By Robert A. Vella
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi appears headed to a reelection victory in the world’s largest democracy. The ruling coalition in Austria has collapsed after its Vice Chancellor and leader of the far-right Freedom Party resigned when his secret ties to Russia were exposed in a publicly released video. Justin Amash (R-MI), an ideological libertarian and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus who rose to power during the Tea Party wave of 2010, has become the first Republican member of Congress to call for President Trump’s impeachment. Although Central American refugees are still entering the U.S. across its southern border, the net migration from Mexico appears to have reversed with a greater number of U.S. citizens now moving to that country.
After 39 days of polling involving as many as 900 million voters, balloting in India’s vast parliamentary election came to a close on Sunday, starting a countdown to the announcement of final results on Thursday.
The first batch of exit polls predicted that Narendra Modi, the prime minister, would return to power. According to five different polls released by Indian media organizations Sunday night, Mr. Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P, and its allies were forecast to win a majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament.
The Indian National Congress, the leading opposition party, seemed to have done marginally better than its stunning defeat in the last elections in 2014, but it remained a distant second to Mr. Modi’s alliance. Most of the exit polls predicted Mr. Modi’s party and its allies would win about 290 to 300 seats in the 545-seat lower house, which chooses the prime minister.
Austrian government collapses
BERLIN — Austria’s chancellor called on Saturday for snap elections after the country’s far-right vice chancellor resigned over a secretly filmed video from 2017 that renewed questions about whether Russia had a direct line into a government at the heart of Europe.
The video showed Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party promising government contracts to a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.
“After yesterday’s video, enough is enough,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a room packed with reporters on Saturday night in the capital Vienna. He said he had asked Austria’s president to hold a new election “as soon as possible.”
The video was the worst in a series of missteps that ultimately brought down Austria’s governing coalition. It raised anew concerns about whether the Freedom Party had been working to undermine liberal democracy and media freedoms in the country while it helped Mr. Kurz govern as the junior party in his coalition. [emphasis by The Secular Jurist]
Republican calls for impeachment
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a critic of President Trump who has entertained a run against him in 2020, became the first Republican congressman to say the president “engaged in impeachable conduct” based on the Mueller report.
Amash wrote that after reading the 448-page report, he had concluded that not only did Mueller’s team show Trump attempting to obstruct justice, but that Attorney General William P. Barr had “deliberately misrepresented” the findings. He added that “few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report.”
“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Amash wrote.
Amash wrote that it was partisanship keeping Republicans from exercising their obligation to provide checks and balances.
“When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law — the foundation of liberty — crumbles,” he tweeted.
Amash, a libertarian, considers himself a strict constitutionalist and in February was the lone Republican to join a Democratic bill to stop Trump from declaring a national emergency to fund his border wall.
“From the time the president was elected, I was urging them to remain independent and to be willing to push back against the president where they thought he was wrong,” Amash told CNN in March. “They’ve decided to stick with the president time and again, even where they disagree with him privately.”
Reverse Mexican migration
President Trump regularly assails the flow of migrants crossing the Mexican border into the United States. Less noticed has been the surge of people heading in the opposite direction.
Mexico’s statistics institute estimated this month that the U.S.-born population in this country has reached 799,000 — a roughly fourfold increase since 1990. And that is probably an undercount. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City estimates the real number at 1.5 million or more.
They’re a mixed group. They’re digital natives who can work just as easily from Puerto Vallarta as Palo Alto. They’re U.S.-born kids — nearly 600,000 of them — who’ve returned with their Mexican-born parents. And they’re retirees like Guzmán, who settled in this city five years ago and is now basically the pickleball king of San Miguel.
If the thousands of Mexicans moving home are taken into account, the flow of migrants from the United States to Mexico is probably larger than the flow of Mexicans to the United States.
The American immigrants are pouring money into local economies, renovating historic homes and changing the dynamics of Mexican classrooms.