New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who drew widespread praise for her response to the coronavirus pandemic, has easily won a second term, the AP reports.
“Belarus’s under-fire autocrat Alexander Lukashenko has secretly inaugurated himself as president in a ceremony at his palace in Minsk,” The Independent reports.
“The 26-year ruler declared an 80 per cent landslide victory in 9 August elections — claims that led to weeks of protest and a witheringly violent response from the state.”
Bloomberg: Belarus strongman outsmarts opposition with snap inauguration.
“New Zealand delayed a national election by about a month after a coronavirus outbreak in its largest city of Auckland put a third of voters into lockdown,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The election, which was expected to be dominated by debate over the government’s response to the pandemic, will now be held on Oct. 17, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.”
Associated Press: “The outbreak in the nation’s largest city has grown to 58 infections.”
Wired: “Internet connectivity and cellular service in Belarus have been down since Sunday evening, after sporadic outages early that morning and throughout the day. The connectivity blackout, which also includes landline phones, appears to be a government-imposed outage that comes amid widespread protests and increasing social unrest over Belarus’ presidential election Sunday.”
Radio Free Europe: Second night of protests rock Balarus.
“The White House on Friday condemned Hong Kong’s decision to postpone September legislative elections by a year because of the coronavirus, denouncing the action a day after President Trump floated the idea of delaying the U.S. presidential election in November,” the Washington Post reports.
Kayleigh McEnany said from the White House podium that the postponement “undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity, and this is only the most recent in a growing list of broken promises by Beijing.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda, a social conservative aligned with the nationalist Law and Justice party, appears to have narrowly beat center-left Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski in Sunday’s election, Reuters reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “is set to rule Russia for another 16 years after sweeping to victory in a controversial referendum the results of which were dismissed as a ‘huge lie’ by his biggest domestic critic,” the Times of London reports.
“Officials said that 77.9% of voters had backed constitutional amendments that will allow Mr Putin, 67, to run for two additional terms of office up to 2036, when he will be 83. The ex-KGB agent, who recently celebrated two decades in power, had been due to stand down in 2024.”
The Supreme Court of Israel has unanimously struck down petitions seeking to block Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted on corruption charges, from forming a coalition government with his former rival Benny Gantz, Haaretz reports.
Axios: “The decision paves the way for the new government to be sworn in on May 13, bringing an end to more than a year of political deadlock in which Israel was forced to hold three consecutive elections.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his former challenger, Benny Gantz, agreed Monday night to establish a unity government, a deal that finally breaks a yearlong political impasse and keeps Mr. Netanyahu in office as he faces trial on corruption charges,” the New York Times reports.
“The Israeli president on Thursday handed the task of forming a government to Parliament, starting a 21-day countdown that could lead to new elections, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival, Benny Gantz, missed another midnight deadline to reach a power-sharing agreement,” the New York Times reports.
Politico: “Make no mistake, the U.K. nearly lost its leader to Covid-19. That Johnson pulled through will be a bright spot for the country — but the bigger picture is dark indeed.”
“Earlier Sunday, one of the government’s top advisers on coronavirus, epidemiologist Jeremy Farrar, stated plainly in a BBC interview that the country is now on course to be ‘one of the worst, if not the worst-affected country in Europe.’”
“Keir Starmer has promised to rebuild the nation’s trust in the Labour party after winning a stunning victory to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader,” The Guardian reports.
“By securing 56.2% of the votes of almost half a million Labour members and affiliates, he has emerged with a huge and powerful mandate to lead the party as he chooses, after four-and-a-half years of the Corbyn project, during which two general elections were lost.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was set to hold onto power after his chief rival, Benny Gantz, reversed himself Thursday and signaled that he would be open to serving in a Netanyahu-led government,” the New York Times reports.
“Gantz, a former Israeli army chief who had vowed to bring Mr. Netanyahu’s long rule to an end and fought him to a draw in three elections, said he was changing course to help bring the country together to fight the coronavirus pandemic.”
Said Gantz: “These are unusual times and they call for unusual decisions. This is not the time for infighting and mudslinging. This is not the time for controversy and divisions. This is the time for responsible, committed, patriotic leadership. Let’s join hands and get Israel out of this crisis.”
“Blue and White leader Benny Gantz officially received the mandate to form a government from President Reuven Rivlin on Monday afternoon at the President’s Residence, receiving four weeks to build a coalition,” the Jerusalem Post reports.
“It was the second time Gantz received the mandate. He failed to form a government after the September election.”
“France is holding nationwide elections Sunday to choose all of its mayors and other local leaders despite a crackdown on public gatherings because of the new virus,” ABC News reports.
“Voting stations opened just as a drastic new order came into effect shutting down all of France’s restaurants, museums, and most stores to stem the spreading coronavirus. The country has some 4,500 cases, including 91 people who have died.”
“With all votes counted, Israel’s election results indicate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud is the largest party – but the right-wing bloc has failed to secure a 61-seat majority to form a government. Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party trails behind the Likud by several seats,” Haaretz reports.
The result marks no end in sight for political deadlock.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reports Netanyahu suffered another blow “when Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman endorsed Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s efforts to pass a law that would prevent an indicted MK from forming a government.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc beat Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party-led Center-Left bloc in Israel’s third election on Monday winning 59 seats needed for a majority in the Knesset, according to exit polls on the major television networks,” the Jerusalem Post reports.
“While Netanyahu fell short of the 61 majority needed to form a ruling coalition, he is expected to begin immediately trying to recruit two defectors from the Center-Left camp who he would need to form a government.”
Axios: “The exit polls are not official results, but they project a strong performance from Netanyahu in Israel’s third elections in 10 months despite a looming corruption trial.”
“Emmanuel Macron’s candidate for Paris mayor pulled out of the race Friday after the publication of a sexually explicit video on social media sites, further complicating the French president’s attempt to gain a foothold in local elections next month,” Bloomberg reports.