Uganda’s Museveni declared winner of presidential poll, rival alleges fraud


The army’s deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told Reuters that security officers at Wine’s house were assessing threats he could face by going out: “So they might be preventing him in the interest of his own safety.”

Uganda’s long-time President Yoweri Museveni won re-election.Credit:

Soldiers and police were out in force patrolling Kampala on Saturday.

Museveni, 76 and in power for 35 years, campaigned for another term arguing his long experience in office makes him a good leader and promising to keep delivering stability and progress.

Wine, 38, galvanised young Ugandans with his calls for political change and pledged to end what he calls dictatorship and widespread corruption.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said on Friday he had video proof of voting fraud, and would share the videos as soon as internet connections were restored. The government ordered the internet shut down the day before the election, and the blackout was still in place.

Electoral Commission Chairman Simon Byabakama said on Friday that under Ugandan law, the burden of proof rested with Wine.

Bobi Wine addresses the media as security forces surround his home.

Bobi Wine addresses the media as security forces surround his home.Credit:

Reuters has not independently verified Wine’s claims.

The United States and the European Union did not deploy observer teams, but the US State Department’s top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, said in a tweet early on Saturday that the “electoral process has been fundamentally flawed”.

He cited fraud reports, denial of accreditation to observers, violence and harassment of opposition members, and the arrest of civil society activists.

The African Union and East African Community sent observer teams to the election, but neither group of officials responded to requests for comment about possible irregularities.

Police recorded 42 election-related offences nationwide during voting and tallying so far, police spokesman Fred Enanga said on Friday night on local NBS TV. Offences included assaults, voter bribery, and theft and damage of electoral materials, he said.

The run-up to Thursday’s election was more violent than in previous polls. Security forces cracked down on opposition candidates and their supporters during the campaign, and more than 50 people died in protests in November on one of the multiple occasions when Wine was arrested.

Reuters

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Court hands impeached Sonko reprieve after halting February poll


Economy

Court hands impeached Sonko reprieve after halting February poll


Impeached Nairobi governor Mike Sonko. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The High Court has temporarily stopped the Nairobi gubernatorial by-election, which was slated for next month.
  • This was after impeached governor Mike Sonko challenged the process leading to his ouster late last year.
  • Justice Anthony Mrima suspended the gazette notice published on December 21, by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), announcing the by-election date.

The High Court has temporarily stopped the Nairobi gubernatorial by-election, which was slated for next month.

This was after impeached governor Mike Sonko challenged the process leading to his ouster late last year.

Justice Anthony Mrima suspended the gazette notice published on December 21, by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), announcing the by-election date.

Mr Sonko had filed the petition last year but was overtaken by events forcing him to amend the case. He argued that his petition raises pertinent constitutional questions, which might be rendered useless unless the by-election, slated for February 18, is stopped.

He said the process that led to his impeachment by the county assembly, starting on December 3 was conducted in breach and the disregard of the democratic principles and separation of powers.

Mr Sonko says the attendance by the MCAs during the process was both physical and virtual. However, he says, the law and Standing Orders do not contemplate the simultaneous application of both methods of voting.

He further said some of the MCAs were in Kilifi County, and it is not envisaged that they could vote either physically or virtually contrary to the Standing Orders.

“The MCAs that were outside Nairobi have alleged that their accounts were hacked and/or corrupted and strangers purported to log in and vote on their behalf,” he said.

He claims the Zoom system used on the voting day was logged into more than once with different accounts at the same time.

“There was double and in some cases quadruple logging in to peoples’ accounts, which raises serious questions about the integrity of the process,” he said.

He said Mr Mutura declared that he was impeached by 88 MCAs but it is not possible to verify whether they voted.

Thank you for dropping in to My Local Pages and checking out this article on World Business news named “Court hands impeached Sonko reprieve after halting February poll”. This post was posted by My Local Pages Australia as part of our national news services.

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Country Is Apprehensive Of Violent Assembly Poll In Bengal


Jagdeep Dhankhar urged the government machinery to ensure a free and fair elections. (File).

Purulia:

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday claimed that the whole country is apprehensive of a bloodied and violent assembly election in the state, and asked the police and administration to maintain neutrality.

It will be a massive blow to the democratic system if public servants are engaged in political work and there cannot be a bigger challenge than this to the rule of law, he said.

“There is only one discussion in the country, which is apprehension that the elections in West Bengal will be bloodied and will be tainted by violence,” Mr Dhankhar told a press conference during a visit to Purulia.

The governor urged the administration, the police and also the media to create an atmosphere for a violence-free assembly poll due in April-May this year.

Mr Dhankhar said that it will be a blow to the poll process if voters are intimidated and government functionaries get involved in political work.

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He urged the government machinery to be neutral and to ensure that people get to exercise their voting rights in a free and fair manner during the assembly elections.

The governor had on Wednesday alleged that free and fair elections are not held in West Bengal and people cannot exercise their franchise without fear.

The ruling Trinamool Congress, which has been at loggerheads with Mr Dhankhar since he became governor in July last year, has urged President Ram Nath Kovind to remove him, claiming that he has been working in an unconstitutional manner.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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China’s factory activity likely sustained strong expansion in December: Reuters poll



FILE PHOTO: An employee wearing a face mask works at a factory of the component maker SMC during a government organised tour of its facility following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing, China May 13, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

December 29, 2020

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s factory activity likely maintained a solid pace of expansion in December, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday, as the world’s second-largest economy steadily recovers from the coronavirus crisis.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) is expected to edge down to 52.0 in December from November’s 52.1, according to the median forecast of 27 economists polled by Reuters. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity on a monthly basis.

China is on track to become the first to completely shake off the drag from widespread industry shutdowns. November’s PMI reading was the highest in more than three years.

Profits at China’s industrial firms grew robustly in November for a seventh month of gains, supported by strong industrial production and sales.

The Chinese economy is expected to expand around 2% for the full year – the weakest in over three decades but still much stronger than other major economies still struggling to contain virus infections.

Around two-thirds of executives in China said the country’s recovery to pre-COVID conditions is still more than three months away, according to a survey by China Beige Book released Monday.

“China Beige Book data continue to show a less robust recovery than official statistics,” said Leland Miller, the CEO of the U.S.-based consultancy, in a statement released alongside the survey results.

The official PMI, which largely focuses on big and state-owned firms, and its sister survey on the services sector, will both be released on Dec. 31.

The private sector Caixin manufacturing PMI will be published on Jan. 4, and the Caixin services PMI survey will be out on Jan. 6.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Sam Holmes)





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Young Canadians’ pocketbooks hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic: Ipsos poll – National


Nearly one in ten Canadians reported losing their jobs over the course of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the country’s economy.

However, that burden isn’t being borne equally across the population, according to a new Ipsos poll.

“This is really a pandemic in which the burden is being borne by the younger part of our population,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos.

Read more:
When did you last work? 1.3M jobless Canadians have passed critical 6-month mark

While some may have found their biggest work-related inconvenience of 2020 took the form of a cat running across their keyboard as they adjusted to their new home offices, for many people the pandemic ripped away their paycheck and shattered their finances. The latter was the reality for the nine per cent of Canadians who reported losing their jobs in the last year — and they are far more likely to be young adults, according the new poll from Ipsos.

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Seventeen per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 say they’ve lost their job, according to Ipsos. That number dips to 10 per cent for those aged 35-54 and three per cent for those over the age of 55.

However, the poll did find one upside for young Canadians – they are more likely to report having found new work. Roughly 17 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 reported finding a new job, as opposed to eight per cent of those aged 35 to 54 and just two per cent of those over the age of 55.

“What we’re seeing is that there’s a fair amount of churn, particularly among the younger population, where 17 per cent say that they’ve lost their job during the course of the pandemic, but 17 per cent have also said that they’ve found a job,” said Bricker.

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“I’m not saying they’re matched up exactly, but what you’re seeing is that there’s a surprising amount of churn that’s happening in the workplace where people still are hiring, even if people are losing their jobs.”


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“People are making impossible decisions,” pandemic pushing those with precarious financial situations over the edge


“People are making impossible decisions,” pandemic pushing those with precarious financial situations over the edge – Dec 1, 2020

Still, the poll found that the overall picture is that “slightly more Canadians than last year” reported losing their jobs and “fewer [are] saying they’ve gotten new ones.”

The unemployment rate hit a record high of 13.7 per cent in May, but that figure has been steadily falling ever since, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Market Survey. The most recent figures, posted in November, show the current unemployment sitting at 8.5 per cent.

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In addition to some Canadians losing their jobs in 2020, fewer Canadians are seeking out job training. Just five per cent of Canadians re-trained for a job or pursued further training this year, which is a three per cent drop from previous polls. This means fewer Canadians will be equipping themselves for promotions or fresh opportunities heading into 2021.

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“People aren’t participating in job training in the way that they were. A lot of what’s going on, I would say, in the employment market is churn along with stability,” Bricker said.

‘Improving your situation, in terms of your career, is not how people are really looking at the pandemic right now. They’re basically looking at getting by.”

Read more:
Canada’s labour market beats expectations, adding 62K jobs in November

Despite the uptick in Canadians losing their jobs and the dip in those diving into studies or skills training, Canadians are actually painting a rosier picture in terms of their financial stability than they have in the past.

“Another silver living to the pandemic is that almost a quarter [23 per cent] of Canadians are fortunate enough to say that they don’t have any barriers to financial stability, a five-point increase from the same time last year,” the poll read.

While this represents a boost in Canadians feeling financially secure compared to the same time last year, 77 per cent of respondents still listed various barriers that prevent them from feeling financially stable.

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Coronavirus: Canadian economy rebounded, but job losses higher than the Great Recession, Bank of Canada says – Oct 28, 2020

The main area of concern for these families as they strive for financial stability is the cost of food, followed by housing costs such as mortgage or rent payments. Both factors were mentioned as key barriers about ten per cent of the time, according to the poll.

Other barriers cited by Canadians included debt, low wages and an inability to find work.

While 33 per cent of Canadians over the age of 55 report that they don’t have any barriers to financial stability, just 18 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 and 16 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 say the same. In addition to that, only 10 per cent of households earning less than $40,000 a year said they don’t face any barriers to financial stability.

“If you’re a younger person, particularly somebody who’s in more precarious employment, you’re really hurting through the course of this pandemic,” Bricker said.

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Most Canadians also found new ways to save some money in the last year. Just over half of Canadians polled said they cut back on spending, whether that’s by making fewer non-essential purchases or by cutting back on buying food and clothing to make ends meet. This was a particularly prevalent finding in Alberta, where 71 per cent of respondents said they had to either sell off some belongings or cut back on spending in the past year.

The biggest dip in spending, however, can be found in the realms of entertainment and travel.

“All of the fun stuff is where we’re seeing that there’s been a decline. So things that you would regard as discretionary spending. Part of that is probably because people are a bit concerned about their ability to get themselves through this pandemic, but an awful lot is driven by a lack of supply,” Bricker said.


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Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between Dec. 11 and Dec. 14, 2020, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ from Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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NSW voters ready for right to die laws to change: poll


Premier Gladys Berejiklian is under increasing pressure to follow other states in introducing voluntary assisted dying laws with a new poll showing more than 70 per cent of NSW voters supported such a move.

Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich is working with Coalition, Opposition and crossbench MPs on introducing a bill next year that would legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill.

The bill will be modelled on WA legislation but also be informed by the findings of the Queensland Law Reform Commission, which is working on a legal framework ahead of the introduction of the State’s own assisted dying laws. Other states to have legalised assisted dying include Victoria,

The Berejiklian government has to date indicated it would decide on whether the NSW cabinet would decide if it supported the bill, or would allow coalition MPs a conscience vote once it sees the draft legislation.

MP Alex Greenwich is working on introducing a bill to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill. Picture: Jonathan Ng

To gauge public support in NSW, a poll of 1038 people was undertaken by the Australia Institute, asking if they about their position on whether voluntary assisted dying should be available to people with terminal illnesses who are experiencing “unrelieveable suffering” and who ask to die.

The poll found 72 per cent of residents believed voluntary assisted dying should be legal with slightly more males in favour – 75 per cent – than females – 70 per cent.

Older voters were more likely to support the legalisation than younger respondents, with 76 per cent of those aged 65 years or over being in favour compared with 69 per cent of residents aged 18 to 34 years.

Across party lines, more Coalition voters than Labor believed the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying should occur with 74 per cent compared with 71 per cent, with the Greens at 77 per cent being the most supportive.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s government is under increasing pressure to introduce voluntary assisted dying laws. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jenny Evans

Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s government is under increasing pressure to introduce voluntary assisted dying laws. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jenny Evans

Mr Greenwich, who was the architect of a historic bill to decriminalise abortion in NSW, said the WA legislation allowed people in the last six months of a terminal illness whose pain was unlikely to be able to be relieved to die with dignity.

He said the objective was to give people some control.

“People support this reform because they think it’s compassionate,” Mr Greenwich said.

“My bill will be modelled on the WA bill, but will be informed by the law reform process under way in Queensland.”

Mr Greenwich said he expected the legislation to take six months to draft. It will be the third attempt for assisted dying bill laws to be adopted in NSW in recent years, with Nationals MP Trevor Khan, whose terminally ill father asked to die, introducing a bill into parliament in 2017. The bill, worked on for two years, never progressed beyond the Upper House.

It followed a failed attempt by Greens MP Cate Faerhmann in 2013.

The Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said while it was not an easy subject for the community, the poll showed most NSW voters believed there was a place for voluntary assisted dying.

“New South Wales voters want the right to die with dignity,” he said.

Originally published as NSW voters ready for right to die laws to change: poll





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Japan’s Suga slips to 42% approval rating in new Nikkei poll


TOKYO — Public support for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government has gone underwater for the first time as officials have struggled to respond to COVID-19.

The approval rating of Suga’s cabinet sank to 42% in a weekend Nikkei/TV Tokyo survey — down 16 percentage points from the previous poll, taken in November. Disapproval climbed 16 points to 48%.

The decline in approval was the largest since October 2010, during Naoto Kan’s stint as prime minister. Back then, the government had recently released crewmembers of a Chinese fishing vessel that had collided with vessels of the Japan Coast Guard.

For Suga, the new poll marks a steep drop-off from the 74% approval rating his cabinet enjoyed right after he took office in September. The government’s coronavirus response appears to be the biggest cause of the slide.

The survey shows that 59% of respondents disapprove of the handling of COVID-19, up 11 points from November. The disapproval number is the highest since the coronavirus response question began being asked in February.

Disapproval of the virus response previously peaked at 55% in May, the month after then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had declared a state of emergency.

A lack of leadership was the top reason for not supporting Suga’s cabinet, at 48%. This was followed by poor policy measures at 36%.

The confluence of money and politics also factored into the low approval rating. Abe last week denied knowing that his office paid for lavish dinner parties held for his supporters. An aide was eventually fined for failing to record expenses.

Abe’s explanation failed to convince 74% of respondents in the latest poll. Tokyo prosecutors on Friday raided the offices of Takamori Yoshikawa, a former agriculture minister, over allegations of receiving money from an egg production company. The poll shows 82% of respondents do not find the scandal acceptable.

The poll was conducted by Nikkei Research over the phone from Friday to Sunday via random-digit dialing. It received 933 responses from men and women aged 18 and older, for a response rate of 47.4%.





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Support for Trudeau’s handling of COVID-19 not enough to win him a majority: Ipsos poll – National


While the Liberals have consistently bested all other political parties in the polls the entire year, calling an election today wouldn’t leave them in any better standing than they currently enjoy, according to a new poll from Ipsos.

“It’s like the ‘Blursday’ of political polling. I mean, it’s the same thing month after month after month after month where we see the Liberals holding on to a slight lead,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, referring to an online meme.

“They haven’t trailed any other political party for the entire year. But where they are is not enough to, I would say, call an election with certainty that they’re going to be able to win a majority.”

Read more:
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In the latest Ipsos polling, the Liberals rounded off the year with support from 35 per cent of those polled, giving them a slight lead over the Conservatives, who pulled in 32 per cent support.

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If an election result were to mirror that polling, the Liberals would secure a minority — putting them in no stronger of a position than the one they hold today.










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The NDP would still be in a position to prop up the Liberals, based on the polls. The party is currently polling in third place, with 18 per cent of the vote, while the Bloc Quebecois has dipped to just 7 per cent support after besting the NDP during the 2019 federal election. The Green Party is also polling around 7 per cent.

In addition to that, the areas where the support has picked up is generally where the Liberals already have seats. Bricker said that this reality makes an election call less appealing, from a strategic perspective, given that the current support levels don’t point to a majority win for the Liberals.

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“What they’re doing is just better in the seats that they already have, rather than expanding to a new collection of seats that would put them in a position to form a majority,” Bricker said.

“So unless you have that going for you, there’s really no reason to call an election, particularly when you have a minority government [where] opposition parties are prepared to allow you to govern the way that you want to govern.”


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Much of what has earned the Liberals their staying power in the polls can be attributed to their handling of the pandemic, Bricker said.

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“The way that the government responded to the pandemic early on, particularly when it came to making sure that people were able to pay their bills through the various programs that they put in place, the public basically supported that approach,” he said.

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However, he said the public appears to be approaching the government as a sort of “public service agency” as opposed to a political entity — which means Canadians’ happiness with the handling of the pandemic isn’t necessarily translating into a boost in the polls for the Liberals.

“So what we’re seeing right now is the public responding to what government is doing almost like it’s a public service agency, as opposed to being a political agency. So even though the government is performing well in terms of dealing with this, it really hasn’t boosted their political support that much,” explained Bricker.

“The surprising part is that even though we see that the prime minister’s approval levels are up, his party’s support level is not up that much.”


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Over the course of 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval rating skyrocketed by 13 points since February, landing him an approval rate of 56 per cent.

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That figure is “almost as good as what he was doing in the first year of his first term,” said Bricker.

“So he’s actually looking pretty strong in terms of personal appeal. Now, whether that is a reflection of people actually being satisfied with what he’s doing or hoping that that he’s going to be providing the leadership that we need right now, it all adds up to the same thing, which is really strong approval levels for the prime minister.”

Trudeau’s approval ratings are the highest in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia — but plummet below 40 per cent in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta.


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Ipsos also found that while Trudeau, businesses and hospitals are getting rave reviews from Canadians in terms of their handling of the pandemic, one organization has fallen behind: long-term care homes.

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“If there’s an agenda that’s going to emerge from this pandemic, an agenda for change, it’s probably going to relate to that,” Bricker said.

Read more:
What will Ontario’s long-term care system look like post-pandemic?

The pandemic hit long-term care homes particularly hard, with the vulnerable population residing within these facilities accounting for a disproportionate share of the deaths.

“That’s something that Canadians are horrified by. It’s something that they believe should be addressed and fixed,” Bricker said.

“I would expect that you’re going to see governments act on that when they get out of dealing with this emergency situation.”

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between Dec. 11 and Dec. 14, 2020, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ from Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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J&K DDC poll results | Results of 276 seats declared; PAGD gets 110, BJP 74


The results of four constituencies — one each in Bandipora and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir and Poonch and Rajouri districts in Jammu region — are still awaited

The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) swept the maiden District Development Council (DDC) polls by winning 110 seats, while the BJP emerged as the single largest party by getting 74 seats after securing the largest vote share in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on December 23.

Also read: BJP upbeat about Kashmir poll results

The results of four constituencies — one each in Bandipora and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir and Poonch and Rajouri districts in Jammu region — are still awaited.

The counting of votes for the 280 DDC constituencies — 14 each in 20 districts — started on December 22 morning after the peaceful culmination of the eight-phase election from November 28 to December 19. This was the first democratic exercise in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile State into two Union Territories last year.

Out of the 276 seats for which results have been declared by the J&K Election Commission so far, besides PAGD and BJP, Independent candidates have won 49, Congress 26, Apni Party 12, PDF and National Panthers Party two each and BSP one.

Also read: J&K DDC poll results | Gupkar Alliance wins 96 seats in DDC polls in J&K

Two Pakistan-occupied Kashmir nationals (PoK), who are married to former militants, are among the contestants from Dragmulla constituency in Kupwara and Hajin-A in Bandipora and the State Election Commissioner has directed the returning officers concerned to defer the counting of votes in the two constituencies till further orders, the officials said.

In Darhal constituency of Rajouri district, BJP’s Mohammad Iqbal Malik is leading over National Conference’s Parvez Rashid by more than 1,000 votes when the counting was in progress.

So far, the PAGD had won six seats, the Congress three and the BJP two while one seat each had gone to the Apni Party and an Independent candidate in the district.

Also read: Former BJP minister Sham Lal Choudhary loses DDC election in Jammu by 11 votes

The final result of Balakote constituency in Poonch, where independent candidate Massarat Jabin is leading over her PDP rival Afshan Aftab by a margin of 787 votes, is also awaited. The Congress had won four seats, two seats went to the National Conference, while seven independents have registered their victory from the district so far.

Among the PAGD constituents, the National Conference won the highest number of 67 seats, followed by PDP (27), People’s Conference (eight), CPI(M) five and J&K Peoples Movement (three), getting a total share of over 3.94 lakh votes together.

The BJP, on the other hand, won 74 seats, including three in Kashmir after getting a total of 4.87 lakh votes. However, it only managed to get a clear majority in six districts — Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Samba, Doda and Reasi — all in the Jammu region.

Also read: Analysis | Jammu & Kashmir DDC election: A lot at stake for BJP, Gupkar alliance

The PAGD managed a good show in Pir Panchal and Chenab valley’s Kishtwar and Ramban districts besides its candidate from National Conference winning one seat each in Jammu and Samba districts.

The Congress polled a total of over 1.39 votes, while the Independents got 1.71 lakh votes.

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Essential poll: two-thirds of Australians think Canberra is victim in trade war with Beijing | Essential poll


Almost half of the respondents in the Guardian Essential poll think Australia needs to back away from its close relationship with China, and a majority thinks Canberra is an innocent victim of trade sanctions from Beijing, rather than inviting aggression.

In the final Guardian Essential poll for 2020, 49% of the sample of 1,071 respondents thinks Australia needs to become less close to China after months of escalating rhetorical and economic disputation, and 62% believe Australia is a victim in the trade war rather than making itself a target by the government publicly criticising the Chinese regime (38%).

A majority (56%) also backs Scott Morrison for publicly demanding an apology from Beijing after an official Chinese social media account posted a fake image of an Australian soldier threatening to kill a child – a reference to the Brereton review which unearthed credible evidence of alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

But the Guardian Essential sample is split – with 44% of respondents thinking Morrison should have let that issue be handled through diplomatic channels.

The final voter survey for the year also indicates Morrison suffered a four-point drop in approval (down to 62%) and a three-point increase in voter disapproval (up to 28%) during the period where the diplomatic dispute between Canberra and Beijing intensified and the Coalition unveiled controversial industrial relations changes.

The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, who signalled plans to block any move by the government to allow workers wages to be cut, recorded a three-point rise in his personal approval (up to 43%) and a four drop in his disapproval (down to 29%) between November and December.

Morrison ends 2020 comfortably ahead of his opponent as better prime minister 50% to 24%, but the prime minister’s standing on that measure dropped three points in a month, with more voters moving to the “don’t know” column (26%). The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus three points.

Voters in the survey were asked to reflect on the tumultuous events of the past 12 months, and the results suggest that people think 2020 has been a negative year for the economy, for small business, and for average Australians. The only experiences tabulated in the positive column were people’s workplaces and their families.

Voters gave a negative rating to the Australian government and to politics in general, but compared to viscerally negative sentiment tracked in previous years, voters were comparatively more positive about both the government and politics in general.

Australians continue to be worried about the state of the economy, with just 18% of the sample predicting that conditions will pick up within two to three months and things will return to how they were pre-Covid.

While the latest data suggests Australia has clambered out of recession, just under half the respondents (43%) predict the economy will remain in the doldrums for six to 12 months and then economic growth will be slow or stagnant, while 22% fear there will be a lengthy recession and the pandemic will create long-lasting economic scars.

While people are clearly pessimistic, the responses are marginally more upbeat than they were when the questions were last put in April, which was during the peak of the first wave of infections. Coalition voters are more inclined to be optimistic than other voting cohorts.

But there is more uncertainty now about the trajectory of the economy than there was back in April. Now 17% of the sample say they are unsure how the economy will rebound following Covid-19, up from 10%.

The survey also suggests vaccine hesitancy might have increased as the early candidates are rolled out in the United Kingdom and the US. Compared with responses earlier in the year, 43% of respondents say they would get a vaccine as soon as possible, down from 56% in August.

Under half the sample (46%) say they will get a vaccination but not straight away (35% said this in August) and 10% say they would never get vaccinated. Men and voters aged over 55 are more likely to say they will get a vaccination quickly after it is made available.

Voters were also asked what they thought of industrial relations reforms pursued by Coalition governments. More than half the sample thinks the Liberals pursue reforms that favour businesses and employers (52%), while only 17% think they favour employees.

A majority in the sample thinks the government proposal to require employers to offer permanency to their long-term casuals would be beneficial to workers, with 57% endorsing the statement: “The law should be changed now to make it easier for casual workers to become permanent employees if they want to, so they have greater certainty in their lives.”

But there is a sizeable minority of voters in the sample (43%) who believe now is not the right time to make these changes. That group agreed with the statement: “Now is not the right time to make changes to the rules for casual workers, because economic uncertainty means there needs to be as much flexibility in the workplace as possible.”



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