Connect with us

Europe

Icelands president easily wins re-election, partial results show

Issued on: 28/06/2020 – 09:39Modified: 28/06/2020 – 09:40

Iceland's President Gudni Johanness..

Issued on: Modified:

Iceland's President Gudni Johannesson won a landslide election on Sunday, according to partial results, after the European country became the second to hold polls since coronavirus lockdowns were lifted.

Advertising

Read more

Since suffering spectacular bank failures in 2008, the volcanic North Atlantic island of 365,000 inhabitants has recovered some economic and political stability, which has worked in the 52-year-old president's favour.

Early results late Saturday suggested Johannesson had secured a second four-year mandate with 90 percent of the votes, seeing off a challenge from rightwinger Gudmundur Franklin Jonsson.

"I am honoured and proud," the president told AFP from his election night headquarters at Reykjavik's Grand Hotel. "This result of this election is, to me, proof of the fact that my fellow Icelanders… have approved of how I have approached this office."

Opinion polls had predicted Jonsson had little chance of winning the support of the country, which has 252,217 eligible voters.

"I send my congratulations to Gudni and his family," Jonsson, a former Wall Street broker close to Icelandic nationalists, told public broadcaster RUV.

Largely symbolic role

In this parliamentary republic, the president is largely symbolic, but he or she does have the power to veto legislation or submit it to a referendum.

Several voters told AFP that "character" is a key criterion in choosing a candidate.

"I try to read the character of the person," said Sigurbjörg Hansen, 57. "If the person is honest, that's number one for me."

Voter surveys have since early June predicted a landslide victory for Johannesson, an independent and former history professor.

The coronavirus pandemic was not expected to affect voting, as the country has been only mildly infected. It has reported 10 deaths, and currently has around 11 active cases.

'Not pompous, not very formal

Johannesson, who in 2016 became the country's youngest president since independence in 1944, has enjoyed solid support throughout most of his first term, ranging from 76 to 86 percent according to the MMR polling institute.

"He has been seen as a man of the people, not pompous, not very formal. So Icelanders seem to like him and want to keep him as president," said Olafur Hardarson, a political science professor at the University of Iceland.

Jonsson has struggled meanwhile to make inroads with voters.

The 56-year-Read More – Source

Continue Reading

Europe

Green, left-wing Michèle Rubirola becomes Marseilles first woman mayor

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 11:00Modified: 05/07/2020 – 11:01

Marseille became the latest French munic..

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 11:00Modified: 05/07/2020 – 11:01

Marseille became the latest French municipality to elect a Green mayor on Saturday, in a wave that has swept the country since local elections at the end of last month.

Advertising

Read more

Michèle Rubirola, the first female leader of Frances second city, won the most votes from city councillors, ending almost a week of suspense after the June 28 poll that failed to give her slate an absolute majority.

Rubirola, of the Read More – Source

Continue Reading

Europe

Italy could transfer migrants from Ocean Viking rescue ship on Monday

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 10:07Modified: 05/07/2020 – 10:16

Italy is carrying out tests on 180 migra..

Issued on: Modified:

Italy is carrying out tests on 180 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean with a view to transferring them to a quarantine vessel in Sicily, an interior ministry source said Saturday.

Advertising

Read more

The migrants have been on the Ocean Viking ship operated by SOS Mediterranee for over a week, with fights and suicide attempts on board prompting the charity to declare a state of emergency on Friday.

A medical team sent by authorities in Pozzallo, Sicily “ascertained the absence of particular health problems and also reported that some tensions that had been registered on the ship are being overcome”, the ministry source said.

The medical team is testing the migrants for the Covid-19 virus after which they will be transferred to a quarantine ship currently in Porto Empedocle, also in Sicily.

“The situation is carefully monitored in view of the transhipment of migrants, scheduled for Monday 6 July, on the Moby Zaza ship,” the source said.

The Ocean Viking, which has been in limbo in the Mediterranean south of Sicily, has been waiting for permission from Italy or Malta to offload the migrants at a safe port.

Italy could transfer migrants from Ocean Viking rescue ship on Monday

Tensions have risen in the past week, as witnessed by an AFP reporter aboard the boat, as migrants have become increasingly desperate to reach land. Others have become distraught at not being able to telephone their families to let them know they were safe.

SOS Mediteranee said in a statement on Saturday that “the only assistance proposed has been a visit by a medical doctor and a cultural mediator who spoke to the survivors but are not in a position to present a solution for their disembarkation.”

The migrants, which include Pakistanis, North Africans, Eritreans, Nigerians and others, were picked up after fleeing Libya in four separate rescues by the Ocean Viking on June 25 and 30.

"How long Read More – Source

Continue Reading

Europe

Air France to cut 7,580 jobs at French flagship carrier and regional unit Hop!

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 20:16Modified: 03/07/2020 – 20:16

Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7..

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 20:16Modified: 03/07/2020 – 20:16

Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7,500 jobs including 1,000 at sister airline Hop! on Friday, as staff protested over its response to the collapse in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Advertising

Read more

The French flag carrier, part of Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM, said it had lost €15 million a day during the worst part of the crisis, which also saw its revenues plunge by 95 percent. It did not see traffic returning to 2019 levels before 2024.

As a result, Air France plans to cut 6,560 or 16 percent of jobs at the main airline by the end of 2022, more than 3,500 of which will come through natural departures, it said after union talks.

Another 1,020 jobs will go over the next three years at Hop!, representing 42 percent of staff at the regional carrier based in the coastal city of Nantes, which has also been hit by job cuts at plane manufacturer Airbus.

The French government – which granted Air France €7 billion ($7.9 billion) in aid, including state-backed loans, to help it to survive – has urged the airline to avoid compulsory layoffs, though it has conceded Air France is "on the edge”.

"A successful labour reorganisation is one where there are no forced departures," junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio on Friday.

In its statement, Air France said it would give priority to voluntary departures, early retirement and staff mobility. It did not rule out compulsory redundancies, however.

The reconstruction plan will be presented at the end of July, together with a plan for the wider Air France-KLM Group.

This is not how I wanted to leave

Some 100 union members and employees, from cleaning staff to check-in assistants, demonstrated earlier outside the airline's base at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris against plans to cut staff after receiving state aid to absorb the pandemic fallout.

Air France employees gather to protest a restructuring plan that includes thousands of job cuts in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis outside the French airline's headquarters in Roissy-en-France near Paris on July 3, 2020. The sign at right reads, "Not born to end up in the dumpster.” © Gonzalo Fuentes, Reuters

"It's scandalous. The government is putting in €7 billion and the compRead More – Source

Continue Reading

Trending