More than half of Swiss voters (51.9%) have rejected changes to the hunting laws, proposed by the Parliament. The regulation of the wolf population as protected species, has been in the focus. (Image: @nywolforg courtesy).
The outcome clearly demonstrated that the Swiss wish to strengthen and not weaken species protection, pointed out Gabor von Bethlenfalvy, large carnivore specialist at WWF Switzerland, in a press release on Sunday, September 27.
He added that by saying no to the revised law, voters were saying yes to a compromise between hunting, regulation and protection. His group was one of many conservation and animal welfare groups to launch the referendum challenging Swiss lawmakers’ revisions to the law.
“Now parliament gets the chance to draft a progressive hunting and protection law that will continue to protect threatened animals such as lynx and beavers and not put them under even greater pressure,” von Bethlenfalvy underlined.
“With this decision, the voters have missed the opportunity to strengthen animal and species protection and to set clear rules for the coexistence of wolves and farm animals,” stated the Swiss farmers’ and hunters’ associations and the committee for mountain regions in a joint press release.
Serbia held parliamentary, provincial and local elections on 21 June; one of the first elections held in Europe since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
While contestants in Serbia’s parliamentary elections were able to campaign and fundamental freedoms were respected, voter choice was limited by the governing party’s overwhelming advantage and the promotion of government policies by most major media outlets, according to the preliminary findings and conclusions of the international observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
The European Union looks forward to the OSCE/ODIHR final report and recommendations for future elections to be issued in the coming months. We expect all political actors and relevant institutions to engage in a transparent, decisive and inclusive dialogue on the implementation of these recommendations to address long-standing electoral shortcomings well ahead of the next elections.
We encourage the new parliament to continue to engage in the inter-party dialogue led by the European Parliament, with a view to forging broad cross-party consensus on EU-related reforms, which is vital for the country’s progress on its EU path. We also encourage the Serbian leadership to engage in a genuine dialogue across the political spectrum to take forward important reforms on the rule of law, fight against organised crime and corruption.
The European Union looks forward to engaging with the next government to take forward swiftly the urgent reforms necessary for Serbia’s EU accession. This concerns in particular the rule of law, which lies at the heart of the accession process and should be at the forefront of the next government’s political priorities, and socio-economic reforms, crucial for post COVID-19 pandemic recovery. We also count on Serbia’s continued full engagement in the EU-facilitated Dialogue as well as regional cooperation more broadly.
As Serbia’s top donor and investor, and its most important trade and economic partner, the European Union is fully committed to continue supporting Serbia’s EU accession process as well as economic recovery following the coronavirus crisis, including through the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans due in the autumn.
Image: Belgrade, Serbia
The speaker of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, defined the position of the European Union, which continues to refuse to recognize the Russian status of Crimea as “hypocrisy“.
Earlier, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrel, made a statement on the Crimea, in which he recalled that the EU does not recognize the Russian peninsula. In addition, he said, “the increasing militarization of the peninsula continues to negatively affect the security situation in the Black Sea region.”
“Any references to international law on their behalf sound hypocritical. The right to self-determination is enshrined in the UN charter, as well as in the UN Declaration on the Principles of International Law of 1970,” Konstantinov said to reporters.
According to him, Crimeans pay no more attention any longer to such statements issued by Western politicians.
Meanwhile the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the six anniversary of Crimea Republic and Sevastopol “re-unification” with Russian Federation:
“Today we celebrate the 6th Anniversary of the 2014 referendum in Crimea: 96,77% votes were cast in favour of reunification with Russia. This historic choice of the people of Crimea must be respected; celebrated as a triumph of true democratic processes #CrimeaIsRussia” read the issued Tweet.
President Vladimir Putin signed the package of constitutional reforms he had proposed, including a clause giving him an option to run for more terms.
The Kremlin has published the 68-page law proposal for the constitutional reforms on the official website. Putin’s signature triggers a special procedure for the package, which differs from the way laws usually go into effect.
The proposed reforms were handed to the Russian Constitutional Court which has a week to rule on whether to approve the law, which would reset Putin’s constitutional limit of two terms in power, and open an opportunity to stay indefinetely at power.
President Vladimir Zelensky‘s ‘Servant of People‘ party is winning the snap parliamentary election in Ukraine with 43.16% of the votes, the Central Election Commission (CEC) informed after all 100% of the ballots have been counted.
Four other parties have overcome the 5% threshold. Opposition Platform – For Life received 13.05% of the votes, former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko‘s Batkivshchina – 8.18%, former president Pyotr Poroshenko‘s European Solidarity – 8.10%, and singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Golos – 5.82%.
According to CEC, more than 6.3 million people supported Zelensky’s party, the Opposition Platform – For Live secured support of more than 1.9 million people, Batkivschina was backed by almost 1.2 million people, while European Solidarity – by 1.18 million. About 851,000 people voted for Golos in the snap parliamentary election.
Now, the Central Election Commission is to sum up the results no later than on August 4, officially publishing them in the newspapers Holos Ukrayiny (Voice of Ukraine) and Uryadovy Kuryer (Governmental Courier) before August 9. The new Rada is meet for its first session no later than on September 9. Prior to its opening, the parliamentarians will take the oath.
A snap parliamentary election was held in Ukraine on July 21. Voter turnout stood at 49.84%, the lowest ever in the history of Ukrainian parliamentary elections with more than 14.7 million people skipping the poll.
Explosions reported from polling stations in Kabul hours after the voting procedure for Afghanistan parliament elections started. There is no further detail at the moment, however TOLONews agency reports high turnout from early morning hours.
TOLOnews’ reporter Nematullah Ahmadi reports from northern Badakhshan province that Independent Election Commission (IEC) staff have not received enough training to use biometric devices properly – which has caused major problems for voters. Despite this he says turnout is huge in Badakhshan.
The active participation of women is reported from different provinces. Some of them made it clear to the reporters they will vote for women-candidates, representing their interests.
“The recent violence in Afghanistan, notably yesterday’s attack in Kandahar and recent assaults on civilians and candidates for the parliamentary elections during political rallies, aims at dissuading voters to exercise their democratic right. But nobody can deprive the Afghan people of the right to decide their own future,” said the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS) ahead of the elections.
“The parliamentary approval process for Brexit is going to be complex and possibly lengthy, a new report by academic think tank The UK in a Changing Europe and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law finds.The Brexit Endgame comes out on the day marking six months to Brexit. It leaves the politics to one side and looks at the Brexit process as it will play out in the UK Parliament and the EU” says the report of Researchers from The UK in a Changing Europe and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.
“It is almost certain the deal will not be ratified until 2019. As Article 50 can be extended, the real deadline is 18 April, when the European Parliament breaks up for elections.
- Parliamentarians do not face a simple deal/no deal choice, the report finds.
- Parliament will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement and the future relationship as one package. It will be presented to Parliament (as a motion) after it has been agreed with the EU
- MPs can make procedural amendments to the motion. Substantive amendments would amount to a rejection.
- If MPs reject the deal, the government can resubmit an amended version for approval.
- Once the Brexit motion is passed, Parliament then has to approve a bill turning the Withdrawal Agreement into UK law, giving MPs a second opportunity to reject the deal. Without this bill, the deal will not come into force in the UK or EU.
- If a deal can’t be reached or it can’t get through Parliament, there are three ways to trigger a general election:
- if a two-thirds majority of MPs support one;
- if the government loses a confidence motion and can’t regain the support of the Commons within two weeks;
- by overturning the FTPA.
- Once a deal is reached, the European Commission will recommend it to the European Council which will then pass it to the European Parliament
- The European Parliament will wait for the UK Parliament to pass the deal
- If this happens, the deal will go to the EP’s Constitutional Affairs Committee before being voted on by a plenary session of MEPs
- A simple majority of those present on the day is needed for it to pass
- Once that happens, the European Council will then vote. The deal will need the support of at least 20 member states representing at least two-thirds of the EU population.
Researchers from The UK in a Changing Europe and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law wrote two versions of the report – A detailed guide to the parliamentary process of withdrawal from the EU and a short guide.
Anand Menon, Director of the UK in a Changing Europe, said: “Given that most attention has been focussed on Brussels, we have tended to overlook the complex processes that await any Brexit deal that is agreed. “These reports lay out in painstaking and meticulous detail what those processes consist of, and provide a salutary warning that, even should a deal be struck with the EU, the Brexit process will still have a long way to run.”
Armenian Parliament elected opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as the country’s new Prime minister, who received support of 59 members, six more votes more than required.
Pashinyan was the sole candidate for the Prime minister chair, but he could not get the majority in the first sitting, while the ruling coalition still opposed his candidacy. Only after the continuous street protests, they accepted the reality, and admitted their failure. His predecessor, Serzh Sargsyan, resigned after mass protests by the opposition to his decision to become PM after two presidential mandates. The protest actions caused the collapse of the ruling coalition.
Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan has indicated there are signs of agreement between his block and the ruling Republican Party (HHK) to support his candidacy on May 8 as the next Prime minister. And from tomorrow onwards he will engage in talks with the Republican party, and the other MPs to reach a deal.
During his address at Yerevan Republic Square Pashinyan said that the Republicans pledge was “only a verbal statement.” The negotiations are needed to ensure the MPs will stick to their decision in one week time, during the second Parliament sitting, he added.
However Pashinyan called off strike actions and protests for tomorrow, May 3, telling his supporters, “Let’s have a rest.”
“If we take into account the result of today’s political developments, the issue of electing your candidate for Prime minister in the second-round election is practically resolved,” Pashinian confirmed to the rally.
Parliamentary election in Hungary show high turnout exceeding the previous record. Interim data at 1500 GMT indicated voter turnout at 53.64%, compared with the 67.87% noted in the second round of voting in 2002 under a different electoral system, when final turnout reached 73.5%.
Final turnout in the 2014 vote that gave Orban an impressive victory was 61.7%.
Hungarians in immigration are also active queuing for hours to vote in consulates in the EU .