Independent candidates win Kashmir local elections

A Kashmiri village council member shows her documents to a security officer outside a polling station on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. (AP)
Updated 25 October 2019

Independent candidates win Kashmir local elections

  • Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar said independent candidates won the chairmanships of 217 areas
  • The voters were village council members, and the general public did not participate

SRINAGAR: Independent candidates have overwhelmingly won village council elections held in Indian-controlled Kashmir months after New Delhi imposed a harsh security crackdown and stripped the region of its semi-autonomous status.
The elections were boycotted by most political parties, including those whose leaders were sympathetic to the Indian government but have been detained since the Aug. 5 crackdown.
Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar said independent candidates won the chairmanships of 217 areas, followed by candidates from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in 81 areas. The voters were village council members, and the general public did not participate.
Modi’s party did not boycott the elections.
Kumar said in a statement late Thursday that elections were conducted in 280 areas, while chairmen in 27 others ran unopposed.
Indian officials are hoping the election of local council leaders will lend credibility to Indian rule amid a political vacuum and contend they will represent local interests in development work.
Most of the candidates and thousands of council members have lived for months in hotels in Srinagar, the region’s main city, because of security concerns. In the past, militants fighting against Indian rule have targeted candidates.
Both rebels and separatists have called elections in Kashmir an illegitimate exercise under military occupation.
The Modi government says removing a constitutional provision that gave Kashmir some measure of autonomy since independence from British rule in 1947 was necessary to give rights afforded other Indian citizens, usher in greater economic development and do away with the sense of separateness that BJP leaders say has cultivated the separatist movement.


Brussels to ‘rebuild’ ties with UK after Boris win: EU Internal Market Commissioner

Updated 32 min 28 sec ago

Brussels to ‘rebuild’ ties with UK after Boris win: EU Internal Market Commissioner

  • Both sides then still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement
  • Any future trade deal had to ensure that the EU’s social and environmental norms were also applied to trade with Britain

PARIS: The EU will have to rebuild its ties with London after Boris Johnson’s election victory which is likely to lead to Brexit in January, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner said on Friday.
“We now have to rebuild relations with Great Britain which is an important partner,” Thierry Breton told French RTL radio, saying the bloc wanted “balanced” trade relations with the UK.
With almost all results declared for the 650-seat British parliament, Johnson’s Conservative party has secured a sweeping victory and he is now expected to deliver on his promise to “Get Brexit Done.”
His majority should allow him to get the divorce deal he struck with Brussels through parliament in time to meet the next Brexit deadline of January 31.
Both sides then still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement.
Breton said he expected the European Council meeting Friday in Brussels to give the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier a new mandate for talks with London.
He said Britain was a very important trade partner for the EU, “but we are by far the biggest trading partner for Britain.”
Any future trade deal had to ensure that the EU’s social and environmental norms were also applied to trade with Britain.