Poll

FILE PHOTO: Informal meeting of EU leaders in Sibiu
FILE PHOTO: Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar arrives for the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

May 26, 2019

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s two largest parties held their own in local elections on Sunday in a bad day for left-wing Sinn Fein, whose political ascent in the republic suffered its first major setback.

With more than three quarters of the 949 seats announced, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael party rose to 24.9% from 24% five years ago. It still trailed fellow centre-right party Fianna Fail, whose share rose to 26.9% from 25.5%.

Sinn Fein – the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) who established themselves as the third largest party in Ireland two decades after their members were banned from speaking on Irish media – fell to 9.6% from 15.2%.

The result was a setback for Mary Lou McDonald who succeeded Gerry Adams a year ago amid hopes a younger leader would broaden the Irish nationalist party’s appeal and advance its ambition of governing on both sides of the Irish border.

The biggest gainers were the Green Party, which, after topping polls by significant margins in some urban areas, was set for an almost four-fold increase to 5.7%. Such a showing could leave them as kingmakers if repeated at a parliamentary poll.

A similarly fragmented result in 2016 parliament elections resulted in Fine Gael leading a minority government with a handful of independent lawmakers and the backing of Fianna Fail from the opposition benches.

With that Fine Gael-Fianna Fail agreement set to run out early next year, Varadkar said he could not rule out a national election in the coming months although senior ministers have cautioned that Brexit will continue to weigh on any decision to go to the polls this year.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Argentine presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez of the Unidad Ciudadana next to his vice president candidate and former President, Fernandez de Kirchner, during a rally in Merlo, in Buenos Aires
FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez of the Unidad Ciudadana (Citizen Unit), gestures to supporters, next to his Vice President candidate, Argentina’s former President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and Merlo’s Mayor, Gustavo Menendez, during a rally in Merlo, in Buenos Aires, Argentina May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

May 26, 2019

By Maximilian Heath

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentine Peronist Alberto Fernandez´ bid to run for president with ex-president Cristina Fernandez as his running mate would come close to clinching victory in a first round vote, according to a poll published on Sunday by local left-leaning newspaper Pagina 12.

The Pagina 12 newspaper, which has close ties to the wing of the Peronist party that favors Cristina Fernandez, said the results suggest the Fernandez-Fernandez ticket could take the election in the first round.

The poll, conducted by consultancy CEOP, comes one week after Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner – a former president who has an ardent support base but a chilly relationship with investors – announced she would run as vice president alongside the more moderate Alberto Fernandez, a veteran political operator who has both backed and criticized her in the past. They are not related.

According to the poll, the Fernandez-Fernandez ticket would nab 39.3 percent of the Oct. 27 first round vote, while incumbent President Mauricio Macri, who is seeking reelection, would receive 29.7 percent.

To avoid a run-off vote in Argentina, a candidate must take at least 45 percent of the first round vote, or a minimum of 40 percent of the vote but win by at least a 10 percentage point margin.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s decision to run with the more moderate Alberto Fernandez was a surprise move by the firebrand former leader, who had been widely expected to be the main challenger to President Mauricio Macri.

Economists said the move could temper the self-styled populist’s more contentious policies, even as many saw it as a clever ploy to return to power after struggling to win over the more moderate wing of the broad Peronist opposition.

According to Pagina 12 newspaper, the poll published on Sunday was based on 1,000 telephone interviews conducted throughout Argentina.

(Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

Source: OANN

A woman walks past election campaign billboards in Brussels
A woman walks past election campaign billboards in Brussels, Belgium May 21, 2019. Picture taken May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

May 26, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Far-right Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang looked on course for major gains in an election on Sunday for the Belgian national parliament.

Belgium held a “Super Sunday” of European, national and regional elections, which was expected to result in a shift to the right in more prosperous Dutch-speaking Flanders and to the left in French-speaking Wallonia.

A handful of initial results showed the anti-immigrant Vlaams Belang gaining across Dutch-speaking Flanders at the expense of the more moderate separatist N-VA party, who had participated in the last federal government.

In the French-speaking south of the country, an exit poll conducted for broadcaster RTL, showed the Socialists (PS) of former prime minister Elio di Rupo were set to be the biggest party, followed by current Prime Minister Charles Michel’s liberal MR party.

The initial results and exit polls suggest the linguistically divided country could take some time to form a federal coalition.

Michel, 43, has been running the country of 11 million people in a caretaker capacity since December and could face many more months in that role as party leaders seek to form a new coalition after the vote.

In 2010, that task took a world record 541 days until Di Rupo finally took office.

Belgium effectively runs two separate elections in the Dutch and French-speaking regions, with no national parties, after which it somehow has to weld together a federal government from both sides of the linguistic divide.

People in other European Union countries are also voting on Sunday in elections for the European Parliament, which are expected to dent traditional pro-EU parties and bolster the nationalist fringe.

But some exit polls in countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Labour party looks to have finished first, with a weak showing for eurosceptics.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

A woman walks past election campaign billboards in Brussels
A woman walks past election campaign billboards in Brussels, Belgium May 21, 2019. Picture taken May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

May 26, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Far-right Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang looked on course for major gains in an election on Sunday for the Belgian national parliament.

Belgium held a “Super Sunday” of European, national and regional elections, which was expected to result in a shift to the right in more prosperous Dutch-speaking Flanders and to the left in French-speaking Wallonia.

A handful of initial results showed the anti-immigrant Vlaams Belang gaining across Dutch-speaking Flanders at the expense of the more moderate separatist N-VA party, who had participated in the last federal government.

In the French-speaking south of the country, an exit poll conducted for broadcaster RTL, showed the Socialists (PS) of former prime minister Elio di Rupo were set to be the biggest party, followed by current Prime Minister Charles Michel’s liberal MR party.

The initial results and exit polls suggest the linguistically divided country could take some time to form a federal coalition.

Michel, 43, has been running the country of 11 million people in a caretaker capacity since December and could face many more months in that role as party leaders seek to form a new coalition after the vote.

In 2010, that task took a world record 541 days until Di Rupo finally took office.

Belgium effectively runs two separate elections in the Dutch and French-speaking regions, with no national parties, after which it somehow has to weld together a federal government from both sides of the linguistic divide.

People in other European Union countries are also voting on Sunday in elections for the European Parliament, which are expected to dent traditional pro-EU parties and bolster the nationalist fringe.

But some exit polls in countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Labour party looks to have finished first, with a weak showing for eurosceptics.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

A man casts his vote during European Parliament election in Riga
A man casts his vote during European Parliament election in Riga, Latvia, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

May 25, 2019

By Alastair Macdonald

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans vote on Sunday in an election expected to further dent traditional pro-EU parties and bolster the nationalist fringe in the European Parliament, putting a potential brake on collective action in economic and foreign policy.

Right-wing populists top opinion polls in two of the big four member states – Italy and supposedly exiting Britain – and could also win in a third, France, rattling a pro-Union campaign championed by centrist President Emmanuel Macron.

However, exit polls in some countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort. The Dutch Labour party, all but written off, looks to have finished first, helped by the visibility of having the EU socialists’ lead candidate, current EU deputy chief executive Frans Timmermans.

In the Netherlands, pro-Union parties scored 70%, up three points on the last European Parliament vote in 2014, and left the upstart anti-immigration party of Thierry Baudet fourth on 11%.

The Dutch also turned out in bigger numbers, albeit at just 41%, reinforcing hopes in Brussels of reversing a 40-year trend of declining turnout that critics cite as a “democratic deficit” that undermines the legitimacy of European Union lawmaking.

An exit poll after Friday’s vote in deeply pro-EU Ireland pointed to an expected “Green Wave”. Across the bloc, concerns about climate change and the environment may bolster the pro-EU Greens group and could mean tighter regulations for industry and for the terms the EU may set for partners seeking trade accords.

Britain also voted on Thursday and a new party focused on getting out of the EU was forecast by pre-vote opinion polls to come top, but there has been no exit poll data. Attention there has focused on the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May. Results will be out late on Sunday, when all countries have voted.

WAY AHEAD UNCLEAR

The challenges facing the European project include unprecedented transatlantic slights from a U.S. president who fetes Europe’s populists, border rows among its own members over migrants and an economy hobbled by public debt and challenged by the rise of China.

But parties seeking collective action on shared issues such as trade, security, migration or climate change should still dominate, albeit with a smaller overall majority.

Europeans are preparing to remember events that shaped the Union. It is 75 years since Americans landed in France to defeat Nazi Germany and since Russian forces let the Germans crush a Polish bid for freedom, and 30 since Germans smashed the Berlin Wall to reunite east and west Europe. But memories of wars, hot and cold, have not sufficed to build faith in a united future.

Mainstream parties pushing closer integration of the euro currency zone’s economy are struggling to capture the imagination of a public jaded by political elites.

Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy may pip the Christian Democrats of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the bloc’s power broker, to become the biggest single party in the 751-seat chamber.

Right-wing ruling parties in Poland and Hungary, defying Brussels over curbs to judicial and media independence, will also return eurosceptic lawmakers on Sunday.

The results should be clear by late on Sunday, with exit polls in Germany at 1600 GMT and France at 1800 GMT setting the tone before the final end of voting, in Italy at 2100 GMT, sees the Parliament publish its own seat forecast.

The result will usher in weeks of bargaining among parties to form a stable majority in the Parliament, and among national leaders to choose successors to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other top EU officials.

Many expect a clash as early as Tuesday, when leaders meeting in Brussels are likely to snub Parliament’s demands that one of the newly elected lawmakers should run the EU executive.

(EU election graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2HvZs1M)

(Reporting by Alastair MacDonald; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

A flood of laws banning abortions in Republican-run states has handed Democrats a political weapon heading into next year’s elections, helping them paint the GOP as extreme and court centrist voters who could decide congressional races in swing states, members of both parties say.

The Alabama law outlawing virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, is the strictest so far. Besides animating Democrats, the law has prompted President Donald Trump, other Republican leaders and lawmakers seeking reelection next year to distance themselves from the measure.

Their reaction underscores that Republicans have risked overplaying their hand with severe state laws that they hope will prod the Supreme Court, with its ascendant conservative majority, to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion. It also illustrates the way that those statutes are forcing the GOP to struggle over how to satisfy its core anti-abortion supporters without alienating the vast majority of voters averse to strictly curbing abortion.

The Alabama law is “a loser for Republican candidates in Colorado, without question, and in many other swing parts of the country, because it’s extreme,” David Flaherty, a Colorado-based Republican consultant who’s worked on congressional races around the country. “It’s only going to widen the gender gap.”

Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt Law School professor and former aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there are many “women, moderate women who are going to be scared that this right that they thought they had for the last 40-some years is going to be shelved” and they will be motivated to vote.

GOP Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine, both seeking reelection next year, said the Alabama ban goes too far by eliminating exceptions for pregnancies involving rape or incest. A 2005 survey by the Guttmacher Institute, which backs abortion rights, found about 1% of women said they had abortions because of rape or incest.

Democrats see the statutes as a way to weave a broader message about Republicans.

“You use it as an example of what they do when they’re unchecked,” said Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Va., a leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats’ campaign organization. “I think it drives moderate Republicans away from their party.”

Democratic presidential contenders are competing to lambast the Alabama law, which allows exceptions when the mother’s health is endangered. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., called it an “existential threat to the human rights of women,” while former Vice President Joe Biden said GOP hopes of striking down Roe v. Wade are “pernicious and we have to stop it.”

Campaign Facebook and Twitter accounts of Democrats seeking reelection next year, such as Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, are littered with posts attacking the harsh restrictions. “The people of Alabama deserve to be on the #rightsideofhistory — not the side of extremists,” Jones tweeted.

Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio have enacted or neared approval of measures barring abortion once there’s a detectable fetal heartbeat, which can occur in the sixth week of pregnancy, before a woman may know she is pregnant. Missouri lawmakers approved an eight-week ban.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that of the country’s 638,000 abortions in 2015, almost two-thirds were performed within the first eight weeks of pregnancy. About 1% were performed during or after the 21st week.

Spotlighting the perilous political territory Republicans are navigating, an April poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans support Roe v. Wade by 2-1. A Gallup poll last year found that 57% of adults who described themselves “pro-life” nonetheless said abortion should be legal if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

The focus on the state measures has also stolen GOP momentum on abortion. Until now, congressional Republicans had spent much of this year forcing Democrats onto the defensive, goading them into blocking bills aimed at curbing the rare abortions performed late in pregnancies and misleadingly accusing them of supporting infanticide.

“Obviously, the attention has shifted,” said Sarah Chamberlain, president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which represents dozens of moderate GOP lawmakers. She said while her group doesn’t think Democrats’ focus on the harsh laws has gained traction, “We are talking about that and how it’s going to play in our districts.”

Some Republicans say the Democratic drive will have minimal impact because the abortion issue drives relatively few voters from each party. Others say GOP candidates should accuse Democrats of extremism by opposing bills restricting abortions late in pregnancy and, if they wish, cite their support for exempting rape and incest victims.

Democrats have “never seen an abortion they don’t like,” said David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee.

Added Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP campaign arm: “We’re not Alabama state representatives, we’re United States senators. And each of us has to make our positions known.”

Yet the laws have generated energy among abortion-rights groups, which held more than 500 demonstrations and other events this past week. “We will power this movement into 2020. There will be political consequences,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., distanced themselves early last week from the Alabama statute. They were joined Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who told The Associated Press, “My position remains unchanged for 25 years. I’m opposed to abortion except in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother” being in jeopardy.

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar speaks in Minneapolis
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar declares her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Eric Miller/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Humeyra Pamuk and Ginger Gibson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar on Saturday called for revamping the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules governing how refineries use ethanol in gasoline products, a proposal aimed at the politically critical state of Iowa.

    Part of a series of farm policies that also addressed access to capital and bankruptcy assistance, Klobuchar, a U.S. senator, said the EPA’s waivers that allow refineries to avoid the requirements are “misguided” and said financial institutions are manipulating the biofuels credit trading market.

She called for new compliance standards and additional oversight.

Klobuchar is one of more than 20 Democrats vying for her party’s presidential nomination. If she is going to be successful, her campaign needs to galvanize support in the heavily-agriculture state of Iowa, which holds the first primary contest in the nation. Iowa grows most of the nation’s corn, which is used to produce ethanol.

Klobuchar, who represents Minnesota, another heavily agriculture state which borders Iowa to the north, in the U.S. Senate, has been trailing in polls on the Democratic presidential field.

In a Reuters/Ipsos poll https://tmsnrt.rs/2LeoO8z earlier this month, she garnered support of only 1% of respondents. Former Vice President Joe Biden led the poll, with 29% of Democrats and independents saying they would vote for him in the state nominating contests that begin next winter.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program that mandates ethanol use is a more than decade-old regulation aimed at helping farmers and reducing U.S. dependence on oil. The policy has helped farmers by creating a huge market for ethanol and other biofuels, but oil refiners say compliance is prohibitively expensive.

    Under the program, refiners are required to blend biofuels into the nation’s gasoline pool or purchase credits from those that do, but smaller refineries with a capacity of less than 75,000 barrels per day (bpd) can obtain a “hardship waiver” if they prove that compliance with RFS would cause them significant financial strain.

    The Trump administration made extensive use of such waivers in the last two years, saving refiners money but angering the corn lobby, particularly after major companies like Exxon Mobil Corp received exemptions for certain facilities.

    Ethanol mandates have opened a war between the oil and corn industries. The ethanol industry claims the exemptions have been over-used, threatening demand for corn-based ethanol at a time when farmers are already struggling.

    The policy has helped farmers by creating a 15-billion-gallon-a-year market for corn-based ethanol, but oil refiners have increasingly complained about the expense – particularly when prices are high and volatile.

    RFS and the small refinery waiver program have increasingly emerged as one of the key policy areas that several Democratic presidential hopefuls have raised.

    U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren earlier this month in a letter to the EPA questioned the agency’s decision to grant a small refinery waiver to an oil refinery owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, who is a former adviser to President Donald Trump. She said waivers undermine the renewable program.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Ginger Gibson; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

Finland's central bank governor Rehn in Helsinki
Finland’s central bank governor Olli Rehn in Helsinki, Finland July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

May 25, 2019

By Anne Kauranen

HELSINKI (Reuters) – European Central Bank presidential hopeful Olli Rehn spelled out the challenges facing Mario Draghi’s successor in an interview published on Saturday, but declined to comment on the process.

The ECB rate setter and Bank of Finland chief has been tipped as a potential successor to Draghi when the ECB president leaves on Oct. 31, but the process is steeped in secrecy.

“I trust that EU decision makers will find a person for the job who will be able to manage it even through tight spots which will also come,” Rehn was quoted as saying by Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.

Replacing Draghi, who famously pledged in 2012 to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, has left markets anxiously awaiting news of his successor.

“The governor has to be both qualified in monetary and financial policy as well as capable of team play,” Rehn said, while declining to comment on the deliberations.

Rehn’s previous posts include Finnish minister for economic affairs as well as a decade working as a European commissioner overseeing the bloc’s enlargement as well as economic policy.

In March, a Reuters poll of economists found that while French ECB board member Benoit Coeure was considered best-suited for the top job, the most likely compromise candidate was Rehn’s compatriot Erkki Liikanen, a former Finnish central bank chief.

When asked who was the most likely to win, well over a third named Liikanen, with the remainder almost equally split between Coeure, Rehn, French central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau and Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann.

In the newspaper interview, Rehn paraphrased former England soccer player Gary Lineker’s line that, in the end, the Germans always win, although no German has so far held the top ECB job.

“It’s good to remember that even Germany can be beaten. You can ask Antonin Panenka about it,” Rehn added, referring to the former Czech footballer who scored the winning goal against West Germany in the 1976 final of soccer’s European Championships.

The goal? A softly chipped penalty in the middle of the net as the goalkeeper dived to one side.

(Writing by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

The vast majority of American voters say that prescription drug prices are too high, and Congress must do something to lower costs for patients, a new poll shows.

Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research conducted the poll on drug pricing, and found that “more voters identify the cost of health care as a top issue Congress and the president should address… than any other issue,” and more than 8 in 10 voters “think prices charged for prescription drugs are unreasonable.”

  • 84 percent think drug prices are unreasonable.
  • 45 percent think prices are very unreasonable.
  • 75 percent “think drug manufacturers had a lot of responsibility for the high cost.”

The poll also found that the vast majority of American voters support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices or similar policies.

  • 95 percent support “Medicare drug negotiation for drugs with no competition in the marketplace.”
  • 43 percent think that “allowing Medicare to negotiate with manufacturers to lower prices for expensive, single source drugs is a good approach.
  • 49 percent think such an approach “does not go far enough to control drug prices.”

“In our experience, the voter intensity and anger about prescription drug pricing is at a record level,” Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates, and Whit Ayers, president of North Star Opinion Research, wrote in The Hill. “We believe it reflects the trends for higher deductibles and cost-sharing over time, high launch prices, price increases, reported profits of the pharmaceutical industry and years of unrealized policymaker pledges.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

With the Brexit Party set to dominate the European elections, another poll shows that Nigel Farage’s outfit is now just one point behind the Labour Party in a national election poll.

Polls for the Euro elections show the Brexit Party capturing around 35 per cent of the vote, more than the two establishment Conservative and Labour parties combined.

However, just 6 weeks after it was launched, TBP is just a single point behind Labour in a hypothetical national election and three points ahead of the ruling Conservative Party.

A poll by OpiniumResearch for Westminster voting intention shows the Brexit Party on 25%, just one point behind Labour on 26% and three points ahead of the Tories on 22%.

Support for the Brexit Party in a Westminster election could be even higher given that their numbers have improved broadly since this poll was conducted.

This is a phenomenal effort and illustrates how truly frustrated the country is with the two party system and the betrayal of Brexit.

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May, who announced today she would step down on June 7, the opportunity remains open for the Conservatives to pick a Brexiteer who can lead the UK out of the EU.

However, if they fail to do so, the Brexit Party will be waiting in the wings to ensure the Tories’ days in Westminster are numbered.

Mark Zuckerberg hates it when you share this article on Facebook.

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Source: InfoWars


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