Reuters blog archive
from India Insight:
Voting for the 2014 general election will begin on April 7, the Election Commission said on Wednesday.
More than 814 million people -- a number larger than the population of Europe -- will be eligible to vote in the world's biggest democratic exercise.
Voting will be held in nine stages, which will be staggered until May 12, and results are due to be announced on May 16. Elections to state assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be held simultaneously.
Around 930,000 polling stations will be set up for the month-long election using electronic voting machines, first introduced in 2004.
from India Insight:
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The Aam Aadmi Party has up-ended the calculations of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the race for control of New Delhi in one of five state assembly elections later this year.
Italy has dropped out of the spotlight a little following the protracted political soap opera surrounding Silvio Berlusconi. But it remains perhaps the euro zone’s most dangerous flashpoint.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta now has some time to push through economic reforms, cut taxes and spending in an effort to galvanize activity. But already the politics look difficult.
The ecstasy and the agony.
Angela Merkel scored a resounding election victory but by apparently falling just short of an overall majority, while her FDP coalition colleagues failed to get the 5 percent share of the vote needed for any parliamentary representation, she is probably going to have to turn to the centre-left SPD to form a government.
An SPD/Greens/left coalition is not impossible but having secured 42 percent of the vote, the tune is Merkel’s to call.
Pulling back from the brink. The Federal Reserve certainly has and so has Silvio Berlusconi (so far).
Not much to say about the Fed directly, except that it’s surely still only a matter of time, but it certainly takes the pressure off the central banks meeting in our region today. German Bund futures have leapt about 1-1/2 points and Italian bond futures are up more than a full point. We can expect emerging market assets to climb sharply too – the Turkish lira is up three percent, for example, giving its embattled central bank some breathing space.
For most of the year, the biggest question for the euro zone was whether the pace of reform would pick up after German elections which are now just six days away. Thanks to a Reuters exclusive over the weekend it appears the answer could be yes, at least incrementally.
Senior EU officials told us that Germany is working on a plan that would allow the completion of a euro zone banking union without changing existing EU law. Until now, Berlin has insisted the EU would have to amend its Treaty to move power to close or fix struggling banks from a national to a European level – a process which could take years.
Norway's centre-right swept to power last night, ousting a centre-left government that couldn’t capitalize on a solidly performing economy which escaped the world financial crisis largely unscathed (uncanny echoes of Australia’s weekend election here). The popular feeling seems to have been that a decade of strong growth was wasted and is now slowing.
Erna Solberg, Norway’s second woman premier, will have to govern with the anti-immigration, anti-tax Progress party which could be problematic. But they seem at one on the need for lower taxes at least.
from The Great Debate:
The recent re-election of Zimbabwe’s 89-year old president Robert Mugabe, in office for 33 years, resembled a period not long ago when sham elections were the norm in sub-Saharan Africa. Peaceful transitions of power were almost unheard of.
Though the African Union disappointingly endorsed the elections as “honest and credible,” Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has now faced a spate of resignations and international condemnation over allegations of vote-rigging, intimidation and state media control.
from India Insight:
By Ross Colvin and Sruthi Gottipati
Narendra Modi is a polarising figure, evoking visceral reactions across the political spectrum. Critics call him a dictator while supporters believe he could make India an Asian superpower. (Read a special report on Modi here)
Reuters spoke to Modi at his official Gandhinagar residence in a rare interview, the first since he was appointed head of the BJP’s election campaign in June.