Timor Leste constituents vote for parliament members

They were rather a low key affair compared to the US election media circus. I cannot read Vietnamese but, as far as I could tell, there was none of the frenetic, drawn out campaigning and mudslinging as in the American elections. There was, however, plenty of coverage in the media and candidates held public meetings across the country to discuss the issues and answer questions so voters were sufficiently informed. Being an outsider from the US, I found this comparative calm quite refreshing and interesting to observe. I particularly liked the classic style posters on display everywhere, encouraging people to vote. Some people may think it is strange to have elections in a one-Party state, but I don't find this difficult to understand. Yes, there is only one Party, the Communist Party of Vietnam, which had its own elections in late 2010, but local representatives for the central parliament and provincial, district and town governments must also be chosen. Vietnamese NA elections could be compared to US primary elections; you do not vote for a particular party but, rather, the representative you think will do the best job. Electronic voting has not yet appeared in Vietnam and the ballots are still counted by hand, similar to the way I voted in the small town where I lived in the USA. While this method may take longer to count and ostensibly have greater potential for human error, it does avoid fiascos like the infamous "dangling chads" of the US 2000 presidential…... [read more]

The May 20 election concluded in harmony with clement weather and concord among the people. Elderly people, aged between 80-90 also cast their ballots to select the most prospective candidates to the 12th National Assembly (NA) – the NA of the nation’s integration era. The northern province of Ha Tay has 112 voters aged 90 onwards, of whom 12 are aged more than 100. Meanwhile, in the northern border province of Quang Ninh, more than 450 voters over nineties managed to go to the polls. Early May 20 morning, Vietnamese Party and State leaders cast their ballots. After doing his voting duty at polling station No1, Constituency No4 in Quan Thanh ward of Hanoi’s Ba Dinh precinct, Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh said he selected talented and virtuous candidates to the most powerful State agency which represents people’s aspirations. He said in the integration period, the new legislative body should grasp opportunities and overcome challenges to help Vietnam continue developing in a rapid and sustainable manner on a par with other countries in the world. Radio the Voice of Vietnam and Vietnam Television broadcast programmes on election activities in various polling stations all over the country. From the north, the central to the south, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, the voice and image of voters regardless of religion, ethnicity, age or profession were broadcast through mass media. The election was widely covered by many large foreign news agencies. The Japanese NHK television spent three minutes carrying news…... [read more]

With regards to Vietnam, the department spent more than 50 pages looking at the practices of almost all fundamental human rights in the country, including the right to freedom of speech, press, assembly and democracy as well as policies on these issues. According to the report, all political opposition movements in Vietnam are prohibited and so-called dissidents continue to be arrested and detained. The report goes on to state that the National Assembly elections in May 2007 were “neither free nor fair”. These are biased and groundless allegations about the situation in Vietnam. In Vietnam, no one is arrested for holding different political and religious views. Only those who act illegally face legal charges. In May 2007 National Assembly elections were a major national political event. Vietnamese voters went to the poll to cast their ballots in a free, fair and democratic manner to fulfil their civic responsibility and obligation. This was acknowledged by many foreigners, including politicians from western countries, while visiting Vietnam on the occasion of the elections. Country Director of the World Bank in Vietnam Ajay Chibber has stated that no place in Vietnam has been left behind in poverty reduction efforts. The country has achieved equitable development in education, trade and infrastructure. Notably, the literacy rate in Vietnam has risen to 95 percent, which is higher than in other dynamically developing economies such as China and India. About 95 percent of the households have been connected to the national power grid compared to 50 percent in…... [read more]

So far, the ruling CPP party seems to have the advantage, suggesting that Prime Minister Hun Sen will continue leading the nation. According to Cambodia’s Election Commission, about 9.6 million voters out of 14 million people will cast their ballots to choose 123 legislators. A month ago, 8 political parties began campaigning, the biggest being CPP, CNRP, and FUNCIPEC, the United National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia. The CPP has focused on helping the incumbent Prime Minister win another 5-year term. The CPP plans to continue allying with FUNCIPEC to form a new government if it wins the election. According to a CPP statement, Cambodia will continue to resolve border disputes with neighbors in accordance with Cambodia’s constitution, laws and international charter to protect Cambodia’s territorial integrity, and develop a border of peace, friendship, and cooperation. The CPP says it will do its best to get at the international justice court to uphold the 1962 judgment recognizing Cambodia’s sovereignty over Preah Vihear Temple. CNRP, the opposition party led by Sam Rainsy who is living in exile, says it will give each Cambodian over 65 years old US$10 a month, increase the minimum monthly salary of workers to US$150 - 250 for civil servants. It will reduce prices of petroleum, electricity, and fertilizers, and provide free medical services for the poor. FUNCIPEC Party led by Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey, the youngest daughter of late King Norodom Sihanouk, promises to protect the monarchy, and Cambodia’s territorial integrity, and…... [read more]

Polling stations visited by Reuters correspondents pointed to a turnout of around 10%, in sharp contrast to the long lines that formed in the 2012 election, suggesting that Sisi, who has enjoyed cult-like adulation, is losing popularity. Elderly supporters of Sisi comprised a large proportion of those turning out to vote, while younger Egyptians boycotted an election for a chamber they say will just rubber-stamp the president's decisions. The government declared a half-day holiday on October 19 for state workers, apparently hoping to encourage more voting. Egypt has had no parliament since June 2012 when a court dissolved the democratically-elected main chamber, then dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, reversing a key accomplishment of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. In 2013 Sisi, then army chief, overthrew Egypt's first freely-elected president in 2013, the Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi, then launched the fiercest crackdown on dissent in Egypt's modern history. Human rights groups say Egypt has about 40,000 political prisoners, many of them supporters of Mursi. Sisi secured support from other opposition groups for ousting Mursi by promising a prompt parliamentary vote. The elections, repeatedly postponed, are now taking place over two rounds on Oct 18-19 and Nov 22-23. This week, voters cast their ballots in 14 regions including Egypt's second city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. The unicameral parliament will comprise 568 elected members - 448 elected on an individual basis and 120 through winner-takes-all lists in four districts, with quotas for women, Christians and youth. The president may also…... [read more]

The public is skeptical about the election’s efect on Syria’s security and economy. 3,000 candidates from all provinces competed for 250 seats in the Syrian Parliament. The Higher Judicial Committee for Elections said all 7,000 polling stations across the country opened from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Two key issues: security and economy Hisham Al Shaar, Chairman of the Higher Judicial Committee for Elections says voters in Idlib, Raqqa, Aleppo, Deir al-Zour, and certain other provinces which are under terrorist control can cast their ballots in other administrative areas. Publicity for the election has been extensive. Voters are hoping security will soon be restored. In the past 5 years, civil war has claimed the lives of 250,000 people and caused the biggest migration in recent history. Syria’s economic recession is another big concern. President Bashar al-Assad says the 5 years of intense fighting have cost Syria an estimated US$200 billion. The figure matches the UN’s estimate of a loss of US$90 billion in destroyed assets and another US$170 billion in lost GDP. Voters are especially concerned about limiting corruption to conserve resources for national reconstruction. Some candidates have campaigned on slogans like “Together to reconstruct Syria” and “Glory for the votes”. Will the election result bring peace to Syria? The People’s Assembly election is opposed by Syria’s opposition parties and the West. A representative of the opposition has said President Bashar al-Assad wants to hold an election to upstage the Geneva peace negotiation. The Higher Judicial Committee, representing many opposition…... [read more]

These days a happy atmosphere is pervading the Ninh Khanh detention camp in Ninh Binh province, about 90km south of Hanoi. Prisoners are looking forward to the day when the camp’s managers will read the President’s decision to grant parole to eligible candidates. For nearly a month, prisoner Do Thi Thu Huong from Nam Ha province has been sleepless more than usual. She tossed and turned thinking of her two children living without her support and sorely repented of her sins. “I was overjoyed when I was told I would be released this time,” Huong told VOV. “But I regret that I have not fulfilled the obligation of a mother towards my children who are living with their elderly grandparents. I have tried to perform well in the camp in the hope that I would meet my children one day outside the prison walls.” Huong said she is among 344 inmates to be freed at the Ninh Khanh camp this time. Opening her hands and counting fingers, she said she has been staying at the camp for a total of 1,305 days – half the 7-year sentence she was given for her offence. After the State President issued the decision on parole in May 2010, Huong and other inmates read the required criteria carefully and cast their ballots. The list of eligible candidates was made public for inmates to look at and give opinions before the camp’s management board came up with the final decision. Tong Van Trong from Ninh…... [read more]

All Russian workers at the Vietnam-Russia Joint Venture (Vietsovpetro) cast their ballots at 8am on March 4. Yury S.Sokolov, Chairman of the joint venture’s trade union and head of the presidential election committee in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, said around 950 voters, including workers and their relatives, took part in the voting. Other Russian residents and visitors were also informed about the voting times and locations of polling stations so they could fulfill their civic duty and exercise their right to vote. Over the past three weeks, the election committee sent mobile ballot-boxes to drilling platforms for workers to cast their votes. Earlier on February 29, a polling station was set up in Nha Trang city where there were a number of Russian experts and visitors from Siberia. In Binh Thuan province, the presidential election was held on March 2 in Mui Ne, Phan Thiet city. The Russian embassy was responsible for voter lists and relevant procedures while Binh Thuan province ensured safety and created the best conditions for Russian visitors to cast their votes. Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrey G. Kovtun, said Mui Ne was chosen as one of polling stations because it attracts a lot of Russian businessmen and tourists. Polling stations were also established in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi.... [read more]

He noted that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s National Assembly was the descendant of the Tan Trao National Congress in Tuyen Quang province more than six decades ago. Following the congress’ decisions, Vietnamese people carried out the August 1945 Revolution successfully and then on January 1, 1946 cast their ballots to elect the first National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, marking a milestone in the course of Vietnamese history. Upholding the glorious traditions and tremendous achievements of the past six decades, Mr An said, the current NA has made important changes in such areas as law-making and oversight processes, making decisions on the country’s important issues, and expanding relations with parliaments of other countries and international organisations, for the sake of peace, friendship, co-operation and development. Mr An reiterated the resolute trust of the National Assembly, people and voters across the country in guidelines initiated by the Communist Party of Vietnam. He expressed his belief that under the Party and people’s close inspection, the National Assembly will further contribute to national construction and development.... [read more]

At its Monday afternoon session, NA deputies approved the list of candidates to be elected to the post of the NA Chairman, which was proposed by the NA Standing Committee. They then cast their ballots to elect Nguyen Phu Trong, a Politburo member and Secretary of the Hanoi City Party Committee to the post. In his report, Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the vote-counting board, announced that Mr Trong received 417 ballots in favour out of total 477 counted, accounting for 84.85 percent. In his swearing address, Mr Trong said that he realised the very importance of the legislature and its activities in building and perfecting the law-governed socialist State that is the State of the people, by the people and for the people. He said during the past six decades, particularly in the Doi Moi (Renewal) process, the highest powerful State agency has made significant achievements and gathered valuable experience in improving the quality and efficiency of its activities. However, he said “the heavy tasks are still lying ahead and we have to do more to meet the requirements of life in line with the guidelines of the recent 10th National Party Congress.” He expressed hope that he will receive assistance from NA deputies, close co-ordination of the members of the NA Standing Committee, regular co-ordination of relevant agencies, and whole-hearted support from voters and people across the country. He said together with NA deputies he will do his utmost to renew and raise the quality of NA activities…... [read more]

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