Iraqi people must control electoral process UN official

A United Nations elections expert just back from Iraq emphasized today that the country’s people must have control of the polling process, and that a secure environment and adequate resources were essential to the balloting’s success.According to Iraq’s Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), elections are set to take place no later than 31 January 2005. Voting would be held for the councils at the governorate level, the National Assembly of Kurdistan and the Iraqi National Assembly.Speaking to reporters in New York, Carina Perelli, Director of the UN Electoral Assistance Division, outlined the process of creating “a totally new, independent electoral authority” that would enjoy legitimacy among the Iraqi people and have full autonomy, including the ability to manage its own budget.She welcomed the Iraqi Governing Council’s recent full endorsement of the UN’s recommendations in this regard, which were also accepted by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) as well as all social and political actors contacted by the UN.A board of seven commissioners plus one director-general will head the institution, Ms. Perelli said, stressing that those individuals must be independent.The UN mission that she led to Iraq last month heard “the outcry of the population in terms of having more participation in the decision-making processes and being more involved,” Ms. Perelli said.In response, the UN had created a process allowing the community to nominate the seven individuals. Once the process of nominations is completed, the UN will undertake a technical evaluation of the candidates, followed immediately by the establishment of a shortlist of 20 names for the commissioners and five names for the position of director. Those people would then be interviewed.The UN will also name an international commissioner, but that person would have a “voice but no vote because this has to be a fully Iraqi process,” she said.Concerning security, she acknowledged that “there has been a deterioration of conditions in Iraq,” but pointed out that “once you launch an electoral process, particularly if the citizenry starts to believe and take ownership in the process, then the capacity of what we call ‘political security’ – which is basically people fighting for the right to have that election – also occurs.”If all these decisions are taken in open discussion with the communities and if people feel that basically their interests have also been taken into consideration it might affect the security situation,” she observed.”Of course, elections under the gun, and elections with bullets and mortars and shelling, are not two things that go together hand-in-hand – that is obvious,” she added.She said the overall cost of elections was currently projected at $250 million to $260 million, but the figure would be adjusted depending on the decisions of the independent electoral authority. read more

Nova Scotia Power customers should pay for biomass plant if necessary premier

Nova Scotia Power customers should pay for biomass plant if necessary: premier by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 19, 2012 2:52 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email HALIFAX – Nova Scotia Power customers should pay the costs of operating a biomass plant for the next two years if a deal to sell a shuttered Cape Breton paper mill goes through, Premier Darrell Dexter said Thursday.But Dexter said any concerns that running the mill, which closed last fall, won’t offset the cost of running the biomass facility are “false” and “hypothetical.”Dexter said the economic ramifications of the mill not reopening would exceed what Nova Scotia Power customers would pay to operate the $208-million biomass plant.“We want the mill to operate and we want it to operate because it’s an important part of the economic architecture of the province,” he said.“The loss in terms of economic impact and in terms of the contribution to the province would far exceed any cost associated with the operation of the biomass plant.”His comments come a day after a lawyer raised the possibility of power customers facing the costs of running the biomass plant at a Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hearing.The hearing into a proposed discount electricity rate for the mill concluded Wednesday, and the prospective buyer of the mill is urging the regulator to make a decision before the end of August.Pacific West Commercial has said that without a decision in its favour and approval from the Canada Revenue Agency, the deal to buy the mill could collapse.The operation in Point Tupper, N.S., shut down last September, throwing 600 employees out of work and affecting another 400 forestry contractors. It was closed after struggling with soaring fuel and electricity costs, a strong Canadian dollar and declining demand.It is under creditor protection until the end of August. read more