Foreign friends and partners of Bangladesh have reaffirmed the importance of "free, fair, inclusive and peaceful" electoral processes in line with the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "We support and promote democratic governance as a set of values and principles to follow for meaningful participation, equality, security, and inclusive human and economic development," according to a joint statement issued by foreign missions in Dhaka on Tuesday on the upcoming Human Rights Day. The Missions are Australian High Commission, British High Commission, High Commission of Canada, Embassy of Denmark, Delegation of the European Union, Embassy of France, Embassy of Germany, Embassy of Italy, Embassy of Japan, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain, Embassy of Sweden, Embassy of Switzerland and Embassy of the United States. Read more: Diplomats don’t have the power to put anyone in power: Information Minister "As we approach Human Rights Day on December 10, we would like to highlight the fundamental role democracy plays in protecting human rights and promoting development," the statement reads. "We celebrate the freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirm the importance of all UN member states adhering to their commitments to free expression, peaceful assembly, and elections, among others outlined in the Declaration."
Reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim has won a hard-fought battle to become Malaysia’s new prime minister. But working with former foes to form a unity government as a polarized nation watches will immediately test his political mettle. There is no honeymoon period for Anwar, 75, who got straight down to work less than 24 hours after he was sworn in as the nation’s 10th leader. National television showed Anwar clocking in Friday morning at the government administrative capital of Putrajaya. His first test will be the construction of a Cabinet and the distribution of portfolios to appease the diverse members of his unity government. Anwar promised Monday that his Cabinet will be leaner compared to the previous, oversized administration, and said he will forego his salary as prime minister amid the country’s economic slowdown. He said new Cabinet members would be asked to cut their salaries, too. “My main priority now is the cost of living,” he told a news conference. Anwar pledged to work swiftly to find ways to help Malaysians struggling with rising food costs, a currency at its lowest point in over two decades and stagnating wages ahead of an expected economic slowdown next year. Read: Long-time reformist leader Anwar sworn in as Malaysian PM Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan, or Alliance of Hope, won 82 out of 222 seats in the Nov. 19 general election. To cobble a majority, he won support from two key rival blocs: the long-ruling National Front, which has 30 seats, and the Sarawak Parties Alliance with 23. Several smaller blocs have said they will also join. Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Malay-centric National Alliance unexpectedly won 73 seats. Muhyiddin’s hard-line ally, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party that touts Sharia, took 49 seats to become the country’s single largest party in an indication of the rise of conservative Islam. Anwar’s victory with support from political rivals marked another “watershed moment that heralded a new era for Malaysian democracy,” said Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, political analyst with the University of Science, Malaysia. It came on the back of his alliance’s stunning victory in 2018 polls, which ended the National Front’s 60-year grip on power and led to the country’s first regime change since independence from Britain in 1957. But the new government crumbled after power grab that led to turmoil and saw a total of three prime ministers in four years. Anwar was in prison at the time on a sodomy charge he said was politically motivated. Anwar fostered a conciliatory tone after his appointment, welcoming all parties to his government as long as they adhere to the basic rules of good governance, no corruption and a “Malaysia for all Malaysians.” Read: Reformist leader Anwar close to becoming Malaysia's next PM Analysts said the makeup of his Cabinet will provide a clearer picture of his policies going forward, as he puts flesh to bones on his campaign promises to clean up the government and heal deepening racial and religious gashes. His anti-corruption platform will be tested amid concerns that concessions will be made for some National Front leaders battling graft charges in return for their support. An ethnic Muslim, Anwar must also earn the trust of conservative Malays, who viewed him as too liberal and opted for Muhyiddin’s right-wing bloc in the contentious election. Police have tightened security and Anwar’s supporters have been told to hold off celebrations that may provoke Islamic supporters. In such a racially charged environment, Anwar’s aims — including replacing a decades-old affirmative action plan that gives privileges to Malays in jobs, education and housing — may be a minefield. Anwar has assured Malays that their rights under the constitution and the position of Islam as the national religion will be protected. But he stressed that other races must not be marginalized so that the country can be united. “Racial divide has been in existence in Malaysia since independence,” said political analyst Ahmad Fauzi. “Anwar will come up with his own formula to rein in the problem, but thinking that he’ll be able to extinguish it is to expect the impossible from him,” he added.
The head of Brazil's electoral authority on Wednesday rejected the request from President Jair Bolsonaro and his political party to annul ballots cast on most electronic voting machines, which would have overturned the Oct. 30 election. Alexandre de Moraes had issued a prior ruling that implicitly raised the possibility that Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party could suffer from such a challenge. He conditioned analysis of the request on the presentation of an amended report to include results from the first electoral round, on Oct. 2, in which the party won more seats in both congressional houses than any other, and he established a 24-hour deadline. Earlier Wednesday, party president Valdemar Costa and lawyer Marcelo de Bessa held a press conference and said there would be no amended report. “The complete bad faith of the plaintiff's bizarre and illicit request ... was proven, both by the refusal to add to the initial petition and the total absence of any evidence of irregularities and the existence of a totally fraudulent narrative of the facts,” de Moraes wrote in his decision hours later.He also ordered the suspension of government funds for the Liberal Party’s coalition until a fine of 23 million reais ($4.3 million) for bad faith litigation is paid. Read more: Brazil election: Lula defeats Bolsonaro to become president againOn Tuesday, de Bessa filed a 33-page request on behalf of Bolsonaro and Costa citing a software bug in the majority of Brazil's machines — they lack individual identification numbers in their internal logs — to argue all votes they recorded should be nullified. De Bessa said that doing so would leave Bolsonaro with 51% of the remaining valid votes. Neither Costa nor de Bessa have explained how the bug might have affected election results. Independent experts consulted by The Associated Press said that, while newly discovered, it doesn’t affect reliability and each voting machine is still readily identifiable through other means. In his ruling on Thursday, de Moraes noted the same. He also wrote that the challenge to the vote appeared aimed at incentivizing anti-democratic protest movements and creating tumult, and ordered the investigation of Costa and the consultant hired to conduct an evaluation. “De Moraes’ message to the political establishment is: the game is over. Questioning the result of the elections is not fair play, and people and institutions who do that will be punished harshly,” said Maurício Santoro, a political science professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.In the press conference on Wednesday, Costa said his intention is merely to prevent the results of the 2022 vote from haunting Brazil into the future. The electoral authority on Oct. 30 ratified the victory of Bolsonaro’s nemesis, leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and even many of the president’s allies quickly accepted the results. Protesters in cities across the country have steadfastly refused to do the same, particularly with Bolsonaro declining to concede. Bolsonaro spent more than a year claiming Brazil’s electronic voting system is prone to fraud, without ever presenting evidence. Read more: PM Sheikh Hasina congratulates Lula on winning Brazil electionThe South American nation began using an electronic voting system in 1996 and election security experts consider such systems less secure than hand-marked paper ballots, because they leave no auditable paper trail. But Brazil’s system has been closely scrutinized by domestic and international experts who have never found evidence of it being exploited to commit fraud.
Mentioning that BNP has started terrorist activities again, Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud on Saturday said that the country cannot be handed over to the patron of terrorists. The minister said these while addressing the tri-annual conference of Chattogram North District Krishok League, held at Chattogram Engineers Institution as chief guest. “Those who used to snatch money from people by building Hawa Bhaban, who installed poles without providing electricity, who attacked grenades on August 21st, who created Bangla Bhai all over the country and killed people, We can't hand over the country to those terrorists,” he said. Read more: Hasan Mahmud to BNP: Don't play with people's lives “Tarique Rahman means the son of corruption and five times champion in corruption. If someone is asked ‘Who is the biggest thief of Hawa Bhaban?’, the answer is Tarique Zia” he said. “If BNP comes back to power, they will peel the skin of everyone's back. We can't hand over the country to those who want to pe people's backs, so everyone should be united,” he added. North District Krishak League President Nazrul Islam Chowdhury presided over the function while Krishak League president agriculturist Samir Chand inaugurated the conference. Chattogram North District AL President MA Salam, its General Secretary Sheikh Ataur Rahman, newly elected Zilla Parisad Chairman ATM Pearul Islam, Central Krishok League leader Akbar Ali Chowdhury, Rezaul Karim Reza, among others, addressed the function as special guests. Read more: Jubo League is enough to face BNP: Hasan Mahmud Earlier in the morning, Dr. Hasan Mahmud, also the joint general secretary of Awami League, visited Chittagong's historic Pologround where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address the public meeting on December 4 as the chief guest.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam on Saturday said the government’s “threats” will not work anymore, as people will not return home until their victory is ensured in the movement for the restoration of their voting rights. Speaking at the party’s divisional rally in Sylhet, he also said the next election must be held under a non-partisan caretaker government and warned that those who oppose this election system will turn into “public enemies”. “The prime minister has issued a threat that we’ll face the fate of Hefajat if we try to wage a movement. We would like to say that people have woken up this time. So, these threats won’t work this time. People who have taken to the streets, won’t return home without realising their demands,” Fakhrul said. The BNP leader said their party’s main goal is to restore people’s rights that “have been lost, including the right to vote.” “We’ll establish a government of people through people’s votes…our movement can’t be stopped by opening fire and gunning down our leaders and activists.” Referring to the ruling party leaders’ remarks that the election will be held as per the constitution, he said their party (BNP) does not accept the charter that was amended by the current government. Referring to the events of 2011 leading up to the 15th amendment to the constitution, Fakhrul said that the government had annulled the caretaker government system using the judiciary, creating a scope for holding elections under a partisan government. Fakhrul said the caretaker government that was included in the constitution by Khaleda Zia, must be restored to ensure a credible national election. “No election will be held in Bangladesh without the caretaker government.” He said the restoration of the caretaker government system is the only way to resolve the country’s political crisis.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino is getting four more years in charge of soccer’s governing body after no candidate stepped up to challenge him. FIFA said Thursday the 52-year-old Swiss lawyer was the only person to enter the race by the time the deadline passed overnight — exactly four months before election day on March 16 in Kigali, Rwanda. Infantino won a five-candidate race in 2016 to replace Sepp Blatter, and was re-elected unopposed in 2019. He’s now set to stay in the job beyond the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Infantino’s upcoming re-election to the $3 million-per-year job may not be his final term in office. FIFA rules allow him to run again to stay in power for another World Cup cycle until 2031. A quirk of FIFA’s statutes means the first three years of Infantino’s presidency — when he completed an unfinished term started by Blatter — does not count against the 12-year limit agreed to in reforms passed during a prolonged corruption crisis before his first election. Read: Qatar World Cup: 5 Hot Favorites to win the trophy Outside of soccer, one political threat to Infantino’s leadership is an investigation by two special prosecutors in Switzerland into his three undocumented meetings with then-attorney general Michael Lauber in 2016 and 2017 during American and Swiss federal investigations of soccer officials. It is currently unclear how that case, which is being overseen by the Swiss parliament, is proceeding or how much jurisdiction it has over Infantino as a private citizen who could be accused of having sought an advantage from a public official. He has denied all wrongdoing. Infantino’s current term in office, which started in June 2019, saw FIFA dip into its $2 billion-plus reserves and oversee emergency legal measures to help stabilize soccer through the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health crisis almost entirely shut down World Cup qualifying games in 2020. The final tournament in Qatar starts on Sunday. Infantino did not get approval for the biggest idea in the current presidential term — doubling the number of men’s World Cups to every two years in a planned overhaul of the calendar for national teams. That plan was blocked last year by the continental soccer bodies of Europe and South America, UEFA and CONMEBOL, who teamed up to threaten a boycott of a biennial World Cup. Tensions persist between FIFA and the two traditionally powerful continents, though they declined to propose or publicly support a challenger. Candidates need pledges from five federations and to have been active in a formal soccer role for at least two of the past five years. Infantino has shored up his voting base in the 54-member Confederation of African Football, which has been led since March 2021 by his close ally, South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe. Read: Qatar World Cup: 5 Dark Horses to look out for The 2026 World Cup in North America, the first with 48 teams instead of 32, will hugely raise the tournament records for attendance and revenue for FIFA, which is on track to earn nearly $7 billion in its four-year commercial cycle tied to the World Cup in Qatar. Infantino has consistently staked his presidency on raising FIFA’s income to steer more money toward federations worldwide. He wants other countries to close the gap on Europe and South America, which have provided every team to play in all 21 World Cup finals. Europe and South America will field competing bids to host the 2030 World Cup, which is set for a vote by FIFA members in 2024. Ukraine was added in October to the co-hosting bid by Spain and Portugal, while 1930 host Uruguay is part of a centenary celebration bid with Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. Infantino still needs to pass an integrity and eligibility check carried out by a FIFA-appointed review panel chaired by a judge from India, Mukul Mudgal. That should be a formality in the weeks ahead.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki on Monday said they expect that the next national election in Bangladesh will be held in a “free and fair” manner with the participation of all major political parties. “We expect the next election will be a better one. Free and fair elections need to be done here. That’s my strong hope,” he said while responding to a question at an event titled “Meet the Ambassador” held in a Dhaka hotel. The Ambassador said he knows that the Election Commission is working for a free and fair election and the government of Bangladesh is also telling that a free and fair election will be conducted. “It’s very important.” Read more: Myanmar situation doesn't allow full-scale Rohingya repatriation now: Japan At the same time, the envoy said, this is something that the political parties should decide but the expectation is that the election will be a participatory one and the major political parties will participate in it. Naoki said he heard about the example of “ballot box stuffing” and some police stuffed the ballot box the previous night which is something he did never hear in any other country.He said “ballot box stuffing” should never be repeated. Recalling 2018 election, Ambassador Naoki said the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka had issued a statement of concern which was very unusual for his country though it was focused more on violence. Read more: Japan wants "strategic" partnership with Bangladesh through practical cooperation Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) hosted the event in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Bangladesh. Zillur Rahman, Executive Director of the Centre for Governance Studies moderated the programme.
Control of the U.S. Senate may come down to Nevada, where a slow ballot count entered its final act Saturday in the nail-biter contest between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. Saturday is the last day that mail ballots can arrive and be counted under the state's new voting law. Election officials were hustling to get through a backlog of tens of thousands of ballots to determine the race's winner, with the state's largest county saying it hoped to be effectively done by the evening. The Nevada race took on added importance after Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly was declared the winner of his reelection campaign in Arizona on Friday night, giving his party 49 seats in the chamber. Republicans also have 49. If Cortez Masto wins, Democrats would maintain their control of the Senate given Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. If Laxalt wins, the Georgia Senate runoff next month would determine which party has the single-vote Senate edge. Cortez Masto was only a few hundred votes behind Laxalt, with most of the remaining uncounted ballots in heavily Democratic Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. Democrats were confident those ballots would vault their candidate into the lead. Laxalt has said he expects to maintain his advantage and be declared the victor. But on Saturday he acknowledged in a tweet that the calculus has changed because Cortez Masto had performed better than Republicans expected in Clark County ballots counted over the past few days. Read more: Democrats hold small but shrinking lead in key Arizona races “This has narrowed our victory window,” he tweeted, acknowledging the race comes down to the final Clark County ballots. “If they are GOP precincts or slightly DEM leaning then we can still win,” Laxalt tweeted. “If they continue to trend heavy DEM then she will overtake us.” If a winner isn't clear by the end of the day on Saturday, attention would shift to a few thousand more ballots that could be added to the totals early next week. Mail ballots with clerical errors can be “cured” by voters until the end of the day Monday, and then added to the totals. And a few thousand provisional ballots also remain, votes that election officials must double-check are legally countable by Tuesday before they can be tallied. “We know that this is a serious count. There are people nationwide who are looking to these results,” Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, said at a press conference Saturday. “We know that people need to see that count. We're not going to delay it any further.” Gloria said all 22,000-plus remaining ballots would be tabulated by Saturday evening. “They’re all being counted,” Gloria said. “My vaults are empty.” Still, state law requires a relative handful of ballots to linger. In Clark County, there are also 7,100 ballots being “cured” and 5,555 provisional ballots. The county accounts for three-quarters of Nevada's population. Gloria noted that it takes a couple of cycles to adjust ballot-counting to the all-mail system that Nevada switched to during the 2020 pandemic. He also noted that state law requires him to accept ballots until Saturday. “We couldn't be done any earlier, even if we wanted to,” Gloria said. In another key race, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak lost his reelection bid to his Republican challenger, sheriff Joe Lombardo, on Friday night. Nevada, a closely divided swing state, is one of the most racially diverse in the nation, a working class state whose residents have been especially hard hit by inflation and other economic turmoil. Roughly three-fourths of Nevada voters said the country is headed in the wrong direction, and about 5 in 10 called the economy the most important issue facing the country, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of 2,100 of the state’s voters. Read more: GOP moves closer to winning the House; the Senate's fate may depend on a runoff Voters viewed the economy negatively, with VoteCast finding nearly 8 in 10 saying economic conditions are either not so good or poor. Only about 2 in 10 called the economy excellent or good. And about a third of voters said their families are falling behind financially. But that didn’t necessarily translate into anger at President Joe Biden or his party. About half considered inflation the most important issue facing the U.S., but they were evenly split over whether they think higher prices are due to Biden’s policies or factors outside his control. According to VoteCast, 7 in 10 voters in Nevada wanted abortion kept legal in all or most cases, and Cortez Masto and other Democrats made preserving the right a centerpiece of their campaigns. Republicans, however, relentlessly hammered the economic argument, contending it was time for a leadership change. They also sought to capitalize on lingering frustrations about pandemic shutdowns that devastated Las Vegas’ tourist-centric economy in 2020. On Thursday morning, The Associated Press declared Republican Stavros Anthony the winner in the lieutenant governor race, while Republican Andy Mathews was elected state controller. The state’s lone Republican congressman, Mark Amodei, easily won reelection in his mostly rural district in northern Nevada. The state’s three Las Vegas-area Democratic members of the House were also reelected.
Jatiya Party Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu on Thursday said they do not subscribe to the concept of an election under a caretaker government. Only a proportional election system can ensure fairness, he added. Chunnu was speaking at a seminar on Democracy Day at the party's headquarters in Kakrail Thursday, said Jatiya Party Office Secretary-2 MA Razzak Khan in a media statement. The Jatiya Party observes November 10 as Democracy Day as its founder Hussain Mohammad Ershad lifted martial law on this day in 1986. Read: No conspiracy can break Jatiya Party’s unity: Chunnu "Since 1991, the Awami League and the BNP have ruled the country for 32 years but failed to ensure good governance," Chunnu said. "The BNP and the Awami League get into a tug-of-war over election results, with both parties calling it unfair when they lose it. The BNP and the Awami League never kept the promises they made to the people," the Jatiya Party leader added.
EC Secretary Md Jahangir Alam today announced the detailed schedule of Rangpur City Corporation election -- to be held on December 27 -- at the Election Commission Secretariat. The election date was finalised at a meeting of the Election Commission (EC) with Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal in the chair earlier. The EC secretary said candidates can submit their nomination papers to the returning officer and assistant returning officer till November 29. Returning officer will scrutinize the nomination papers on November 29 and December 1. December 8 has been set as the final date for withdrawal of candidature. Earlier, he said the Election Commission also decided to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) and CCTV cameras in the election. Read more: Rangpur city election on December 27 Voting will start at 8:30 am and continue till 4:30 pm without any break. Director General of Election Training Institute Abdul Baten will serve as the returning officer of Rangpur City Election. A total of 3,93,994 voters will cast their votes at 193 centres to elect the Rangpur mayor, 27 general ward councillors and 11 reserved ward councillors. The election to the city corporation was held on December 21, 2017. The first meeting was held on February 19, 2017. The tenure will end after five years of the first meeting. The meeting also held an elaborate discussion on different local government elections and by-elections in vacant posts. The EC also decided to hold elections to five municipalities and a number of union parishads on December 29. Read more: Thousands gather in Rangpur city to join BNP’s anti-govt rally The EC secretary said the candidates can submit their nomination papers to the returning officer and assistant returning officer till December 1. Returning Officer will scrutinize the nomination papers on December 3. December 10 has been set as the final date of withdrawal of candidature. He also added that the Election Commission also decided to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) and CCTV cameras in the union level election.