Sunday, June 14, 2009

Politics Iran: Elections: Iran, European Parliament, Pakistan UPDATES


Ahmadi-Nejad declared landslide winner in Iran.

["CNN 'An eyewitness' from Tehran, Iran:] Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday gave his support to the outcome of the country's contested presidential election, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. But protests continue Sunday for a second day in Tehran over the results of the presidential election.

Khamenei praised the large voter turnout at Friday's election, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected with more than 62 percent of the vote, and said the result showed Iranians value "resistance against oppressors," the agency reported.

But clashes between police, supporters of the president and protesters opposing Ahmadinejad, dominated the capital Sunday.

Supporters of Mir Hossein Moussavi, an opposition candidate many analysts believed could unseat Ahmadinejad, allege the vote was rigged.

Another opposition candidate said he has asked Iran's Guardian Council -- a body of top clerics and judges that supervises elections -- to investigate.

Former parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi, who finished in third place with a single-digit percentage of the vote in the official results, asked supporters "to find solutions through legal and civic institutions," according to his political movement's newspaper.

Hundreds of regular and riot police were on the streets as civil unrest continued for the second straight day.

Latest Update: CNN "Hatred, chaos and savage beatings in Tehran"

European Parliament vote:
[Bruno Waterfield in Brussels:] Traditional Social Democrats and Socialists did badly across the European Union as centre-right governments in Germany, France, Italy and Poland weathered the storm to consolidate votes.

The 43 per cent turnout rate was the lowest on record since European elections began in 1979, a development that has raised concern over political credibility at a time when EU powers are poised to increase with the Lisbon Treaty.

Margot Wallstrom, the European Commission Vice-President, said: "It does affect the legitimacy of the EU."

As well as picking up two seats in Britain, anti-immigrant, extremist and previously fringe parties stepped into the political vacuum with significant gains in the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Finland, Greece and Romania.
Telegraph [London UK]

Pakistan's backlash against the Taliban:
[Pamela Constable in Lahore Pakistan:] Last month, the army launched a major offensive against Taliban forces in the region around the northwest Swat Valley, sending more than 2 million refugees fleeing to other districts for safety. Until now, however, it has been reluctant to penetrate more dangerous tribal districts in pursuit of Baitullah Mehsud and other Taliban leaders, who seek to forcibly impose a draconian version of Islam on the nation. ... [¶s' order is rearranged by rW]

Pakistani officials announced Sunday night that security forces will launch a military operation against Mehsud, a feared Taliban leader who has asserted responsibility for numerous suicide bombings across the country and who is believed to have ordered the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in late 2007.

The announcement by officials in North-West Frontier Province came after a week of deadly attacks attributed to the Pakistani Taliban, including the bombing Tuesday of a five-star hotel that killed 11 people in the northwestern city of Peshawar and the assassination Friday of a moderate Sunni Muslim cleric in another suicide bombing here in the capital of Punjab province.
Washington Post, "Pakistan to pursue Taliban leader" (Jun14,2k9)

-- Politicarp

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