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President appoints Justice UU Lalit as next CJI

Justice Lalit has served as a Member of Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for two terms…reports Asian Lite News

President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday appointed Justice U.U. Lalit as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) with effect from August 27.

A statement from the Ministry of Law and Justice said: “In exercise of the power conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President has appointed Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, judge of the Supreme Court as the Chief Justice of India. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit will take over as the 49th Chief Justice of India on 27th August 2022”. Current Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana will demit office on August 26 on superannuation.

Justice Lalit was appointed as judge of the Supreme Court in August 2014 from the Bar. He will become the second Chief Justice of India to be directly elevated to the Supreme Court from the Bar, after Justice S.M. Sikri, who served as the 13th CJI in 1971. Justice Lalit has served as a Member of Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for two terms.

Justice Lalit was born on November 9, 1957 at Solapur, Maharashtra. He enrolled as an advocate by the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa in June 1983. He practised in the High Court of Bombay till December 1985 before shifting his practice to Delhi in January 1986.

Justice Lalit worked in the chambers of Soli J. Sorabjee from October 1986 till 1992 and was on the panel of lawyers for the Union of India during the period Sorabjee was Attorney General for India. From 1992 till 2002, he practised as advocate-on-record and was designated as senior advocate by the Supreme Court in April 2004. He was also appointed amicus curiae in many important issues, including forest matters, vehicular pollution, pollution of Yamuna etc. He was appointed as special public prosecutor for CBI under the orders of the Supreme Court to conduct trial in all 2G matters.

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Millions vote for new president in Kenya

Odinga is seeking the presidency for the fifth time and has campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket…reports Asian Lite News

Kenyans are voting on Tuesday to elect a President and a new Parliament, with around 22 million people eligible to cast their ballots in a closely fought election.

Pre-election polling put opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga slightly ahead of William Ruto, who served as Vice President to the outgoing Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been President of the East African country for the past 10 years, reports dpa news agency.

Odinga is seeking the presidency for the fifth time and has campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket.

Ruto has pledged far-reaching economic reforms to improve the lot of small businesses and farms.

Rising food and fuel prices have added to tensions in the large country, which is home to a wide range of ethnic groups. Past elections have often been characterized by outbreaks of violence

Kenya is nevertheless seen as a relatively stable country on the continent, and the two main candidates have indicated they intend to accept the election result.

They have also said they plan to continue close relations with the US and the European Union.

Under the Constitution, results must be published within seven days. With four candidates running, and a close result expected, a run-off election may well be necessary.

The election in the country of some 56 million inhabitants is the fifth presidential election since independence from Britain in 1963.

Members of the National Assembly and Senate were also chosen on Tuesday.

Tanzanian President wishes Kenya peaceful general elections

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has wished neighbouring Kenyans peaceful general elections as they went to the polls to vote for their leaders.

“I am praying God be with you (Kenyans) as you fulfill your constitutional right of getting leaders of your choice in a peaceful environment, unity, harmony and solidarity,” she said in her official tweet on Tuesday.

“Wishing you all the best.”

President Hassan was inspecting the Njombe region in the country’s southern highlands on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Millions of Kenyan citizens on Tuesday cast their ballots at nearly 46,229 polling stations across the country to elect the country’s fifth President as well as members of the National Assembly, Senators, and county governors.

William Ruto, Kenya’s sitting Deputy President and Presidential candidate under the Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) Alliance, cast his ballot at 6 a.m on Tuesday at a primary school located in his ancestral Sugoi village in the northwestern county of Uasin Gishu. Soon after casting his ballot, Ruto said he will respect the election outcomes, after months of heated campaigns.

Ruto is running for the presidency with three other candidates, including his closest rival, Raila Odinga, a veteran Opposition leader who is running for the presidency under the Azimio La Umoja (Resolution for Unity) One Kenya Coalition. Odinga also cast his ballot at a polling station in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, later on Tuesday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta Votes in Gatundu

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday morning cast his vote at Mutomo Primary School in Gatundu, Kiambu County.

The Head of State, who was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, cast his vote shortly after 9.00 am and urged Kenyans to vote peacefully.

“Vote peacefully and go home to wait for the results,” President Kenyatta said.

Responding to questions from the media, the President said the voting exercise at the Mutomo Primary School polling station was smooth and he hoped the same will apply across the country.

Before accompanying the President to Gatundu, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta had cast her vote at St. Mary’s School in Nairobi County shortly before 7.00 am.

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India News UK News

Britain sends ‘badhai’ to Indian President Murmu

Ahmad is the minister officially in-charge of Indian affairs and sent the message in his capacity as Minister for South Asia…reports Asian Lite News

Britain has sent greetings to India’s new President Droupadi Murmu and expressed confidence that the India-UK relationship would go from “strength to strength” under her tenure.

Lord Tariq Ahmad, the Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for South Asia and the Commonwealth, took to Twitter on Friday to send his “badhai” in Devanagari script to the new Indian Head of State. The tweet followed the former governor of Jharkhand’s confirmation as President-elect.

“Congratulations to Droupadi Murmu on her election as India’s new President,” said Lord Ahmad, a Pakistani-origin Conservative Party peer in the House of Lords.

“I am sure the UK-India relationship will go from strength to strength during her tenure. Badhai!” With outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson now technically signed off from the job after his farewell speech in Parliament last week ahead of the election of a new Prime Minister by early September, 10 Downing Street said Lord Ahmad’s tweet from last week is the formal UK government congratulatory message for the new Indian President.

Ahmad is the minister officially in-charge of Indian affairs and sent the message in his capacity as Minister for South Asia.

On Monday, Droupadi Murmu was sworn in as the 15th President of India and hailed her election as symbolic of the “greatness of India, mother of democracy”. The 64-year-old is the first tribal woman to hold the highest constitutional post in the country.

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Droupadi Murmu sworn in as 15th President of India

The outgoing President had then escorted Murmu to the Presidential study for a brief meeting…reports Asian Lite News

 Droupadi Murmu on Monday took oath as the 15th President of India.

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana administered the oath of office to Murmu in the Central Hall of Parliament.

Outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind and Murmu arrived in Parliament in a ceremonial procession shortly before the swearing in commenced.

She is scheduled to deliver an address later.

Before leaving for the swearing-in ceremony, Murmu reached the Rashtrapati Bhavan, her home and office for the next five years, where she was welcomed by Kovind and his wife Savita.

The outgoing President had then escorted Murmu to the Presidential study for a brief meeting.

Earlier in the morning, Murmu paid tributes to the father of nation Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Members of the Council of Ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers, heads of diplomatic missions, MPs and principal civil and military officers of the government are in attendance at the swearing in ceremony.

ALSO READ-Droupadi Murmu is India’s 15th President

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India News

99% polling for Presidential elections


There were two contesting candidates — Draupadi Murmu and Yashwant Sinha for the 16th Presidential election…reports Asian Lite News

A total of 11 states and one union territory including Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Puducherry, Sikkim, Mizoram and Tamil Nadu recorded 100 per cent voting on Monday in polling for the election of the 15th President of India.

Polling concluded successfully in free, fair and transparent manner at the Parliament House on Monday and in each of the 30 places of poll in State Legislative Assemblies including Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry.

There were two contesting candidates — Draupadi Murmu and Yashwant Sinha for the 16th Presidential election.

As per the Election Commission, of a total of 771 Members of Parliament entitled to vote (5 vacant), and similarly out of total 4,025 Members of the Legislative Assemblies entitled to vote (6 vacant and 2 disqualified), over 99 per cent cast their vote on Monday.

However 100 per cent voting by MLAs was reported from Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Puducherry, Sikkim, Mizoram and Tamil Nadu.

The Election to the office of President is one of the most important elections, which the Election Commission conducts vide the mandate of Article 324 of the Constitution. Polling was held between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in 31 locations.

As per Article 54 of the Constitution, the President of India is elected by the Members of an Electoral College consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States (including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry).

The Members nominated to either House of Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies of States, including NCT of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry, are not eligible to be included in the Electoral College.

The Election Commission is required to maintain a list of members of the Electoral College.

The list contains the names of elected members of the Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of States, NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry.

Two members including Anant Kumar Singh and Mahendra Hari Dalvi were not eligible to vote in the election on Monday, owing to disqualification under Section 8 of R.P. Act, 1951 subsequent to judgement of competent court.

Further, there are 5 vacancies in Rajya Sabha and 6 vacancies in State Legislative Assemblies.

Therefore, there were a total of 4,796 electors in the list of Electoral College for this Presidential Election to participate in the election.

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Oppn Presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha to file nomination today

Chief Ministers of NDA-ruled states were all present during Murmu’s filing of nomination papers…reports Asian Lite News

The Opposition’s presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha will file his nomination papers for the July 18 poll on Monday.

Sinha is likely to be accompanied by leaders of the opposition parties for filing of the nomination.

Meanwhile, the TRS announced its support to Sinha. Sources said that TRS floor leader Nama Nageswara Rao and other Members of Parliament will be present during Sinha’s nomination. Sinha will then pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B.R Ambedkar.

He will also begin his campaign to meet MPs and MLAs. On Friday, Sinha had telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s offices seeking their support for the poll. He also wrote a letter to all the leaders of the opposition parties.

In the letter Sinha wrote: “India is going through extremely difficult times. I shall raise my voice for the common people.”

Sinha had also said that the leaders of the other ideology are intent on throttling the Constitution and “making a mockery of the people’s mandate in elections.”

On his nomination as joint opposition candidate, Sinha had tweeted: “Thanking them for choosing me as their common candidate for the Presidential Election 2022. I am truly honoured. Defending the Constitution is our solemn promise, pledge and commitment.”

BJP-led NDA candidate Droupdai Murmu had filed nomination last week in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief J.P. Nadda, union ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and leaders of alliance partners.

Chief Ministers of NDA-ruled states were all present during Murmu’s filing of nomination papers.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Opposition parties will be meeting on Monday in Parliament. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar who is firefighting the Maharashtra crisis has landed in Delhi for the meet. The opposition has been put to test since the NDA announced its candidate.

The big question is who all from the opposition will be present in Monday’s meeting as Congress MLAs and MP are busy signing the nomination papers. Sinha will address a press conference on Monday at 4 p.m. and will then begin his campaign.

Sinha on Wednesday had said that the Constitution is being throttled.

“If elected,” he said, “I shall not allow the independence and integrity of democratic institutions to be weaponised against political opponents, as is happening now.”

“The ongoing attacks on the federal structure of the Constitution, whereby the government is attempting to rob the state governments of their legitimate rights and powers, will be treated as totally unacceptable. I shall also use the authority of my office to check the menacing power of ill-gotten money that is killing the soul of Indian democracy and making a mockery of people’s mandate in elections,” Sinha told media here.

A dozen-odd opposition parties declared Sinha as their candidate on Tuesday, the same day the BJP declared Draupadi Murmu as its candidate for the post of the President, elections for which are due on July 18.

BSP Supremo Mayawati has already announced support to the NDA nominee while YSRCP and the BJD are on board from day one and the crisis in Maharashtra has put the NDA in a comfortable position in the contest while other political parties may come in support of Murmu. She has already spoken to JMM leader Hemant Soren.

The development comes after JDS leader H.D. Deve Gowda praised the NDA candidate and termed her “suitable” and “non-controversial”.

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Yashwant Sinha to be opposition candidate

Earlier in the day, Sinha had resigned from Trinamool Congress (TMC) leading to speculations about his name being finalized for the President’s post as opposition’s candidate…reports Asian Lite News

The opposition parties on Tuesday announced former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha as their consensus candidate for the post of President, election for which is to be held on July 18.

“We (opposition parties) have unanimously decided that Yashwant Sinha will be our common candidate for the Presidential election,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told media persons soon after the meeting of the combined opposition parties held at the Parliament Annexe.

The meeting was called by NCP top leader Sharad Pawar and attended by leaders from the Congress, TMC, Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPI-M, National Conference, and RJD among others.

“In his long and distinguished career in public life, Sinha has served the nation in various capacities. An able administrator, accomplished Parliamentarian, and an acclaimed Union Minister of Finance and External Affairs, he is eminently qualified to uphold the secular and democratic character of the Indian republic and its constitutional values,” he said.

“Ideally, a consensus candidate of the government and the opposition should be elected to the highest office of the republic. However, the initiative for this should have been taken by the government. The Modi government made no serious effort in this direction,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Sinha had resigned from Trinamool Congress (TMC) leading to speculations about his name being finalized for the President’s post as opposition’s candidate.

Last week, the opposition parties had convened a similar meeting wherein several leaders had wanted NCP leader Sharad Pawar to be the opposition candidate. Pawar had, however, declined the offer.

The voting for the Presidential poll is scheduled to be held on July 18 and counting to be held on July 21.

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Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Elected UAE President

The 61-year-old Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi will be the country’s third president, reports Asian Lite News

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was on Saturday elected as the new President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The 61-year-old will be the country’s third president, after succeeding Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who passed away on Friday at the age of 73, reports Khaleej Times.

Sheikh Mohamed, who is also the Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was elected by the UAE’s Federal Supreme Council.

He will hold office for a five-year term before being eligible for re-election.

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Macron ahead in first round of presidential election

Macron cast his vote in Le Touquet, a seaside town in Pas-de-Calais in northern France and urged voters to exercise their franchise. But he failed to sufficiently enthuse them…reports Asian Lite News

Notwithstanding a slightly low voter turnout, an opening estimate of the result of the first round of the French presidential election by pollsters Ipsos, gave the incumbent President Emmanuel Macron 28.1 per cent of votes, with Marie Le Pen of the far-right National Rally, better known as National Front, securing 23.3 per cent support.

The two now go through to a decisive second round of voting on April 24 for a re-match. Supporters of the finalists were planning parties in celebration of qualifying into the ultimate stage, which were predicted to continue late into the night.

Among the 12 candidates altogether, leftist JeanLuc Melenchon registered an impressive 20.1 per cent – which is likely to mostly transfer in favour of Macron in the second round. Eric Zemmour, an extreme rightist, posted 7.2 per cent – much of this will probably go to Le Pen in the second round. Valerie Pecresse of the traditional right-of-centre Republicans got only 7.2 per cent – she requested her voters to back Macron in the second round. Socialist Anne Hidalgo fared even worse with 2.1 per cent.

Macron cast his vote in Le Touquet, a seaside town in Pas-de-Calais in northern France and urged voters to exercise their franchise. But he failed to sufficiently enthuse them.

Turnout was down as compared to polling in the first round in 2017, but still around 75 per cent. French voters have not stayed away from casting their ballot in this manner, other than their apathy of 2002.

The low turnout is interpreted by commentators as a reflection of defiance and dissatisfaction among French people in the politics of the country, looked upon as a worrying trend.

Le Monde, the leading French daily, commented in an editorial piece: “Started in times of pandemic (Covid-19) and completed in times of war (in Ukraine), this presidential campaign suspended between two perils leads to a first round threatened by a double danger” – abstention and the rise in support for the far-right.

Reporting on Paris, the paper wrote: “Many voters hesitated a lot before deciding, sometimes even in front of the voting booth.”

In what was described as “the chic districts of Marseille” – a port city, founded in 600 BC and France’s oldest urban centre in the south-west of the country – some leaders of the Republicans reportedly led the way to vote for Macron of En Marche, a centrist formation established in 2016. “A conversion with a bitter taste for some voters,” Le Monde’s correspondent said.

In sandy Reunion Island, a French prefecture in the Indian Ocean, where 25 per cent of its 900,000 odd population are of Indian origin, the percentage of polling was also down from five years ago. Standing in bright sunshine, one local resident was quoted as saying: “Life is more pleasant here (on the beach) than in a voting booth!” Behind her the waters were an exotic turquoise blue.

In 2017, Macron won 24 per cent of the votes to Le Pen’s 21.3 per cent in the first round. But he went on to capture 66.1 per cent in the second ballot to Le Pen’s 33.9 per cent to be victorious quite comfortably. He is expecting this will be repeated two weeks from now to clinch for him a re-election.

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Tunisian President urges ISIE to conduct elections for December 17

Tunisian President Kais Saied has urged the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) to be ready to organise the legislative elections slated for December 17, according to a statement released by the presidency…reports Asian Lite News

During his meeting with ISIE Vice-President Farouk Bouasker on Monday, Saied said, “It is imperative to preserve the independence and the neutrality of the body.”

For his part, Bouasker highlighted the elections’ importance for the country’s political future and its stability, in addition to the ISIE’s critical role to ensure the elections’ success, Xinhua news agency reported.

ALSO READ: Tunisian President dissolves Parliament

Last week, the Tunisian President announced the dissolution of the Assembly of People’s Representatives, or the parliament.

Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahdha (Renaissance) on Monday voiced its opposition to the dissolution of the Tunisian parliament.

According to a statement on its Facebook page, Ennahdha said the President’s decisions “are in violation of the provisions of the constitution”.

In December 2021, Saied announced a constitutional referendum will be held in July this year, followed by parliamentary elections at the end of 2022.