Rouhani brings hopes of a new era

  • Hassan Rouhani (C) greets supporters at a rally in
Tehran on Saturday.
    AP Hassan Rouhani (C) greets supporters at a rally in Tehran on Saturday.

Hassan Rouhani has become Iran’s new President, raising hopes of a new era of politics, where reformists, in political oblivion for the last eight years, would have a chance of joining the mainstream.

Iran’s Press TV is reporting that out of the 36, 704,156 votes that have been tallied, Mr. Rouhani has won a total of 18,613,329 votes, or 50.70 percent — sufficient to avoid a run-off with his nearest rival.

Ahead of the latest tally, it had become evident that conservative candidates were being routed. Saeed Jalili, the hardline conservative seen by many as the frontrunner, was in third place. Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the hands-on Mayor of Tehran, stood in second place, way behind Mr. Rouhani.

Mr. Rouhani’s success can be attributed to the formation of a coalition with former President Mohammad Khatami’s reformers. Mr. Khatami’s role in persuading Mohammad Reza Arif, a reformist candidate, to withdraw meant that centrists and reformists could unite behind Mr. Rouhani, significantly bolstering his chances.

Besides, Mr. Rouhani ran a skilful campaign, which included the use of purple colour coding — Mr. Rouhani’s supporters tied ribbons and wore purple wristbands — that seemed to have gone down well with the youth. Psychologically, Mr. Rouhani’s innovative campaign faintly connected with change brought about by colour coded revolutions in Eastern Europe.

Though hardly a radical, Mr. Rouhani had gone out of his way to seek support of women, through his strong message of gender equality. In a campaign video aired over state television, Mr. Rouhani had said: “In my government, differences between women and men won’t be tolerated.” His message of greater media freedom and call for social dignity by stopping harassment by “plainclothes people” — a reference to the paramilitary Basij militia — also seemed to have gone down well with the young electorate, aspiring for greater self-expression and a big turnaround in the economy.

As President, Mr. Rouhani would be truly tested by the popular demand for the improvement of the economy. That is a tall order because the problems of the economy are intertwined with sanctions and the lack of progress on the nuclear dialogue with the West. Structurally, the new President would be able to do little, as the core security and foreign policy issues, including the nuclear dialogue, are handled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Yet, the greater atmosphere of openness that Mr. Rouhani has promised could unlock a burst of youthful energy, triggering demands for an institutional revamp.

Analysts point out that if elected, Mr. Rouhani could bridge the gap between the conservatives and reformists, who became embittered foes after the crackdown on protesters following the controversial 2009 elections.



The short answer is Iran and Hezbollah according to Congressional sources. “The Syrian army’s victory at al-Qusayr was more than the administration could accept given that town’s strategic position in the region. Its capture by the Assad forces has essentially added Syria to Iran’s list of victories starting with…

File - President Barack Obama looks out over the Rose Garden as he walks along the Colonnade of the White House, April 2, 2013.

Nigerian court restrains ruling party from suspending governor

A Nigerian High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, on Friday restrained the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from taking any further action against Rivers governor Chibuike Amaechi, pending the hearing of a substantive suit challenging his suspension from the party.The National Working Committee of the PDP had on Monday suspended Governor Amaechi over the removal of the …

We will not discriminate against Nigerian-based basketball players – Coach Ayo Bakare

The coach of the D’Tigers says that players will be selected for Afrobasket 2013 on merit.

The head coach of the Nigerian Basketball Team, D’Tigers, has said that players will only be selected on merit, not on sentiment, as they prepare for International Basketball Federation’s, Afrobasket 2013, which will hold between August 21 and 30 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Bakare also told PREMIUM TIMES that four out of the 13 home based players already camped in Abuja in preparation for the tournament will be selected to join their foreign based teammates.

Speaking about their performance, Bakare said he’s satisfied with what he has seen so far.

“I’m extremely satisfied with the boys’ performance in camp. They merited the call to the national camp,” he said.

Reacting to past disputes between him and former national team member, Ejike Ugboaja, he said, “I didn’t say that Ejike won’t be invited. He said he’s not interested in playing and if a player doesn’t want to play, I can’t force him.”

Bakare added that every player will be invited to the national team on merit.

“It’s not an automatic selection every player has to work as hard as possible. We are not going to give call-ups on platter of gold. And we will not discriminate between home-based players and those who play abroad. ”

The coach, however, refused to disclose the names of the players who will eventually feature at the Afrobasket tournament.

“It’s too early to determine who and who will make the final team but with what I’ve seen in the past few days, I have a strong belief that if they keep working hard there’s a very solid chance they’ll make it to Cote d’Ivoire.”

Presidency denies endorsing campaigns for 2015

The Presidency has denied claims and allegations that President Goodluck Jonathan has endorsed the beginning of campaign for 2015 elections.

This is contained in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.

Specifically, Abati refuted a front page news report that a 21-member committee had been set up for Jonathan’s Second Term Bid.

“This is totally untrue and without any basis in reality.

“As he has truthfully declared on several occasions, President Jonathan has not yet taken a decision on whether or not he will seek re-election in 2015.

“He has, therefore, not mandated any individual, committee or organisation to start working on his behalf for the 2015 elections.’’

Abati said the president’s stated wish to be left alone to focus on delivering on his promise of good governance and national transformation without unnecessary distractions should be respected.

“Political jobbers and their collaborators in the media should stop heating up the polity with baseless speculations and falsehoods revolving around imaginary plans and schemes by the Presidency for the 2015 elections,” he said.

Abati said the Presidency had also observed an emerging trend whereby political opportunists were using the president’s name to promote themselves and their ambitions.

He said some unscrupulous persons were printing 2015 campaign posters with President Jonathan’s photograph when INEC had yet to announce the beginning of campaigns.

The special adviser cited an advertorial suggesting that the president had endorsed a particular candidate for Anambra gubernatorial election.

“For the benefit of the unwary, the Presidency emphatically states that President Jonathan has not endorsed any candidate for any position whatsoever ahead of the 2015 general elections.

“The President has neither commissioned persons to start campaigns for his own candidature,” he said.

Abati warned all 2015 political office seekers, and their sponsors, friends or collaborators, to desist from “unconscionable exploitation of the president’s name in the service antics of self-aggrandisement, promotion and positioning’’



Anambra to establish courts to prosecute beggars, hawkers

 The courts also been set up to check the use of children as hawkers and beggars by their guardians.

The Anambra Government is to establish family courts, where beggars and hawkers will be prosecuted as part of efforts to clean up cities in the state.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Henrietta Agbata, disclosed this in an interview with in Awka on Thursday.

“Many of the beggars and street hawkers have been caught in the past and warned to desist from such acts but after a while, they return to the streets, constituting a nuisance,” Mrs. Agbata said

She said that setting up such courts had become imperative so that those caught in the act would be tried and punished accordingly.

“Some people are in the habit of bringing children from the villages to live with them and later send such children to hawk for them, instead of enrolling them in schools. Such people should understand that the Child Rights Act is in place in Anambra and we have started implementing it,” the commissioner said.

Mrs. Agbata warned that the state government in collaboration with some non-government organisations would beam the search light on the activities of beggars and hawkers with a view to arresting them.






Prosecutors will ask the judge in her criminal trial to throw the book at Lindsay Lohan and give her 240 days in jail if she’s convicted of lying to cops in her June car accident case … TMZ has learned.

Sources close to the case tell TMZ … the L.A. City Attorney will be in court, lying in wait in the event Lindsay is convicted.  We’re told if the jury finds her guilty, L.A. prosecutors will ask the judge to jail her … because she would have squarely violated her probation in the jewelry heist case by breaking the law.

We’re told L.A. prosecutors will ask for the maximum — 240 days in jail.  Law enforcement sources tell TMZ … if the judge sentences Lindsay to the max, based on the current formula and the fact that she’s a repeat probation violator, Lindsay would actually serve between 60 and 90 days.

We’re told the Santa Monica City Attorney — which is prosecuting the main lying-to-cops case — will not ask for additional jail time if Lindsay gets nailed with the max.

But here’s the problem.  If Lindsay is convicted, she’d be placed on probation for ANOTHER 2 years, meaning if she violates any law, she could be hauled into court again, and possibly serve more jail time.