Issue 53


Wade gains big in election poll


 Dakar, Senegal

Senegal's incumbent leader Abdoulaye Wade has claimed victory in the first round of the presidential election held on Sunday 25 February but rivals call it premature.  Results carried by the country's media give Wade the absolute majority needed to avoid a second round.
However, some of the 14 challengers to the 80-year-old Wade, who became president in 2000 after three decades in opposition, refused to concede defeat.

Prime Minister Macky Sall, the president's campaign manager, said Wade had garnered 57 percent of the votes. 'I invite all the other candidates to accept the voters' verdict.'
Voter turn out was about 75 percent, and among the 2,000 observers watching the poll, the Economic Community of West African States has given the election a clean bill, declaring it 'free and transparent'.

Wade, who had predicted victory before polling, said he needed a second and final term to complete his promises to reform the country.



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Yabloko to appeal expulsion from election

Grigory Yavlinsky

  St Petersburg, Russia

Battling to get back to the ballot, Yabloko has sent an appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse the decisions of the St. Petersburg Election Commission and the Central Election Commission that led to the opposition party being expelled from the forthcoming elections to the city's Legislative Assembly on 11 March.  Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky said the verdict of the Central Election Commission has turned the elections into a farce and accused commission's members of hypocrisy.  'We believe the commission was following a political order from Governor Valentina Matviyenko, with full support of the presidential administration-and perhaps even president Putin personally,' Yavlinsky said.  'Elections where the strongest opposition party is denied participation, and several political clones are competing for seats, are pseudo-elections-no better than those we had back in the Soviet era.'



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Finland gear-up for elections-18 March

Wallin and Vanhanen

 Helsinki, Finland

The latest opinion polls indicate that the March 18 poll will be one of the closest political races, yet again, in Finland. In the 2003 elections the Centre Party gained 24.7% and the Social Democrats 24.5% of the vote, forming a coalition government along with the Swedish People's Party.   And four years on, poll data show that the current coalition may be set to continue in government, albeit with the slimmest of margins, as the Centre Party (Keskusta, LI member) gained support ratings of 23.3% and the Social Democrats 23.5%. The main opposition party National Coalition Party (Kokoomus Conservative) was left with support ratings of 21.1%. (TNS Gallup 25.2.2007).
The Swedish People's Party (SFP, LI member), which has been in power for almost a hundred years, faces a challenge in retaining its government position from other small parties such as the Green League, the Left Alliance and the Christian Democrats. However, the Green League and the Left Alliance have expressed a desire to form a government with the Social Democrats, provided that a strong election result for them emerges. The field is wide open for coalitions from both ends.  However, the only certainty is that even such political alliances will pass by the thinnest of margins. 

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Zeleya joins anit-corruption march


Manuel Zelaya

 Tegucigalpa, Honduras

President Manuel Zelaya joined Cardinal Archbishop of Tegucigalpa and Vatican spokes person at the IMF, Oscar Andres Rodriguez, in a protest march against corruption.  Zalaya addressed a crowd of about 20,000, made up of unions and civil society.  He said that his government was working hard to eliminate corruption, citing a transparency law, approved in January, allowing the public to access information on the finances of public servants.  The Vatican's spokesperson at the IMF, urged Zelaya to continue his fight against graft in order to attain the lofty goals of poverty reduction and the attainment of social justice.  Honduras has a trade deficit of 3.49 billion US Dollars, while its exports grew by a 2.8 billion US Dollars.


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Alianza Liberal Nicaraguense protect freedom of expression

Eduardo Montealegre

Managua, Nicaragua

Alianza Liberal Nicaraguense (ALN) presented a counter bill in the National Assembly blocking the government's intended changes to national broadcasting licenses. It is feared that the bill will favour government friendly media, whilst discriminating against media that is critical to government policy.  ALN argue that this will only produce an atmosphere of self-censorship, which violates the fundamental tenets of freedom of the press.   ALN aim to defend freedom of expression by extending the licenses granted to media outlets to 10 years. Eduardo Montealegre, president of ALN, criticized the Nicaraguan government for adopting policies resembling those of Hugo Chavez, which, they say, impede people's rights to freely express their opinions.


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Gerakan Party trains Iraqi MPs in Malaysia

Dr viji

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

The Malaysia Gerakan Party and Friedrich Naumann Foundation are funding a training of Iraqi parliamentarians to learn Malaysia's legal, constitutional and Parliamentary systems to assist them with the re-construction process of Iraq, which will place emphasis on the of drafting the new Constitution. The Vice President of the Gerakan Party, Dr. S. Vijayaratnam said: 'We look forward to the restoration of peace and the rule of law in that nation and the adoption of a democratic system of Government.' The group will visit the Speaker of the Senate, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Menteri Besar of Perak, and the Speaker of the Penang State Assembly. They will also be hold meetings with academics and professionals on inter-ethnic issues as well as legal and constitutional matters.


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175th LI Executive Committee in Cancun, Mexico-Updates

The LI Executive meeting in Cancun, Mexico is only nine weeks away.  Hotel rooms are blocked only for another three weeks.

Please register online at the Hilton Cancun:
1. Please click on the link:

2. Press: Book a Room
3. Choose a check-in and check-out date and press continue
4. Choose a type of room and press continue
5. Complete reservation details
There are no special login names or passwords needed.


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LI expresses sorrow over death of ANADER President

Kinshasa, Congo

D R Congo, Liberal International is sad to announce the death of Raphael KUMBU-KI-LUTETE, President of the ANADER Party in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kumbu-Ki-Lutete was a strong and popular leader of ANADER, and Liberal International will miss working with him.  Lord Alderdice, in a condolence message to the party, stated that he was 'deeply saddened by the unexpected passing away of a courageous leader'.

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