Date set for early Israeli election

Israeli political parties have agreed to hold a general election on 17 March, two years ahead of schedule.

The move was announced a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked two senior coalition partners in his cabinet, centrist leaders Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni.

Mr Netanyahu accused the ministers of plotting against him.

On Wednesday, members of the national parliament, the Knesset, voted 84-0 in a preliminary reading to dissolve it.

The right-of-centre coalition, which was formed after the last general election in January 2013, is made up of Mr Netanyahu’s Likud and four other parties.

‘Waste of money’

Mr Lapid was serving as finance minister and is leader of the Yesh Atid party. Ms Livni was minister of justice and is leader of Hatnuah.

In a televised address on Tuesday, Mr Netanyahu said it was “impossible” for him to lead the current coalition, describing Ms Livni and Mr Lapid’s activities as a “putsch”.

“I will not tolerate an opposition within the government any more,” he said.

The coalition has been fraught with tension in recent months, with both ministers publically criticising Mr Netanyahu on a number of issues, notably on Iran, the Palestinians, and most recently a bill designed to strengthen the Jewish nature of the Israeli state.

Both ministers criticised Mr Netanyahu’s decision to dismiss them and call for early elections.

Mr Lapid said the move would “waste billions”. Israeli media report that the poll is expected to cost some 2bn shekels (£322m; $505m).

Ms Livni warned that without the centrist parties the government would consist of “extremist” parties that she said would destroy the country, Haaretz reported.

Source: BBC


Supreme Court sets date for NDC application

The Supreme Court will, on Thursday, January 10, 2013, hear an application by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to join a petition challenging the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of the December 7, 2012 presidential election.

A member of the NDC’s legal and communications team, Victor K. Adawudu, told Daily Graphic in Accra Thursday that the Registry of the Supreme Court had communicated the date to the party.

He indicated the party’s readiness to fully justify why it had to be joined to the suit.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is at the Supreme Court challenging the Electoral Commission’s (EC’s) declaration of President Mahama as winner of the presidential election.

The President-elect has been joined to the petition, which has the presidential candidate of the NPP in the 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, as plaintiffs.

According to the plaintiffs, irregularities recorded during the elections favoured the NDC, noting that 24,000 of the pink results sheets from some polling stations indicated that those irregularities were enough to affect the results.

An affidavit in support of the motion for joinder deposed on behalf of the NDC by its General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said the NDC, as the party on whose ticket the President contested the elections, “has a direct interest and a stake in the matter and will be affected by any decision of this honourable court”.

“As a party which will be directly affected by the decision, the NDC is entitled to be joined as a party and be heard in respect of the petition and seek to be joined by the motion herein,” it pointed out.

It said the NDC was a political party registered under the laws of Ghana and had, since the inception of the Fourth Republic, nominated and sponsored candidates for both parliamentary and presidential elections.

On December 9, 2012, the EC declared the NDC’s candidate, Mr Mahama, winner of the elections and, therefore, President-elect of Ghana.

The declaration was gazetted by the Declaration of President-elect Instrument 2012 (CI 80) on December 11, 2012.

Source: Daily Graphic