Rival groups held demonstrations in Thailand’s capital on Saturday, with hundreds of people demanding quick elections to end military rule and a much smaller group of pro-junta supporters saying it was too soon for a vote. The competing protests were tiny compared to those that paralyzed Bangkok in 2014 before the army seized power in the name of ending instability, but were an indication of the tensions in the run-up to a long-delayed ballot. No date has been set for an election which was first promised for 2015 and most recently postponed from Feb. 24. Hundreds joined a demonstration calling for elections on March 10.
A backlash is growing in Thailand against the military junta’s apparent move to further delay elections that are supposed to restore civilian rule, with pro-democracy demonstrators planning to step up their protests in the capital this weekend. The government had given assurances that voting would take place on Feb. 24. But in the latest suggestion that the polls could be pushed back yet again, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam on Thursday said March 24 was the “most suitable date” because it would not overlap with events related to King Vajiralongkorn’s coronation in early May.
Thailand’s long-delayed general election to end military rule will have to be postponed from its Feb. 24 date and will likely be held in March, two officials in the Election Commission said on Tuesday. The Election Commission of Thailand has not announced the postponement, but two senior election officials told Reuters it was impossible to hold the polls on Feb. 24, as announced last month. The military junta that has ruled for nearly five years had earlier suggested a one-month delay because of scheduling clashes with the coronation of the king in May. “The February 24 election cannot take place because the Election Commission doesn’t have enough time to organize it,” a senior commission official said.
Demonstrators gathered for the second time in three days in downtown Bangkok to protest against the possibility of another delay in Thailand’s general election schedule. Postings on Twitter on Tuesday showed dozens of people hoisting placards and calling on the junta to stick to a plan for a poll on Feb. 24, after more than four years of military rule. Such protests were banned until the government in December lifted restrictions on political gatherings ahead of the expected vote. Since then, officials have signaled the poll date may have to be moved to avoid a clash with preparations for the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn in May. On New Year’s Day, the Bureau of the Royal Household said that the coronation ceremony will be held on May 4-6.
Dozens of Thai activists on Sunday protested against a possible delay of a national election set for next month, the first such gathering since the military government lifted a ban on political activity imposed after a 2014 coup. The junta has promised and postponed the election several times since it came to power, with the latest date set for Feb. 24. However, the vote faces yet another postponement after Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam suggested on Friday that post-election events might clash with rituals related to King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation from May 4-6.
A presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to take place on Sunday has been delayed until 30 December, the country’s electoral commission has announced, citing problems caused by a recent fire that destroyed 80% of the voting machines in the capital, Kinshasa. The delay to the election, already postponed repeatedly since 2016, will anger supporters of the DRC’s fractured opposition and dismay observers who hoped it would bring a measure of security to the country. It is also likely to raise tensions and could prompt significant protests. Corneille Nangaa, the head of the electoral commission, said officials have found enough voting machines for Kinshasa but had to get 5 million new ballots printed. Nangaa called on the country of some 40 million voters for calm.
Legislative elections in Chad planned for November are set to be postponed to May, a member of the electoral panel organising the vote told AFP Monday. The voting date has been pushed back several times in the central African state. The original mandate of the legislature expired in June 2015, but has been prolonged. “We have scheduled the holding of the legislative elections for the month of May according to our timeline, which will be examined and possibly adopted on Friday,” said Abdramane Djasnabaille of the election commission (CNDP).
Bangladesh authorities on Monday (Nov 12) announced they were delaying next month’s general election by a week following an appeal from the country’s opposition alliance, an official said. “The vote will now be held on Dec 30,” Election Commission spokesman S.M Asaduzzaman told AFP. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) had protested the Dec 23 election date announced last week, saying more time was needed to prepare for the poll. The BNP – whose leader Khaleda Zia is behind bars – had asked for an extra month to campaign against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The Malian government on Thursday delayed by a month legislative elections initially scheduled for October 28, citing delays in registering candidates. A first round of voting for the National Assembly will now take place on November 25, followed by a further vote on December 16 in constituencies where no candidate wins outright. A government statement said a strike by judges meant some candidates had been unable to obtain and submit the necessary documentation before the deadline Thursday. The new deadline for candidate submissions is October 11, it said.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha seems to have dropped another hint that the country’s long-awaited election will be delayed yet again. Despite previously promising that one will be held in February 2019, Prayut recently said that a further delay is possible. “We still confirm that the general election will be held in February 2019. Let’s talk about it later if we cannot hold such an election then, and now there isn’t any factor to make us hold the election sooner,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting in the southern province of Chumphon.
But scepticism and frustrations are running high in the Land of Smiles following delay after delay as to a promised date for the country’s general election. Shortly after the junta’s – The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – military coup on 22 May, 2014, it promised an election the following year. Four years later and Thailand is still under military rule. This scepticism was related in the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University’s latest poll findings published in June. The poll, carried out between 5 to 9 June and involving a sample size of 1,130 people throughout the country, revealed that the hottest political topic among Thais is whether or not an election will ever take place, and if so, when.
Thailand’s former ruling party yesterday slammed the junta’s latest postponement of elections until 2019, accusing the generals of buying time to consolidate support ahead of a return to voting. The junta has delayed several poll dates since toppling the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014 and instituting a ban on all political activity. Late Thursday, the military government’s rubber-stamp parliament voted to change an election law and pave the way for polls to be pushed back from the junta’s previously-stated timetable of November 2018. Elections will likely be delayed for three months and fall some time in 2019, deputy prime minister General Prawit Wongsuwon told reporters yesterday, without giving a clear date.
One possible consequence of the controversy engulfing Roy Moore’s campaign for the U.S. Senate is apparently off the table. Josh Pendergrass, communications director for Gov. Kay Ivey, said today the governor does not intend to change the date of the Dec. 12 election. “The Governor is not considering and has no plans to move the special election for the U.S. Senate,” Pendergrass said in a text message. Moore has strongly denied the allegation reported by the Washington Post that he dated and had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.
A former lawmaker filed a petition at Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election in a last minute move that opens the door to legal scrutiny of the vote. Harun Mwau filed the petition hours before a Monday deadline set by the constitution expired. Earlier in the day, a coalition of civil society groups said they were being targeted by the government in an effort to head off potential legal cases. The Supreme Court has until Nov. 14 to rule on election petitions. If it upholds the result, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.
Liberian presidential candidate George Weah’s party said on Wednesday that it will respect the decision to delay the country’s planned run-off vote, but called for the electoral process to be put back on course in a “timely” manner. The former international football star was supposed to face Vice President Joseph Boakai in the second round of presidential elections in the English-speaking West African country on Tuesday. But the runoff vote, which was meant to represent Liberia’s only democratic transfer of power in seven decades, was halted on Monday by the Supreme Court over an opposition party complaint of electoral fraud.
Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Tuesday said democracy in the West African country was being threatened, a day after the Supreme Court put a presidential runoff on hold over fraud allegations. Former footballer George Weah was initially set to face Vice-President Joseph Boakai on Tuesday to determine who will replace the term-limited Nobel Peace Prize laureate. A successful vote would be Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in more than seven decades. But on Monday, the Supreme Court ordered the elections commission to fully examine allegations levelled by Charles Brumskine, who finished third in last month’s first round poll.
The Liberian party of the 1995 world soccer player of the year, George Weah, said it’s concerned that a political crisis could ensue if the Supreme Court decides to annul the outcome of the first round of the presidential election that left the country facing a runoff. Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change raised the matter after the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a runoff may not go ahead until a charge over alleged irregularities in the Oct. 10 vote is heard. The second round was scheduled for Tuesday and would’ve been contested between Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai, of the ruling Unity Party, because neither candidate secured the majority needed for an outright victory to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “We are concerned about attempts by certain members of the Supreme Court’s bench to mis- or wrongfully interpret our constitution, with the view of now creating a constitutional crisis,” CDC Chairman Nathaniel McGill said by phone. “The election should proceed, that’s what we hope for.”
The Supreme Court of Liberia on Monday halted a presidential runoff election scheduled for Tuesday, delaying the first democratic transfer of power in the West African country in recent political history. In a unanimous ruling, the court ordered the National Elections Commission to spend more time investigating a complaint from Charles Brumskine, the third-place finisher in the Oct. 10 election, that the vote had been marred by fraud. The former soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai, the top two vote-getters in the election, were supposed to compete in the runoff, having finished with 38 percent and 29 percent of the vote. To win outright, a candidate needed more than 50 percent.
West African leaders held mediation talks Wednesday with all sides involved in Liberia’s disputed election, following a Supreme Court announcement it would summon the country’s electoral commission to explain alleged fraud and irregularities. Liberia’s top court has reviewed a legal complaint backed by three political parties and found “constitutional issues raised” by the electoral commission’s actions during an October 10 presidential election, it said on Tuesday. A Supreme Court hearing on the issue is set for Thursday at 9am (0900 GMT). The legal complaint was lodged by the opposition Liberty Party but has the backing of the ruling Unity Party and its presidential candidate, incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai.
Liberia’s Supreme Court has stayed next week’s presidential run-off election until it considers a challenge to first round results by a losing candidate who has alleged fraud. Third-place finisher Charles Brumskine’s Liberty Party challenged the results of last month’s vote, which set up a Nov. 7 run-off between former soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai. The election is meant to usher in Liberia’s first democratic transition since 1944 after long periods of military rule and a civil war that ended in 2003. In a writ issued late on Tuesday, the court instructed Liberty Party and the National Elections Commission to file briefs by Thursday at the latest. It was unclear if the court would rule before Nov. 7.
The election to pick DR Congo’s next president will not happen before early 2019, the electoral commission said Wednesday, a delay that raises fresh security worries in the vast African nation. Polls were due this year under a transitional deal aimed at avoiding fresh political bloodshed after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his second mandate ended in December. But the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said Wednesday it would need another 504 days to prepare for the vote after the completion of an electoral census, which is far from accomplished in the restive Kasai region. The delay could be reduced “if we accept to use voting machines and if we change the electoral law,” a commission spokesman told AFP.
Liberia: Elections May Be Called Off Over Legislature-Judicial Branch’s Impeachment Tussle | FrontPageAfrica
On Tuesday the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary submitted its preliminary report on the petition for the impeachment of his Honor Kabineh Ja’ Neh, Her Honor Jameetta Howard-Wollokollie and his Honor Philips A.Z. Banks all three being associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia. According to the committee’s report, after receiving the petition a writ of summons were issued. Given that Liberian law gives a minimum of ten days for answer/returns to be filed in civil cases, notwithstanding the mandate as to when the Judiciary committee should report to plenary, the writ of summons gives the Associate Justices up to August 14, 2017 to file their answer/returns.
A vote to replace Congo’s president Joseph Kabila might not be possible this year, the head of the electoral commission said. Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi said it was “a declaration of war on the Congolese people.” Corneille Nangaa, the president of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s electoral commission, said on Sunday that the 12-month deadline since the end of Kabila’s tenure was unlikely to be met for logistical reasons. “The parameters at our disposal give us, more or less, reason to think that, in December, it will probably not be possible to stick to that date,” Nangaa said in an interview on France’s TV5Monde.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila has committed to unlocking the impasse over the staging of the national elections in his country. This emerged following a meeting between Kabila and President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on Sunday. The postponement of the DRC presidential election scheduled for December 2016, led to protests in September last year, which left some 50 people dead. The opposition has accused the government of delaying elections to keep President Joseph Kabila in power. The government says vote preparations, including a census need about 18 months. After holding private talks with Kabila, President Zuma called for the resumption of negotiations to resuscitate stalled talks over elections timelines.
Nepal: Local elections postponed for a second time after ethnic minority groups threaten boycott | Hindustan Times
The Nepal government on Monday deferred the second phase of elections to local bodies by nine days to June 23 to ensure the participation of agitating Madhes-based parties. According to a cabinet decision, some electoral provisions will be amended speedily in line with the demands of the Madhesi parties so that they can register and get their election symbols. But the government was silent on two key demands of the Madhesi parties — amendments in the new Constitution to make it more Madhes-friendly and inclusive, and increasing the numbers of local government units in the plains known as Terai.
If Lebanon’s parliamentarians postpone general elections for a third time, they will have more than doubled the time they were elected to serve, dashing the hopes of citizens who have been waiting to elect their representatives since 2013. The last general election was in June 2009. Because Lebanon’s voting age is 21, some people are close to turning 30 but have never had a chance to elect their parliamentary representatives. President Michel Aoun in April suspended parliament for one month, to allow parliamentarians more time to resolve debate over Lebanon’s electoral law and to avert an anticipated one year extension. But they have yet to come to an agreement, and Speaker Nabih Berri has once again postponed the legislative session until June 5.
Somalia has decided to delay its presidential election for a fourth time amid allegations of fraud and intimidation, an electoral official said Monday. The vote had been set for Wednesday, but the official said it likely will be Jan. 24 instead, though leaders were discussing the specific timing. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. This Horn of Africa nation is riven by clan rivalries and threatened by al-Shabab Islamic extremists opposed to Western-style democracy.
Somalia’s presidential elections, scheduled to begin this week, have been postponed for a third time, the electoral body said Monday. Omar Mohamed Abdulle, head of Somalia’s electoral body, said elections slated for Wednesday will not happen as planned. Abdulle did not offer a new date, but said the next president will be elected before the end of this year. Somalia’s parliament members will elect the new president. However, parliamentary elections to elect new lawmakers have not been completed in all regions of the country. The parliamentary voting was marred by irregularities and corruption, and Somalia’s electoral body is investigating allegations of election malpractice. Somalia’s auditor general, Nur Jimale Farah, told VOA’s Somali service earlier this month that some of the parliamentary seats were bought by the highest bidder.
Congo’s constitutional court on Monday approved a controversial request by the electoral commission to postpone November elections so voter registration lists can be updated. Constitutional Court President Benoit Lwamba Bindu said the court recognized there are technical problems and authorized a “reasonable delay.” It said the commission must publish a new electoral calendar for the presidential elections originally scheduled for Nov. 27. Congo’s electoral commission filed a delay petition to the court in September. It has since said elections likely cannot be organized until the end of 2018, raising concerns that tensions and violence will rise.
Democratic Republic of Congo’s ruling coalition and other smaller parties have agreed to delay next month’s elections to April 2018 – a move that will anger opposition groups who have accused the president of trying to cling onto power. Congo’s main opposition bloc was not immediately available for comment but has already called a general strike for Wednesday to press President Joseph Kabila to leave at the end of his mandate in December. Last month dozens died in two days of protests in the capital Kinshasa against planned delays to the vote due to what authorities said were logistical problems registering millions of voters in the massive and impoverished country.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew’s destructive pass through Haiti, which left at least 10 people dead, hundreds of thousands displaced and a death toll certain to climb, elections officials on Wednesday postponed Sunday’s rerun presidential and legislative elections for the second time this year. The delay was expected by many Haitians after Tuesday’s battering from Matthew, a monster Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 145 mph that made landfall along the country’s southern coast bringing 15 to 20 inches of rain and triggering fears of a cholera outbreak. But elections observers, and some candidates, criticized the Haitian government for failing to set a new date for the election. The country’s Provisional Electoral Council, or CEP, announced the postponement on the day that Haitian National Police and a United Nations logistics team were scheduled to begin moving ballots and other sensitive materials to voting centers.