Tag Archives: Elections

Israel coalition leaders agree on early elections in April: spokesman

Israel coalition leaders agree on early elections in April: spokesmanIsraeli coalition leaders agreed Monday to hold early elections in April, seven months before they are due, a statement issued on their behalf said. Coalition party heads in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have decided to dissolve parliament and hold elections in early April “in the name of budgetary and national responsibility,” the statement distributed by a spokesman for Netanyahu’s Likud party said. The decision comes with the coalition struggling to agree on a key bill related to ultra-Orthodox Jews serving in the military like their secular counterparts.



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Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska accused of interfering in Montenegro's elections

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska accused of interfering in Montenegro's electionsOleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch, was yesterday accused by the United States of working with a former Kremlin intelligence officer to interfere in Montenegro’s 2016 elections. The US Treasury announced sanctions against Victor Alekseyevich Boyarkin, once a member of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency but now working for Mr Deripaska, according to the department. The Treasury said that Mr Boyarkin “reported directly to Deripaska and has led business negotiations on Deripaska’s behalf”. It added: “Deripaska and Boyarkin were involved in providing Russian financial support to a Montenegrin political party ahead of Montenegro’s 2016 elections.” That election, it has been alleged, featured an assassination attempt on the country’s prime minister by the pro-Russian opposition to stop its accession to Nato. Russia has denied involvement, and it is not suggested Mr Deripaska or Mr Boyarkin were involved in the attempt. The plot, reported extensively by The Daily Telegraph last year, has become a focal point for Western fears about Russian election meddling and led to legal action being taken against leaders of the Montenegrin opposition and two Russian nationals. Mr Deripaska at the World Economic Forum Credit: Reuters Mr Deripaska is one of Russia’s best-known businessmen and was head of the aluminium companies EN+ and Rusal until earlier this year. He is a well-known figure in London where he floated EN+, raising more than £1 billion, and is believed to own several properties. He once had links at the top of British politics, infamously hosting Lord Mandelson and George Osborne on his yacht in 2008. The US action is likely to increase pressure on Theresa May, the Prime Minister, who has vowed to take action against Russian oligarchs in the UK in the wake of the Skripal poisoning. The Telegraph reported earlier this month that Mr Deripaska was on a list of Russians to be targeted by British intelligence in a campaign to disrupt Vladimir Putin. This newspaper has previously asked about links between Mr Deripaska’s company Rusal and the former GRU officer. A spokesman for the company said at the time that Mr Boyarkin was no longer a Rusal employee. The US Treasury sanctioned Mr Deripaska in April 2016, claiming he “acted or purported to act for” a senior official in the Russian government. It also took action against EN+. Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Nizhny Novgorod region Governor Valeriy Shantsev (C) and billionaire Oleg Deripaska (R) examine a new Gazon Next vehicle Credit: Getty Images Europe Yesterday, the department announced that it would be dropping sanctions against three companies linked to Mr Deripaska: En+, Rusal and JSC EuroSibEnergo. Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, said: “Treasury sanctioned these companies because of their ownership and control by sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, not for the conduct of the companies themselves. These companies have committed to significantly diminish Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control. The companies will be subject to ongoing compliance and will face severe consequences if they fail to comply.” The action was taken following fierce lobbying in Washington DC led in part by Lord Barker of Battle, the former Tory climate change minister who is chairman of EN+. Mr Deripaska’s agreement with the US Treasury department includes cutting his direct and indirect share ownership below 50 per cent in each company and overhauling the boards of En+ and Rusal. The sanctions spooked the energy markets, with Rusal seeing its value plummet since being targeted. Congress could yet block the Treasury’s lifting of sanctions and has 30 days in which to call a vote. At the same time as lifting the sanctions on Mr Deripaska’s companies, the US Treasury imposed punishments on several new Russian figures. They included Russian military intelligence operatives over the US election meddling, and Mr Boyarkin, who will have any assets in US financial institutions frozen. Banks dealing in dollars or companies trading in the US will also not be allowed to work with Mr Boyarkin. The Treasury cited an executive order which takes action against those working on behalf of senior Russian government officials in justifying its move. Donald Trump joined Britain in expelling Russian diplomats over the Skripal incident but has repeatedly appeared reluctant to publicly criticise the Russian president, though his administration has pushed ahead with sanctions. The alleged coup plot during Montenegro’s elections in 2016 remains, in the eyes of Kremlin critics, one of the most shocking examples of Russian election meddling. Members of the pro-Russian Montenegrin opposition were accused of planning with factions close to the Kremlin an attack on the country’s parliament and trying to kill Milo Djukanovic, the prime minister. It was seen as a last ditch attempt to stop Montenegro joining Nato. The plot was foiled and its alleged leaders put on trial. Montenegro went on to join Nato. This newspaper approached representatives at En+, Rusal and JSC EuroSibEnergo for a comment from Mr Deripaska or Mr Boyarkin but did not receive a response.     



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Mattis reveals Russian government attempted to interfere in U.S. midterm elections

Mattis reveals Russian government attempted to interfere in U.S. midterm electionsDefense Secretary James Mattis revealed that the Russian government attempted to interfere in the U.S. midterm elections last month during remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, CA.



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Taiwan ruling party suffers major defeat in local elections

Taiwan ruling party suffers major defeat in local electionsTAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's ruling party was handed a major defeat in local elections Saturday that were seen as a referendum on the administration of the island's independence-leaning president amid growing economic and political pressure from China.



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Taiwan's pro-independence party faces key elections amid China pressure

Taiwan's pro-independence party faces key elections amid China pressureChina has become increasingly concerned that Tsai wants to push for formal independence and has ramped up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the democratic island. Beijing regards self-ruled Taiwan as part of China and has vowed to use force if necessary to keep the island. In a post on Facebook, Tsai has urged people to “vote for Taiwan’s democracy” and rallied support for her party in a bid to “boost the energy of reform and progress”.



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The Latest: Embattled Florida elections official to resign

The Latest: Embattled Florida elections official to resignTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on Florida's election recount (all times local):



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Netanyahu heads into cabinet showdown as allies demand early Israeli elections

Netanyahu heads into cabinet showdown as allies demand early Israeli electionsBenjamin Netanyahu faces a showdown with his coalition government partners on Sunday as he tries to stop them from forcing early elections in the wake of his unpopular decision to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas.  Three of the smaller parties in the Israeli prime minister’s coalition have demanded elections as soon as possible and want to use today’s cabinet meeting to formally agree on a date for the vote.  However, Mr Netanyahu said he wants to keep the government together and is eager to push the date of the elections off for several more months.  “Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that it is important to make every effort to preserve the Right-wing government,” said a spokesman for his Likud party. Mr Netanyahu on Saturday said he wanted his government to see out the end of its term, blaming the centre-Right Kulanu party for the turmoil. "If the Kulanu faction doesn't bring the government down – there is a government," he said on Twitter. "All Likud members want to keep serving the country for another whole year until the end of the term in November 2019."   Education Minister Naftali Bennett demanded to be given the defence portfolio, threatening to withdraw his eight seats from Mr Netanyahu's governing coalition Credit: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images He is hoping a delayed election will leave more time for the Right-wing voters of his base to forget about last week’s ceasefire agreement with Hamas to stop fighting in Gaza.   Many Israelis on the Right wanted to see Israeli forces move more aggressively against the Islamist militants, who fired around 460 rockets and mortars into southern Israel during the fighting.  Mr Netanyahu’s defence minister resigned over the ceasefire and civilians in the southern city of Sderot, which is regularly targeted by Hamas rockets, burned tyres and blocked streets in protest. If the prime minister holds his ground and refuses to grant elections then coalition party leaders face a choice: they can stay in the government and allow Mr Netanyahu to limp on or leave the government and bring the coalition crashing down.  The smaller parties may be loathe to bring down the government because it will allow Mr Netanyahu to present himself as a responsible leader who tried to maintain Israel’s stability while other parties clamored for elections.  Profile | Benjamin Netanyahu The two sides may reach a compromise where Mr Netanyahu agrees to elections but on a longer timetable, possibly with elections in late March, which favours his own political interests.   Mr Netanyahu goes into the cabinet facing off against three of his own ministers. His main irritant is Naftali Bennett, the 46-year-old education minister and leader of the Right-wing Jewish Home party.  Mr Bennet, who was once Mr Netanyahu’s chief of staff, is trying chip away Right-wing voters from the Likud by promising a tougher line against Hamas.  The two men have a frosty personal relationship, with Mr Netanyahu’s allies accusing Mr Bennett of leaking material from cabinet meetings to undermine the prime minister.  Despite the chaos in the coalition and the corruption scandal swirling around him and his wife, Mr Netanyahu appears well placed to win an election and form a new Right-wing government.  A poll for Israel’s Channel 2 found that Mr Netanyahu’s Likud would win 29 seats in an election, making it by far the biggest party. The centrist Yesh Atid party would take 18 seats while the centre-Left Zionist Union would win only 11.  Mr Netanyahu has been prime minister since 2009 and served a brief three-year stint as prime minister in the late 1990s. If he is still prime minister in July next year, he will have overtaken David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, as the longest-serving leader of Israel.  The current government could continue serving until November 2019 but Israel’s coalition governments rarely serve out their full four-year terms.  The current coalition has 61 seats in the 120 parliament, known as the Knesset. One of Mr Netanyahu’s Likud MPs, Oren Hazan, was suspended for six weeks this week after insulting a defence ministry official.  Mr Hazan, who previously embarrassed the prime minister by taking a selfie with Donald Trump, can still vote but is barred from any other parliamentary activity. His suspension gives Mr Netanyahu’s weakened government even less room for manoeuvre.     



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The Latest: Leaders discuss Ukraine elections at Paris meet

The Latest: Leaders discuss Ukraine elections at Paris meetPARIS (AP) — The latest on commemorations a century after the end of World War I (all times local):



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Rahm Emanuel: Midterm elections were 'a blue wave with a red undertow'

Rahm Emanuel: Midterm elections were 'a blue wave with a red undertow'The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, including the impact of Democrats taking control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections.



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Broward Elections Supervisor Mixed Good and Bad Provisional Ballots

Broward Elections Supervisor Mixed Good and Bad Provisional BallotsBroward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes contaminated about 200 valid provisional ballots by combining them with more than a dozen rejected ballots, the Miami Herald reported late Friday. The Broward canvassing board discovered the mistake when Snipes conceded to Republican attorneys’ demand that she present the board with 205 provisional ballots for inspection on Friday evening. The 205 contaminated provisional ballots were filled out by voters whose information did not appear in the databases at their respective polling stations, but whose registrations were confirmed when election workers called the Broward elections headquarters.



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