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Parliament rejects France’s Goulard for EU job amid anti-fraud probe



  The European Parliament roundly rejected France’s European Commission nominee Sylvie Goulard on Thursday amid an EU anti-fraud inquiry, dealing a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Goulard was nominated by Macron and allocated the internal market portfolio by commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen.

The mandate would have covered digital economy, EU industrial policy, defence industry and space issues.

However, she came under fire from EU lawmakers over an ongoing EU anti-fraud investigation into staff payments during her time as an EU lawmaker, as well as lucrative consulting work she carried out at the time.

The issue is highly political, after Macron was instrumental in blocking the parliament’s main candidate for the post of commission president in 2019, arguing that only the best should be appointed to top EU posts.

The parliament must approve von der Leyen’s full commission team before it can take office on November 1. EU lawmakers decided that they could not approve the line-up if it included Goulard.

In a committee vote, 29 backed Goulard and 82 rejected her.

Earlier, she argued that the situation was different now to 2017, when she stepped down as French defence minister over the affair.

No charges have been made against her and she expects to be cleared, Goulard told EU lawmakers.

Faced with renewed questions on her consultancy work for the U.S. German investor Nicolas Berggruen which earned her tens of thousands of euros between 2013 and 2015 , Goulard pointed out that those activities had not breached any rules.


Green EU lawmaker Marcel Kolaja said “the fact that Goulard did not seem to see an ethical problem with taking large amounts of money from a U.S. think tank while being an MEP raises serious concerns.

Socialist EU lawmaker Jens Geier accused Goulard of having “no vision, no interesting idea, no proposal that she wants to champion,’’ arguing that this was in part due to the portfolio being too large.

France must now propose a new candidate, who will have to go through a new interview round with von der Leyen and fresh hearings in parliament.

Time is running short ahead of the new commission’s slated November start date.

The future commission chief, who carefully assembled her team to reflect a gender, political and geographic balance, has also reserved the right to make portfolio changes, depending on the final candidate line-up.

EU lawmakers have also rejected the nominees from Hungary and Romania.


Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa



Parliamentary election campaign begins in Mongolia




Campaigning for Mongolia‘s parliamentary elections began Tuesday after the country’s election commission approved a list of qualified candidates.

A total of 485 candidates from 13 political parties and four coalitions as well as 121 independent candidates are running for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24, the GEC said in a statement.

The commission said 75 percent of the candidates are male and 25 percent are female.

Mongolia’s parliament, the State Great Khural, is unicameral, consisting of 76 lawmakers with a four-year term.

The previous parliamentary elections in Mongolia were held in 2016.


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Slovenian parliament passes third coronavirus stimulus package




The Slovenian National Assembly on Friday approved a third coronavirus stimulus package worth around 1.11 billion U.S. dollars by a vote of 51 to eight, to help revive the economy amid the fallout from COVID-19.

The bill is “an exit strategy to prevent the worst consequences of the epidemic and provide assistance for the economy to get fully up and running as soon as possible,” said Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Janez Cigler Kralj.

The centrepiece of the package is a subsidy scheme, under which the government will provide funds for employers to pay compensation to furloughed workers.

With a key goal of preserving as many jobs as possible, most of the measures in the bill are meant to help the service sector, including tourism.

The stimulus package also includes vouchers issued to residents, which will expire at the end of this year. The measure has sparked a heated debate, with the parliamentary opposition arguing that the sum of the coupons is not enough to boost consumer spending and that cash should be given out instead.

Slovenia has reported 1,473 COVID-19 cases, including 1,357 recoveries and 108 deaths.


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Oyo APC Parliamentary Caucus meets, forges new direction for party



The Oyo State All Progressives Congress (APC) Parliamentary Caucus met in Ibadan on Friday to strategize on ways of strengthening the party.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting, hosted by the party’s Deputy National Chairman (South), former Gov. Abiola Ajimobi,

was presided over by the State APC Chairman, Chief Akin Oke.

The meeting was attended by elected legislatures led by its National Assembly Caucus Leader, Sen. Teslim Folarin (Oyo Central).

NAN recalls that the party had on Thursday inaugurated its reconciliation committee led by a former governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, to reconcile aggrieved members of the party.

Oke expressed appreciation to members of the caucus led by Folarin for their roles in ensuring the party was strengthened.

He emphasised the supremacy of the party, urging them to represent the state and the electorate well.

The chairman advised the lawmakers to continue to carry the party along in whatever they were doing for their constituencies.

Folarin in his remarks, also underscored the supremacy of the party, calling for better coordination as well as unity between them and the party.

“We should all work collectively like a broom. It is only this way that we can achieve more,” he said.

He commended the party for initiating a reconciliation process to further strengthen the party, urging members and all aggrieved party loyalists to embrace it.

Rep. Segun Odebunmi (Surulere/Ogo Oluwa), in stressing the importance of the meeting, said it was imperative for members to work collectively for the progress of the party.

Among others present at the meeting were Reps. Tolu Akande–Sadipe (Oluyole), Akeem Adeyemi (Oyo), Musiliu Akinremi (Ibadan North) and Shina Peller (Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa).

Others were Reps Akin Alabi (Egbeda/Ona–Ara) and Olumide Ojerinde Orelope /Olorunsogo /Irepo).

The State Assembly members present were Asimiyu Alarape (Atiba), Wunmi Ladeji (Ogbomoso North), Oyeleke Adegbola (Ogo-Oluwa/Surulere), Kazeem Tunde Isiaka (Oyo East/West),  Bamigboye Abidoye (Oriire) and Seyi Adisa (Afijio).

Others in attendance APC State Secretary, Mojeed Olaoya, Oyo South Senatorial Chairman, Prince Adefisoye Adekanye, and Alhaji Rasaq Arikewuyo.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Part of Indian parliament building sealed after official tests positive for COVID-19




Two floors of the Indian parliament annexe building were sealed Friday after an official posted at the secretariat of the upper house of parliament, locally called Rajya Sabha, tested positive for COVID-19, local media reports said.

The official of the rank of director attended office on Thursday and was found positive for the infection along with his family members, wife and children.

This is the second case of COVID-19 reported from the parliament’s annexe building. Previously an official of the lower house of parliament, locally called Lok Sabha, secretariat was found positive for COVID-19.

Reports said the floors would be fumigated as a precautionary measure.

Earlier several government offices and buildings were sealed for a day or two after detection of COVID-19 cases there.

India on Friday reported 7,466 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike so far, during the last 24 hours, pushing infection tally across the country to 165,799.

Friday marks the 66th straight day of ongoing lockdown across the country announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contain the spread of the pandemic.

The lockdown, which was announced on March 25 to break the chain of spreading the infection, has been extended thrice and is scheduled to end on May 31.


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ECOWAS Parliament urges member states to strategise toward stimulating their economies after COVID-19



The ECOWAS Parliament has urged ECOWAS members states to stimulate their economies after COVID-19 by strengthening their commitment to protecting livelihoods and investments in key sectors.

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Mohammed Tunis, made the call in a statement commemorating the 2020 ECOWAS Day  on Thursday in Abuja.

He praised member states for their numerous achievements in line with the vision upon which ECOWAS was built 45 years ago, which was geared toward fostering interstate economic and political cooperation as well as regional integration,

Tunis, however, said that in spite of  the remarkable achievements as a region, the people of the sub-region continued to yearn for help particularly under the current global pandemic of COVID-19.

“On this occasion of the commemoration of the ECOWAS Day, I wish to convey warm felicitations and best wishes to our dear ECOWAS Citizens on behalf of the entire ECOWAS Parliament, the Bureau, and staff.

“We are mindful of the fact that this outbreak is like none in the past.

“Since it was first detected in December 2019, within months, it eroded our normal ways of life.

“Confined us within our respective borders, bringing our economies to a virtual standstill and triggering a possible recession for the year.

“On our part, the 5th Legislature shall play its role towards the ECOWASpost COVID-19 recovery response strategies.

“By collaborating with and enacting policies to support sister institutions in the execution of COVID-19 related programs for the benefit of the citizens of the sub-region.”

He expressed optimism that given the resilient nature of “”our people, we will bounce back and make a full recovery” in the no distant future.

“However, for that to happen faster, we urge governments of member states to be mindful of the need to commit to protecting livelihoods and investments in key sectors of our economies and  identifying ingenious ways of injecting liquidity as a lifeblood to stimulate our economies.

Consequently, I cannot over-emphasise the need for the redesigning of our budget and programs to reflect changes envisaged by the effects of the pandemic on the economies of member states.

“I am cognizant of the fact that member states will recover at different rates. For some, it will come faster and for others, slower.

“Nevertheless, cohesion and convergence of policies should be of utmost importance than ever before in post COVID-19 recovery quest,” Tunis stated.

According to Tunis, the COVID-19 crisis will no doubt, generate new norms for citizens of member states – in the way they think, live, and even the course of politics.

The speaker added that “it will be a long road to full recovery but in the spirit of African astute wisdom and resilience of purpose.

“I make bold to state that we shall emerge stronger and better to the delight of the rest of the world.

“I pray we all remain hopeful, as hope is a powerful force.

“Hope will pull us from the depths of despair and charge us to continue the march toward actualising our West African dreams, as handed down to us by the founding fathers of ECOWAS 45 years ago.

“Armed with the tool of hope and faith in God, West Africans shall prevail against any obstacle, in brotherhood and oneness,” he stated.

The speaker said that as of May 24, the sub-region had recorded more than 29,000 confirmed cases with more than 11,000 recoveries and sadly, a little more than 600 deaths.

Those, he said, were not mere numbers or statistics of physical things but of human beings, citizens of West Africa, whose lives were cut short by the rampaging virus.

Tunis also empathised with all citizens on behalf of the Parliament, as everyone could have been directly or remotely affected.

 He urged citizens of member states to rest assured of the constant support and prayers of the Parliamentarians for the healing of the world and particularly, of the sub-region.

According to Tunis, the Parliament is aware of the interventions of the ECOWAS Commission and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO).

He added that both institutions had initiated various responses to the coronavirus pandemic in member states.

Tunis said that the responses included the provision of training and essential supplies to strengthen the public health systems in member states in order to foster the fight against the spread of the scourge.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Lebanese parliament approves 800 mln USD in social aid




The Lebanese parliament passed on Thursday a bill that allocates 1.2 trillion Lebanese pounds (800 million U.S. dollars) for social support in the country amid deteriorating living conditions caused by over two months of COVID-19 lockdown, the National News Agency reported.

The law aims at providing aid to low income families and daily workers in the public sector in addition to supporting farmers and giving subsidized loans to small enterprises.

Lebanon’s COVID-19 infections increased on Thursday by seven cases to 1,168 while death toll remained unchanged at 26.


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Mongolia’s election commission registers all opposition candidates for parliamentary elections




Mongolia’s General Election Commission (GEC) has officially registered all 76 people nominated by the opposition Democratic Party (DP) as candidates for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the DP said Thursday.

More than 70 percent of the party’s candidates are newcomers who have never served as ministers or members of parliament, Tsend Baatarkhuu, secretary-general of the DP, told a press conference.

In addition, 46 percent of the party’s candidates are economists and financiers, and 33 percent are lawyers, said the official.

The opposition party will run in this year’s parliamentary elections under the slogan “Let’s allot the benefits of economic growth to every household and protect citizens by laws.”

Mongolia is expected to hold general elections on June 24.

Mongolia’s parliament is unicameral, consisting of 76 lawmakers each serving a four-year term.

The landlocked Asian country last held parliamentary elections in June 2016.


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Tehran’s former mayor elected speaker of Iran’s new parliament




Iranian lawmakers on Thursday unanimously elected Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, former mayor of the capital Tehran, as the speaker of the country’s new parliament, official IRNA news agency reported.

Qalibaf, candidate of principlist faction, won 230 votes from the 267 lawmakers present at the parliament.

Meanwhile, Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi and Ali Nikzad were elected as the first and second vice speakers of parliament.

Qalibaf served as Tehran’s mayor from 2005 to 2017. He was the chief of Iran’s Law Enforcement Force from 2000 to 2005 and commander of the Air Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps from 1997 to 2000.

Iran’s new parliament for the next four years opened on Wednesday, after the 11th parliamentary elections were held on Feb. 21.

The Iranian parliament currently has 290 members with a mandate of four years.


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Gombe childrens’ parliament tasks children on compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures



The Speaker of the Gombe State Children Parliament, Umar Farouk, has tasked children in the state to adhere to all government and health authorities’ directives so as to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Farouk made this appeal while delivering his speech in Gombe on Wednesday during a press conference organised by Save the Children International to commemorate the 2020 World Children’s Day.

He stated that the fight against COVID-19 needed the cooperation of everyone, including children, to ensure that no one was left behind.

According to him, everyone is vulnerable to Coronavirus, hence the need for collective efforts to protect the state and country at large.

The speaker also called for more supports from government and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the rights of children in the state, were protected.

He added that it was the right of every child to get educated to enable him or her fulfill his or her dreams, and contribute to the development of the state and country.

He further called for more supports for girl-child education in the state to ensure that children, irrespective of their gender, were given the foundation to attain greatness in life.

Also speaking, Gombe Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs Naomi Awak, said the state government was committed to the issues of child-education in the state, adding “children are the hope of the state and nation.”

Earlier, the Community Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator of the Save the Children International, Mr Akpan Effiong, said the girl-child needed all the supports to develop her potentials in life.

Effiong, while canvassing more supports for girl-child education, stressed that educating a girl meant giving value to the society, adding “educating the girl-child will fast-track the attainment of sustainable development goals.”

He called on government to make education compulsory and free for the girl-child as such would go a long way in helping to address some of the challenges militating against girl-child education.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/ (NAN)


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