Southeast Asia leaders head to Delhi to celebrate India ties

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen waves upon his arrival at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi. Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, were coming to New Delhi to celebrate 25 years of the group’s ties with India. (Reuters)
Updated 24 January 2018
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Southeast Asia leaders head to Delhi to celebrate India ties

NEW DELHI: Southeast Asian leaders are gathering in New Delhi to celebrate their countries’ ties with India, though the meeting comes amid confusion about the repatriation of Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar violence by the hundreds of thousands.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was to arrive in New Delhi later Wednesday for the Thursday celebration, which will also include Cambodian leader Hun Sen, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, among others.
The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, were coming to New Delhi to celebrate 25 years of the group’s ties with India.
Myanmar has said it is ready for the Rohingya to return, but Bangladesh says more time may be needed amid questions over the Rohingyas’ safety and willingness.


Vote count begins for Afghan election

Afghan election observers at a polling center after ballots in the country’s legislative election were counted in Kabul on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 22 October 2018
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Vote count begins for Afghan election

  • Some candidates said powerful figures were behind election rigging
  • The Electoral Complaints Commission said there was mismanagement during the election, and as of Sunday it had received some 5,000 complaints from voters and candidates

KABUL: Vote counting began on Monday for Afghanistan’s parliamentary election, which was marred by violence and irregularities, with political parties alleging “organized fraud.”

The parties said mismanagement and hundreds of Taliban attacks, which led to an extension of voting for another day at hundreds of polling stations, could raise questions over the election result, which is expected to be released in two months.

Some candidates said powerful figures were behind election rigging, and biometric devices, which were put in place to counter fraud, were smashed to facilitate the rigging. 

Abdul Bade Sayad, head of the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), was cited by local media as confirming incidents of biometric equipment being smashed, and the presence of strongmen inside some polling stations. 

But the IEC should not be held responsible for this, he said, adding: “When the government itself feels helpless before powerful figures, then senior officials of the commission should not be blamed.”

The Electoral Complaints Commission said there was mismanagement during the election, and as of Sunday it had received some 5,000 complaints from voters and candidates.

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said people could not vote on Saturday in some 1,000 polling stations. 

Ahead of the election, which was delayed for more than three years, the government said it could not open more than 2,000 stations due to security threats.

Alleged irregularities included polling stations opening late, biometric devices malfunctioning, and the absence of IEC staff and voter registration lists.

Of the 9 million people who had registered to vote, nearly 4 million cast their ballot, the IEC said.

The IHRC said the IEC should not shun its responsibility regarding “shortcomings and grave violations in voting centers.”

The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan said: “In some of the polling stations, ballots were not counted; instead the ballot boxes were transferred to a different location for counting… without informing the observers about the new location.”