Tag Archives: Presidential election

Explanation: Can Scotland hold another independence referendum? | Instant News

LONDON (Reuters) – Scottish nationalists are pushing for an independence referendum to be held after Scotland’s parliamentary elections this May, but British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says such a vote should occur only once in a generation.

FILE PHOTO: Scottish Saltire flag flying next to the British Union Jack flag with London Eye wheels seen behind in London, England July 29 2019. REUTERS / Toby Melville / File Photo

In a 2014 referendum, Scotland voted 55% -45% to stay in the UK, but Brexit and the UK government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis have bolstered support for independence among Scots, and demanded a second vote.


The referendum’s first move was a victory for the ruling nationalist Scottish National Party in Scottish Parliamentary elections on May 6. Surveys show they are on track to win a clear majority.

Scottish First Minister Sturgeon, who is also the leader of the SNP, said he then wanted to submit the bill to parliament for a referendum to be held “at the start of a new term”.


If the Scots choose to leave, it will be Britain’s biggest shock since Irish independence a century ago – much like all Britain grappling with the effects of Brexit, a move Scottish voters strongly object to.

The British have shared the same monarchy since 1603, when King James VI of Scotland became James I of England. In 1707, a formal union formed the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Today, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland tie England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into an economy worth $ 3 trillion a year.


Under the Scottish Act of 1998 – which created the Scottish parliament and ceded some powers from Westminster – all matters relating to the “United Kingdom of Scotland and England” belong to the British parliament in London.

Westminster could authorize the Scottish government to hold a referendum using a so-called “Section 30” order, a process used to allow the 2014 vote to continue.

As a result, it gave Johnson a say in whether Scotland gets a referendum or not.


In January 2020, Johnson refused Sturgeon’s permission to hold another referendum, saying the 2014 vote had been a “once in a generation” event, and he had ruled it out many times since.

The SNP said that, if he won the election in May, Johnson would have no “moral or democratic justification” to reject another referendum.

If he says “No” again, the SNP says the Scottish government will push through by passing a referendum bill in the Edinburgh parliament, and that Johnson should go to court to “block the will of the Scottish people”.


Before the Scottish law is enacted, it can be referred to the Supreme Court, Britain’s highest judicial body, to decide whether it exceeds the powers of the Scottish parliament under the Scottish Act.

It is almost certain that the referendum bill, if passed without explicit permission and in opposition to the British government, will be referred to.

Judge David Hope, a former vice president of the Supreme Court, said the Scottish law was a major obstacle to the Scottish government: “They are caught up in a very carefully drafted law.”

Others think it’s not that obvious. “There are honorable arguments to say that the referendum bill will be in the competence of being bestowed,” said Professor Aileen McHarg, a constitutional law expert at Durham University.


Questions about the need for an Article 30 order, and the ability of the Scottish government to hold a referendum without London’s permission, have been tested in Scottish courts.

The Edinburgh Session Court said on Friday, February 5, that the case brought by independence campaigner Martin Keatings was premature, and refused to decide the legal issues raised.

Keating said he would appeal, and the case could eventually end in Britain’s Supreme Court.


If the proposed referendum is blocked by Johnson and the court, some on the SNP say the Scottish government should go ahead, with an indicative vote.

But others in the party and jurists said that, since the legitimacy of such a vote was questioned, opponents of independence would only boycott it, thereby damaging its credibility.

“Without a statutory basis, it seems to me not a complete initiator,” said McHarg.

($ 1 = 0.7301 pounds)

Edited by Guy Faulconbridge


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The Biden presidency set the stage for broader global progress in climate policy | Instant News

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – After US President-elect Joe Biden takes office – and as more countries struggle with climate impacts – policies addressing global warming are expected to start appearing on various world bodies by 2021, climate diplomats said on Thursday.

That could include the World Trade Organization preparing to deal with disputes over a planned “carbon boundary tax” – tariffs on imports from countries that do not tax emissions at the source – and the UN Security Council addressing climate-related threats.

For security officials, “climate change is no longer a multiplier of threats – it is a threat”, said John Podesta, former US President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and adviser to former US President Barack Obama, in an online event.

Veteran Democratic politician Biden will take office on January 20 and has promised a comprehensive green agenda to fight climate change, both in the United States and globally.

Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action, said government groups such as the G7 and G20 are likely to consider more ambitious climate policies after climate-skeptical US President Donald Trump is not there to block efforts.

This could potentially lead to efforts towards a global agreement on phasing out high carbon energy, as well as a regulatory framework for sustainable finance, he predicted.

In a growing number of international forums, “climate voices can be present, whatever the larger topic is being discussed there,” he said. “That’s very important.”

Podesta said Biden’s appointment of John Kerry, Obama’s former secretary of state, as his special envoy for climate suggests the new US president intends to push for international climate action as strong as domestic climate policy.

Biden is likely to initiate action to return the United States to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change – which Trump issued last year – on his first day in office, Podesta said.

He also promised to hold an international summit within the first 100 days of his term aimed at pushing for greater global ambitions to tackle climate change.

But drafting a new US national contribution to the Paris Agreement may take until late spring or early summer, Podesta said, to ensure that what has been promised internationally fits into domestic climate plans.

Biden said he wanted to put the United States on track to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035, and have net zero emissions across the economy by 2050, in line with new pledges by countries from Japan to South Korea.


Tina Stege, climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, a low-lying Pacific atoll nation, said having an ambitious US contribution to the Paris Agreement quickly was key to pushing forward the ambition that other nations need more.

“We are catching up. We are in a deep hole, “said Stege, whose country leads the” High Ambition Coalition “which is pushing for stronger global efforts to reduce emissions.” The US is critical to driving ambition and action. “

Countries like hers – which are only 2 meters (6.5 feet) above sea level – also need quick financial assistance to adapt to warming-driven sea level rise, he said.

“The need for adaptation is not being met, even as the need to adapt to climate change is increasingly pressing,” he added.

During his campaign, Biden said he would seek to fulfill financial promises to the international Green Climate Fund, $ 2 billion of which was not delivered by the Trump administration.

The move may now be easier after Democrats took control of the US Senate following the recent second round of elections in the state of Georgia, giving them more control over spending.

“The new government has the potential to make financial commitments that give countries like myself a chance to fight,” said Stege.

Reported by Laurie Goering @lauriegoering; edited by Megan Rowling. Appreciate the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a Thomson Reuters charity. Visit news.trust.org/climate


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Italy reacts to violence in Washington | Instant News

Politicians across the Italian political spectrum have condemned Washington’s violence by rioters supporting Trump.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte condemned scenes of violence in Washington, in which rioters supporting US president Donald Trump storm the Capitol building.

The move forced the suspension of the joint session of Congress to certify the election victory for president-elect Joe Biden, and has resulted in the deaths of four people.

Conte said he was watching events unfold in Washington with “great care”.

“Violence is incompatible with the exercise of democratic rights and freedoms,” he wrote on Twitter: “I believe in the strength and robustness of the institutions in the United States.”

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio described the events in Washington as “very serious,” calling them “a real disgrace to democracy, an attack on the freedoms of the American people.”

Di Maio said: “We strongly condemn all forms of violence, with the hope that there will be an orderly and peaceful transfer of power as quickly as possible.”

Lega leader Matteo Salvini – considered the Italian leader closest to Trump – distanced himself via Twitter: “Violence is never a solution, never. Live Freedom and Democracy, always and everywhere”.

Nicola Zingaretti, leader of the center-left Partito Democratico (PD) described the chaotic scenes as “dramatic, which we thought we would never see,” adding: “this is where political extremism takes us.”

Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta attacked Trump directly: “What happened in the Capitol Building in Washington is proof that Trump is a coup leader. He must be treated like that. “


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Brazil’s Bolsonaro reiterated Trump’s relationship, citing unfounded claims of vote fraud | Instant News

FILE PHOTO: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaking during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil November 26, 2020. REUTERS / Adriano Machado / File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday repeated baseless accusations of US election fraud and continued to support President Donald Trump as supporters of the American leader stormed the US Capitol building.

Bolsonaro, a former far-right military captain, has long admired Trump, and was one of the last global leaders to recognize election victory for President-elect Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro said he had followed the invasion of the US Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to reverse the presidential election defeat. The breach forced MPs to flee and Congress to postpone a session that would certify Biden’s victory.

Asked by a supporter about his views on the chaotic scene in Washington, he said: “I followed everything today. You know I’m connected to Trump, right? So you already know my answer. “

“Many reports of fraud, many reports of fraud,” he added, in a video posted on social media, without providing evidence.

Bolsonaro also took the opportunity to repeat the baseless complaint that his victory in the 2018 election was tainted by fraud and he should have won without a second round.

Trump’s election defeat was a blow to Bolsonaro, who has sought closer ties with the United States. Biden’s win is likely to isolate Brazil on the global stage, and increase the pressure on Bolsonaro’s handling of the environment and human rights.

(This story has been rewritten to correct misspellings in the title)

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Edited by Aurora Ellis


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British PM Johnson called for an end to the “embarrassing scene” in Washington | Instant News

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street, in London, England, January 6, 2021. REUTERS / John Sibley / File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for an end to the “scandalous sight” in Washington, where protesters on Wednesday stormed the US Capitol in a bid to overturn President Donald Trump’s election defeat.

“An embarrassing scene in the US Congress,” Johnson said on Twitter. “The United States represents democracy throughout the world and it is now imperative that there must be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Edited by Leslie Adler


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