Italy’s coalition government was in crisis Friday after far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini pulled his support and called for snap elections. The heightened political tensions in the heavily-indebted country — the eurozone’s third largest economy — rattled financial markets, where yields rose on Italian government bonds. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who has held several rounds of talks to try to ease the crisis in the 14-month-old government, angrily called on Salvini to justify his move. Salvini has clashed frequently in recent weeks with his fellow Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) over a range of policies. He upped the pressure Thursday, saying there was no longer a majority to support a government and calling for new elections. “Let’s go straight to parliament to say there is no longer a majority… and quickly go back to the voters,” Matteo Salvini said. The move sparked a crisis described by the left-wing newspaper La Repubblica as “a farce that makes no-one laugh”. Shifting political sands Conte, who has held separate talks with Salvini and President Sergio Mattarella, went on the offensive, saying it was not for the firebrand interior minister to summon parliament. He called on Salvini “to explain to the country and justify to the electorate, who believed in the possibility of change, the reasons that brought him to abruptly interrupt” the activities of government. Both houses of parliament are currently on recess for the holidays and are not due back until September. Long-rumbling tensions
Pennsylvania’s message was clear: The state was taking a big step to keep its elections from being hacked in 2020. Last April, its top election official told counties they had to update their systems. So far, nearly 60% have taken action, with $14.15 million of mostly federal funds helping counties buy brand-new electoral systems. But there’s a problem: Many of these new systems still run on old software that will soon be outdated and more vulnerable to hackers. An Associated Press analysis has found that like many counties in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts. That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” on Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit. In a statement to the AP, Microsoft said Friday it would offer continued Windows 7 security updates for a fee through 2023. Critics say the situation is an example of what happens when private companies ultimately determine the security level of election systems with a lack of federal requirements or oversight. Vendors say they have been making consistent improvements in election systems. And many state officials say they are wary of federal involvement in state and local elections. According to an analysis by The Associated Press, states are buying ‘new’ election systems that will soon be running outdated and unsupported software that makes
On posters, hustings and social media, a battle for Europe is being fought, as contenders seek votes for an EU parliamentary election in late May - but the real battle for power will come only once the count is in. More than 400 million voters will deal the hands that leaders, of parties, nations and rival EU institutions, must play; but it will be after the May 23-26 ballot that the high-stakes poker will begin that will shape the European Union for years to come.
Then comes the real suspense: how pro-Union groups may build a majority coalition to work with the EU executive and member states to make law; how a growing eurosceptic bloc may disrupt it; how lawmakers will clash with national leaders over who runs Brussels; and whether British members might end up staying.
“The campaign determines the strength of people’s bargaining positions,” a senior official in the European Parliament said. “But the real game will start after the count.”The sheer scale of elections for the 751 lawmakers who will convene in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on July 2 limits scope for surprises of the kind voters have delivered in national ballots as they lose confidence in established elites.
“Americans should be aware that foreign actors –- and Russia in particular -– continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord,” said a joint statement by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
In Kentucky, Iowa, Virginia and Florida, any conviction — even for a minor offense like possession of marijuana — results in lifelong disenfranchisement. In Florida, where the Republican Donald Trump was just 112,000 votes ahead of his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, nearly 1.5 million people are deprived of voting because of a criminal record.
Afghanistan’s deputy chief executive Mohammad Mohaqiq expressed outrage at the chaotic start to polling and assailed election preparation by the country’s Independent Election Commission.
“The people rushed like a flood to the polling stations, but the election commission employees were not present, and in some cases they were there but there were no electoral materials and in most cases the biometric systems was not working,” he said.
Enthusiasm is up across almost all demographic groups, but the increases are greater among younger adults, non-whites and those who say they favor Democratic Party lawmakers for Congress, the survey found. Compared to Republicans, Democrats maintain a double-digit advantage in overall support for Congress, the poll finds.
US President Donald Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon on Saturday said he would set up “war rooms” across Europe to help form a pan-continental right-wing movement ahead of European Parliament elections in 2019.
“We will provide and do pollings and data analytics and set up war rooms that people need to win elections,” Bannon told a crowd in Rome, watched on by dozens of journalists.
Russia’s ruling United Russia Party suffered a rare setback in regional elections despite winning most of the seats, a reversal its leaders and election chiefs blamed on unpopular plans to raise the pension age. “... There’s a heated public discussion in society right now about a whole raft of changes, including changes to pension law. That undoubtedly ratcheted up the intensity of the campaign and of the political battle,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.