawas got 7,867 votes, while the BJP candidate was voted for by 6,333 persons. Rebel BJP candidate Suresh Amonkar, who contested independently, polled 3,682 votes.


Re-polling in 29 MP booths today

Re-polling in 29 MP booths todayRe-polling would be held on Sunday at 29 polling stations in Madhya Pradesh, where assembly polls were held on 27th November.

The re-polling will be held at various polling booths spread in the Sumavali, Morena, Dimni, Devri, Tikamgarh, Khargapur Susner, Indore (1), Indore(4), Laharpur, Mehgaon, Pohri, Jabalpur (West) and Biora assembly seats.

State Election office has reported about irregularities at these polling booths. After getting the report, The Election Commission ordered for re-polling.

MP has a 230 member assembly.


EC notice to Delhi Minister

Delhi Education and Tourism Minister Arvinder Singh LovelyThe Election Commission of India has issued notice to Delhi Education and Tourism Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely for alleged violation of the model electoral code of conduct.

The notice was served on Saturday and The EC sought his reply by Sunday evening.

The allegation was- Lovely, who is contesting the assembly election from Gandhi Nagar constituency, used his official writing pad with the national emblem embossed on it to appeal to the electors to vote for him, said an official of EC.


J&K records 62% polling in third phase

J&K records 62% polling in third phaseAs many as 62 percentage voters exercised their franchise in 3rd phase of polling in J&K despite boycott call by separatist's and bad weather condition.

Five constituencies of Kupwara district went to poll on Sunday in third phase.

Karnah recorded a turnout of 73 percent, the highest among the five segments in the third phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir which was by and large peaceful, official sources said.

In Kupwara constituency, 60 of votes were cast with Karanah witnessing the highest turnout of 65.37.


Centre-left squeeks ahead of centre-right in Romania polls

Bucharest  - Romania's centre-left Social Democrats (PSD) were leading the centre-right Democratic Liberals (PDL) of President Traian Basescu by less than a percentage point in the country's parliamentary elections Monday.

With 99.62 per cent of Sunday's ballots counted, figures released by the Central Electoral Commission gave the Social Democrats' 33.09 per cent in the lower house compared to Basescu's PDL 32.34 per cent.

In the Senate, the PSD collected 34.12 per cent, while the PDL garnered 33.57 per cent.

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu's National Liberal Party languished in third place with 18.57 per cent in the lower house and 18.75 per cent in the Senate.


205 candidates for Mizoram poll

The fate of 205 candidates to the 40-member Mizoram Assembly will be decided on Tuesday as the state goes to poll with security beefed-up along state's sensitive border.

The 722-km international border along Bangladesh and Myanmar has been sealed, as also the borders with Manipur, Assam and Tripura.

Most of the polling booths in border areas are classified as hyper-sensitive or sensitive and additional state police personnel were deployed along the borders, especially with Manipur and Assam. Besides, the BSF and the Assam Rifles are manning international borders.


EC notice to Raje

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje ScindiaThe Election Commission of India has issued notice to Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia for alleged violation of the model electoral code of conduct.

The notice was issued on Monday and the Commission sought her reply by Tuesday evening.

The notice against Scindia came after the Commission took cognizance of a report in Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar that she gave Rs.500 to a child of Hunari Bai of village Bharia Mahuda in an election campaign meeting held at Chhoti Sarwan in Banswara district Nov 25 to solicit votes.


Rajasthan polls today

Rajasthan polls todayFinal Stage is set for the assembly polls in Rajasthan on Thursday. Over 3.62 crore voters, including 1.72 crore women, are likely to exercise their franchise to elect 200 members to the House from among 2194 contestants.

Congress has put up candidates in all 200 constituencies and BJP in 199. As many as 1019 Independents are also in the fray.

The Election Commission had announced for single day polling for Rajasthan.


Rajasthan records 68% polling

Rajasthan records 68% pollingAs many as 68 percent voters exercised their franchise for assembly polls in Rajasthan on Thursday.

"The polling percentage is expected to be around 68 percentages as we are still compiling the figures," election commission officials said. Same percent turnout was registered in the 2003 Assembly elections.

There were 43,000 polling stations in 33 districts where 43,000 EVMs were used. Mechanical problems were reported in about 150 EVMs which were replaced immediately, they said.

Rajasthan has a 200 seated assembly with 3.62 crore-strong voters.


Rajasthan re-polling on Dec. 7

Rajasthan re-polling on Dec. 7The Election Commission of India has announced that re-polling will be held in Rajasthan on 7th December.

Earlier, the date was fixed on 6 Dec.

Chief Electoral Office has recommended in Jaipur on Friday that repolling in about three dozen polling booths in the districts of Ajmer, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Dausa, Dholpur, Jaipur, Jhalawar, Kota and Sawaimadhopur.

Repolling was recommended by the respective returning officers after complaints of rigging, EVM malfunctioning, and booth-capturing during polling in the desert state on Thursday.


J&K fourth phase polling on Sunday

J&K fourth phase polling on SundayThe fourth phase of polling for J&K assembly will be held on Dec 7, Sunday.

As many as 12 constituencies located in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and central Badgam districts will go to the polls on that day.

There are 902,951 eligible voters including 518,964 voters of Baramulla district and Badgam has 383,987.

The fate of as many as 13 senior politicians and former ministers will be decided on Sunday. In all, 176 candidates are in the fray in seven constituencies of Baramulla and five of Badgam.


Counting of votes for five states on Monday

The counting of votes of five states, which went to poll in Nov and Dec would be taken up on Monday.

Elations were held in Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and Mizoram. 

The elections were held in the midst of economic meltdown and the Mumbai terror strikes, making the campaign a lackluster affair. 

The Rajasthan poll outcome would be a test for Chief Minister Vasudhanra Raje government's performance in the state. 

Besides Raje, AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot and PCC president C P Joshi are among the prominent leaders who entered the fray. Elections to the 200-member assembly saw a 68 per cent turnout. 


Louisiana voters send first Vietnamese-American to Congress

Washington  - Louisiana voters Saturday sent the first Vietnamese-American to Congress, Anh "Joseph" Cao, a Republican who defeated a nine-term incumbent African-American congressman, the Times Picayune reported Saturday.

Cao defeated William Jefferson, 61, a Democrat who is under indictment on charges of corruption, bribery and racketeering that involved US companies and countries across a wide swathe of Africa, including Ghana, Nigeria, and Botswana.

Cao, 41, a lawyer, emigrated to the United States at age 8 as Saigon fell to the communists.


Ghana goes to the polls in close-run election

Nairobi/Accra  - Polls opened in Ghana early Sunday morning in a two-horse presidential race that will decide who leads one of Africa's most stable democracies into the oil era.

Nana Akufo-Addo for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and John Evans Atta Mills for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are running neck-and-neck to replace John Kufuor, who must step down in January after serving two terms - the constitutional limit.

With another six candidates looking for their share of the vote, most analysts believe that a run-off on December 28 looks likely.


Brisk voting in Indian Kashmir amid reports of protests

Srinagar, India  - At least 10 people were injured when the police used batons to disperse an anti-election protest in India's northern Jammuand Kashmir state Sunday, police said.

The fourth leg of a seven-phase staggered election is being held in the restive state. Separatist political parties called a boycott of the elections for the state legislative assembly.

There was brisk to moderate polling in the 18 constituencies where polling was being held Sunday, election officials said.

Police baton-charged a large group of protestors in Sopore town, about 50 kilometres north of state capital Srinagar, injuring 10 people, the officials said.

Witnesses said six journalists were also injured.


62% turn out in Rajasthan re-polling

Nearly 62 pc electorate exercised their franchise during the re-polling in 130 booths across 16 districts of Rajasthan. 

The re-polling was necessitated due to complaints of rigging, booth capturing and malfunctioning of EVMs in the 4th December assembly polls in the state. 

The constituencies where repolling were held included Todabheem, Deeg-Khumher, Pushkar, Khanpur, Kolayat, Kota-South Kotputali, Civil Lines (Jaipur), Sanchore, Bilara, Khandela, Mundawar, Nokha, Dholpur, Sawaimadhopur, Mandalgarh, Dausa Bandikui, Baran-Atru, Fatehpur, Bari, Mehava, Gangapur and Karauli.  

The re-polling was marred by a caste clash between two communities in Todabheem assembly constituency, injuring eight persons, official sources said.  


Congress riding on anti-incumbency wave in Mizoram

Anti-incumbency factor, in Mizoram, has worked in the favour of the main opposition Congress, which has surged ahead of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), which has been in power for the last two terms.

According to the reports from Mizoram, Congress has won eight seats in the 40-member state assembly, and the former chief minister and state Congress chief Lal Thanhawla has won South Tuipui seat in Lunglei district.


Hong Kong judge gives convicts the right to vote

Hong Kong judge gives convicts the right to vote Hong Kong  - A court ruling Monday set the stage for prison inmates to be able to vote in territory elections for the first time in Hong Kong's history.

Justice Andrew Cheung ruled that inmates have the constitutional right to register as voters and cast their ballots while serving sentences.

The case was brought by two men, Chan Kin-sum and Choi Chuen-sun, who are currently in jail, and legislator Leung Kwok-hung, who had previously served time for offences against public order.


Congress set to hold reins for third consecutive term in Delhi

Congress is set to hold reins for third consecutive term in Delhi legislative assembly. Thanking the people of Delhi for voting in her favour, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit stated that the national capital voted for the party's development agenda.

Speaking from her residence where jubilant party supporters danced to drumbeats and burst firecrackers, Dixit said, "I congratulate the people of Delhi and many many thanks to them for their support and affection for the Congress."

"We went to the polls on the development ground with honesty and unity, and people have voted for that," said the 77-year-old leader said. 


India's Congress party leading in provincial polls

India's Congress party leading in provincial pollsNew Delhi - India's ruling Congress Party was leading Monday in three of the five state elections that are seen as a political barometer for the country's upcoming general elections against the backdrop of terrorist attacks and the economic slowdown.

Early results from the Election Commission showed the Congress Party on the verge of ousting the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the north-western state of Rajasthan, while it looked set to retain power in national capital New Delhi for a third five-year term.


Rajnath Singh: Delhi results are “Quite Unexpected" and "Shocking”

Rajnath Singh: Delhi results are “Quite Unexpected" and "Shocking”Stupefied by the Congress victories in Delhi and Rajasthan assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh described the victory as "quite unexpected" and "shocking".

Speaking from the BJP headquarters, Rajnath Singh said, "In Delhi the results were quite unexpected and shocking; the Delhi results are surprising as we had expected a majority." Mr. Singh said that the BJP also considered the loss of Rajasthan "unexpected".


55% polling in J&K fourth phase

55% polling in J&K fourth phaseAs many as 55 percent voters exercised their franchise in the fourth phase of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections on Sunday.

Stray incidents of violence were reported from some areas of 18 assembly segments in four districts that went to poll in the fourth phase.

The voting was spread over Baramulla, Udhampur, Budgam and Reasi districts.

Minutes after the start of polling in Baramulla district, militants exploded a hand grenade on Sopore- Sangrama road but there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.


Delhi poll results shocking: Rajnath

Delhi poll results shocking: RajnathThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national President Rajnath Singh described the Delhi poll results as "quite unexpected" and "shcoking" on Monday.

In Delhi the results were quite unexpected and shocking," Rajnath Singh told at the BJP headquarters. He said the BJP also considered the loss of Rajasthan "unexpected".

He said the BJP wins in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which it has ruled since 2003, "were as expected".


People voted for development: Sheila Dikhsit

Sheila DikhsitWith the Congress appearing set to make a hat-trick in the Delhi assembly elections, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday said the people of the national capital voted for the party's development agenda.

"I congratulate the people of Delhi and many many thanks to them for their support and affection for the Congress," the 77-year-old leader said.

"We went to the polls on the development ground with honesty and unity, and people have voted for that," Dikshit said.


EU praise Ghana elections as ruling party candidate maintains lead

Nairobi/Accra  - The European Union's election monitoring team Tuesday said that Ghana's elections were open, transparent and competitive as the ruling party's candidate maintained a slim lead while vote counting continued.

"While the process is still ongoing, the 2008 elections have so far helped to strengthen the democratic institutions of Ghana, and Ghana's democratic credentials in the region, Africa and the world at large," EU Chief Observer Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement.

Some were worried that Sunday's simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections could spark the kind of violence witnessed in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Nigeria earlier this year. But with a large chunk of the votes counted, the fears seem unfounded.


Bangladesh parties welcome decision to end emergency rule

Dhaka - The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its right-wing allies welcomed the decision by the military-backed government to lift the state of emergency on December 17 ahead of the upcoming general elections, media reports said Thursday.

"We hope now the people will participate in the upcoming election in a joyful mood," Khandaker Delwar Hossain, the party's secretary-general, told a private television channel after a lengthy meeting of the leaders of the four-party movement led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

A panel of advisers to the interim administration announced late Wednesday the state of emergency would be lifted from December 17.


US begins official process of naming Obama president

US begins official process of naming Obama president Washington  - While he may have been elected by US voters back in November, the process of formally naming president-elect Barack Obama to the post only began Monday.

State representatives from around the country gathered to cast their ballots under the country's complex Electoral College system.

Some 538 electoral votes are divided among the 50 US states according to their population size. Each presidential candidate is awarded a portion of those votes based on the results of the November 4 election.


Ghana to vote in presidential run-off

Ghana to vote in presidential run-offNairobi/Accra  - Ghana goes to the polls Sunday in a run-off presidential election that will decide who leads the West African nation into an era of oil production.

Neither Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) nor John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were able to score a decisive victory in the first round in early December.

Akufo-Addo scooped marginally more votes than Atta Mills, but the other six candidates polled enough to prevent him from crossing the 50 per cent mark.


Bangladesh prepares to vote and return to democracy

Bangladesh prepares to vote and return to democracyDhaka  - Bangladesh votes in national elections Monday to return the South Asian nation to democracy in the New Year, ending two years of rule by a military-backed interim administration.

The election is to bring about change in political culture - a culture of hostility and mistrust - as the military-backed government on its installation in early 2007 promised qualitative changes in politics and governance.


Suicide car bomber kills 30 at Pakistan polling station

Islamabad  - A suicide car bomber on Sunday attacked a polling station in Pakistan's troubled North West Frontier Province, killing at least 30 people and wounding around 20, police said.

The bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the wall of a government school serving as a polling station in Shal Bande village located 10 kilometres from Dagar, the main town in Buner district.

The intense blast destroyed the school building and several nearby shops where different political parties contesting the by-polls on a National Assembly seat had set up their election camps, said Khan Ghalib, a subordinate of Buner police chief.


Bangladesh leader urges parties to accept poll results

Dhaka  - The head of Bangladesh's army-backed interim administration Sunday urged political parties to accept Monday's election results gracefully in order to facilitate a smooth transition to democracy.

"It is the expectation of all that you will be co-workers shunning the path of hatred and vengeance," chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed said in a television address.

The parliamentary election is intended to return the country to democracy after nearly two years of rule by a military-backed interim government, which suspended civil and political rights after it was installed in January 2007 the wake of political turmoil.


Indian Parliament elections likely in April-May 2009

New Delhi, Dec. 28 : The Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami today said that election to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, are "most likely" to be held in April-May next year.

Speaking to the All India Radio in a special programme, Gopalaswami said that the revised electoral rolls would be out by the middle of next month. By March examination of students would be over and venues would be available for conducting the polls.

Gopalaswami attributed 10 to 15 per cent increase in every phase in the Jammu and Kashmir elections, less militancy in the State. (ANI)


Awami League leading Bangladesh's landmark polls

Awami League leading Bangladesh's landmark pollsDhaka  - Bangladesh's Awami League-led alliance of former premier Sheikh Hasina Wazed is leading the country's general elections on Monday, according to preliminary results coming in from across the country.

Early results from dozens out of 299 parliamentary constituencies reaching the Election Commission shows the Awami League and its allies ahead of prime rival the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance of Khaleda Zia.

A private television channel reported Hasina won by a big margin at her Gopalganj-3 constituency.


Ghanaian radio:Atta Mills presidential election victor

Ghanaian radio:Atta Mills presidential election victorNairobi/Accra  - Opposition candidate John Atta Mills has won Ghana's run-off presidential election, Joy FM radio station said Monday after collating results from polling stations.

While the Ghana Electoral Commission is yet to announce official results, Joy FM said Atta Mills, of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has 50.6 per cent of the vote with 222 of 230 constituencies counted.

Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has 49.4 per cent, Joy FM said.


Awami League heads for landslide win in Bangladesh polls

Awami League heads for landslide win in Bangladesh pollsDhaka  - Bangladesh's Awami League-led alliance of former premier Sheikh Hasina Wazed was heading for a landslide victory in Monday's general elections, according to results coming in to the Election Commission from across the country.

Out of 299 seats, the alliance won the 151 necessary to form a government, and was leading in most of the remaining constituencies. Political analysts said the number of Awami League-led alliance seats in parliament may surpass 200.


Ghana delays announcing election results

Ghana delays announcing election resultsNairobi/Accra  - Ghana was anxiously waiting for presidential election results to be declared Tuesday after the electoral commission delayed its announcement to discuss alleged irregularities with the competing parties.

Partial results from the electoral commission put John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on 52.3 per cent of the vote versus 47.7 per cent for Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) with 220 out of 230 constituencies counted.

Local media have projected a win for Atta Mills, who has already claimed victory.


Ghana to re-run one constituency in presidential election

Ghana to re-run one constituency in presidential electionNairobi/Accra - Ghana's electoral commission Tuesday evening refused to declare a winner in the West African nation's run-off presidential election, saying it would have to re-run one constituency in early January.

Partial results put John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on 50.13 per cent of the vote versus 49.87 per cent for Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) with 229 out of 230 constituencies counted.


Hasina hopes Bangladesh's new cabinet in first week New Year

Hasina hopes Bangladesh's new cabinet in first week New Year Dhaka - Bangladesh's prime minister-elect Sheikh Hasina Wazed said Wednesday she hoped her new cabinet would be sworn in to office within the first week of the New Year.

"I hope the oath taking ceremony will take place within the first week of January after President's invitation to do so," Hasina told reporters after a meeting with President Iajuddin Ahmed at the presidential Bangabhaban palace in the evening.


Defeated Bangladesh party questions neutrality of poll observers

Defeated Bangladesh party questions neutrality of poll observers Dhaka - The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of former premier Khaleda Zia on Friday questioned the neutrality of international elections observers during Monday's polls, in which the party faced an embarrassing defeat.

"Their observations were never intensive; how could they (foreign observers) claim that the polls were free and fair without visiting majority of polling stations?" Khandaker Delwar Hossain, secretary general of the party, told reporters.


Polls close in controversial Ghana election decider

Nairobi/Accra  - Polls closed Friday evening in the last Ghanaian constituency to cast its ballots in a run-off presidential election that has become increasingly tinged with controversy.

The remote farming constituency of Tain, which has just over 53,000 registered voters, could not complete its vote in Sunday's presidential run-off election after problems distributing the ballots.

John Atta Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) holds a 23,055-vote lead over Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), meaning that the constituency has the power to decide who wins.

Atta Mills won Tain in the inconclusive first round in early December with 16,211 votes to 14,935 for Akufo-Addo.


Polls close in controversial Ghana election decider

Nairobi/Accra - Polls closed Friday evening in the last Ghanaian constituency to cast its ballots in a run-off presidential election that has become increasingly tinged with controversy.

The remote farming constituency of Tain, which has just over 53,000 registered voters, could not complete its vote in Sunday's presidential run-off election after problems distributing the ballots.

John Atta Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) holds a 23,055-vote lead over Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), meaning that the constituency has the power to decide who wins.

Atta Mills won Tain in the inconclusive first round in early December with 16,211 votes to 14,935 for Akufo-Addo.


Poll Panel For Shifting 3 Top Police Officers

The Commission wrote to the Chief Secretary and ordered posting of Amaresh Pujari, IPS, as DIG, Madurai Range; Prem Anand Sinha, IPS, as S.P. Madurai and Praveen Kumar Abhinapu, IPS, as Deputy SP and sought compliance from the State Government by 10 a.m. on Friday.

Commission sources said that the transfers were ordered on the report sent by the State Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta as a measure for ensuring free and fair polls.


Opposition candidate Atta Mills wins Ghana election

Opposition candidate Atta Mills wins Ghana electionNairobi/Accra - Ghana's opposition candidate John Atta Mills has emerged the victor from an incredibly tight run-off presidential election, Ghana's electoral commission announced Saturday.

Atta Mills, who was running for president for the third time, took 50.23 per cent of the vote, ensuring he will be the man to lead Ghana into the oil era.

The race was decided in the remote farming constituency of Tain, which could not complete its vote in Sunday's presidential run-off election due to problems distributing the ballots.


Lebanon's parliamentary elections set for June 7

Lebanon's parliamentary elections set for June 7 Beirut - Lebanon announced Monday that upcoming parliamentary elections will be held on June 7, 2009 throughout all the country's constituencies.

Another decree is to be issued at a later date setting the schedule for presenting nomination documents, the Lebanese Interior Ministry said.

Holding elections in all constituencies on the same day was a demand by the anti-Syrian ruling majority.

Lebanon last held parliamentary elections in May 2005, when the anti-Syrian ruling majority swept the votes.


It's official: Obama is the next US president

It's official: Obama is the next US president Washington  - The US Congress confirmed Thursday that Barack Obama won the presidential election, clearing the final hurdle to certify the election before Obama is sworn in on January 20.

In a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, Congress declared that Obama defeated Republican Senator John McCain in the Electoral College by a
365-to-173 tally, and that Joe Biden will become the next vice president.


Slovakia to hold presidential elections on March 21

Slovakia to hold presidential elections on March 21 Bratislava - Slovakia is set to hold presidential elections on March 21, with a runoff election possible on April 4, Slovakian Parliament Speaker Pavol Paska said Thursday.

The speaker is responsible for determining the exact dates of the election, within a time period that is set by law. The runoff will pit the two candidates with the most first-round votes against each other, in case no one gets an absolute majority on March 21.

The latest opinion polls give incumbent President Ivan Gasparovic such a large lead that a runoff seems unlikely.


Khatami indicates he may still run in Iran presidential elections

Khatami indicates he may still run in Iran presidential elections Tehran  - Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami indicated Monday he could still take part in next June's presidential election, ISNA news agency reported.

"I swear to God that my hesitance and thorough evaluations to run in the election does not mean that I am running away from responsibility or consider my own expediency," Khatami said in a speech in Ilam, western Iran.

"The main issue is solely how to serve the people best," he said.


Bangladesh to hold presidential election in February

Bangladesh to hold presidential election in February Dhaka - Bangladesh's election authorities will organize an election for a new president in February, newspapers reported Tuesday, quoting a top election commission official.

"We will be able to arrange the presidential elections in February after holding local government elections later this month," election commission chief ATM Shamsul Huda told reporters after calling on outgoing President Iajuddin Ahmed.


Voting in parliamentary, local elections begins in El Salvador

San Salvador, El Salvador  - El Salvador's 4.2 million voters are began to voting Sunday to elect 262 city mayors and 84 seats in the national parliament in what is widely regarded as a test for the presidential elections scheduled for March 15.

According to opinion polls, the elections are mainly a contest between two major political forces: the ruling conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) of outgoing President Antonia Saca, which trails in the polls after the leftist Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN), a former guerilla movement emerging from the country's civil war that ended in 1992.

The remaining parties enjoy only minimal voter support.

First results are expected on Monday morning at the earliest. dpa


Bangladesh deploys troops for local polls

Bangladesh deploys troops for local pollsDhaka - Troops fanned out across Bangladesh Monday to assist regular security forces to maintain order during the country's local elections Wednesday, officials said.

"As many as 38,000 troops will be deployed across the country to aid the regular police force in maintaining order," a Home Ministry official said.

They will be stationed up to the remote areas as a striking force beside nearly 500,000 other security personnel to guard over 30,000 polling stations across the country to prevent violence on voting day.


Bangladesh deploys troops for local polls

Bangladesh deploys troops for local pollsDhaka  - Troops fanned out across Bangladesh Monday to assist regular security forces in maintaining order during the country's local elections Thursday, officials said.

"As many as 38,000 troops will be deployed across the country to aid the regular police force in maintaining order," a Home Ministry official said.

They will be stationed in remote areas to support nearly 500,000 other security personnel guarding more than 30,000 polling stations across the country in an effort to prevent violence on voting day.


Morales reaches out to opposition after referendum victory

Morales reaches out to opposition after referendum victoryLa Paz - A day after winning approval of a socialist constitution in a referendum, Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday reached out to his conservative opposition to create a "national pact" to implement the new document.


Risk and Resolution: Iraq's provincial elections

Risk and Resolution: Iraq's provincial electionsBaghdad - The Iraq of 2009 presents a kaleidoscope of shifting political, ethnic and tribal allegiances that is a few steps from either the beginnings of a stable democratic nation or a return to sectarian slaughter. The provincial council elections of January 31 will be a vital indicator of the direction that the country will take.

Ahead of the polls, the dpa English Services will report with special in-depth coverage from Iraq, in a package scheduled to run on Tuesday, January 27 at 0500 GMT.


Key provinces in Iraq provincial elections 2009

Key provinces in Iraq provincial elections 2009Baghdad - A selection of key provinces in the Iraqi provincial council elections, due to take place on January 31.

Baghdad The capital of Iraq and a city of some 6.5 million people, Baghdad has been the focus of the five-year war, and scene of some of the worst sectarian atrocities. Its demographic make-up has shifted as a result. Ongoing security worries threaten to tarnish the vote. The key contest will be between candidates aligned with Sunni tribal councils, and the Iraqi Islamic Party, which is currently in government, especially in the city's western suburbs.


Power brokers in the January 31 provincial elections

Power brokers in the January 31 provincial electionsBaghdad - Key Iraqi political leaders

Nuri al-Maliki Iraq's Prime Minister and secretary-general of the Daawa party, al-Maliki's political career began as a Shiite dissident under the regime of Saddam Hussein. He fled the country fearing assassination in 1979 and served the Daawa party in exile in Syria and Iran until Saddam's ouster in 2003. Since becoming prime minister in May 2006, al-Maliki (58) has strengthened Iraq's central government and security forces, at times being accused of strongarm tactics.


Smooth Iraqi elections key for Obama pullout

Smooth Iraqi elections key for Obama pulloutWashington - The elections in Iraq on January 31 are the first of three this year that will be critical for evaluating the country's stability and determining how quickly US President Barack Obama can move forward on a campaign promise to order larger withdrawals of combat troops.

Iraqis are set to cast ballots in provincial elections followed later this year by local and then national elections in what is seen as a test of political reconciliation especially between rival Shiite and Sunni populations.


Iraq's voting system for provincial council elections

Iraq's voting system for provincial council electionsBaghdad - Election systems very often confirm the proverb that God - or the Devil - is in the details. For the elections to 14 of Iraq's 18 Provincial Councils due to take place on January 31, a so-called "open-list proportional representation" system has been chosen.

Proportional representation (PR) attempts to allocate seats in a legislature with as much correlation as possible to the votes that the political parties or candidates actually receive, thereby - theoretically - ensuring true democratic representation.


Bearing the scars of the past, a candidate runs to rebuild

Baghdad - In 1980, while Mouein al-Qatimy was still a student in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein executed his two brothers. They had refused to join the former dictator's Iraqi Baath Party.

Mouein was told that he was next.

"From that day the security forces started to follow me. They told me 'your destiny will be like them' if you don't conform," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

"The old regime did not give any room for opposition in Iraq," he said.

Mouein fled Iraq and lived in exile for more than 20 years.


Montenegrin parliament dissolves itself, paves way for early polls

Montenegrin parliament dissolves itself, paves way for early polls Podgorica - The Montenegrin parliament dissolved itself late Monday, paving the way for early elections, expected to be scheduled for March 29.

Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's ruling coalition pushed the dissolution of the assembly through, saying it wanted to win a new four-year term for reforms, taking Montenegro closer to the European Union.

The opposition criticized the move, accusing the authorities of panicking amid the growing pressure of the global financial crisis.


Preliminary election results show edge for ruling Iraqi coalition

IraqBaghdad  - Unofficial, preliminary results from Saturday's provincial council elections suggest Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki's coalition may win provincial council elections in Iraq's nine southern provinces, Iraqi media reported Monday.

Baghdad's Afaq television station, which is funded by the ruling Dawaa Party, on Monday reported that preliminary results suggested that al-Maliki's list would perform well in a majority of Iraqi provinces, particularly in many areas of Baghdad and governorates to the south of the capital.


Obama speaks with al-Maliki, Talabani after Iraqi elections

Nouri al-Maliki And Barack Obama Washington  - US President Barack Obama spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani on Monday after the country held largely peaceful provincial elections, the White House said.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs offered no further details about the calls. Obama on Saturday congratulated Iraqis on their "significant" and peaceful election of local officials, calling it an "important step" as the country takes control of its future.


Election results show secular powers emerging in Iraq

Nuri al-MalikiBaghdad  - Preliminary election results in Iraq showed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawlat al-Qanoon coalition leading in nine of 14 provinces and the emergence of new secular powers.

Dawlat al-Qanoon, or State of Law, garnered 38 per cent of the votes in the capital Baghdad and 37 per cent in Basra, the province that accounts for most of Iraq's oil exports, according to the Independent Higher Electoral Commission (IHEC).


Nepal by-elections set for early April

Nepal by-elections set for early AprilKathmandu - Nepal's Election Commission has fixed April 10 as the date for by-elections in constituencies that have fallen vacant, the first elections since the country's former Maoist rebels formed a government, official media reports said Saturday.

The by-elections will be a gauge of the popularity of Nepals' Maoists who emerged as the single largest party in the constituent assembly last year.


Olmert calls on Israelis to "excise democratic right" and vote

Jerusalem  - With polls indicating that 20 per cent of voters are still undecided ahead of Tuesday's general elections, caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Sunday on Israelis to vote in order to "to realize their democratic right and obligation."

Addressing ministers at the last cabinet meeting before the elections, Olmert said that "it is important that there be a high turnout so that the government that will be elected knows it has the full legitimacy, from a decisive majority of the residents of the state, to decide on the most important issues affecting our future."

"Voting in general elections is the essence of democracy. Here everything starts with voting," he said, according to a government communique.


Zillur Rahman set to be Bangladesh's 19th president

Zillur Rahman set to be Bangladesh's 19th presidentDhaka - Senior Awami League leader Zillur Rahman is set to be the 19th president of Bangladesh as the election authorities Monday validated his lone nomination for the presidential race, officials said.

"We are awaiting the formal declaration," Abdul Shahid, the chief whip of Bangladesh parliament, said after a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda, who is the returning officer for the presidential election.

Huda said that Zillur was the only candidate.


Hamas awaits results of Israeli elections

Hamas awaits results of Israeli elections Beirut  - The Lebanon representative of the radical Palestinian movement Hamas said Tuesday the outcome of the Israeli parliamentary elections would decide whether a truce between Gaza and Israel is possible.

"It all depends on the outcome of the Israeli elections. If the right-wing Likud party wins, I don't think that the current government will be able to reach an agreement regarding a long-term truce in Gaza, If the current government wins, they could reach an agreement," Ousama Hamdan told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.


Kadima wins Israeli election: exit polls

Kadima wins Israeli election: exit polls Tel Aviv  - The centrist Kadima party of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has scored a narrow victory in the Israeli election, an exit poll on Israel's Channel 2 forecast Tuesday night.

According to the channel, Kadima can count on 29 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, against 27 for its main challenger, the hardline Likud party. (dpa)


Kadima forecast to score narrow win in Israeli election

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Tel Aviv  - The ruling Kadima party of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni could score a narrow upset victory in Tuesday's Israeli elections, three separate exit polls on Israel's television news channels predicted.

Two exit polls by Channel 10 and the state-run Channel 1 both gave 30 seats to the centrist Kadima and 28 to the hardline Likud party of former premier Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the latter's having led in the opinion polls virtually throughout the entire campaign.

A third poll by Channel 2 also gave Kadima a two-seat lead, but with 29 mandates for it compared to 27 for the Likud.


Palestinians worry that Israeli elections will halt peace process

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Ramallah - A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed concern Tuesday that the anticipated close outcome of Israeli elections could create a "state of paralysis" in advancing the peace process.

"The Israelis voted for a state of paralysis," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told the al-Jazeera satellite channel from Amman, where he arrived with Abbas following a week-long tour of European countries.


Both parties claim victory in Israel polls

Both parties claim victory in Israel pollsJerusalem, Feb. 11: Both Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni''s Kadima party and Binyamin Netanyahu''s opposition Likud party have claimed themselves to be the winners of Tuesday''s elections, after it became apparent that Kadima had won the most seats in the new Knesset, but the Likud-led right-wing would constitute the larger bloc.


Tight Israeli poll result spells tough coalition building

Tight Israeli poll result spells tough coalition buildingTel Aviv  - Whether opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu or Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni assumes the task of forming the next Israeli government, a tough and complicated process lies ahead.

The close results of Tuesday's elections created a political limbo and prompted both the underdog Livni of the centrist Kadima and the favourite Netanyahu of the hardline Likud to claim victory.

Livni, 50, said she won because her party won the most (28) mandates and retained its position as the largest party in the 120- seat Knesset.


EU presidency congratulates Israeli election winners

European UnionPrague  - Without naming any names, the European Union presidency in Prague congratulated Wednesday the winning parties in Israel's national elections, coupled with a call for them to work towards peacefully resolving the Mideast conflict.

"We hope that the new Israeli government will meet its obligations ... and refrain from measures which would make a two-state solution impossible," the EU presidency's statement said.

It described Israel as one of the EU's most important partners and that the Union was prepared to provide support for the peace process as a member of the Mideast Quartet and with partners in the region. dpa


ROUNDUP: Obama vows to work with new Israeli government for peace

US President Barack ObamaWashington  - US President Barack Obama intends to work toward Middle East peace regardless of who forms Israel's new government, the White House said Wednesday, following Tuesday's elections.

"President Obama looks forward to working with whoever makes up that next Israeli government in a search for lasting and durable peace in the region," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Elections Tuesday in Israel failed to produce a clear winner. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party and Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu both declared victory, with 99 per cent of ballot counted.


Ruling party wins provincial elections in Sri Lanka

President Mahinda RajapaksaColombo  - President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) recorded convincing victories in two of the nine provinces where local elections were held on Saturday, officials said.

The victories in the Central and North Western Provinces were widely seen as an endorsement of the military campaign against Tamil rebels in the northern part of the country.


Referendum for unlimited Chavez terms begins in Venezuela

President Hugo ChavezCaracas  - Polls opened on Sunday morning across Venezuela in a new referendum on the issue of unlimited terms for President Hugo Chavez, amid heavy security measures.

Around 17 million Venezuelans are eligible to vote in the referendum, which will decide on a change to the country's constitution that would see Chavez extend his period in office beyond the currently-mandated two terms, due to end in 2013.

A further term would see Chavez, who has been in power in Venezuela since 1999, in power until at least 2019.

The result of the poll is should be known by the early hours of Monday.


"Goliath won," says Venezuelan opposition leader

"Goliath won," says Venezuelan opposition leader Caracas - Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez said late Sunday that "Goliath won," as a constitutional reform to allow the unlimited re-election of the president was passed in a referendum.

"Goliath won, the Venezuelan state with the full power of the state won," Lopez told the television channel CNN en espanol.


EU pledges 4 million euros for Lebanon parliamentary elections

EU pledges 4 million euros for Lebanon parliamentary elections Beirut  -The European Commission has pledged 4 million euros (5.1 million dollars) to ensure that Lebanon's parliamentary elections, due in June, proceed in a democratic way, a statement by the EU said on Monday.

According to the statement "the money will cover technical assistance as well as the purchase of equipment needed for the June 7 elections."


EU to monitor Lebanese elections

EU to monitor Lebanese electionsBeirut  - The European Union announced on Tuesday that it will send monitors to observe Lebanon's parliamentary elections in June.

"The EU is ready to send a delegation to monitor the June 7 parliamentary elections," EU commissioner for external relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner told reporters after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora at the Governmental Palace in downtown Beirut.

The commissioner, who is on a two-day visit to Lebanon, also held talks with President Michel Suleiman, Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh and Interior Minister Ziad Baroud.


Maliki's coalition ahead in Iraq's provincial elections

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- MalikiBaghdad  - A coalition led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki won a majority of seats in Iraq's Basra province and a near majority in the capital of Baghdad, Iraq's electoral commission announced on Thursday.

In the southern province of Basra, al-Maliki's State of Law coalition won 20 out of the province's 35 seats, Iraqi news agency the Voices of Iraq (VOI) reported.

The province, known for its oil, is an important victory for the Iraqi premier.


EC to hold meetings from today before announcing poll dates

New Delhi, Feb 23: The Election Commission (EC) will conduct series of meetings from today before announcing dates for the Lok Sabha elections.

Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and other two Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and S Y Quraishi are scheduled to meet Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura today to expand communication network.

The Commission will also meet Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta to review the law and order situation across the country.

Besides, the three-member Commission is likely to hold discussion on the accessibility of Central paramilitary forces to avoid any kind of untoward incident during polls.


Polling begins for Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal by-elections

Polling begins for Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal by-electionsUmroi, Jan 25: Voting has begun for the assembly by-election at Bhadohi reserve segment in Sant Ravidas Nagar in Uttar Pradesh this morning.

The polling will decide the fate of sixteen contestants. The main contenders are from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP_.

Three hundred sixty five polling booths have been set up for three lakhs forty five thousand voters to cast their votes. One hundred fifty three polling booths have been identified as sensitive.


No tax hike in the election year

The civic budget has crossed Rs3,000-cr mark for the first time

Citizens have been spared from paying higher taxes this year.

Standing committee chairman Shyam Deshpande on Friday presented a Rs3,027.41-crore budget for 2009-10, which is a little over Rs346 crore as proposed earlier by municipal commissioner Praveensingh Pardeshi.

This is the first time that the civic budget has crossed the Rs3,000 crore mark. In the budget tabled before the general body, a sum of Rs1,929.86 crore has been earmarked for development works.


Russians go to polls to election regional leadership

Prime Minister Vladimir PutinMoscow  - Voters in nine semi-autonomous republics and regions in Russia went to the polls Sunday amidst the most difficult economic crisis the country has seen in years.

Despite growing dissatisfaction among the general populous, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party has expressed hopes of winning in all regions.

The opposition meanwhile has complained of widespread electoral violations during the campaign.


Regional polls take pulse of Spain hit by recession and scandal

SpainVitoria/Santiago de Compostela, Spain  - Voting began Sunday in two suspense-filled Spanish regional elections which were to take the political pulse of a country sinking into a deepening recession.

Voters were electing 75-member regional parliaments for the northern Basque region, which has 2.1 million residents, and nearby Galicia, with 2.8 million.

In the Basque region, a party defending Spain's unity against separatist strivings was deemed to have chances to govern for the first time since the region was granted a wide measure of autonomy in 1979.


1ST LEAD: Spaniards vote in two regional polls - ETA suspect held

SpainVitoria/Santiago de Compostela, Spain  - Spanish police detained a suspected member of the militant Basque separatist group ETA shortly before voting started Sunday in regional elections in the Basque region and nearby Galicia.

Officials said the 24-year-old may have been preparing an imminent attack.

Materials for making explosives were seized from the man, who was held overnight in the Basque locality of Billabona.

He was also suspected of preparing booby traps which failed to cause injuries to police officers who came to inspect them in January.


Lalit Modi humbled in Rajasthan Cricket Association elections

 Indian Premier League Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi New Delhi, Mar 1 : Indian Premier League Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi on Sunday lost the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections held for the post of President to Sanjay Dixit, an Indian Administrative Services officer.

Required to get 17 votes to secure a win in the election with majority, Modi could manage just 13 of the total 32 votes. Dixit, on the other hand, bagged 18 votes.


Elections in five phases

The Election Commission on Monday announced five-phase polling starting April 16 for the 15th Lok Sabha. The model code of conduct comes into effect immediately.

The voting dates are April 16, April 23, April 30, May 7 and May 13 while counting will be held on May 16. The new LS has to be constituted by June 2, said CEC N Gopalaswami.

The first LSpolls to be held after delimitation, polling in 499 of the 543 seats would be held on the basis of delimited constituencies. The total electorate is roughly 71.4 crore, an increase of 4.3 crore since 2004.

Rajesh Sinha/ DNA-Daily News & Analysis Source: 3D Syndication


More CPMF sought for LS elections

State doesn't want to leave anything to chance when it comes to terror attacks

Though the state government has not so far received any specific threat of terrorist attack during the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, the state has made a strong representation to the Centre for allotment of more central paramilitary forces (CPMF) to maintain law and order during the polls and also for the protection of vital installations on Saurashtra and South Gujarat coast.


EC to review poll preparedness in UP today

EC to review poll preparedness in UP todayNew Delhi, Mar 4: Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswami and two Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and S Y Quraishi will visit Lucknow on Tuesday evening to review the poll preparedness for the coming Lok Sabha polls.

During their two-day visit, the team will meet the top State Government officials.

According to official sources, the Commission is scheduled to hold a separate meeting with the chief secretary and director general of police.


El Salvador begins presidential elections

El Salvador begins presidential elections San Salvador, El Salvador  - Salvadorans headed to the polls Sunday to elect a new president in a vote that could help the strife- torn Central American country put its violent political past behind it.

For the first time in 20 years of rule by the right-wing party ARENA, the leftist FMLN is within reach of the presidency. The election between leftist former TV journalist Mauricio Funes, 49, and right-wing former police chief Rodrigo Avila, 45, however remains too close to call, according to the latest surveys of public opinion.


Leftist Funes claims victory in Salvadoran presidential vote

Leftist Funes claims victory in Salvadoran presidential voteSan Salvador, El Salvador - Leftist candidate Mauricio Funes claimed victory "without a shadow of doubt" late Sunday in El Salvador's presidential election, a historic vote that put an end to a 20-year rule by right-wing party ARENA.

"This was the happiest night of my life," Funes told reporters and supporters.

The still unofficial result was also a step forward in El Salvador's efforts to recover from a bloody 12-year civil war, which ended in 1992 and claimed 75,000 lives.


CPI-M releases manifesto for general elections

New Delhi, Mar 16: The Communist Party on India (Marxist) released its manifesto for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections on Monday.

The party has called for government control in the financial sector and proposed a complete halt on the privatisation of profitable state firms.

The CPI (M) also asked for a ban on foreign investment in the retail sector and guidelines to prevent the entry of foreign firms into Indian domestic market.

"The country requires alternative policies. Pro-people economic policies, provision of social equity, consistent secularism, genuine federalism and an independent foreign policy," the election manifesto said. (ANI)


Govt. gives nod commencement of general election process

New Delhi, Mar 18: The Government on Wednesday gave a formal nod for issuing notifications for the commencement of the general election process.

Talking to reporters here, Home Minister P Chidambaram said the notifications will be issued on March 23, 28 and April 2, 11 and 17 by the President for the five-phase polls beginning April 16.

"The Representation of the People Act requires that the President shall issue notifications for the general elections," he added


Sonia to launch poll campaign from Karnataka today

Sonia to launch poll campaign from Karnataka todayBangalore, Mar 23: Congress President Sonia Gandhi will launch her party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha elections from Davangere in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Karnataka today.

The launch of the campaign from Karnataka is seen significant as Karnataka was once seen as a Congress stronghold and where the BJP is considered to have made inroads.

Karnataka has slipped out of its grip with BJP capturing power in the state through the Assembly elections last year.

The party will release its election manifesto on March 26. (ANI)


President issues notification for first phase of elections

President issues notification for first phase of electionsNew Delhi, Mar 23: President Pratibha Patil on Monday issued the notification for the first phase of the five phased Lok Sabha elections.

Notifications were also issued by respective Governors for 154 of the 294 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and 70 of the 147 Assembly seats in Orissa, going to polls along with the Lok Sabha elections in the first phase.

As many as 124 out of the total 543 constituencies will go to polls in the first phase, which is scheduled to be held on April 16 covering 15 states and two Union Territories.


Ivanov leads Frckovski to Macedonian presidential run-off

Skopje - Georgi Ivanov, the candidate of Macedonia's ruling party in the country's presidential elections, is heading to the second-round vote with a huge lead over his opposition rivals, results released one day after the first round of voting showed Monday.

With some 40 per cent of the ballots counted, Ivanov, nominated by the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party, had more than twice as many votes than his nearest challenger, the Social Democrats' candidate Ljubomir Frckovski.

Frckovski overcame a surprisingly strong showing by former interior minister and VMRO official Ljube Boskoski, now an independent candidate.

The incumbent, Social Democrat Branko Crvenkovski, did not seek re-election in Sunday's polls.


2ND LEAD: Apathy dominates in Montenegrin snap parliamentary poll

2ND LEAD: Apathy dominates in Montenegrin snap parliamentary pollPodgorica  - Montenegro's parliamentary election Sunday was marked by low turnout, with just around a third of the country's 500,000 registered voters casting their ballots halfway through the day, the CDT monitoring agency reported in Podgorica, the nation's capital.

In voting in September 2006, 4 per cent more voters had shown up by 2 pm, six hours into the election. Polling stations are to close at 9 pm (1900 GMT).


Turkey's ruling party loses support but still on top

Turkey's ruling party loses support but still on topAnkara - Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) swept local elections on Sunday but saw its primary vote fall, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan disappointed at the party losing a number of provinces and failing to win others it had targeted.

With around 99 per cent of the vote counted as of Monday morning, the AKP had registered 39 per cent of the vote, compared to 23.2 per cent for the main opposition Republican People's Party and 16.1 per cent for the Nationalist Movement Party.


Notification for third phase of Lok Sabha elections to be issued today

Notification for third phase of Lok Sabha elections to be issued todayNew Delhi, Apr 2: The notification for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections will be issued today.

In this phase, polling will take place on April 30.

The states which will go to the polls are Bihar (11), Gujarat (26), Jammu and Kashmir (1), Karnataka (11), Madhya Pradesh (16), Maharashtra (10), Sikkim (1), Uttar Pradesh (15), West Bengal (14), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1), Daman and Diu (1).


Election fever grips Srinagar

Election fever grips SrinagarSrinagar, Apr 3: Preparations for the forthcoming parliamentary election for the Srinagar constituency in Jammu and Kashmir are in full swing.


India's main opposition party announces poll manifesto

BJP's candidate Lal Krishna AdvaniNew Delhi  - India's main Hindu nationalist opposition party, in its election manifesto released Friday, asserted its commitment to rebuild a Hindu temple that has been the cause of deadly rioting and promised tough national security laws as well as measures to provide relief to the poor.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians led by Lal Krishna Advani, the party's prime ministerial candidate, unveiled the document in New Delhi on a day Hindus mark as "Ram Navmi," or the birth anniversary of the god Ram.


Chidambaram to reply to Election Commission notice today

Chidambaram to reply to Election Commission notice todayNew Delhi, Apr. 6: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram will reply to a Election Commission notice today for allegedly offering poll sops during his Rajasthan visit for a security review.

On Sunday, the Election Commission issued a notice to Chidambaram for violating the model code of conduct.

The Commission received a complaint from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this regard.


Nafisa Replaces Munnabhai In Lucknow!

Nafisa Replaces Munnabhai In Lucknow!It’s official now.

In a significant move, the Samajwadi Party on Sunday announced to field former Miss India, actor-social activist Nafisa Ali as the party’s candidate from the prestigious Lucknow seat for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.


Chidambaram, Jaswant to reply to Election Commission notice today

Chidambaram, Jaswant to reply to Election Commission notice todayNew Delhi, Apr 7: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram will reply to a Election Commission notice today for allegedly offering poll sops during his Rajasthan visit for a security review.

On Monday, the Commission granted one-day extension to him.

The Commission had issued a notice to Chidambaram for violating the model code of conduct.

The Commission received a complaint from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this regard.


Facts and figures on India's general election

India's general electionNew Delhi - Information on India's general elections, which have been staggered over five dates, April 16, 23 and 30 and May 8 and 13:

* Voting in some states will take place over several stages, and the final results are to be announced May 16.

* More than 714 million people form the electorate, an increase of 43 million voters over the last elections in 2004.

* Voter turnout has ranged from 55 to 63 per cent since the first general elections in 1952.

* Voters are to select 543 members of the Lok Sabha, or lower house of the Indian Parliament.


Manmohan Singh, a second term as prime minister?

Manmohan Singh, a second term as prime minister?New Delhi - Manmohan Singh became India's first Sikh prime minister in 2004 when Indian National Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi stunned her supporters by refusing the post and nominated instead her most trusted lieutenant.

A former academic and bureaucrat, Singh, 76, headed a coalition government for five years and is the ruling United Progressive Alliance's prime ministerial candidate in this year's elections.


Fiji president revokes constitution, no election until 2014 - Summary

President Ratu Josefa IloiloWellington - Fiji was plunged into political limbo Friday as President Ratu Josefa Iloilo revoked the constitution and sacked the Court of Appeal judges who declared the military government illegal, according to reports from the capital Suva. In an address to the Pacific island nation, Iloilo said he believed that the regime of strongman Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who had ruled since seizing power in a bloodless coup in December 2006, had "performed extremely well, brought up new ideas, reforms and improved the lives of the ordinary people," the Fijivillage website reported.


Pranab Mukherjee files nomination papers from Jangipur

Pranab Mukherjee files nomination papers from JangipurBehrampore (West Bengal), Apr 13: Union External Affairs Minister and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee on Monday filed his nomination papers from West Bengal's Jangipur parliamentary constituency.

Mukherjee, who won his first Lok Sabha election from Jangipur in 2004, filed his nomination papers to Murshidabad District Magistrate at 1.30 p. m.

The 74-year-old leader defeated Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPM) leader and three-time MP Abul Hasnat Khan by over 36,860 votes.


Mulayam says his anti-English stand underlines role of Indian languages

Mulayam says his anti-English stand underlines role of Indian languages  In defense of his supposed anti-English and anti-computers stand, the Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Monday that he opposed the use of English in public life and in government jobs, particularly as he supported the development of Indian languages like Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Oriya, Kannada, and Marathi.

Yadav underlined the significant role that regional languages play in making a nation truly strong, and said that it is because of the cultural degeneration that SP is against making English "compulsory."


S.Africa's ANC stages last mass rally three days before elections

African National Congress Johannesburg  - South Africa's ruling African National Congress was holding a last mass campaign rally in a Johannesburg stadium on Sunday ahead of general elections next week that the party is expected easily to win, albeit with a reduced majority.

A little over 23 million South Africans are registered to vote in the country's fourth democratic national and provincial elections on Wednesday.


Militants issue poll threat, two security men killed in Kashmir

Militants issue poll threat, two security men killed in Kashmir New Delhi  - The Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group has issued a warning to people in India-administered Kashmir against voting in the elections as two security men were killed in a gun battle with militants in the insurgency state on Sunday, news reports said.

The LeT, among the leading militant groups operating in Indian Kashmir has threatened "action" against people for violation and said it would carry out suicide attacks during elections in the state, the PTI news agency reported.


Mandela arrives at ANC last mass rally

African national Congress leader Nelson MandelaJohannesburg  - Former South African president and African national Congress leader Nelson arrived Sunday at a mass rally being staged by the ANC in Johannesburg.

The revered 90-year-old, who these days seldom appears in public, entered the stadium to enormous cheering as the rally went ahead three days before general elections that the party is expected easily to win, albeit with a reduced majority. (dpa)


Muted reaction of world leaders to Iranian election

Mahmoud AhmadinejadThe international reaction to Iran's controversial presidential election was muted at best on Saturday with few world leaders making any statements on the contested result.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected as Iranian president with more than 62 per cent of the vote, sparking accusations of fraud from his main rival Mir-Hossein Moussavi.


Polls show Tories taking a 68-seat majority in next general elections

Polls show Tories taking a 68-seat majority in next general electionsLondon, Aug. 6 : Britain’s opposition Conservative Party has reached the 40 per cent support level, which is seen as crucial for delivering a clear general election victory.

The weighted average of five polls last month puts the Tories on 40 per cent (up three points), Labour on 26 per cent (up two), the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 19 per cent and other parties on 15 per cent (down five).


Afghan president praises courage of voters

President Hamid Karzai Kabul  - President Hamid Karzai hailed Afghans for voting in presidential and provincial elections on Thursday despite a spate of Taliban attacks that left nearly 50 dead.

"The Afghan people dared rockets, bombs and intimidation and came out to vote. That is great," said Karzai, frontrunner among the 30 candidates vying for the nation's highest office.

"Despite problems and intimidation, the elections ended successfully," the president told a press conference in his fortified presidential palace.


Cong election committee meets to finalise candidates for assembly polls

Congress releases list for Rajasthan pollsNew Delhi, Sept 20 : The Central Election Committee of the Congress party met here today to finalise candidates for Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh assembly polls.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi attended the meeting.

The assembly elections in three states will be held in a single phase on October 13. Counting of votes will take place on October 22.

Maharashtra has a 288-member assembly with 29 seats being reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and another 25 for Scheduled Tribes (STs).


Electoral rolls in Puducherry to be revised

PuducherryChennai, Oct 1 : With parliamentary elections over in May, election to its lone Rajya Sabha seat recently completed and no major poll in the near future, Election Commission officials in Puducherry are planning to revise the electoral rolls in the union territory.

S. Kumaraswamy, chief electoral officer of Puducherry, told IANS Thursday: "We plan to start the electoral roll revision beginning next year subject to permission from the Election Commission of India."

The current rolls show 762,028 voters, with women outnumbering men -- 395,240 to 366,788.

The union territory has 30 assembly and one Lok Sabha seat.(ians)


‘We’ll double per capita income’

Ashok-ChavanThe Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance has promised that the per capita income in the state would go up to Rs 1 lakh from the present Rs 55, 000 in the next five years.

The allies, along with the Republican Party of India (RPI), made the assurance in their joint election manifesto released at Nariman Point on Friday.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and NCP leader and deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal released the manifesto in the presence of other senior leaders.


NRI group bats for farmer's widow in Maharashtra polls

Nagpur, Oct 4 : Bebitai Bais, the widow of a farmer who committed suicide, has the support of a group of non-resident Indians settled in the US for her bid to contest the Maharashtra assembly elections.

In an email addressed to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) chief Kishore Tiwari, the group said: "It is heartening to know that the farmer's widow has taken on the mantle to fight the elections against other political parties, who have ignored the agrarian crisis till now. Her candidature to highlight the farmers' situation is certainly the need of the hour."

Bais, who launched her campaign in Wani constituency with a candle light march by nearly 100 widows at Both-Bodan village in Yavatmal district Saturday, is the candidate of the VJAS.


Conservatives to field 'Indian-trained tantric' in Britain polls?

pollsLondon, Oct 4 : A nightclub owner and self-proclaimed "tantric master" has been selected by Britain's largest opposition party to stand at the next general elections, a newspaper reported.

Andrew Charalambous will bid to be the Conservative MP for Edmonton constituency - a suburban London seat currently held by the ruling Labour Party on a majority of more than 8,000 votes, the Evening Standard reported.

The paper said Charalambous has been described on his website as "a tantric master initiated in India. He has dated some of the most beautiful women in the world".


Poll panel list shows Shinde's daughter as NCP candidate

Mumbai, Oct 4 : In a serious goof-up, the Maharashtra election department "changed" the political party and symbol of Congress candidate Praniti Shinde to that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Praniti, daughter of central Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, was duly declared the party candidate for the Solapur City central assembly constituency, falling in her home district Solapur, for the Oct 13 poll.

However, the list of candidates published by the state election commission shows her as an NCP candidate contesting on the party symbol of a clock.


Munde Jr in Beed: A dynasty in the making

Pankaja Palve-MundeShe probably didn’t bargain for this when she signed on as BJP candidate.

Thirty-year-old Pankaja Palve-Munde wrinkles her nose as she sloshes through ankle-deep mud to the village square of one of the 168 villages on her campaign schedule.

There, she talks to a gathering of women about power cuts and better pay for daily wage earners, then walks through the crowd, greeting potential supporters eager to catch a glimpse of ‘Munde Dada’s porgi (daughter)’.


Cong, NCP may clash over CM’s post

Cong, NCPThe tussle for the top post in Maharashtra is on not only between Congress leaders but also between the Congress and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

DP Tripathi, NCP spokesperson, had said the party that gets more seats should also get the chief minister’s post. Though the Congress was a couple of seats behind the NCP in the 2004 polls, it managed to keep the CM’s post. The Congress is unlikely to give up its claim to the post if the combine is voted to power.


Small parties, big nuisance value

Maharahtra Navnirman SenaThey might be small parties, but just as the Maharahtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has become a major worry for the Shiv Sena, several smaller parties in Maharashtra are becoming a headache for the Big Four.

Parties like the Republican Party of India (RPI), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, Lok Bharati Party and Peasants and Workers’ Party (PWP), representing niche sections like Dalits, farmers and teachers, could skew the outcome of the state election.


Goregaon: Road to chaos

Anand Ghurye (46) has a problem that afflicts all of Goregaon: there is so much traffic, it’s virtually impossible to cross the roads.

“Residential buildings are coming up fast and the number vehicles is on the rise,” said Anand, who runs chain of astrology classes across Mumbai.

There’s another reason for the jams: Motorists from Malad and Oshiwara have to go via Goregaon if they want to go to Link Road or SV Road. Also, there are four lanes, but two are always blocked by parked rickshaws and cars.

“It’s the same problem getting to Western Express Highway. It takes over half-an-hour from Link Road. The government needs to think of developing better road connectivity,” said Anand.


EC bans Opinion and Exit polls ahead of Oct. 13 State Assembly polls

Election Commission of IndiaNew Delhi, Oct. 10 : Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday prohibited dissemination of results of opinion and exit polls related to State Assembly elections to be held in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday (Oct. 13).

The ban period comes into effect from Sunday (Oct. 11) three o’clock in the afternoon and will last till the end of polling on Tuesday (Oct. 13) at five o’clock in the evening, the Election Commission stated on Saturday in a official release.


Violence mars last day of poll campaigning

Assembly polls By the time campaigning for Maharashtra’s Assembly polls ended on Sunday, the state saw an unprecedented string of violent campaign-related attacks across parties.

In Pune, unidentified gunmen fired two rounds on Shiv Sena candidate from Wadgaon Sheri Assembly seat, Ajay Bhosale’s vehicle in Koregaon Park on Sunday. Bhosale escaped unhurt, his driver Shakeel suffered serious injuries.

Without naming them, Bhosale accused his opposing candidates of the attack. “We have some clues and are working on them,” said Pune’s Assistant Commissioner of Police Sangramsinh Nishandar. No arrest was made till Sunday evening.


33 per cent polling in Haryana till noon

elections About 33 per cent voters in Haryana had exercised their franchise till 12.45 pm on Tuesday for the assembly elections in the state.

Barring incidents in Guhla assembly segment where a person, Jyoti Ram who was the polling agent of an Independent candidate died at Hemomajra village in Kaithal district and Meham assembly segment in Rohtak where supporters of Congress nominee Anand Singh Dangi and supporters of an Independent, Sunil alias Kallu entered into a scuffle at a polling booth, the polling by and large has been uneventful so far.


Naxalite-hit Gadchiroli does what Mumbai doesn’t

NaxaliteDespite threats from Maoists, more than half of the population of Gadchiroli turned out to exercise their franchise.

Voters braved violence to register a turnout of above 60 per cent. The turnout in the 2004 Assembly polls was 67 per cent.

Last week, Left-wing extremists killed 17 police personnel at Laheri. Over 50 companies of central paramilitary forces were deployed in the district to avoid Maoist interference in the elections.

However, Maoists struck at several places to disrupt polling on Tuesday. They attacked police personnel and poll staff in several villages across the district.


Half of new MLAs have criminal records

At least 50 per cent of the state’s newly elected legislators have criminal cases pending against them and 63 per cent are crorepatis.

Data compiled by the National Election Watch (NEW), an umbrella of more than 1,200 non-governmental organisations, and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) revealed that 184 out of the 288 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA), are crorepatis.

According to the data, 143 newly elected MLAs have criminal cases pending against them. These include 15 cases related to murder, 11 cases of dacoity, five of extortion and six offences related to kidnapping.

The NEW examined 3,297 candidates’ affidavits.


Technical glitches, poor management hit CAT exam again

New Delhi, Nov 29 - The highly competitive Common Admission Test (CAT) for entry into business schools was hit once again Sunday by technical problems and poor management, affecting students in as many as 49 test centres in 14 cities across the country.

The exam went online for the first time this year. But from day one Saturday, technical glitches and computers crashing affected the exams from being conducted in many centres across the country.

The CAT determines admissions into the country's prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other B-schools.


SC orders the release of Varun Gandhi on parole; BJP welcomes decision

Varun GandhiThe Supreme Court has ordered the release of BJP candidate Varun Gandhi, the grandson of ex-India PM Indira Gandhi, on parole for two weeks. He was arrested under the National Security Act (NSA) for his communally-offensive comments against Muslims at the March 6 and March 8 rallies in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh.

Though the coverage of Varun Gandhi's inflammatory speeches were extensively broadcast on Indian television, he said that the recordings were "doctored." However, the Election Commission was convinced that coverage had "not been tampered with, doctored or morphed."


Mahabal Mishra asks voters to make Manmohan next PM

Mahabal Mishra asks voters to make Manmohan next PMNew Delhi, April 18:  Congress candidate from West Delhi Mahabal Mishra today assured world-class urban infrastructure in his constituency and sought public support for re-electing Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister in the coming election.

Addressing corner meetings in Baprola village, Jai Vihar, Bakarwala JJ Colony, Kotla Vihar, K S Nagar, Risal Garden, Shiv Vihar JJ Colony, the three-time MLA said provisional certificates issued to unauthorized colonies in West Delhi by the UPA government were aimed at bringing relief to them by providing basic facilities.


Ecuador likely to re-elect left-wing President Correa

Ecuador likely to re-elect left-wing President CorreaQuito - Ecuador is expected to re-elect left-wing populist Rafael Correa as president Sunday amid complaints from his seven weakened challengers that public money is being misused to finance the incumbent's campaign.

Correa, 46, looked poised to secure victory in the first round without a runoff. The election is already historic in Ecuador as the first in which an incumbent president has sought re-election.


Advani releases BJP’s ‘vision document’ on infrastructure development

LK AdvaniThe BJP prime ministerial nominee LK Advani Tuesday released the party's 'vision document' on infrastructure development in India, promising that if the BJP-led led NDA - National Democratic Alliance - comes into power, the national highways will be developed swiftly, at 20 kilometers a day!

Unveiling a set of grand promises with regard to boosting the country's infrastructure, the vision document also talks of providing metalled-road links to all towns and villages, and reducing road-accident deaths 50 percent.


Disarray in polls - 1 million extra ballots printed

Independent Electoral Commission Johannesburg  - South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said Wednesday evening that an extra 1 million ballot papers were being printed after they ran out in some places, spawning long delays, during the country's fourth democratic national and provincial elections.

With less than 15 minutes to go before voting stations were due to close, an IEC official admitted they had just ordered more ballots, but said they were being printed as a "contingency measure" and had not yet been distributed.


Minister: 587 candidates to run in Lebanese general election

Minister: 587 candidates to run in Lebanese general election Lebanon  - Some 587 candidates will be running in Lebanon's upcoming parliamentary election, due to be held on June 7, the country's interior minister said Thursday.

The poll is expected to be hotly contested between the Western- backed ruling coalition of Prime Minister Fouad Seniora, and the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Interior Minister Ziad Baroud said the 587 candidates will be competing for 125 of the 128 seats in the unicameral parliament.


Voting begins in Iceland election

VotingReykjavik - Voting began Saturday in the general election in Iceland, one of the country's most ravaged by the global economic meltdown. The current interim government of socialist Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir is favourite to retain power, in coalition with their Green party partners.

The previous government resigned in January, after Iceland's

economy imploded under the pressure of the collapse of three of its over-stretched banks, and mass street protests.


Zuma wins election but ANC misses two-thirds majority

Jacob ZumaJohannesburg - South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) won the country's election with a decisive majority according to results Saturday - but fell short of the two-thirds majority it had been batting for. Jacob Zuma's ANC took 65.9 per of votes to the 400-seat National Assembly, against 16.6 per cent for the Democratic Alliance (DA) of Cape Town mayor Helen Zille and a little over 7 per cent for the fledgling Congress of the People, preliminary final results showed.

The Independent Electoral Commission was due to confirm the results later Saturday and officially declare the ANC the winner.


South African election winner Zuma calls for national unity

Jacob ZumaJohannesburg - Jacob Zuma, the leader of South African's African National Congress party and the country's most-likely next president, called Saturday for national unity in a speech after his party was re-elected to a fourth five-year term. "This country belongs to everyone - blacks, whites, Indians and coloured: we must work together," Zuma said in a speech shortly after the country's Independent Electoral Commission announced final results of Wednesday's elections.


Lets let bygones be bygones, Zuma appeals after ANC election win

Jacob Zuma Johannesburg - South Africa's ruling African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma on Saturday appealed to his opponents to let bygones be bygones after his party was handed a decisive mandate to govern for the next five years, but with a reduced majority. Zuma was speaking after the Independent Electoral Commission in Pretoria announced the ANC had won 65.9 per cent of Wednesday's vote to the National Assembly in Cape Town, which is expected to elect Zuma president within days.


Leftists win ruling majority in Iceland

Leftists win ruling majority in IcelandReykjavik - Iceland got the first-ever leftist majority in its history in Saturday's parliamentary elections, with final returns giving the Social Democrats and Greens over half the vote and inflicting punishing losses on the conservatives. In the final count, Social Democrats of interim Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, 66, and her Greens coalition partner had garnered 51.5 per cent of the vote. This was a gain of 10.4 percentage points from their showing four years ago.


Mumbai votes as third phase of elections begin in India

Mumbai votes as third phase of elections begin in IndiaPeople in terrorism-scarred Mumbai were among the voters trickling into polling stations early morning Thursday as balloting began in the third phase of India's month-long general elections.

Political stalwarts Sonia Gandhi of the Congress Party, which leads India's ruling coalition, and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani are among the 1,567 candidates entering the fray in the third phase.


Polling for third phase of Lok Sabha elections begins

Polling for third phase of Lok Sabha elections beginsNew Delhi/Mumbai, Apr 30 : Polling for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections began today amid tight security.

In this phase, the election is being held in 107 constituencies spread across nine states and two Union Territories.

Polling for all the 26 Lok Sabha seats of Gujarat is also taking place today.

Besides Gujarat, polling is being held in 16 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 15 in Uttar Pradesh, 14 in West Bengal, 11 each in Bihar and Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra and one each in Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.


Are you voting today?

MaharashtraToday the elections are been held in Mumbai. Let’s find out from some of the tele-stars whether they are casting their vote and how much importance do they give to voting.


Repolling underway in Madhya Pradesh

Repolling underway in Madhya PradeshBhopal, May 2 : Repolling is underway in seven booths spread across three Lok Sabha constituencies-Rajgarh, Sagar and Morena in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday.

The three seats had gone to the polls on April 30 in the second and last parliamentary elections in the state.

The Election Commission on Friday had ordered repolling in four polling stations in Morena constituency, two in Sagar and one in Rajgarh following complaints of violence and damage to electronic voting machines (EVMs).


First batch of EU election observers arrive in Lebanon

LebanonBeirut  - The first batch of the European Union election observation team has arrived in Lebanon ahead of polls on June 7, a Lebanese security source said Sunday.

"Around 100 members of the EU observers arrived in Beirut overnight Sunday," the source who is based at Beirut international airport told the German Press Agency dpa.

The observers will start on Sunday their orientation at the seaside hotel Moven Pick, the source said.

"Sunday will witness a day where the observers will be briefed on the various locations they will be placed in," he added.


Maoist rebels trigger blast ahead of Indian polls, 10 killed

Maoist rebels trigger blast ahead of Indian polls, 10 killedNew Delhi - At least 10 people including two troopers were killed by a landmine triggered by Maoist rebels in India's central state of Chhattisgarh Wednesday, a day ahead of the penultimate phase of the country's elections, a news report said.

The attack occurred in a village in the southern Bastar region the PTI news agency reported. Insurgents blew up a vehicle carrying civilians and two members of the Central Reserve Police Force.


India begins voting in crucial penultimate phase of polls

India begins voting in crucial penultimate phase of pollsNew Delhi - India's monthlong general elections entered their fourth and penultimate round Thursday with 1,315 candidates locked in key battles as the two rival coalitions were running neck and neck.

Tight security arrangements were in place in New Delhi and the insurgency-hit, India-administered Kashmir, which were among the main areas casting ballots for 85 of the
543 seats in the Indian Parliament's Lok Sabha, or House of the People.


Former EU commissioner favourite for Lithuanian presidency

Former EU commissioner favourite for Lithuanian presidencyVilnius - Lithuanians go to the polls for the third time in less than six months on May 17, and might be called upon to do so again for a double helping on June 7, the same day as the European Parliamentary Elections.

Previous votes in October and November 2008 saw a centre-right coalition government take power, but this time the southernmost of the three Baltic states will be deciding who succeeds Valdas Adamkus as president.


Polling for fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections begins

Polling for fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections beginsNew Delhi, May 7 : Polling for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections began today amid tight security.

In this phase, the election is being held in 85 constituencies spread across the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi.

Polling for all 25 seats in Rajasthan, 10 in Haryana and seven in Delhi will be completed in one-go.

A total of 1,315 candidates, including 119 women, are in the fray in this phase.


Kashmir shuts down on poll day to thwart separatists'' protest

Kashmir shuts down on poll day to thwart separatists'' protestSrinagar, May 7 : Jammu and Kashmir''s main city Srinagar has been shutdown to thwart planned protests by separatists against the fourth phase of general elections.

Troops patrolled deserted streets in Srinagar, cutting off residential areas after separatists called for a two-day strike from Wednesday. Shops and businesses also remained closed.

This is not the first time that separatists have given a call for poll boycott in the Kashmir Valley.


Iran pays high price for Ahmadinejad's outbursts, says candidate

Iran pays high price for Ahmadinejad's outbursts, says candidateTehran - The main challenger to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the June 12 presidential election said Iranians were paying a high price for the president's headline-grabbing statements denouncing Iran's perceived enemies, the labour news agency ILNA reported Friday.

"The people should not pay astronomic costs just for futile slogans," Mir-Hossein Moussavi said in a speech in the south-eastern city Kerman.


Maldives to hold first democratic general election

Maldives to hold first democratic general electionMale, May 9 : The people of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean will vote on Saturday in the country''s first ever fully democratic parliamentary election.

The election will be a key test not only for President Mohamed Nasheed, but also for Britain''s Conservative party, which has coached his candidates in the art of contesting polls that are free and fair.


India's opposition alliance in massive rally as elections near end

National Democratic AllianceNew Delhi  - India's opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) held a massive rally in northern Punjab state Sunday with three days to go for the last phase of the staggered general elections.

All top leaders of the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the NDA alliance, including prime ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani, BJP president Rajnath Singh and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi attended the rally in Ludhiana city organized by NDA partner Akali Dal.


SP’s Rampur candidate Jaya Prada to complain about SP leader Azam Khan to EC

samajwadi partySamajwadi Party candidate, the actress-turned politician Jaya Prada, who is looking towards re-election from Uttar Pradesh's Rampur constituency, has told CNN-IBN channel that she intends lodging a complaint with the Election Commission (EC) about SP leader Azam Khan's alleged attempts to tarnish her image by circulating objectionable material.


Voting begins in final phase of India elections

Voting begins in final phase of India electionsNew Delhi - Indians prepared to vote in the fifth and final phase of India's general elections Wednesday as analysts predicted the world's biggest democratic exercise would return a weak coalition government that may not last a full term.

The staggered polls that began April 16 draw to a close with 107 million registered voters deciding the fate of 1,432 candidates across seven states and two federally-administered territories.


Polling for fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections begins

Polling for fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections beginsKolkata/Baramulla, May 13 : Polling for the fifth and last phase of Lok Sabha elections in 86 constituencies in seven States and two Union Territories began today amid tight security.

In this phase, polling is being held in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab; and two Union Territories - Chandigarh, Puducherry.


Fifth phase of polling to elect 86 Members of Parliament

Fifth phase of polling to elect 86 Members of ParliamentNew Delhi, May 13 : Elections for the fifth and final phase of parliamentary elections for the 86 constituencies in seven States and two Union Territories began on Wednesday morning.

The seven states comprising Punjab (nine constituencies), Jammu and Kashmir (2), Uttar Pradesh (14), West Bengal (11), Himachal Pradesh (four constituencies), Tamil

Nadu (39), Uttarakhand (5) and two Union Territories including Chandigarh (1) and Pudducherry (1) would complete voting in all the constituencies in this fifth and final phase.


Voters in Coimbatore decide not to cast their ballot

Voters in Coimbatore decide not to cast their ballotCoimbatore, May 13 : While the final round of the Lok Sabha elections saw people turning up to cast their votes on Wednesday, there were many who chose not to cast their votes, by making use of a special election rule.

Disillusioned with the set of candidates contesting, a number of voters in Coimbatore decided to invoke rule 49 (O) of the Election Conduct Rule, which allows a voter to reject all candidates and not cast the vote.

The voters flashed their inked fingers with élan after they came out of the polling booths without casting their ballot.


Congress, BJP discuss strategies to shore up their numbers

Congress, BJP discuss strategies to shore up their numbersNew Delhi, May 14 : As the countdown begins for the 16th May results, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday discussed strategies to shore up their numbers for government formation.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi held a meeting at her residence to discuss the party's strategy for possible post-poll alliances.

Congress Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan expressed confidence that her party would lead the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government post- 16th May.


EC describes Maoists as ''biggest'' threat to polls

EC describes Maoists as ''biggest'' threat to pollsNew Delhi, May 14 : The Election Commission has described Maoists as the biggest threat to the recently concluded elections.

"Our biggest challenge was security especially in Maoist belts because out of our 8,38,000 polling booths, 1,38,000 booths fall under Maoist belts," said S. Y. Qureshi, Election Commissioner.

On being asked to comment on the Election Commission''s advice to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Varun Gandhi incident, Qureshi said that they only advised a political party making all things clear.


Ivory Coast finally sets election date

Ivory Coast finally sets election date Abidjan - Ivory Coast's Prime Minister Guillaume Soro on Thursday announced that long-delayed presidential elections would take place on November 29.

The election had been due to take place last year, but arguments over eligibility and voter registration delayed the polls.

The elections are seen as a step in the healing process after a civil war between the rebel-held north and the south in the former French colony.


Hezbollah says it is capable of ruling Lebanon if it wins election

Hezbollah says it is capable of ruling Lebanon if it wins election Beirut - The Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah will be capable of "managing" Lebanon if it wins the country's upcoming elections, the movement's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday.

The opposition will "with no doubt have the ability to manage the country," Nasrallah said speaking at a university graduation ceremony in Beirut's suburbs.


Vote count begins across India

Vote count begins across IndiaNew Delhi, May 16 : Counting of votes for the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies began across the country on Saturday.

Counting began at 8:00 a. m. in all 28 states and seven union territories. Votes polled in elections to state assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Sikkim are also being counted simultaneously.

The results are expected to decide the fate of 8,070 contestants, including 556 women.

Around 1,080 counting centres have been set up across 28 states and seven union territories with 4,260 counting halls.


Vote count begins in India's marathon polls

Vote count begins in India's marathon pollsNew Delhi - India on Saturday began counting millions of votes cast in its monthlong general elections even as its main political factions feared a fractured verdict and were seeking new allies.

The world's largest democracy awaited the official results of the five-stage elections, which were also being closely watched by the rest of the world as Asia's third-largest economy is faced with an economic downturn and instability in the region.


Kuwaitis go to the polls to elect parliament

Kuwaitis go to the polls to elect parliamentKuwait City/Cairo - Kuwaiti voters on Saturday began casting ballots to choose a parliament for the third time in as many years.

Kuwaiti analysts predict high turnout among Kuwait's roughly 385,000 eligible voters, who will choose 50 deputies candidates to represent them in one of the region's most active parliaments.

Sixteen of the 210 candidates on the ballot are women. Women also ran in last year's polls, but voters instead chose to elect a conservative parliament dominated by male Islamists and leading members of Kuwait's powerful tribes.


People voted for development in Bihar : Nitish Kumar

People voted for development in Bihar : Nitish KumarPatna, May 16 : Congratulating the people of the state for the Janata Dal (United) led NDA's sweeping win in the general elections, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said people voted for development and peace.

Addressing a press conference here, Kumar said the people wanted the development of the state and that is what they voted the NDA back to power.

He said the thumping success of the NDA in the state was in continuation of the 2005 Assembly elections.


Indian industry hails UPA’s historic win

FICCIWith the Indian industry hailing the pounding triumph by Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said that it was a step in the right direction - explicitly underlying stability, growth, continuity and economic prosperity under the headship of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

The FICCI President Harsh Pati Singhania said that the massive mandate in favor of the UPA, demonstrating the electrorate's high level of maturity, was an upbeat indication for both the country's democracy as well as the world.


Rahul Gandhi comes of age with India's 2009 elections

Rahul Gandhi comes of age with India's 2009 electionsNew Delhi  - The summer of 2009 not only saw a resurgent Congress Party emerge from India's gigantic electoral exercise but it also saw the coming of age of one of the party's key leaders for the future - Rahul Gandhi.

Member of India's most important political family, the Nehru- Gandhis, the 38-year-old formally joined politics in 2004 and has emerged within five years as a key strategist for the party and its star campaigner.


Left in damage assessment mode

Prime Minister Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, May 17 : In a bid to review their dismal performance in the Lok Sabha Elections, leaders of of Left Front met here on Sunday.

The communists, who till now had a stronghold in West Bengal and Kerala, managed to get only 24 seats as compared to 59 seats in 2004.

Senior leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, All-India Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party attended the meeting.


Deshmukh wants Congress to contest Maharashtra assembly polls alone

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao DeshmukhMumbai, May 17 : Triumphed with his party's success in the Lok Sabha elections, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Sunday said that he wants the Congress party to go alone in the upcoming assembly polls.

"We want to contest assembly elections in Maharashtra without aligning with any other party. We will put up a proposal before the Congress high command to go alone in Maharashtra assembly elections," he told reporters here.


DMK leaders express joy over party’s success

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMKChennai, May 17 : Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leaders on Sunday expressed their jubilation at the results of the Lok Sabha elections.

The DMK-Congress combine, which won 28 seats in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, is now ready to review the post-poll scenario.

"Tomorrow is the executive council meeting, which will be held at 10.30 am. A lot of issues would be taken up at the meeting. It''s quite an important meeting. Tomorrow my leaders will be meeting the press soon after the executive council is over," said Dayanidhi Maran, senior DMK leader and nephew of party chief M. Karunanidhi.


India's Congress Party sets broad agenda after win

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan SinghNew Delhi  - Expectations are high that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be able to follow policies and programmes close to his heart during his second term, now that his Congress Party is set to be unhindered by the demands of multiple allies.

After its decisive win in India's month-long election, the party might be able to shed some of its left-wing or regional parties that held up key initiatives and reforms in the last government, making it more likely Singh can achieve his goals.


Cambodia's ruling party dominates local elections

Cambodia's ruling party dominates local electionsPhnom Penh - Cambodia's ruling party won a resounding majority of votes in the country's inaugural provincial, municipal and district council elections held Sunday, according to preliminary results announced Monday.

Figures released by the National Election Committee (NEC) revealed Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won just over 75 per cent of votes in the provincial and municipal elections, while the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) received about 20 per cent of votes.


Lithuania's first female president outlines policy priorities

Lithuania's first female president outlines policy prioritiesVilnius - President-elect of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite said Monday that her main diplomatic efforts would be "development of a balanced foreign policy" and "helping to democratise the neighbourhood."

The outgoing European Union Financial Planning and Budgets Commissioner, who returned to her homeland to contest the presidency, also said she would aim to increase EU investment in the country and predicted Lithuania would adopt the euro as its currency some time between 2012 and 2015.


Four candidates approved for Iran presidential election

Four candidates approved for Iran presidential electionTehran - Four candidates have been approved for the June 12 presidential election, the Khabar news network reported Wednesday.

As expected, the Guardian Council, in charge of vetting the ideological qualifications of presidential candidates, approved Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mehdi Karroubi, Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mohsen Rezaei to run in the presidential race.

A total of 475 candidates had registered for the presidential race, including 42 women, most of them without any political background.


Vote counting under way in Malawi's tight presidential race

Vote counting under way in Malawi's tight presidential raceBlantyre, Malawi - The counting of votes in Malawi's presidential and parliamentary elections was under way Wednesday, with partial results showing incumbent President Bingu wa Mutharika and his party taking an early lead.

Over 12 hours after polls closed in the country's fourth multi- party national elections since independence from Britain in 1964, only around 7 per cent of voting districts had finished counting, Malawi Electoral Commission spokesman Fegus Lipenga said.


Indian elections throw up a new type of politician

Indian elections throw up a new type of politicianNew Delhi, May 21 : Now that the dust and heat of a hard fought election has ended, a new Government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is going to be in place. It is time to take stock of the just concluded elections. Is it the end of rabble-rousing politics? Are we witnessing the emergence of a new breed of politicians who are focused on good governance and development instead of hate, divisiveness and rabble rousing?


Ahmadinejad stump speech accuses rivals of wanting Western detente

Iranian President Mahmoud AhmadinejadTehran  - In his first official campaign speech, incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday accused his challengers in next month's presidential election of wanting a policy of détente with the West.

"The previous government (of Mohammad Khatami) which followed a detente policy de facto eradicated the goals of the nation and intended to accept a status which others (West) had planned to impose on us," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in a sports hall in downtown Tehran.


Ahmadinejad rejects rivals' criticisms, threats to retaliate

Iranian President Mahmoud AhmadinejadTehran  - Incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected Saturday all criticisms against the current administration raised by his challengers in next month's presidential elections threatening them to reveal their past performances.

Ahmadinejad's rivals in the June 12 elections, the two moderate candidates Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi as well as the conservative candidate Mohsen Rezaei, have repeatedly criticized the president's economic and foreign policies blaming him for weakening the economy and putting the country in a renewed international isolation.


Jyotiraditya credits Sonia, PM and Rahul for his victory in elections

Jyotiraditya credits Sonia, PM and Rahul for his victory in electionsGwalior, May 24 : Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Sunday said that his victory in the recently held Parliamentary election was the result of Congress party's concern for the poor people's upliftment.

"This victory is the victory of Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, youth icon Rahul Gandhi. Their policies and their concern for the upliftment of the poor have shown results," said Jyotiraditya Scindia on Sunday.


Facebook in Iran not blocked for political reasons, says candidate

Facebook in Iran not blocked for political reasons, says candidateTehran - The website Facebook has not been blocked for political reasons but rather morale problems, a chief opposition presidential candidate said Monday.

The labour news agency ILNA had reported that Facebook was blocked for Iranian internet users to prevent propaganda for moderate Mir-Hossein Moussavi, who is the main challenger of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Czech Senate paves way for early elections in October

Czech Senate paves way for early elections in October Prague - The Czech parliament's upper house Thursday passed a bill that enabling early elections this October, following the collapse of the government in March.

A caretaker coalition government of Civic Democrats, Greens and Social Democrats has ruled in Prague since then.

The collapse of the government proved a severe embarrassment, as the Czech Republic is currently hosting the rotating European Union presidency.


Moldovan parliament postpones presidential vote to June 3

Moldovan parliament postpones presidential vote to June 3Chisinau - Moldova's parliament agreed Thursday to postpone until June 3 a second vote to elect a new president, officially out of religious considerations but in a move which analysts believe was politically motivated.

A motion was presented by the Communists not to hold the vote Thursday as planned, on the argument that on a religious holiday - the Orthodox Church's Ascension Day - there should not be any "controversial debates," the RIA Novosti agency reported.


Apathy only winner in EU parliamentary elections: French poll

Apathy only winner in EU parliamentary elections: French poll Paris - With a little more than one week left before the EU parliamentary elections, the number of French voters saying they will not cast ballots on June 7 continues to grow, according to a poll published Friday in the daily Le Figaro.

In the survey, carried out by the OpinionWay-Fiducial organization, 57 per cent of the 5,581 respondents said they were not interested in the election, an increase of 2 per cent in one week.


Iran presidential hopeful vows to promote women's rights

Mir-Hossein MoussaviTehran  - Moderate Iranian presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Moussavi has vowed to promote women's rights in the Islamic state using religious leaders' ideas, the daily Kalameh Sabz (Green Word) reported on Sunday.

"We are living in a religious society. Communication between women activists and religious leaders would pave the way to improve women's status and could be effective to remove discriminations," Moussavi was quoted as telling a group of women at a cultural centre in southern Tehran on Saturday.


Intrigue, but dubious interest, as EU goes to the polls

Socialists look to avoid debacles in EU electionsBrussels, dpa - From Lisbon to Riga and from Dublin to Nicosia, the streets of Europe's capitals are lined with the faces of smiling candidates and electoral billboards.

One poster depicts a lion and a cat and the question "How much should we tame financial markets?" Another shows a brick wall and a gentle hedge below the line: "How open should our borders be?"


What powers does the European Parliament have?

Euro Parliament's size at mercy of Lisbon Treaty status Brussels - The European Parliament has the final say over a wide range of European Union legislation which directly affects the lives of almost 500 million people living in the 27-member bloc.

LAWS: the parliament has the right to amend, approve or reject EU laws on issues such as the free movement of workers, education, the common EU market and environmental protection.

EU member states have to consult the parliament before they approve EU laws on judicial issues, such as immigration and asylum, but are not bound to follow the parliament's opinion.


Croatia's ruling party suffers major setback in local polls

Croatia's ruling party suffers major setback in local pollsZagreb - Prime Minister Ivo Sanader's conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) suffered a major setback in local elections, losing out to the opposition in vying for key mayoral posts, media reports said Monday.

While the HDZ did fairly well in the run for local councils, it lost virtually all major mayoral races in Sunday's poll. "HDZ became a villages and country party," headlines said.


Indonesian presidential campaign starts

Indonesian presidential campaign startsJakarta - Campaigning began Tuesday for Indonesia's July 8 presidential election, with incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono looking poised for victory.

Opinion polls indicate that Yudhoyono would win more than 60 per cent of the vote and avoid a run-off scheduled for September.

His Democratic Party won the legislative elections in April with 21 per cent of the vote, tripling its gains from the 2004 polls.


Leftist party wins Greenland parliament elections

Leftist party wins Greenland parliament elections Copenhagen/Nuuk, Greenland - The leftist Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) has won a landslide victory in elections for the self-rule parliament in Greenland, according to tallies Wednesday.

The IA scored 43.7 per cent of the vote, almost double its share in the 2005 elections.

Turnout in Tuesday's vote was some 71 per cent of 39,900 eligible voters.


Iran's Ahmadinejad faces challenger in TV debate

Iran's Ahmadinejad faces challenger in TV debate Tehran - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to face his main challenger, Mir-Hossein Moussavi, in a televised debate Wednesday night that was expected to be watched by tens of millions of Iranians before they vote in the June 12 presidential election.

Among the three serious challengers, Moussavi has emerged as the main threat to the incumbent president, making Wednesday's direct debate one of the highlights of the electoral campaign.


Mauritanians celebrate postponement of elections

Mauritanians celebrate postponement of electionsNouakchott - Mauritanians on Wednesday welcomed an agreement by the country's main political factions to postpone the elections scheduled for Saturday to July
18.

A large crowd welcomed the negotiators at Nouakchott airport as they arrived in the early morning hours from the Senegalese capital Dakar, where they had agreed to form a transitional government.

The African Union, European Union, Arab League and United Nations had been mediating in the negotiations aimed at persuading the opposition to participate in the elections.


Lebanon concerned over forged ID cards impact on elections

Lebanon concerned over forged ID cards impact on elections Beirut - Lebanese authorities have expressed concern over the impact of forged identity cards discovered days before a crucial parliamentary election, local media reported Wednesday.

The issue was raised by Prime Minister Fouad Seniora during an ordinary cabinet session on Tuesday night, local television citing governmental sources reported, referring to "dozens" of identity cards being in question.

Interior Minister Ziad Baroud said his ministry had "put its hand on the issue."


EU commissioner: Bulgaria must act on tampering with European votes

EU commissioner: Bulgaria must act on tampering with European votes Sofia - Bulgaria needs to crack down "forcefully and very toughly" on suspected cases of abuse in Sunday's elections for the European Parliament, an EU commissioner said Wednesday.

The 17 Bulgarian representatives should be "fairly elected," the commissioner for consumer protection, Meglena Kuneva, was quoted as saying in her homeland.


As polls draw close, Austrian rightists want Turkey, Israel out of EU

As polls draw close, Austrian rightists want Turkey, Israel out of EUVienna - Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) on Thursday renewed its call not to let Turkey and Israel join the European Union, as the party that dominated the European parliamentary election campaign held its final rally in Vienna.

Hundreds of people cheered as party leader Heinz-Christian Strache defended his slogan that calls for keeping the "Occident in Christian Hands."


Polls: Dutch Freedom Party to get 4 parliament seats

Polls: Dutch Freedom Party to get 4 parliament seats Amsterdam - The Dutch Freedom Party is to receive 4 seats in the European Parliament, according to exit polls released in the Netherlands just after voting booths closed at 9 pm (1900 GMT) on Thursday.

The Christian Democrats remain the biggest party with 5 seats (down from 7 in 2004), while Labour drops from 7 to 4 seats.

The Liberal VVD and the left Liberal D66 each are to receive 3 seats. The leftist Socialist Party, the Greens, and the religious Christian parties each receive 2 seats.


Right-wing Dutch Freedom Party declared winner of EU polls

Right-wing Dutch Freedom Party declared winner of EU pollsAmsterdam - With 92.1 per cent of the Dutch vote counted, the right-wing Dutch Freedom Party emerged Friday as the first winner in the EU-wide parliamentary elections.

According to the preliminary results released early Friday in the Netherlands, the populist party won 16.9 per cent of the vote and is to receive four seats in the European Parliament, becoming second-strongest Dutch faction after the Christian Democrats.

The final results were due to come in Friday morning, Dutch officials said.


Irish begin voting in European Parliament elections

Irish begin voting in European Parliament electionsDublin - Just over 3 million people in Ireland were called to the polls Friday to vote in the European Parliament elections.

Ireland is divided into four constituencies with 44 candidates competing for 12 seats.

Polling began at 7 am (0600 GMT) and was to continue until 10 pm (2100 GMT).

Voting also commenced in the Czech Republic Friday. Turnout for the European elections expected to be higher in Ireland than in any other EU member state, according to the latest EU-wide opinion poll.


Street clashes in Tehran ahead of presidential election

Street clashes in Tehran ahead of presidential electionTehran - Supporters of incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his main electoral challenger Mir-Hossein Moussavi clashed on Friday in Tehran, just one week ahead of June 12 presidential elections.

A thousand Moussavi supporters were holding a rally in Tehran's Vali-Asr square when suddenly the same number of presidential supporters staged a counter rally, eyewitnesses said.


Ex-US State Department employee, wife held on spying charges

Italy's European vote to test Berlusconi's popularity at home Washington, June 6 : The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested a former US State Department employee, along with his wife, on alleged charges of spying for Cuba for nearly three decades.

Walter Kendall Myers, 72, and his wife Gwendolyn Myers, 71, were accused of being dedicated and ideologically-motivated agents on behalf of Cuba.

According to an affidavit that prosecutors filed in federal court, the pair met directly with Fidel Castro at least once, around New Year's Day in 1995, Politico reports.


Army starts widespread security operation ahead of Lebanese polls

Army starts widespread security operation ahead of Lebanese pollsBeirut - The Lebanese army began early Saturday to deploy throughout Lebanon, a day before a tense parliamentary election which is expected to produce a tight race between the western-backed ruling majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition.

A Lebanese army source said that all branches of the army had been put on alert and were setting up strict security measures to ensure public security and the safety of voters during Sunday's polling.


Exit polls: Cyprus opposition gets largest share in European vote

Exit polls: Cyprus opposition gets largest share in European vote Athens/Nicosia - The main opposition centre-right party DISY has received the largest share of votes in the European Parliament election in the Republic of Cyprus, according to exit polls released after voting booths closed at 8 pm (1800 GMT) on Saturday.

The conservative party won 35.5 per cent of the votes, earning two seats in the European Parliament while the ruling left-wing AKEL party received 33.7 per cent and two seats.


Latvian exit poll predicts old foes on the way to Brussels

Latvian exit poll predicts old foes on the way to BrusselsRiga - An ongoing economic crisis and a high-profile battle for the powerful position of mayor of the Latvian capital, Riga, were enough to bring out large numbers of voters in the Baltic state on Saturday.

The mayoral vote, plus other municipal elections, were held on the same day as the elections to the European Parliament.

Turnout was much healthier than in most other parts of the EU, passing 50 per cent of the electorate nearly two hours before polls closed at 10 PM (1900 GMT).


Polls open in France for EU elections

Breeding is everything at France's equine VersaillesParis - Polling stations opened early Sunday in France for the 2009 European Union parliamentary elections.

A total of 3,115 candidates, from 42 parties and organizations, were standing for France's 72 seats in the European Parliament.

All polls point to a victory for President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), ahead of the opposition Socialist Party, Europe Ecologie and the centrist Modem of former presidential candidate Francois Bayrou.


Jordan welcomes outcome of Lebanese elections

Jordan welcomes outcome of Lebanese elections Amman  - The Jordanian government on Monday welcomed the outcome of Sunday's general elections in Lebanon and renewed its support for the people of Lebanon.

"The way the elections in Lebanon has been conducted invites pride over the development of political life and democracy in the brotherly country," Minister of State for Information Affairs and Communication Nabil Sharif was quoted as saying by the official Petra news agency.


EU praises orderly Lebanon elections

EU Commission President Jose Manuel BarrosoBrussels  - The European Union, which sent 100 election monitors to Lebanon, on Monday praised the "good organisation and conduct" of the polls and vowed to engage with the country's new government.

"I would like to congratulate the people of Lebanon for the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary elections. The elections represent yet another milestone in the strengthening of Lebanon's democratisation process and of stability in the region," said EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.


Hezbollah accepts election results, says Nasrallah

Sheikh Hassan NasrallahBeirut - The secretary general of the Lebanese Shiite movement Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Monday his group has accepted the outcome of Lebanese parliamentary elections.

"We accept the results which were issued by the Lebanese Interior Ministry," Nasrallah said in a televised address. "I congratulate all election winners," he added.

According to the ministry's official results, the Pro-West majority won 71 seats in the 128-member parliament, while the Hezbollah-led opposition secured 57 seats. (dpa)


Ban urges Lebanese to respect election results, work for democracy

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonNew York  - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday praised Lebanon's successful parliamentary elections, urging the country to abide by the results and promptly form a new government, a UN spokesman said.

"He calls on all Lebanese to respect the results and urges them to work together in the spirit of coexistence and democracy," Farhan Haq said.

"The secretary general hopes that the process of government formation will commence expeditiously and that it will take place in a calm and secure environment," Haq said.


Hezbollah accepts election results, says Nasrallah

Hezbollah accepts election results, says Nasrallah Beirut - The secretary general of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said Monday his group has accepted the outcome of the Lebanese parliamentary elections - but insisted Hezbollah would not disarm.

"We accept the results which were issued by the Lebanese Interior Ministry," Nasrallah said in a televised address. "I congratulate all election winners. We accept the announced results of these elections with sportsmanship and democratic spirit."


Lebanon's president calls on political forces to cooperate

Lebanon's president calls on political forces to cooperate Beirut - Lebanese President Michel Suleiman called Monday on all political forces to "cooperate" and work towards reform.

In a written statement, Suleiman said: "We must contemplate on the next phase's prospects both internally and externally. All teams must cooperate in order to launch a journey toward reform, which was the main theme in electoral campaigns."

He said cooperation was "necessary in order to maintain stability on the home front."


Libertas leader steps down after defeat in EU elections

Libertas leader steps down after defeat in EU elections Dublin - Eurosceptic Libertas leader Declan Ganley conceded late Monday that he would not take a seat in Ireland's North West constituency in the European Parliament elections and said he would "bow out of political life."

Arriving at the count centre Monday evening, Ganley told Irish national broadcaster RTE that he accepted that people had not given him a mandate to represent them in the European Parliament.


Jordanian firm arranged airlift of Lebanese voters to Beirut

Jordanian firm arranged airlift of Lebanese voters to BeirutAmman - A Jordanian company affiliated with leaders of the Lebanese al-Mustaqbal group arranged an airlift of Lebanese voters from Amman to Beirut to take part in the Lebanese general elections which were conducted on Sunday, the daily Alarab Alyawm reported Wednesday.

The firm, which was not identified, "provided Lebanese voters with tickets for both directions of the journey as well as money to cover their personal expenses," the independent daily said.


US keeping a close eye on Iran's presidential election

US keeping a close eye on Iran's presidential election Washington - The United States will be keeping a watchful eye on Iran's presidential election on Friday, hoping for an outcome that will open the door for the two countries to begin discussions on a range of contentious issues.

US President Barack Obama wants to reach out to Iran to curtail the Islamic state's nuclear ambitions while reining in Tehran's growing influence in the region and support for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.


No sleep until results are announced, says Moussavi

No sleep until results are announced, says Moussavi Tehran - Iranian presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Moussavi said Friday that neither he nor his supporters would sleep until the results of the presidential election were announced.

Moussavi said on his website Qalam that the high turnout in the election was "a golden opportunity which should be used for reaching better and nicer days."


Interior ministry extends voting through midnight local time

Interior ministry extends voting through midnight local time Tehran - The Iranian Interior Ministry announced that polling in Iran's presidential election would be kept open through midnight local time (1930 GMT), amid ongoing heavy voter turnout, state television reported.

According to a personal order by the interior minister, the polling stations should remain open until all voters have had a chance to cast their ballot. However, the maximum time limit would be midnight.(dpa)


Obama welcomes "robust debate" among Iranians

Obama welcomes "robust debate" among Iranians Washington - US President Barack Obama welcomed the "robust debate" that has taken place in Iran during the presidential election and expressed optimism it will boost efforts to open dialogue with the Islamic state.

"We are excited to see what appears to be a robust debate taking place in Iran," Obama said Friday as Iranians went to the polls to vote in a race that pits conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against reformist challenger Mir-Hossein Moussavi.


Ahmadinejad leading polls with almost 70 per cent

Ahmadinejad leading polls with almost 70 per cent Tehran - Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leading the polls with almost 70 per cent of the votes, the news network Press TV reported Friday night.

After having counted less than 20 per cent of the votes, mainly from the provinces, Ahmadinejad has a clear lead in the polls while the main challenger, Mir-Hossein Moussavi, only gained 26 per cent.

Moussavi himself said in a press conference in Tehran that he was the clear winner of the votes but accused the government of having made numerous legal violations.(dpa)


Ahmadinejad leading polls with 68 per cent

Ahmadinejad leading polls with 68 per cent Tehran - Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was leading early counts of the polls in Iran's presidential election, receiving more than 68 per cent of the votes thus far, the news network Khabar reported.

With more than 35 per cent of the votes counted, mainly from the provinces, Ahmadinejad has a clear lead in the polls with over 7 million votes. His main challenger, Mir- Hossein Moussavi had so far gained less than 29 per cent.


Ahmadinejad with clear lead in Iranian elections

Ahmadinejad with clear lead in Iranian elections Tehran - Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leading in Iranian elections, receiving almost 68 per cent of the votes counted so far, the news network Khabar reported.

With 47 per cent of the votes counted, mainly from the provinces, Ahmadinejad has a clear lead in the polls, receiving more than 10 million votes. His main challenger, Mir
-Hossein Moussavi, so far gained slightly over 30 per cent.


Iranian clerical group calls for nullification of election

Iranian clerical group calls for nullification of election Tehran - An influential Iranian clergy group on Saturday protested against alleged fraud in the presidential election counting process and called for the nullification of the election.

The Islamic Combatant Clergy Association (ICCA), which is close to former president Mohammad Khatami and supported Mir-Hossiein Moussavi in Friday's election, said on its website that the election should be nullified and held again in a calmer, more logical and more just atmosphere.


Ahmadinejad says Iran election free, democratic

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,Tehran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, despite accusations to the contrary by the opposition, said Saturday that the country's presidential election was free and democratic.

Opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi and related political parties and groups accuse Ahmadinejad and his government of fraud in the polling and counting process that led to a purported landslide victory for the incumbent president.


Morocco's new "king's party" wins local elections

MoroccoRabat, Morocco  - The controversial new "king's party" has won local elections in Morocco, the Interior Ministry announced Saturday.

The Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), formed by Fouad Ali el-Himma - a close friend of Moroccan King Mohammed VI, received about 22 per cent of the votes, the ministry said.

In second place, with about 19 per cent of the votes, was the nationalist conservative Istiqlal party of Prime Minister Abbas el- Fassi.


Defiant Ahmadinejad "ready for nuclear debate with Obama"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad And Barack ObamaTehran  - A defiant Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that there would be no change in Iran's nuclear policies, and he challenged US President Barack Obama to a debate on the nuclear dispute.

"Negotiations on the nuclear issue (suspension of uranium enrichment) are history," Ahmadinejad said at his first press conference since his re-election.


German public TV head protest at Iranian restrictions

Berlin  - The news chiefs of Germany's two public television networks, ARD and ZDF, protested Sunday to the Iranian ambassador in Berlin at what they said were restrictions on reporting about the Iranian presidential election.

They said ZDF correspondent Halim Hosny and his staff had been forbidden to report on the poll, while ARD correspondent Peter Mezger had not been allowed to leave his hotel in Tehran.

Thomas Baumann of ARD and Nikolaus Brender of ZDF set out the complaints in a joint letter to ambassador Ali Reza Sheikh Attar, saying press freedom and democratic principles had been breached.


Moussavi calls on Guardian Council to nullify election

Iran opposition leader Mir-Hossein MoussaviTehran  - Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi called on Iran's Guardian Council Sunday to nullify the results of the presidential election.

Moussavi said in a statement on his website that he had forwarded an official request to the Guardian Council asking it to nullify the results.

Moussavi has accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the interior ministry of cheating in the voting process, and claimed that he was the real winner of the election.


Interior Ministry declares Moussavi's protest rally illegal

Interior Ministry declares Moussavi's protest rally illegal Tehran - Iran's Interior Ministry has declared a planned protest rally led by opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi as illegal, state-run radio reported Monday.

Moussavi had invited his supporters for a peaceful rally on Monday that would start at Tehran University and end at Freedom Square where he also planned to hold a speech.

Moussavi accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Interior Ministry of fraud in the presidential election, and insists that he was the rightful winner.


Demonstrators shot, taken to hospital, say photographers

Iranian President Mahmoud AhmadinejadTehran  - At least two demonstrators were witnessed by photographers to have been shot during Monday's protest demonstrations in Tehran and transferred to nearby hospitals.

The photographers could give no details but said they had pictures of the injured demonstrators which would prove the shooting.

They said they also had pictures of blood traces belonging to two other injured demonstrators but it was not clear whether those were shot or hit.


Ban following Iranian elections, urges respect of Iranians' votes

Ban following Iranian elections, urges respect of Iranians' votes New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday he was closely following the dispute over Iran's presidential electoral results, and called for respect of the "genuine will" of the Iranian voters.

Ban told reporters he had taken note of the call by Iran's religious leaders to investigate charges of electoral fraud lodged by opposition groups that questioned the apparent victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following Friday's elections.


US "deeply troubled" by Iranian election, violence

US "deeply troubled" by Iranian election, violence Washington  - The United States Monday said it has doubts about the results of Iran's election last week, which was declared in favour of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and has sparked days of violent protests.

"We are deeply troubled by the reports of violence, arrests and possible voting irregularities," said US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

"I think there has been doubt cast on the outcome of the elections," Kelly told reporters in Washington.


Islam takes a back seat in Indonesian politics

Islam takes a back seat in Indonesian politicsJakarta - Muhammad Imran says he is a devout Muslim who performs five-time daily prayers and reads the Koran regularly, but he did not vote for an Islamic party in Indonesia's legislative elections held in April.

"I vote for the Democratic Party because I support the president's programmes on eradicating corruption and improving the economy," said 41-year-old Imran, who works for a shipping company.


Moussavi supporters plan another protest in Tehran

Moussavi supporters plan another protest in Tehran Tehran - Supporters of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi planned to hold another protest Tuesday in Tehran, opposition circles said.

The gathering was to be held at the Vali-Asr square in downtown Tehran, the same venue where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday celebrated his re-election victory.

Hundreds of thousands attended a protest rally on Monday in Tehran which was the biggest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Some even said the number of demonstrators exceeded 1 million despite a ban by the interior ministry and warnings by police.


Migrants in New Zealand protest Iranian election result

Migrants in New Zealand protest Iranian election resultWellington - About 150 Iranian immigrants shouting "Where is our vote?" staged a march in protest agaist the Iranian presidential election result through Auckland on Tuesday, Television New Zealand reported.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully issued a statement urging Iranian authorities to show restraint and expressing his government's concern at reports of mounting violence in Iran.

"Reports are still sketchy, but the allegations of government security forces shooting at unarmed protestors are particularly alarming," he said.


German minister calls for end to violence against Iran protesters

German minister calls for end to violence against Iran protestersBerlin - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Iran Tuesday to halt violence by security forces against demonstrators protesting the disputed presidential election.

He also called on the authorities to "promptly clarify allegations of irregularities" in Friday's vote, which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared the winner by a large majority.

The German government was following developments in Iran with "great concern," he added.


Moldova to hold new parliament elections in July

Moldova to hold new parliament elections in JulyChisinau - Moldova's government on Tuesday set July 29 as the date for fresh parliamentary elections, after a previous poll in April resulted in riots.

President Vladimir Voronin signed an executive order setting the date for the next contest, with political tensions remaining high in the former Soviet republic.

The April 5 election gave the Communist Party a 60-seat majority in the 101-member parliament, prompting accusations of an electoral fix and riots in which one person was killed and more than 300 injured.


Presidential campaigns officially begin in Afghanistan

Presidential campaigns officially begin in AfghanistanKabul - The official campaigns for Afghanistan's 41 presidential candidates began Tuesday, as hundreds of people hung and glued colourful posters on trees, walls, and electricity poles in the capital Kabul.

"Karzai, the symbol of national unity," reads a large poster of President Hamid Karzai, promoting the incumbent.


Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Ebadi calls for new polls

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Ebadi calls for new pollsPrague - Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has called for a new presidential election in Iran to be monitored by international observers, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

"I believe that a recount of the votes under the current conditions won't solve anything," Ebadi told the Prague-based, US- financed broadcaster in a telephone interview published on the station's website late Tuesday.

"A new election must be held and this time it should be under the monitoring of international organizations," she said.


Iran election results show approval of government, Ahmadinejad says

Iran election results show approval of government, Ahmadinejad saysTehran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that the results of the presidential election were an approval of the government's performance, Fars news agency reported.

"The election was de facto a referendum by 40 million people for the Islamic system in Iran," Ahmadinejad said in a cabinet session.

"It was also an approval of the performance of the government as 25 (out of the 40) million people approved this form of country management," the president added.


German legislators back Iran demonstrators

German legislators back Iran demonstratorsBerlin - German legislators spoke out Wednesday in parliament in support of the protests in Iran against last week's election result in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared re-elected.

During the snap debate, Johannes Jung, a Social Democratic supporter of the German government, demanded that Tehran free arrested demonstrators, investigate the deaths in the course of the clashes and permit free reporting about the conflict.


Hundreds rally against Ahmadinejad in Cologne, Germany

Hundreds rally against Ahmadinejad in Cologne, Germany Cologne, Germany - Hundreds of Iranian exiles took part in two separate protests in the German city of Cologne on Wednesday against the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Banners declared, "Death to the dictator," "Ahmadinejad is not our president," and "What happened to my vote?"

Police said both demonstrations were peaceful. One faction said it was "against human rights violations in Iran" and the other in "solidarity with the protests in Iran."(dpa)


Moussavi, Khatami call on Iran judiciary to stop violence

Moussavi, Khatami call on Iran judiciary to stop violence Tehran - Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi and former reformist president Mohammad Khatami called on the judiciary chief Wednesday to release all those arrested and imprisoned in the course of the recent protest demonstrations in Tehran.

In a letter to Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, carried on Moussavi's website, the two condemned the violent confrontation of "people would were protesting peacefully against violation of their rights."


US calls on Iran to transparently resolve election dispute

US calls on Iran to transparently resolve election dispute Washington - The United States urged Iran Wednesday to transparently resolve the dispute over its presidential election, which has sparked days of massive protests and international criticism.

US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said the protests are a sign that Iranians have grown impatient with the country's diplomatic isolation and denied that Washington was interfering in either the election or protests.

"The Iranian people are frustrated that Iran is isolated ... from the rest of the world," Crowley said.


Albanian government leading polls ahead of elections

Albanian government leading polls ahead of elections Tirana - Albania's ruling Democratic Party is leading in the polls by 40 percent compared to the Socialist Party's 38 percent, a survey published on Friday showed.

The survey, published 9 days ahead of parliamentary polls, showed that if the elections were to be held today, Prime Minister Sali Berisha's party would have a slight majority.


Italian foreign minister does not see Iran regime in jeopardy

Italian foreign minister does not see Iran regime in jeopardyBerlin - Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Friday that he does not expect the current protests in Iran to bring down the regime which has existed since the Islamic Revolution 30 years ago.

"During the campaign we followed the debate between the reformist candidate and President Ahmadinejad very closely," Frattini told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Friday.


UN rights officials "concerned" over violence in Iran

UN rights officials "concerned" over violence in IranGeneva - The United Nations' human rights chief said Friday she was concerned about arrests and the reported acts of violence by militia members in Iran following the disputed election result.

"The legal basis of the arrests that have been taking place, especially those of human rights defenders and political activists, is not clear," Navi Pillay said in a statement.

She said some detainees were denied access to lawyers and visitations from family members, while others had disappeared.


Iranian Nobel winner: Violence must end, new elections needed

Iranian Nobel winner: Violence must end, new elections needed Geneva - Shirin Ebadi, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said Friday that the violence against the demonstrators in Iran must stop, those arrested should be released and if the protests continued new elections should be held.

"I think it is very important that all those who have been arrested be released without any conditions," said Ebadi, a human rights lawyer from Tehran.


US House, Senate offer backing to Iranian people

US House, Senate offer backing to Iranian people Washington - US lawmakers expressed support for the Iranian people's right to free speech and peaceful protest in resolutions adopted on Friday.

The moves come as tens of thousands of people in Iran have taken to the streets in demonstrations against last week's election results. Some of the protests have turned bloody, and there have been fatalities.


Iran's government using violence against protestors, US says

Iran's government using violence against protestors, US says Washington - The United States criticized the Iranian government for using violence against tens of thousands of protestors that are railing against the country's election, the White House said Friday.

"The violence is being conducted by the government," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. President Barack Obama "has been clear in underscoring and deploring the violence."


Obama "very concerned" by Khamenei comments

Obama "very concerned" by Khamenei comments Washington - US President Barack Obama said he was concerned by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech Friday that called for an end to protests over Iran's disputed election and suggested a government crackdown could be coming.

"I'm very concerned based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made," Obama said in an interview with CBS News. Iran should "recognize that the world is watching."


No Moussavi reaction to Iran leader's warnings on protests

No Moussavi reaction to Iran leader's warnings on protests Tehran - Opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi has still not reacted to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's warning Friday that he was opposed to demonstrations over the disputed presidential election.

At Friday prayers, Khamenei said that he opposed the protests and warned Moussavi and the opposition of consequences if the street rallies continued.

Another mass rally was scheduled for Saturday afternoon from the Enqelab (freedom) Square in western Tehran, where Moussavi was scheduled to speak.


Moussavi: Election rigging was planned months in advance

Mir-Hossein MoussaviTehran/Berlin  - Mir-Hossein Moussavi, the presidential candidate defeated in last week's contested poll, has written a letter to Iran's Guardian Council on Saturday, saying that he believes the election was rigged in advance.

In the seven-page letter, made public as clashes were going on between police and protestors in Tehran, Moussavi said "I will continue my efforts to clarify the truth on the basis of the constitution and current laws, although the violations and planning of this disgusting move had been planned in advance."


Iranian exiles in Paris demonstrate against Tehran regime

Iranian exiles in Paris demonstrate against Tehran regime Paris  - Tens of thousands of exiled Iranians were reported to have demonstrated near the French capital Paris on Saturday against the present government in Tehran.

According to the representatives of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), around 90,000 people took part in a mass demonstration in the town of Villepinte.

The French demonstration coincides with ongoing protests within Iran over June 12 presidential election, which the opposition claims was rigged.


Iranian TV reports 13 dead in Saturday's street violence

Iranian TV reports 13 dead in Saturday's street violenceTehran/Berlin - Iranian state television reported Sunday that there were 13 dead in Saturday's street clashes between government security forces and opposition demonstrators.

In some of the first details emerging to the outside world- amid an ongoing official clampdown on press reporting - reports also said that two petrol stations were burned down and that a military barracks had been attacked.


Iran parliament calls on revision of diplomatic ties with EU trio

Iran President Mahmoud AhmadinejadTehran  - Irans parliament called Sunday for a revision of diplomatic ties with the European Union trio Britain, France and Germany for their having doubted the presidential election results and siding with the opposition, state television network IRIB reported.

Speaker Ali Larijani termed the stance and relevant statements by the three EU states as "a shame" and called on the parliament's foreign policy commission to put the revision of ties on its agenda.


Iran moving towards martial law, Khatami warns

Former Iranian president Mohammad KhatamiTehran  - Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami on Sunday warned that the country was moving towards martial law.

"I am worried that security and military is gradually prevailing over the countrys atmosphere," Khatami said in statement carried by the website of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi.

Khatami is a top Moussavi aide. The former Iranian president for eight years has, like Moussavi, de facto become part of the opposition to the countrys establishment.


British foreign minister rejects Tehran claims on protests

British Foreign Secretary David MilibandLondon  - British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Sunday rejected comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki alleging that Britain was stirring protests over the outcome of Iran's June 12 presidential election.

In a deepening diplomatic row - earlier Sunday the Iranian parliament voted to start studying a possible revision of Tehran's ties with Britain, France and Germany - Miliband suggested that Mottaki was trying to divert attention from Iran's internal problems.


BBC says Tehran correspondent told to leave

BBC says Tehran correspondent told to leave London  - British Broadcasting Corporation BBC in a terse announcement Sunday said its correspondent in Tehran has been asked to leave.

"With regret, Jon Leyne, the BBC's permanent correspondent in Tehran, has been asked to leave by the Iranian authorities," the BBC said.

"The BBC office remains open."

Further details were not immediately available in the development, news of which had begun to leak out of Tehran via non-media channels of information over the previous few hours.


Iran summons foreign diplomats as protests continue

Iran summons foreign diplomats as protests continue Hamburg - Iran summoned several foreign diplomats over alleged interference in the country's internal affairs, as protests against alleged election fraud were to continue on Wednesday.

According to official media reports reaching the German Press Agency dpa in Hamburg, the ambassadors of Britain, the Czech Republic Germany, Italy and the Netherlands were summoned to the Foreign Ministry and asked to respect the outcome of the presidential election and stop "hostile comments."


Iran does not rule out expulsion of diplomats over protests

Iran does not rule out expulsion of diplomats over protestsTehran - Iran on Monday would not rule out the expulsion of foreign diplomates following days of mass protests against alleged vote rigging in the June 12 presidential polls.

"The issue of expulsion [of some European diplomats] is currently evaluated in parliament and the foreign minister will consult today with parliament's foreign policy commission about the exact dimensions of interference," the Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said.


Japan urges Iran to settle conflict, expresses concerns

Japan urges Iran to settle conflict, expresses concernsTokyo - Japan urged Iran to resolve the current situation in a peaceful manner and expressed concern over the clashes between demonstrators and police after the disputed June 12 presidential election.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone expressed strong concerns that the number of deaths has risen in the conflicts.

"A situation that produces casualties should be avoided and our country strongly calls for a peaceful resolution," Nakasone said.


Germany to seek clarification on relations from Iran envoy

Germany to seek clarification on relations from Iran envoyBerlin - Germany has asked Iran's ambassador to clarify statements about his country's future relations with Berlin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday.

The spokesman said the envoy had been invited to the ministry later in the day, but had not been summoned.

The spokesman said the governments in London and Paris also planned to seek clarification from the Iranian envoys in their respective countries.


One dead in Haiti election violence

One dead in Haiti election violencePort-au-Prince - Violence between rival groups during Haiti's Senate election left one dead, according to electoral authorities in the troubled Caribbean nation.

The country's top electoral court said late Sunday that one of the leaders of the opposition Fusion of Haitian Democrats in the south-western province of Grand'Anse had been killed.

In other election-related clashes near the capital Port-au-Prince, two other people were injured in Jacmel.


Lebanon to elect House Speaker on Thursday

Lebanon to elect House Speaker on Thursday Beirut - The newly elected 128-member Lebanese parliament is due to convene on Thursday to elect a new House Speaker who will head the legislative body, a Lebanese official said Monday.

The oldest parliament member, Abdellatif al-Zein, who announced the date, said that the only current candidate is Speaker Nabih Berri. Added nominations will be accepted until the day of the vote.

"We want to elect the speaker as soon as possible, so that the MPs and President Michel Suleiman can carry out consultations regarding the next prime minister," he said.


Moussavi meets senior Iranian clergy over killings of protestors

Moussavi meets senior Iranian clergy over killings of protestors Tehran - Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi has met with senior clergy and discussed the latest developments in the country, including the deaths of protestors during street demonstrations in Tehran, his website said Tuesday.

In the meeting which was held Monday, Moussavi discussed the alleged fraud in the June 12 presidential election, people's right to follow up the issue, mass arrests and attacks on protestors which have led to the killings of "innocent people," the website said.

No further details were given.


Obama calls Iran tampering allegations "absurd"

Obama calls Iran tampering allegations "absurd" Washington - US President Barack Obama Tuesday accused Iranian officials of scapegoating the United States in an attempt to distract the people from the debate and protests surrounding the election.

Obama told reporters that the United States is "not at all interfering in Iran's affairs" and strongly condemned the beatings and imprisonment of protestors.


Obama calls death of Neda "heartbreaking"

Obama calls death of Neda "heartbreaking" Washington - US President Barack Obama called the video of an Iranian woman shot to death during the country's violent demonstrations "heartbreaking."

"It's heartbreaking. And I think that anybody who sees it knows that there's something fundamentally unjust about that," Obama said during a press conference Tuesday at the White House.


In death, Iranian woman gives voice to resistance

In death, Iranian woman gives voice to resistanceWashington/Tehran - In the four days since her murder on the streets of Tehran, Neda Agha Soltan has become the face of the anti- government movement in Iran.

The amateur video of Soltan collapsing on the street Saturday after being shot through the chest, her eyes hauntingly staring into the camera, has now been seen by millions across the world.

The 26-year-old philosophy student was believed to have stepped out of her car for fresh air on a street near demonstrations against the disputed June 12 presidential elections. Her music teacher was with her.


EU "deeply concerned" over violence in Iran

EU "deeply concerned" over violence in Iran Brussels - The European Union on Wednesday expressed "deep concern" over the ongoing violence in Iran, calling for moderation from the government and rejecting accusations - particularly against Britain - of meddling in Iranian affairs.

"The EU is deeply concerned over the ongoing brutal violence against demonstrators that has already cost human life," said a EU council presidency statement in Brussels.


Karroubi cancels mourning ceremony planned for Thursday

Karroubi cancels mourning ceremony planned for ThursdayTehran/Hamburg - Mehdi Karroubi, who came third in Iran's disputed presidential elections, cancelled a ceremony planned for Thursday to mourn the deaths of those killed during the protests against alleged election fraud, his website said.

The moderate former speaker of parliament plans to hold the ceremony next week instead. Karroubi's camp said the government refused to provide a location for the ceremony, as the Interior Ministry has banned all protest gatherings.


Mass arrest of academics after Moussavi meeting denied

 Mass arrest of academics after Moussavi meeting denied Tehran - ­ The authorities in Iran have denied arresting 70 academics following their meeting with opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi, Fars news agency reported.

Moussavis website said that the 70 scholars, all members of the Islamic Associations of their universities, were arrested after Wednesdays meeting with Moussavi and taken to an unknown destination.


Female Ahmadinejad supporters demand arrest of Ebadi

Female Ahmadinejad supporters demand arrest of Ebadi Tehran - ­ A number of supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have asked the justice minister to issue an arrest warrant for Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, official news agency IRNA reported Thursday.

Ebadi has called for fresh presidential elections in the wake of the alleged fraud in the June 12 contest which saw incumbent Ahmadinejad re-elected.


Moussavi website claims four academics still not released

Moussavi website claims four academics still not released Tehran - Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi said via his website late Thursday that four of 70 academics allegedly arrested after meeting with him had still not been released.

One of those four included the chief of Moussavis election headquarters, Ghorban Behzadiannejad, the website said. 66 had been freed, it said.

The state-run Farsi news agency earlier denied any of the 70 Islamic scholars had been arrested.(dpa)


No major violations in Iran elections, says council

No major violations in Iran elections, says council Tehran - Iran's Guardian Council said Friday that there were no major violations in the June 12 presidential elections and rejected election fraud alleged by the opposition, the news network Khabar reported.

Council spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei said that all complaints by the defeated candidates - Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi - were reviewed but there were no major violations.

The spokesman described the election as the healthiest since the 1979 revolution.


Obama, Merkel call on Iran to respect human rights

Obama, Merkel call on Iran to respect human rights Washington - US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Iran on Friday to end violence against protestors and underscored their commitment to prevent the Islamic state from developing a nuclear weapon.

Merkel called the crisis playing out on the streets of Iran "horrifying," while Obama refused to give in to Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's demand for an apology for allegedly interfering in the elections and subsequent mass protests.


German government coalition limps to September polls

German government coalition limps to September pollsBerlin - With three months to go until Germany's general election, the lifeblood is ebbing from the country's governing coalition as its partners hope the September election ends their marriage of convenience.

Parliament meets for one final session in July, before breaking up for the summer. For most, it is likely to be a short holiday as the election campaign comes into full swing ahead of the September 27 polls.


Iranian council offers Moussavi deal to settle fraud dispute

Iranian council offers Moussavi deal to settle fraud dispute Tehran - Iran's Guardian Council offered opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi a deal to settle the dispute over alleged fraud in the June 12 presidential election, ISNA news agency reported Saturday.

Council spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei said a special committee would be formed to review the disputed election results that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a controversial victory.

The council also called on Moussavi and fellow defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi to send representatives within 24 hours to join the committee.


Tehran summons Swedish ambassador over embassy attack in Stockholm

Tehran summons Swedish ambassador over embassy attack in StockholmTehran - Tehran summoned Sweden's ambassador to explain an attack on the Iranian embassy attack in Stockholm, official news agency IRNA reported Saturday.

Iranian expatriates in Stockholm stormed the Iranian mission there on Friday and engaged in fisticuffs with embassy staff.

The foreign ministry summoned the Swedish envoy on Friday night and condemned the "terrorist attack by counter-revolutionary elements," the agency reported.


German phone-tap gear sold to Iran without government check

German phone-tap gear sold to Iran without government checkBerlin - The phone-tapping equipment which has allowed Iranian authorities to monitor protesters' mobile phone messages was exported by Germany without any government checks, the news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

The equipment, made by Nokia Siemens Networks, allows intelligence agencies to detect opponents' communications amid millions of calls, text messages and video clips.


Hariri nominated by Lebanese parliament for premiership

Hariri nominated by Lebanese parliament for premiership Beirut - Saad Hariri, the head of Lebanon's anti-Syrian ruling majority, was nominated Saturday by 86 of the 128-member parliament to become prime minister in the next cabinet.

The official parliamentary consultations ended noon Saturday and Hariri is now expected to be summoned to the Lebanese presidential palace to be officially designated premier and start forming a new cabinet.


Former president steps aside, clearing way for Mauritania polls

Former president steps aside, clearing way for Mauritania polls Nouakchott - Mauritania's first democratically-elected president formally stepped aside Saturday, ten months after being deposed in a coup, clearing the way for July 18 elections.

Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi signed the agreement paving the way for the elections. Negotiations had been mediated by the African Union, European Union, Arab League and United Nations. An interim regime will now be set up to guide the nation until the elections.


Portugal sets September 27 for parliamentary elections

Portugal sets September 27 for parliamentary elections Lisbon - Parliamentary elections in Portugal have been set for September 27, announced President Anibal Cavaco Silva on Saturday.

There is no clear favourite for the elections. Until recently, the Socialists had been tipped to lead, but a setback in the recent European Parliament elections has made some analysts question how well they will do in national elections.

The Socialists currently have an absolute majority in the parliament.(dpa)


Demonstrators in Frankfurt demand new Iran election

Demonstrators in Frankfurt demand new Iran election Frankfurt - More than 1,000 people demonstrated peacefully Saturday in the German city of Frankfurt, calling for the disputed presidential election in Iran this month to be held anew.

The Frankfurt rally was organized by 50 groups including German trade unions and political parties.

In the northern city of Hamburg, another 300 people marched to the city's Iranian consulate-general to criticize Teheran's "barbaric" crackdown on demonstrators.(dpa)


Voting begins in Albanian parliamentary poll

Voting begins in Albanian parliamentary pollTirana - Voting was set to begin Sunday in Albanian parliamentary elections, which are to be closely monitored as a crucial gauge of the country's democratic progress.

Conservative Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his Democratic Party are seeking another term in office, but are facing a strong challenge from Edi Rama, the mayor of Tirana and head of the Socialist Party.

Some 3 million voters are eligible to cast ballots between 7 am and 7 pm (0500 GMT and 1700 GMT)


Guinea Bissau votes to replace assassinated president

Guinea Bissau votes to replace assassinated president Bissau, Guinea-Bissau  - Polls opened in Guinea-Bissau early Sunday to allow voters to chose a successor to assassinated President Joao Bernardo Vieira in an election observers hope will bring some stability to the country.

The tiny West African nation, dubbed a "narco-state" for its role as a hub for drugs trafficked from South America to Europe, has been blighted by instability since independence from Portugal in 1974.


Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan, warns Larijani

Iran parliament speaker Ali LarijaniAlgiers - Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Iranian parliament, and chairmain of the Islamic Shura Council, warned the West on Sunday that his country was "not Iraq or Afghanistan."

Larijani, speaking in Algiers at the start of a four-day visit, called on Western powers to respct the "democratic life" of Iran.

"Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan," he said.

Larijani said that both Iran and Algeria's democracies were closely linked to Islamic culture. (dpa)


By-election result in north-east Thailand boosts opposition

By-election result in north-east Thailand boosts oppositionBangkok - Thai opposition party Puea Thai won another by-election in north-east Thailand, demonstrating the popularity of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in the impoverished region, election officials said Monday.

Puea Thai candidate Surachart Charnpradit won 124,327 votes against Chart Thai Pattana candidate Sakulthip Angkasakullkiat's 76,435 votes, in the Si Sa Ket province election Sunday, according to the Election Commission's unofficial tally Monday morning.


Argentinian parliamentary elections spell loss for president

Argentinian parliamentary elections spell loss for presidentBuenos Aires - Official results from Argentina's parliamentary elections showed severe losses for the party of President Christina Kirchner and her husband Nestor.

The couple's FJPV Peronist Front for Victory party suffered heavy losses across the country, likely meaning it will lose its parliamentary majority and forcing the president into more negotiations with opposition groups.

The results also mean that opposition candidates can look toward the 2011 presidential elections with more optimism.


Albanian election authorities silent amid a close race

Albanian election authorities silent amid a close raceTirana, Albania - Albanian elections authorities announced no official or partial results Monday morning, more than 12 hours after voting ended for the country's new parliament and amid a dramatically close ballot count.

The ballot counting was progressing "normally," though only after starting with hours of delay in some parts of the country, election commission spokesman Leonard Olli said. There was also no turnout figure, though it appeared to have been surprisingly low.


Moussavi has new proposal, says Guardian Council spokesman

Mir-Hossein MoussaviTehran - Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi has a new proposal for settling the crisis over alleged fraud in the June 12 presidential election, the spokesman of the legislative body of Guardian Council said Monday.

Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei told the Fars news agency that Moussavi had a meeting with the special panel in charge of reviewing the alleged fraud and presented his new proposal.

The spokesman did not give any details about the new proposal by Moussavi, but said that the special panel was evaluating it.


Nestor Kirchner resigns as party head after election debacle

Nestor Kirchner resigns as party head after election debacle Buenos Aires - The former president of Argentina and husband of the current President Cristina Kirchner Monday resigned as head of the FJPV Peronist Front for Victory party after the couple suffered a huge defeat in parliamentary elections.

Nestor Kirchner stepped aside after losing his bid Sunday for a legislative seat for the province that includes the nation's capital, Buenos Aires.

The former president asked the governor of the Buenos Aires Province Daniel Scioli to take over the post, according to the state news agency Telam.


Five leftist countries withdraw their ambassadors from Honduras

Five leftist countries withdraw their ambassadors from Honduras Managua - The presidents of Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Venezuela and Nicaragua recalled their ambassadors from Honduras Monday to protest the weekend coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

Meeting in Managua for a summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA), of which Honduras is also a member, the five countries called upon their Latin American neighbours to take concrete action to get Zelaya restored to the Honduran presidency.


US Senate complete? Court backs disputed November election

US Senate complete? Court backs disputed November election Washington - A nearly eight-month dispute over the results of Minnesota's Senate election could be over, after the state's highest court on Tuesday backed the wafer-thin victory of Democratic candidate Al Franken.

The Minnesota race was closely watched nationwide: Franken's win would give Democrats a 60-vote majority in the US Senate, allowing the party to more easily push through their legislative priorities.


Voters turn their back on Mexican President Calderon

Voters turn their back on Mexican President CalderonMexico City - Mexican President Felipe Calderon was dealt a massive blow in midterm legislative elections, which are widely considered to be a major test for the
2012 presidential poll.

The Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) wrested control of the lower house of the Mexican Congress from Calderon's National Action Party (PAN), according to preliminary results.


Rumours of early Egyptian elections defy denials

Rumours of early Egyptian elections defy denialsCairo - At least five times in the past two weeks, Ahmed Fathi Surur, speaker of the Egyptian parliament, has denied rumours that the government will soon dissolve parliament and declare snap elections.

Considering that the lower house of parliament was last dissolved in 1987 and that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) already enjoys an unassailable majority of more than two-thirds of the assembly, the denials have left many in the Arab world's most populous nation asking "why?".


Voter turnout in Iraqi Kurdish elections near 80 per cent

IraqArbil, Iraq  - Roughly 80 per cent of eligible voters participated in Saturday's parliamentary and presidential elections in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, electoral authorities said Sunday.

Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced that voter turnout was highest in the city of Dohuk, near the Turkish border, with almost 86 per cent of voters there participating.

In Arbil, the seat of the Kurdish Regional Government, 79 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots. In the city of Suleimaniya, 74.5 per cent of voters participated, the IHEC said.


Afghan president's running mate survives ambush

Afghan President Hamid KarzaiKabul  - Gunmen using machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked one of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's running mates in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, but caused no casualties, the provincial governor said.

Mohammad Qasim Fahim was traveling in a convoy in Khan Abad district of northern Kunduz province on Sunday afternoon, when he was ambushed, Mohammad Omar, the provincial governor of Kunduz told the German Press Agency dpa.


Opposition posts gains in Iraqi Kurdish elections

Opposition posts gains in Iraqi Kurdish elections Arbil, Iraq - A union of the two parties that have for decades defined Kurdish politics in Iraq won a comfortable majority in parliamentary and presidential elections, but the opposition made unprecedented inroads according to preliminary results announced Monday.


Moldova chooses new Parliament after rioting Eds: epa photos available

Moldova chooses new Parliament after rioting Eds: epa photos availableChisinau, Moldova  - Voters in the former Soviet republic of Moldova went to the polls Wednesday in parliamentary elections, nearly four months after bloody street riots followed a Communist election victory.

The liberal opposition, which is advocating entry into the European Union and closer ties to the West, is seeking to end eight years of rule by President Vladimir Voronin's Communist Party, which has allied itself with Russia.


Both sides see victory in Moldava's new elections

Both sides see victory in Moldava's new elections Chisinau - Moldova's ruling Communists and the pro-Western opposition each expressed confidence in victory Wednesday in the country's second parliamentary elections this year.

Meanwhile, outgoing President Vladimir Voronin said the new vote ought to help rescue the former Soviet state from its serious political crisis.

The European Union-oriented opposition is seeking a parliamentary majority that would allow it to put an end to the Voronin era and to choose a non-Communist as the new president.


Merkel rides high as slumping Steinmeier picks team

Merkel rides high as slumping Steinmeier picks teamBerlin - Two months before a German general election, Chancellor Angela Merkel continued to ride high Wednesday with her main opponent suffering a fresh drop in an opinion poll.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, slumped from 20 to 17 per cent on a survey question, who would you elect chancellor if you could? In fact, voters can only elect the legislature, which then picks the chancellor.

In the weekly poll by the Forsa company, incumbent Merkel's rating on the same question rose from 58 to 60 per cent.


Ruling party candidate Sanha wins Guinea-Bissau election

Ruling party candidate Sanha wins Guinea-Bissau election Bissau, Guinea Bissau - Malam Bacai Sanha has won a presidential run-off election in Guinea Bissau to replace assassinated president Joao Bernardo Vieira, election officials said Wednesday.

Sanha, the candidate for the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), polled 63 per cent of the vote, beating his opponent Kumba Yala.

Observers hope that the election will bring stability to a country blighted by instability since independence from Portugal in 1974.


Iranian Govt. to prosecute 30 people arrested during post election violence

Iranian Govt. to prosecute 30 people arrested during post election violenceLondon, Aug. 1 : In a bid to distract attention from the internal rift between Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's hardliner regime has decided to prosecute 30 people arrested in the turbulent aftermath of the presidential election for offences against the State.

"These are going to be kangaroo courts - show trials. They're trying to turn attention away from their own troubles," The Times quoted one analyst in Tehran, as saying.


Albanian premier's coalition needs ruling partner after poll win

Albanian premier's coalition needs ruling partner after poll win Tirana - The coalition led by Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha won a majority of votes in June's parliamentary elections but not enough to form a government alone, the electoral authority said Saturday.

Berisha's coalition won 70 seats in 140-seat parliament, head of the Central Election Commission Arben Ristani told reporters in Tirana.

The main opposition Socialist party led by Tirana's mayor Edi Rama won 66 seats in parliament, while its splinter LSI party won four seats.


Polling begins for Punjab by-elections

Polling begins for Punjab by-electionsChandigarh, Aug 3 : Voting has begun for three assembly seats of Punjab - Banur, Kahnuwan and Jalalabad.

The polling will be held till 5:00 p. m.

The polling will decide the fate of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is contesting from Jalalabad seat.

A total of 21 candidates are contesting the by-polls. The main contenders are from the SAD and the Congress.

Around 1500 paramilitary personnel have been pressed into service to avoid any kind of untoward incident.


Afghan elections will be "challenging" says British envoy

Afghan elections will be "challenging" says British envoy London - The presidential elections in Afghanistan later this month will be "very challenging" but measures are in place to "mitigate" threatened disruption from Taliban forces, Britain's ambassador to Kabul said Wednesday.

Mark Sedwill, speaking via videolink to a briefing at the Foreign Office in London, said the recent increased fighting in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan had guaranteed that about 70 per cent of the people there would be able to vote.


Voting begins in first local election since Tamil rebel defeat

Voting begins in first local election since Tamil rebel defeat Colombo  - Voting in the first local elections since the defeat of Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka opened Saturday, officials said.

Elections are being held for municipal council in the Jaffna town, 396 kilometres north of the capital and urban council in Vavuniya, 240 kilometres north of the Colombo.

It is the first election in the northern province without the presence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam guerrillas who held major influence for more than 26 years before they were finally crushed by the military in May.


Merkel and Steinmeier shift into election campaign gear

Merkel and Steinmeier shift into election campaign gear Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel accused her Vice- Chancellor and top election challenger Frank-Walter Steinmeier of hollow promises on Tuesday, as the rival party frontliners faced the German media at separate events ahead of September's election.

Merkel, of the Christian Democrats (CDU), was critical of Social Democrat (SPD) Steinmeier's election pledge to create 4 million new jobs by the year 2020.


UN leading assistance for Afghanistan's general elections

UN leading assistance for Afghanistan's general elections New York - The United Nations said Friday it is assuming a major role in assisting the Kabul government organize presidential and provincial elections next week.

The UN Development Programme, acting on behalf of the international community, said it is taking the leading role in coordinating substantial provisions for technical assistance to the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC).


Afghanistan asks media to avoid reporting violence on polling day

Afghanistan asks media to avoid reporting violence on polling day Kabul - The Afghan government on Tuesday requested local and international media outlets refrain from reporting violent incidents during this week's polling day.

Afghans go to the polls on Thursday for to elect a new president, and Taliban militants have been stepping up their attacks during the campaign, threatening to slit the throats and cut off the fingers of voters.


Obama calls Afghan elections successful

US President Barack ObamaWashington (dpa) - US President Barack Obama praised the elections that took place in Afghanistan on Thursday as successful despite violence that claimed the lives of 26 people.

"We had what appears to be a successful election in Afghanistan, despite the Taliban's efforts to disrupt it," Obama said in a radio interview.

Afghans flocked to the polls on Thursday, braving Taliban threats and a series of attacks that left 17 security forces and 9 civilians dead. Twenty insurgents also died.


Karzai camp claims victory in Afghanistan presidential elections

Karzai camp claims victory in Afghanistan presidential electionsKabul, Aug. 21 : Supporters of incumbent president Hamid Karzai on Friday claimed victory in the second presidential elections held in Afghanistan since 2001.

Karzai cheered the "successful conduct" of the elections.

However, according to the Washington Independent newspaper and the Afghan news service Pajhwok, Karzai''s main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, said all of Afghanistan was awaiting a change for the better.


Obama sees Afghan election as "important step forward"

US President Barack Obama Washington  - US President Barack Obama called Afghanistan's election an important step forward and praised voters who ignored the threat of violence and went to the polls to cast ballots.

"This was an important step forward," Obama said as he departed the White House to begin a family vacation at Martha's Vineyards in Massachusetts.

Millions of Afghans voted in the presidential and provincial elections on Thursday, despite threats by the Taliban and violence that took the lives of more than 30 people.


Gabonese presidential election gets under way

Gabonese presidential election gets under way Nairobi/Libreville  - Polls opened in Gabon early on Sunday in an election expected to continue the family dynasty of Omar Bongo, who ran the oil-producing nation for over 41 years until his death in June.

Bongo's son Ali-Ben, 50, is up against over a dozen candidates, but analysts say that the support of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party - and by extension the army and police - installs him as firm favourite.


Complaints of fraud nearly triple in Afghan disputed elections

President Hamid KarzaiKabul  - Over 2,000 complaints of fraud, with more than 560 of them considered to be serious enough to affect the results of Afghanistan's hotly disputed presidential vote on August 20, have been lodged so far, the UN-backed Election Complaints Commission ECC said Sunday.

The figure is nearly triple the number of complaints which had been filed with ECC last week. The body had received 790 complaints by last Tuesday.


Polls close in Japan, landslide win seen for DPJ

JapanTokyo ( - Voting in Japan's general elections ended Sunday evening in Japan, with initial exit polls pointing to a landslide victory for the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

The first House of Representatives election in four years ended at 8 pm (1100 GMT) at nearly 51,000 polling stations.

Initial projections indicated that the DPJ was highly likely to win more than 300 seats in the 480-seat lower chamber to end more than 50 years of rule by Prime Minister Taro Aso's Liberal Democratic Party.

If the DPJ wins, 62-year-old party chief Yukio Hatoyama would likely become the next prime minister.  dpa


In historic vote, Japanese choose a fresh start

JapanTokyo  - Their patience ran out. Japan's voters finally said "no more" to over half a century of a virtual political monopoly and instead let their hopes go wild in handing the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) with a landslide victory on Sunday.

Japan readied itself for a new watershed in its modern history, with DPJ successfully ending the 55 years of almost uninterrupted power enjoyed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

It is unquestionable that LDP helped Japan emerge from the ravages of World War Two and rise up to become the world's second-largest economy.


Gabon's electoral commission meets candidates, results due

Omar BongoNairobi/Libreville  - Gabon's electoral commission on Wednesday was meeting with candidates and political party leaders as it prepared to announced the results of Sunday's presidential elections.

Gabon went to the polls on Sunday to elect a successor to Omar Bongo, who ran the oil-producing nation for over 41 years until his death in June.

Three of the candidates claimed victory Monday, raising tensions in the capital Libreville.

Representatives of Bongo's son Ali-Ben, former interior minister Andre Mba Obame and Pierre Mamboundou of the Gabonese People's Union all claimed they had gained enough votes for victory.


Greek prime minister calls snap elections

Greek Prime Minister Costas KaramanlisAthens  - Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called snap elections on Wednesday, saying the nation needed a new mandate to bring it out of an economic crisis.

The prime minister said he would ask President Carolos Papoulias to dissolve parliament on Thursday. Reports said elections will be held on October 4.  dpa


UN urges calm following Gabon's election results

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonNew York  - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called on political leaders in Gabon to exercise restraint as tensions increased after election results gave the presidency to Ali- Ben Bongo, son of the country's former leader.

Ban expressed concern over reports of disturbances in some of Gabon's regions, calling for calm and restraint "so that tensions do not escalate."

He called on "the Gabonese political leaders to refrain from any action which could jeopardize the peaceful conclusion of the electoral process."


37 per cent students turn out for DUSU polls

Bahujan Samaj PartyNew Delhi, Sep 4 : In a controversy filled Delhi University Students'' Union (DUSU) elections this year, a total of 37 per cent students on Friday voted for the post of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Joint Secretary.

“The polls were peaceful and recorded a turnout of 37 per cent. Everything worked well and no complaints of EVMs were received,” said Chief Returning Officer J M Khurana.

Twenty-nine candidates contested for the key posts, excluding the five candidates whom the Chief Election Officer had disqualified from contesting.


Karzai wins majority amid "clear proof of fraud"

President Hamid KarzaiKabul  - Despite international pressure to carry out recounts, the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Tuesday announced that President Hamid Karzai had achieved an absolute majority from the August 20 presidential election.

The UN-backed independent Election Complaints Commission (ECC) reported that there was "clear proof" of fraud in the election, and it ordered the IEC to review votes cast in the relevant polling stations.


Czech court blocks October poll, ballot likely in November

CzechPrague  - The Czech Republic's Constitutional Court Thursday struck down an early general election set for early October, in a move that is likely to delay a snap poll by at least one month.

The top court, based in the second largest Czech city of Brno, sided with a challenge against a single-use law that had enabled the snap poll scheduled for October 9-10.

The court's 15 judges ruled 13-2 that the one-off law was unconstitutional because it was retroactive and arbitrary. They thus cancelled the law and a separate presidential decree setting the election date.


Parliamentary elections begin in Norway

Jens StoltenbergOslo  - Voting began Sunday in a two-day parliamentary election in Norway, with 3.5 million voters set to decide whether to continue the government of Social Democrat Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his coalition with the Socialist Left and Liberal parties.

The main challengers to the Stoltenberg-led coalition are the Progress Party of rightwing populist Siv Jensen and the conservative party led by Erna Solberg.

Election results are expected at the latest on Monday evening.  dpa


Norway's ruling coalition stays on, exit poll shows

Prime Minister Jens StoltenbergOslo  - Norway's ruling red-green coalition was set to continue for another four years in office, according to an exit poll published Monday.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his coalition were forecast to win 86 seats, a loss of a seat but sufficient for a majority in the 169-seat legislature, the exit poll said.

The premier's Labour Party is the main force in the coalition that has ruled for the past four years with the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party.


Polling begins for Bihar by-election

Polling begins for Bihar by-electionPatna, Sept 15 : Voting has begun for the by-election to 11 of the 18 assembly constituencies in Bihar this morning.

The polling will decide the fate of 99 contestants, including nine women.

The Janata Dal (United) is contesting from Bagha, Nautan, Dhoraiya, Triveniganj, Fulwari, Ghosi, Simri Bakhtiarpur and Munger constituencies while the BJP is from Bodh Gaya, Begusarai and Araria.

The RJD and the LJP has fielded its candidates from Bagha, Nautan, Dhoraiya, Fulwari, Munger, Simri Bakhtiarpur, Ghosi; and Bodh Gaya, Begusarai, Araria and Triveniganj respectively.


New poll gives Greek opposition Socialists majority ahead of vote

New poll gives Greek opposition Socialists majority ahead of voteAthens - Greece's main opposition, the Socialist PASOK party, could earn enough support to form a government by itself in elections on October 4, according to survey results released Friday.

It is the last survey expected before the elections.

With more than two weeks to go, PASOK, which is under the leadership of Giorgos Papandreou, has stretched its lead over the ruling conservative New Democracy party to more than 6 per cent, according to the poll conducted by Public Issue for Kathimerini newspaper.


Opponent steps up attack on Merkel before Germany's election

Chancellor Angela MerkelBerlin  - With a week to go before Germany's general election, the leader of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of weak leadership Saturday.

Christian Democrat (CDU) leader Merkel has stated her desire to dump the weakening SPD as a coalition partner, but neither has been highly aggressive to the other in campaigning.

In his most trenchant attack yet, SPD leader Franz Muentefering charged, "Merkel has undermined the authority of the chancellorship and of cabinet."


Merkel ally puts tax cuts before coalition deal

Chancellor Angela MerkelBerlin  - The leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's sister party in Bavaria fired a shot across her bows Tuesday as he warned he would not support a new conservative-liberal coalition without a pledge of tax cuts.

Christian Social Union (CSU) chairman Horst Seehofer made the pledge a day after Merkel reacted coolly to a CSU programme calling for cuts in income tax and value-added tax as well as changes in corporate tax rules.

"I will not sign any coalition agreement that does not envisage lower taxes - and the date has to be 2011 or 2012," Seehofer told the newspaper Muenchener Merkur.


Police raid far-right German party after "go-home" letters

National Democratic PartyBerlin  - German police raided the headquarters of the far- right National Democratic Party (NPD) on Wednesday after it sent letters to German politicians with immigrant backgrounds telling them to "go home."

The original copy of the letter and three computers were seized as evidence during the raid in suburban Berlin.

The letter, made to look like it had come from an official body, had the heading: "Notice of an orderly implementation of the return of people with an immigrant background to their country of origin."


Afghan commission announces preliminary results for 357 lawmakers

AfghanistanKabul  - Afghan Independent Election Commission announced on Saturday the preliminary results for 357 provincial lawmakers, while there was still no exact date for final results of hotly disputed presidential election.

Nearly 3,340 Afghan candidates participated in August 20 provincial council elections - held together with the presidential poll - to compete for 420 seats in the country's 34 provinces.


Portuguese vote in elections focused on economy

Portuguese vote in elections focused on economy Lisbon  - Portuguese voters began going to polls Sunday in general elections focused on the economy, as one of Western Europe's poorest countries struggles to recover from its economic crisis.

Polls gave a lead to Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates, 52, whose conservative challenger Manuela Ferreira Leite, 68, aspires to become Portugal's first elected female premier.

Ferreira Leite heads the centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD).

Socrates was not, however, expected to renew the absolute majority he won in 2005.


Greeks go to the polls to elect new government

Greeks go to the polls to elect new governmentAthens - Greeks began voting on Sunday to elect a new government in which the incumbent conservatives, which have come under fire for corruption, social discontent and its inability to tackle the economic crisis, are expected to lose to the opposition Socialists.

Greece's parliamentary elections will once again be a match between the heirs to two of the most powerful political dynasties in the southern Mediterranean country.


New Greek premier will personally handle foreign affairs

George PapandreouAthens  - Greece's newly-elected Socialist Prime Minister, George Papandreou, will personally handle foreign affairs in the new government and named foreign-trained ecnomists to the country's top ministries Tuesday in an effort to pull the country from the brink of recession.

Following a landslide victory in parliamentary elections on Sunday against the conservatives, the US-born and -educated Socialist leader has made reforming the faltering economy his government's top priority.


Maharashtra bracing for tough election battle

Maharashtra bracing for tough election battleMumbai, Oct 10 The stage is set for the Oct 13 assembly elections in Maharashtra where the ruling Congress-led alliance faces a stiff challenge from the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine for the control of one of India's most industrialized states.

The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) say they are confident of retaining power in the state they have ruled for 10 long years. The BJP and Shiv Sena are equally determined to unseat the Congress-NCP coalition.


Protests as governing party wins local elections in Moscow

President Dmitry MedvedevMoscow  - At least 32 persons were arrested at unauthorized protests in Moscow on Monday following the news that the governing United Russia party had won local elections in Moscow by a wide margin, police reported.

Special units of the Russian police moved in as demonstrators at one gathering burned ballots "in protest against voter fraud."

The incumbent United Russia won 66.3 of the vote, while the Communist party, with 13.3 per cent of the vote, was the only other party to make it into Moscow's 35-seat duma (council), the Interfax news agency reported, citing election officials.


Polling in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh begins

Polling in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh beginsMumbai / Chandigarh / Itanagar, Oct 13 : Polling to elect new assemblies in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh began on Tuesday.

The voting is being held in a single phase in all these states.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure free and fair polls.

The Election Commission has banned the publication and dissemination of results of opinion and exit polls on assembly elections till the completion of the voting process on Tuesday evening.


Maharashtra Chief Minister casts his vote

Ashok ChavanMumbai, Oct 13 : Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan cast his vote here today.

After casting his vote, Chavan asked the people to come out and use their right to vote for their candidate.

Besides Chavan, Anil Ambani, Poonam Mahajan and Ajit Pawar also cast their votes.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena workers alleged that Congress MLA Janardhan Chandurkar was distributing money to lure voters.

Chandurkar, a three-term MLA, is contesting from Bandra (East) constituency. He is being questioned by the police.


Political leaders cast their vote in Haryana, Maharashtra

Political leaders cast their vote in Haryana, MaharashtraRohtak (Haryana)/Pune (Mumbai), Oct 13 : Prominent leaders came out to cast their votes for the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana on Tuesday.

In Rohtak, Bhajan Lal, former Haryana Chief Minister and chief of the Haryana Janhit Congress came out and cast his vote.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda cast his vote and refused to comment about his rivals.

"This is democracy and everybody has the right of expression. But it is people who will elect the government," he said while heading before casting his vote.


Vilasrao Deshmukh casts his vote

Vilasrao Deshmukh casts his voteBabhalgaon Village/Mumbai, Oct 13 : Union Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh cast his vote with family members here on Tuesday.

Vilasrao''s son Amit Deshmukh is contesting from Latur on Congress-NCP ticket. Confident Vilasrao said the ruling alliance would easily come to power, as there is no anti-incumbency factor.

"I feel that people are in favour of the ruling alliance (Congress-Nationalist Party Alliance) and don''t see any negative or anti-incumbency factor," Vilasrao said after casting his vote.


No nominations on first day for Himachal by-elections

Bharatiya Janata PartyShimla, Oct 14 : The two major political parties in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Wednesday did not name their candidates even as nominations opened for the by-elections to two assembly constituencies.

Rohru and Jawali constituencies fell vacant after the respective legislators from there - Virbhadra Singh and Rajan Sushant - contested and won the Lok Sabha elections in May.

"On the first day of filing the nomination papers, no candidate of any political party has filed the papers," Himachal Chief Electoral Officer Anil Khachi told IANS.


Polling begins in naxal-affected 22 booths in Gadchiroli

Polling begins in naxal-affected 22 booths in GadchiroliGadchiroli, Oct 15 : Voting has begun at twenty-two polling booths in naxal-affected Maharashtra''s Gadchiroli district today.

Polling will end at 3: 00 p. m.

Polling could not be held in these booths on Tuesday, as agents could not reach there on time due to security reasons.

Thirteen polling centres are in the Aheri area, seven in the Armori area and two in the Gadchiroli assembly constituency.


Maoists fire at polling station in Maharashtra district

Maoists fire at polling station in Maharashtra districtGadchiroli (Maharashtra), Oct 15 : Maoists attempted to disrupt the polling process in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli District on Thursday morning by firing at a polling booth.

The Naxals reportedly opened fire on the polling booth in Kotmi village of Alapali taluka at around 10:30 a. m.

Naxals fled from the spot after the attack. No casualties were reported in the incident.


Elections in Palestine postponed indefintely

Elections in Palestine postponed indefintelyJerusalem, Nov. 13 : Presidential and parliamentary polls in the Palestinian territories that were scheduled to be held in January 2010, have been postponed indefintely in view of the objections raised by the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza.

Electoral officials conceded on Thursday that no elections could take place till the Hamas was brought onboard.


Croatia presidential race offers voters 13 candidates

Croatia presidential race offers voters 13 candidatesZagreb - Croats will have a choice of 13 candidates when they vote for their new president on December 27, the daily Vecernji List said Tuesday.

Incumbent President Stjepan Mesic has served two five-year terms, the maximum allowed by law.

Recent surveys predict a tight race between two front-runners from the opposition Social Democratic Party: the "official" candidate, Ivo Josipovic, and the party "dissident," Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic.


Iraqi vice president returns elections law to parliament

Iraqi vice president returns elections law to parliamentBaghdad - Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on Wednesday returned the country's elections law to parliament, asking it to raise the number of seats reserved for expatriate Iraqis.

Al-Hashemi asked the parliament to reconsider the paragraph of the law which sets the number of seats reserved for expatriate Iraqi voters, a source in his office said, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Manipur Assembly by poll on December 19

Manipur Assembly by poll on December 19Imphal, Nov 21 : By-poll to Yaiskul Assembly constituency in Imphal East district of Manipur would be held on December 19.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer N Prabin said in a statement that the notification for the by-poll was necessitated following the demise of sitting Congress MLA Elangbam Kunjakishore. The notification will be issued on November 25.

The last date for filing of nomination papers and withdrawal of papers would be December 2 and December 5 respectively.

Counting of votes would be taken up on December 23.


Jharkhand police foil Maoist attempt to disrupt assembly polls

Jharkhand police foil Maoist attempt to disrupt assembly pollsRanchi, Nov 23 : Police here have foiled a Maoist attempt to disrupt the Assembly polls in Jharkhand as they have arrested three people with electronic material used in landmine plants.

Acting on a tip off, the police intercepted a vehicle here and found it laden with explosive devices in the Bundu area.


Voting begins for first phase of Jharkhand assembly polls

Voting begins for first phase of Jharkhand assembly pollsRanchi, Nov 25 : Polling for the first phase of the five-phased Jharkhand assembly elections began amidst tight security on Wednesday morning.

A total of 470 candidates, including 34 women, are in the fray with 6,532,234 voters to cast votes between 7 am to 3 pm.

The opening and closing time for the polling has been advanced in view of the Naxal threats.


Campaigning for second phase of Jharkhand elections ends today

Campaigning for second phase of Jharkhand elections ends todayRanchi, Nov 30 : Campaigning for the second phase of the five-phased poll for the Jharkhand Assembly will end this evening.

The second phase of the poll will take place on December 2 for 14 constituencies of remaining 55.

According to sources, despite tight security, violence continues unabated in the state. Polls for 26 Assembly seats were held on November 25. The second phase will cover most of the Maoists affected areas in the state.


Maoists contest elections in Jharkhand

Maoists contest elections in JharkhandDaltonganj (Jharkhand), Nov 30 : After waging a war from the forests, Maoist rebels have joined mainstream politics and are contesting this year''s assembly election in Jharkhand.

At least six rebels are in the poll fray.

The rebels say they have given up arms for votes to continue their fight for people''s rights.


Jharkhand all set to stage fourth phase of assembly poll

Jharkhand all set to stage fourth phase of assembly pollRanchi, Dec 11 : Over 24 lakh voters will decide the fate of 233 candidates during the fourth phase of the Jharkhand assembly polls on Saturday.

Voting will take place in fourteen constituencies.

These are Baharagora, Ghatshila, Potka, Ichagarh, Majhgaon, Manoharpur, Torpa, Sisai, Chakradharpur, Gumla, Bishunpur, Simdega, Kolebira and Lohardaga.


Campaigning for fifth phase of Jharkhand elections ends today

Campaigning for fifth phase of Jharkhand elections ends todayRanchi, Dec 16 : Campaigning for the fifth phase and final phase of the five-phased poll for the Jharkhand Assembly will come to an end today.

Polling in this phase will be held in sixteen constituencies on December 18.

Leaders of different political parties are leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters in favour of their parties.

According to sources, tight security arrangements have been made, as there are chances of violence taking place in the Maoist-dominated areas.


Jharkhand polls: 35 percent voting recorded till noon

Jharkhand polls: 35 percent voting recorded till noonRanchi, Dec 18 : Over 35 per cent voting has been recorded in the fifth and final phase of assembly elections in Jharkhand so far.

16 seats are going to poll in this round of the five-phased elections amidst tight security. The officials of the Election Commission in New Delhi and in Ranchi have been watching the polling through webcams in eight booths -- one each in Chaibasa, Sareikela, Garhwa, Chatra, Latehar, Barkatha and two in Palamau.


Jharkhand polls: Congress leads at present, BJP calls for a party meeting

Jharkhand polls: Congress leads at present, BJP calls for a party meetingNew Delhi/Ranchi, Dec 23 : The newly appointed President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nitin Gadkari has reached the BJP office in New Delhi and there are reports that a discussion on the BJP''s position in the ongoing counting for Jharkhand polls may be discussed.

As per the latest reports, the Jharkhand assembly is heading for a hung verdict with no single alliance getting a clear majority.

The biggest concern that has come to the fore is whether Jharkhand will have a stable government this time.


Jharkhand polls: Congress plus allies emerge single largest party; Soren emerges kingmaker

Jharkhand polls: Congress plus allies emerge single largest party; Soren emerges kingmakerRanchi, Dec 24 : The results of the polls for the Jharkhand State Assembly elections has thrown up all sorts of possibilities with no single party in a position to form a government of its own in the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly.

Shibu Soren''s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has surprised everyone by bagging 18 seats, and he could play the role of kingmaker.


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