Leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will appeal his barring from October’s elections to the United Nations and Brazil’s Supreme Court, the man set to replace him on the ballot said Monday. The appeal will be accompanied by a request to suspend Friday’s decision by the Superior Electoral Court to prevent Lula from running for a potential third term as president because he is serving a 12-year jail sentence for accepting a bribe. After visiting Lula in prison in the southern city of Curitiba, Workers’ Party potential candidate Fernando Haddad said he had informed the former head of state of “all the possibilities at his disposal.”
Brazil’s top electoral court has ruled that jailed former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is barred from running in October’s presidential elections. The ruling came after a dramatic and gruelling late-night session broadcast live on television and across news sites, and defied a request from the United Nations human rights committee that he be allowed to stand. Lula is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering. The court also banned him from campaign advertisements. His defence said it would appeal the decision to Brazil’s supreme court.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, supporters of former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba are demanding he be allowed on the ballot for the December 23 presidential election. Congo’s electoral commission disqualified Bemba because of his 2016 conviction by the International Criminal Court. The court said Bemba was responsible for war crimes committed by his militia in the Central African Republic. But in June, the court overturned the conviction and released Bemba from prison. His party, the Movement of the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), argues that the ICC case is finished and Bemba should be allowed on the ballot.
Jean-Pierre Bemba has been banned from running in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election later this year by the country’s electoral commission. Bemba, a former vice president, was considered one of the top opposition contenders since returning to the country in August after he was acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, an appeal in another case about interfering with witnesses is still pending. The electoral commission called that synonymous with corruption – DRC law prevents people convicted of corruption from running for president. The announcement came late on Friday as the electoral commission issued a list of eligible candidates for the long-delayed December 23 polls. Bemba can appeal the decision and the final list of candidates is expected next month.
A ban on dozens of Afghan strongmen and lawmakers from running for parliament because of suspected links to illegal armed groups has spurred threats to disrupt a general election already at risk from worsening security. The October polls, seen as an important test of Afghanistan’s democratic legitimacy and a dry run for a presidential election next year, have been repeatedly delayed because of organizational problems. “There will be riots, protests and road-blockages if they don’t accept me,” said Assadullah Sharifi, a lawmaker who is among 35 people the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) has barred from standing.
Pakistan’s former prime minister and a member of his cabinet have been controversially barred from contesting next month’s general election. It is the latest in a series of blows to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party that have fuelled accusations the country’s military is trying to deny the party a second term. On Thursday, the supreme court found the former privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz guilty of contempt, disqualifying him from parliament for five years.
Efforts to pry loose President Donald Trump’s tax returns at the state level have hit a wall, stalling in statehouses across the country including in California, a hotbed of anti-Trump resistance. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation late Sunday that would have forced presidential candidates to make their tax returns public before appearing on the California ballot, marking the death there of a measure once ballyhooed by Democrats and open government advocates as an end run to Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax filings. Democrats have seen similar proposals stall in more than 20 states since Trump’s election. But Brown’s veto here — in a deeply liberal state where Democrats control every statewide office and both houses of the Legislature — marked a new low for the offensive.
President Donald Trump broke with 40 years of precedent when he refused to release his tax returns during his campaign. Now California lawmakers want to force him to decide between sharing his returns or giving up his spot on the state’s 2020 presidential ballot. California would become the first state in the country to require presidential candidates to release their tax returns if a bill passed by the Legislature last week is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. But legal scholars say there are significant questions whether the legislation passes constitutional muster. And it’s not clear whether Brown, who didn’t release his own tax returns in his most recent two gubernatorial races, backs the bill. “You can bet that if Governor Brown signs it, the second the ink is dry someone will sue,” said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School who says there are strong constitutional arguments on both sides of the issue.
A proposed Massachusetts ballot question that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns from the prior six years to secure a spot on the state primary ballot cleared a key hurdle Wednesday. Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey certified the question, saying it passes constitutional muster. That clears the question to go before voters next year, provided that supporters can collect the tens of thousands of signatures needed to get on the ballot. The proposal is a reaction to Republican President Donald Trump’s refusal to publicly release his tax returns during the 2016 election. It would impose the same requirements for candidates for vice president.
President Donald Trump’s refusal to publicly release his tax returns is fueling initiatives in Massachusetts and other states that would require presidential candidates to disclose their personal finances before they could appear on the ballot. Massachusetts lawmakers are set to hold a hearing Wednesday at the Statehouse on a bill that would impose those conditions. The chief sponsor, state Sen. Mike Barrett, said that until the election of Trump, most Americans just assumed candidates for president would adhere to “modern practices of disclosure and transparency” — even those that are unwritten. “One of them is the disclosure by candidates of personal financial information related to possible conflicts of interest,” the Lexington Democrat said. “The 2016 election shattered our confidence in the broad acceptance by presidential candidates of certain rules of public conduct.”
Australia: Malcolm Roberts’s election may have been invalid, government solicitor tells court | The Guardian
Malcolm Roberts could be the exception among sitting parliamentarians ensnared in the dual citizen saga in that his election in 2016 may have been invalid, the high court has heard. Roberts and former senator Scott Ludlam were different to the other three politicians so far referred to the high court – Barnaby Joyce, Larissa Waters and Matt Canavan – because they knew they had been citizens of other countries, the solicitor-general, Stephen Donaghue, told the court on Thursday. Tony Windsor, the former independent MP and rival to Joyce, has been allowed to join the citizenship case, which chief justice Susan Kiefel has set down hearings in Canberra in October.
Australia’s parliament is in the grip of the world’s most ridiculous constitutional crisis. The situation threatens the country’s democratic process, which is reason enough for politicians and courts to work to unpick it. More importantly, though, it raises questions the rest of the world would do well to ponder. Over the past month, five members of Australia’s 226-member parliament have admitted that they may have unwittingly held dual citizenship — a condition that, under Australia’s 1900 constitution, disqualifies them from political office in Canberra. The latest blow on Monday ensnared Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, putting into jeopardy the government’s one-seat majority in the governing House of Representatives. Joyce’s father was born in New Zealand in 1924. As a result, Kiwis officially consider him one of their own.
Two Australian politicians have been forced to leave their seats in the Senate after they discovered they were ineligible to stand because they held dual citizenship with other countries. Greens senator Larissa Waters resigned on Tuesday after revealing she also held Canadian citizenship, days after her party colleague Scott Ludlam was forced to step down after discovering he held dual citizenship with New Zealand. Australia’s constitution bars dual citizens from eligibility for elected office, unless they can show they have taken reasonable steps to sever foreign ties. Although Ludlam served in the upper house for nine years and Waters for six, the revelations mean they were technically never senators. A visibly emotional Waters apologised for failing to conduct the necessary checks to ensure she was eligible to sit in parliament. She said she had learned with “shock and sadness” she was a dual citizen after checking last week.
The deputy leader of an Australian political party announced Friday that he was ending his nine-year career in Parliament because he had discovered he had technically never been a senator. Scott Ludlam, the 47-year-old deputy leader of the minor Greens party, said he was “personally devastated” to learn that he was a citizen of New Zealand as well as Australia, which made him ineligible for the Senate job he has held since July 2008. The constitution states that a “citizen of a foreign power” is not eligible to be elected to the Australian Parliament. … Born in in Palmerston North in New Zealand, Ludlam moved to Perth, Australia, when was 3 years old. He became an Australian as a teenager and said he hadn’t realized that New Zealand citizenship “might be something that sticks to you in that way.”
Lawmakers in nearly half the states want to add a requirement for presidential candidates: Show us your tax returns. The issue has dogged President Donald Trump, who became the first presidential candidate in modern times to refuse to make his returns public. It flared anew this week after MSNBC said it had obtained two pages of Trump’s 2005 federal return, prompting the administration to release the documents preemptively. State lawmakers around the country, mostly Democrats, want to ensure transparency in future presidential campaigns so voters can evaluate candidates’ sources of income and any possible conflicts of interest. Most of the bills would require presidential contenders to release copies of their returns as a condition for appearing on that state’s ballot, although it’s unclear whether they could pass constitutional muster. The aim is to find out about potential conflicts that candidates might have before they take office, said Hawaii Rep. Chris Lee, a Democrat who introduced one of the Hawaii bills.
State legislators across the country are debating new measures that would require candidates running for president to publicly disclose their tax returns to qualify for the ballot. The measures are aimed at President Trump, who became the first White House candidate in recent times refuse to release his tax documents to the public. Democrats, incensed by Trump’s false claims of being prevented from releasing the documents because of an IRS audit, see the legislation on the state level as a way to force the president’s hand when he seeks reelection in 2020. “Tax return information would provide some transparency there to give voters the assurance that they need that the president is acting on behalf of us,” said Kathleen Clyde, an Ohio state representative who recently introduced a version of the bill. “It is problematic that he is the only candidate in 30 or 40 years not to provide that information.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require President-elect Donald Trump to release his tax returns. The measure comes as Democrats are pushing to increase the financial transparency of Trump and his wealthy Cabinet picks. But it is unlikely to be enacted with Trump taking office later this month and Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress. Wyden’s bill would require sitting presidents to provide their three most recent years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). It would also mandate that major-party presidential nominees release their returns to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 15 days of accepting the nomination at party conventions. Under the bill, if presidents and nominees don’t release their tax returns, the Treasury secretary would provide them directly to OGE and FEC. The agencies would then make the returns public.
National: Blue-state lawmakers want to keep Trump off 2020 ballot unless he releases tax returns | The Washington Post
Lawmakers in several deep-blue states want to require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot in those states, a sharp rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump’s ongoing refusal to make his tax records public. A pair of Maryland Democrats on Tuesday announced they would introduce a bill mandating the release of five years of tax returns, mirroring similar proposals in New York, Massachusetts, California and Maine. If approved, the proposals could keep Trump from appearing on some ballots in 2020 if he continues breaking with the decades-long tradition of financial transparency and decides to seek a second term. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in May introduced a federal bill requiring major-party candidates to release their returns, but that legislation didn’t advance in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Hassan Ayariga, the twice disqualified presidential candidate of Ghana’s opposition All People’s Congress, is calling on the chairperson of the country’s electoral commission to step down with immediate effect, before next month’s general elections. If chairperson Charlotte Osei does not resign, Ayariga said Ghana’s presidential, legislative and local elections on December 7 will no longer be seen as transparent and credible. Civil society groups in Ghana and other members of the electoral commission dismissed Ayariga’s demands and defended Osei as someone who has implemented electoral laws without favoring any side. The APC leader noted that Osei, who has held her position for less than a year, has faced legal challenges more than 15 times, with every one of her decisions being overturned in court.
Ghana’s electoral commission has qualified seven presidential candidates for the national election on December 7. The successful candidates — six representing political parties and one independent — took part in a drawing late Wednesday in the capital, Accra, to determine their positions on the ballot. They will be listed by party affiliation in this order on voters’ ballots: Convention People’s Party (CPP), National Democratic Party (NDP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People’s National Convention (PNC) and independent (non-party) candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah. The electoral commission earlier had disqualified several candidates for failing to comply with all registration requirements for the election, but those rulings were challenged in court by the PPP and NDP, among others. A court ruling ordered the commission to allow disqualified candidates time to correct errors in their nomination documents.
The people of Ivory Coast are going to the polls on Sunday to approve or reject a draft constitution which the government says will address the question of identity which has been at the heart of years of unrest. The draft constitution was adopted earlier this month by the National Assembly but opposition parties have called for a boycott, as they say the country already has one of the best constitutions in Africa. They also accuse President Alassane Ouattara of using it as a way of trying to nominate his successor. The most important change is contained in an article that removes the age limit of 75 and scraps the requirement that both parents of presidential candidates must be native-born Ivorians.
Seven out of 10 Members of Parliament are opposed to the lifting of the Presidential age limit from the Constitution, according to a new study. This is entailed in a new survey released by the Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy on Uganda (CCEDU) on Parliamentary Attitudes to lifting Presidential age limit conducted between September 16 and October 7, where 185 were interviewed. The MPs in the report also supported the restructuring of the Independent Electoral Commission (EC), arguing that this will guarantee the public free and fair elections in future.
Hot on the heels of the Zambian election, an anxiously awaited election is looming in Gabon where President Ali Bongo Ondimba and his motley opponents are rounding off campaigns. Ahead of next Saturday’s election, tension is high with increased police presence in capital Libreville. Fourteen candidates have been approved by the electoral commission. Bongo’s main challenger is former African Union Commission chief Jean Ping who was selected by opposition barons. Bongo is seeking a second seven-year term even as the Opposition challenges his eligibility.
Gabon’s National Electoral Commission, CENAP, has validated the candidature of president Ali Bongo Ondimba and 13 others vying for the presidency. “Out of the 13 candidates, there was that of Ali Bongo. There was consensus on the other 13 candidates except that of Ali Bongo. The plenary assembly usually takes decisions based on consensus and when there is no consensus, the vote of the bureau decides. A vote took place in accordance with the law of the electoral commission. Therefore, only electoral commission decided, concerning Ali Bongo’s candidature 5 votes against 3 for the opposition.” The decision has however been strongly criticised by opposition representatives at the electoral commission who are raising voices that Ali Bongo has changed his birth certificate.
Gabonese opposition parties submitted more than 2,500 complaints over President Ali Bongo’s decision to run for re-election next month, including allegations that he was adopted and born abroad, and therefore not eligible to lead the oil-producing nation. Bongo, 57, won a first term in 2009 after the death of his father Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon from 1967. His application for re-election was among about 20 other bids for candidacy submitted before the midnight deadline on July 12, Rene Aboghe Ella, head of the electoral commission, told reporters in Libreville, the capital.
James Williams qualified weeks ago as the only challenger to a Republican incumbent state lawmaker in South Georgia, one of a host of Democrats trying to tilt the balance at the state Legislature in this statewide election year. But now the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office — which keeps the official records used by political parties to qualify candidates — says its records were wrong about which district Williams lives in, likely disqualifying him from the race. The mix-up apparently happened four years ago when the state last re-drew district lines in a statewide process known as redistricting, including around House District 151 which includes part of Dougherty County as well as all of Terrell, Calhoun, Early, Randolph, Webster, Stewart, Quitman and Clay counties.
Utah Supreme Court justices poked at the Utah Republican Party’s interpretation of a controversial new state election law in a hearing Monday as hundreds of candidates work to get on the primary ballot. Though lawyers for the GOP, Utah Democratic Party or the state didn’t want to read the tea leaves afterward, questions from Justices Deno Himonas and Christine Durham might signal where the court is headed. Republican Party attorney Marcus Mumford argued that the state can’t tell political parties how to select their nominees for public office. “This statute doesn’t do that,” Durham said. Under the law, organizations that register with the state as a “qualified political party” — which the Utah Republican Party did — must allow candidates to gather petition signatures, go through the party’s convention or both to secure a place on the primary election ballot.
Half of the candidates in Peru’s presidential election have abandoned or been banned from next week’s polls and one of the leading contenders may follow, plunging the South American country into political uncertainty. An electoral law in force since January has ruled several candidates out of the running in the April 10 contest. One is even running his campaign from a jail cell. And further disruption could come if accusations of vote-buying lead to the elimination of banker and economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who is running second in the polls to the conservative Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Peru’s jailed ex-leader Alberto Fujimori. Their faces are already printed on 20 million ballot papers, but they have each been accused of handing out money or gifts to voters during their campaigns. The new law passed in January cracks down on such activities.
A lower electoral board in Peru said Wednesday it was opening a formal inquiry into whether presidential hopeful Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the chief rival of front-runner Keiko Fujimori, broke a new law against vote buying. If electoral authorities find the center-right candidate improperly bought beer and liquor for an Andean town, as alleged by opponents he would be barred from April 10 elections. Analysts said the board would likely keep Kuczynski in the race, especially after the same lower electoral board cleared Fujimori of similar allegations. The country’s five-member National Jury of Elections is expected to hand down a final ruling on Fujimori this week to settle an appeal.
Candidates for the April 13 general election began registering with the National Election Commission (NEC), Thursday. Held every four years, the upcoming election will be the first since the National Assembly agreed new constituency boundaries, in line with a Constitutional Court ruling in 2014. A total of 300 lawmakers, including 253 voted in through direct ballots held in their respective constituencies, will gain seats for the next Assembly session. The remaining 47 proportional representation seats will be allocated to parties relative to the overall number of votes they receive. Each candidate will be given an election number once they register. The NEC will accept registration until 6 p.m., Friday, at its local offices nationwide.