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Vote using phones and iPads, Bercow says

Commons Speaker John Bercow. Credit: PA

People should be able to use mobile phones and iPads to vote, John Bercow has said.

The Commons Speaker insisted it would not be an "earth-shattering change" if elections were conducted with such technology in future.

He also suggested that MPs could be allowed to vote electronically in Parliament, after centuries in which they have been manually counted through division lobbies.

He said: "In an era in which many people bank, search for a partner and conduct their most private of business online, treating their mobile phone or tablet as an extension of themselves, why should we not enable them to cast their vote using the same or similar tools, if they so wish?"

Afghan elections set for second round run-off

The Afghanistan election is set to go to a second round run-off between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani after none of the candidates won an absolute majority, preliminary results showed on Saturday.

Abdullah finished top with 44.9 percent, followed by Ghani with 31.5 percent, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said. Zalmay Rassoul was a distant third with 11.5 percent.

This is a preliminary outcome and will now go to the Independent Election Complaints Commission and they will work on this. As soon as they share their findings with us we will also announce it.

– IEC chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani

The final result will not be known until May 14, as authorities investigate up to half a million votes suspected of being fraudulent.

Partial results in Afghan election show tight race

Election officials hold a ballot paper during the vote counting process at a polling station in Kabul April. Credit: Reuters\Tim Wimborne

Former opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah is in the lead in Afghanistan's elections.

The country's Independent Election Commission said initial results based on 10 per cent of votes from 26 out of 34 provinces showed Mr Abdullah in the lead with 41.9 percent of the vote.

In second place was Western-leaning academic Ashraf Ghani with 37.6 percent of the vote, the IEC said, while a third candidate, running with the backing of two of President Hamid Karzai's brothers, trailed far behind with 9.8 percent.


Acting Venezuelan President Maduro registers his candidacy

To the cheers of thousands of supporters, acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro officially registered his candidacy today for the upcoming elections.

The 50-year-old arrived to the National Electoral Council driving his own bus to register his candidacy.

Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro talks to supporters today. Credit: REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

"I am going to accomplish his orders (referring to Chavez) with the biggest love that he cultivated in our hearts. I am not Chavez, but I am his son and together with the people, we are Chavez," Maduro said after registering his candidacy.

Both Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles have begun Venezuela's election race with scathing personal attacks on one another.

Maduro has registered as a candidate in the upcoming April presidential elections. Credit: REUTERS/Marco Bello

Maduro, who was sworn in as acting president after Chavez succumbed to cancer last week, is seen as the favourite to win the April 14 election, bolstered by an oil-financed state apparatus and a wave of public sympathy over Chavez's death.

Thousands of people lined the streets in Venezuela today. Credit: REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Clinton: No going back on democracy in Egypt

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Credit: Reuters/Pool/Saul Loeb

The United States expects Egypt's military authorities to fully transfer power to a democratically elected civilian government, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today. Clinton told reporters:

"There can be no going back on the democratic transition called for by the Egyptian people," declining specific comment on an Egyptian court ruling to dissolve the country's newly-elected Islamist-led parliament.

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