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Surge in voter turnout in Indian polls

Turnout in India's multi-phase election is so far almost eight percentage points higher than last time, data showed Wednesday, reflecting enthusiasm for polls expected to bring the opposition Hindu nationalists to power. Polling in five of the ten phases has been completed, with the biggest day of voting set for Thursday. The last ballots will be cast on May 12 and final counting is scheduled for May 16.

Seniors groups tell MPs new election reforms don't make sense, will curb voting

OTTAWA - A trio of seniors group representatives say they are baffled by Conservative changes that will make it more difficult for many politically engaged seniors to vote in the next federal election. And student representatives are scratching their heads over the proposed elimination of Elections Canada outreach programs that target low youth turnout.

Japanese parties submit bill to revise referendum law

A total of seven ruling and opposition parties submitted a bill to the lower house Tuesday to revise the country's referendum law for enactment during the ongoing parliamentary session with an eye to future constitutional reform. The main purposes of the bill are to lower the minimum voting age to 18 from 20 four years after the revised law takes effect and allow civil servants to take part in organizational efforts to rally support for or opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment.

Factbox: India's mammoth general election

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The biggest election the world has ever seen began in India on Monday in two remote backwater states, with the country looking increasingly likely to embrace a coalition led by a Hindu nationalist to jumpstart a flagging economy. Here key highlights: - Roughly 814.5 million people are registered to vote, an increase of more than 100 million since the last parliamentary election in 2009. In other words, India has added a population greater than that of the Philippines to its voter rolls in five years.

India goes to polls to elect new parliament

India's parliamentary elections began Monday, mainly pitting the ruling Congress Party against the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, a Hindu nationalist party. Spanning over a month, the 16th general elections in the world's largest democracy will be conducted on nine days, with May 12 being the last voting day and the vote count taking place on May 16. With two members nominated by the president of India, a total of 543 seats in India's lower house of parliament, Lok Sabha, are up for grabs.

Saddle the camel or bring me my yak, India's voting

Whether trudging through knee-deep snow in the Himalayas or astride camels in the deserts of Rajasthan, organisers will ensure no one misses out on a chance to vote in India's elections, the biggest in the world. The marathon begins on Monday in six remote northeastern seats which are more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from New Delhi. It wraps up six weeks later in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, home to the Taj Mahal and the holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges.

Afghan election turnout could exceed 50 percent

The turnout for Afghanistan's presidential election on Saturday could exceed seven million, the head of the Independent Election Commission said -- more than half of eligible voters. Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani said that an estimated 3.5 million people had voted by midday (0830 GMT), five hours after polls opened, 64 percent of them men and 36 percent women. "This figure may have increased to more than seven million by 5:00 pm," he told a news conference. Polls officially closed at 5:00 pm.

Scandal-hit Your Party leader under pressure to quit

The perception is growing within the opposition Your Party that Yoshimi Watanabe has no choice but to step down as party leader in light of questions about 800 million yen in loans he received from a business executive, party members said Saturday. Watanabe is expected to hold talks with Keiichiro Asao, the opposition party's secretary general, soon about possibly resigning the party leadership given the growing concern among local assemblymen and women who face re-election campaigns next spring.

Q

India's marathon nine-phase election kicks off Monday and will end on May 12 when hundreds of millions will have cast their ballots. AFP explains how it works and what is at stake. Q. Why will it take so long? Almost 814 million adult Indians are eligible to vote, making it the biggest election in history. Organisers say it would be impossible to operate and guard nearly 930,000 polling stations on a single day.

New elections law missing measures to crack down on phoney robocalls: critics

OTTAWA - If the Conservative party could determine within days that Dimitri Soudas used its closely guarded voter database, why is Elections Canada still in the dark about the data source for fraudulent robocalls almost four years after the 2011 election? Soudas, the party's executive director, resigned Sunday after improperly aiding his fiancee's nomination bid in Oakville, Ont. — busted, in part, when the party checked who pulled Oakville voter records from the Constituent Information Management System, or CIMS.
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