Trump vetoes bill to end US military support in Yemen; Indonesian Elections begin- Current Affairs

Story 1- Trump vetoes bill seeking an end to US military support for Saudi-led war in Yemen

US President Donald Trump on April 16, 2019 vetoed a bill passed by the Congress to end US military assistance in Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen.

The veto, which is the second one in Trump's presidency, was expected. The Congress had voted for the first time to invoke the War Powers Resolution to try and stop US involvement in a foreign conflict.

The President issued his first veto in March on a legislation related to immigration.

Key Highlights

Explaining his decision to veto the resolution,  Trump stated that the resolution is an unnecessary, a dangerous attempt to weaken his constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.

The US Congress lacks the votes to override Trump’s veto. However, passing the never-before-used war powers resolution alone was viewed as a milestone for lawmakers.

The resolution was passed by the Congress two weeks ago as a way to send a strong message to Saudi Arabia both about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and condemn the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

However, the Trump administration said that the resolution was inappropriate because US forces had provided aircraft refueling and other support in the Yemen conflict, not combat troops.

It also said the measure would harm bilateral relationships in the region and hurt the US ability to prevent the spread of violent extremism.

Background

The United States provides billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

Members of the Congress have expressed concern about the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began in 2014.

The Republican-controlled US Senate passed the war powers resolution in December, the first time such a resolution had passed even one house of Congress. But Republicans, who then controlled the House, did not allow a vote in the lower chamber.

On January 3, 2019, the Democrats took control of the house following sweeping victories in November elections.

However, the resolution would struggle to garner the two-thirds majorities needed in both the House and Senate to overcome Trump’s veto. Republicans still hold a slim majority in the Senate.

Crisis in Yemen

The Yemeni Civil War is an ongoing conflict that began in 2015 between two factions, the internationally recognised Yemeni government, led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies.

The almost four-year-long conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, collapsed the economy and brought millions of people to the brink of famine.

The United States has supported the Saudi-led air campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen with mid-air refueling support, intelligence and targeting assistance.

The fighting in the Arab world's poorest country also has left millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

Story 2- Indonesia kicks off largest one-day elections to elect new President

Indonesia on April 17, 2019 kicked off one of the world's biggest one-day elections to pick a new president and parliament after a six-month campaign.

The polls have pitted incumbent President Joko Widodo against ex-general Prabowo Subianto in a race to lead the nation.

Key Highlights

President Joko Widodo, who is a clear favourite, is seeking re-election against former general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated in the last election, in 2014.

While most opinion polls give Widodo a double-digit lead, but the opposition says the race is much closer.

The polls present a huge logistical challenge in a country stretching 4,800 kilometres across more than 17,000 islands with a population of more than 260 million, including hundreds of ethnic groups and languages.

More than 10,000 people have volunteered to crowd-source election results posted at polling stations in a real-time bid to thwart attempts at fraud.

Widodo’s running mate, Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin, called a for a peaceful vote because the presidential election is not a war, but a search for the best leader

There was not much obvious security at polling stations in Jakarta, with volunteers helping direct people to voting booths.

Significance

The election is being billed as the world’s biggest single-day vote and one of the most complicated, with voters contending with five paper ballots for president, vice president, and national and regional legislative candidates.

This time, over 190 million Indonesians are set to cast their votes in the world’s third-largest democracy. Besides this, a record 245,000 candidates are running for public office, from the presidency and parliamentary seats to local positions.

The official results will be announced in May. Any disputes, thereafter, will be taken to the Constitutional Court where a nine-judge panel will have 14 days to rule on them.

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