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Ladakh hill panel polls ends peacefully with over 65 per cent turnout

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NewsGram Staff Writer

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir’s powerful Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) polls witnessed peaceful voting with over 65 per cent turnout on Saturday.

“The voting for 26 seats of LAHDC started at 8 am and ended at 5 pm. An overall voting percentage of 65.17 per cent was recorded,” an official of the district administration told reporters.

“The figures are likely to go up as final counts from far off polling stations are yet to be finalized,” he added.

Counting of votes will be held on October 23.

There are 30 seats in the LAHDC out of which 26 are filled by directly election while four are nominated.

The majority of seats in the outgoing LAHDC were held by the Congress whose candidate was the chief executive councillor.

Candidates from Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party and the New Ladakh Movement besides independents were among the 90 candidates, including 30 women, in the fray.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)