Thursday, November 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Republicans seize control of Senate

Washington, November 6
Republicans narrowly seized control of the US Senate today, giving President George W. Bush a major political and legislative boost as he starts the final two years of his first term at the White House.

By winning their 50th seat and therefore taking away the Democrats’ one-seat majority, the Republicans were ensured control of the 100-member chamber next year because Vice-President Dick Cheney will cast tie-breaking votes.

Their team will include at least seven new senators, including two who briefly challenged Mr Bush for their party’s presidential nomination in 2000, Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander and North Carolina’s Elizabeth Dole.

Democrats took just one seat from Republicans when Arkansas Attorney-General Mark Pryor, the son of former Senator David Pryor, defeated incumbent Senator Tim Hutchinson. Thirty-four of the 100 Senate seats were up for grabs yesterday. The new senators will begin their six-year terms in January.

However, with at least 47 Senators, Democrats still can use filibusters — procedural delays — to kill Republican initiatives because such roadblocks need 41 votes to succeed.

Democrats seemed to have a slight advantage going into election day, holding a 50-49 Senate margin including independent James Jeffords, who abandoned the Republicans in June, 2001, and gave the Democrats the one-seat majority.

That excluded Dean Barkley, the independent named by Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura to replace the late Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash last month, for a post-election session of Congress that begins next week.

Democrats also had the advantage of having to defend only 14 of the 34 Senate seats in play, compared to 20 seats held by Republicans.

The results strengthen Mr Bush’s political hand. He reversed a two-decade trend of the party holding the White House losing Senate seats in mid-term elections, and saw Republican victories in at least five of nine states he visited in the campaign’s closing days.

“President Bush and the Republican Party tonight have made history,” said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat who led her party’s Senate election drive, said Democrats failed to hone a sharp message on issues like education and jobs. AP

3 Indian-Americans win in US poll

Washington, November 6
The ruling Republicans today took full control of the US Congress wresting control of the Senate from Democrats and cementing their majority in the House of Representatives, placing President George W. Bush to press ahead with his conservative agenda and military action against Iraq. Three Indian-Americans — all Democrats — Kumar Barve, Swati Dandekar and Satveer Chaudhary were elected to legislatures in Maryland, Iowa and Minnesota states, respectively.

In the 100-member Senate, the Republicans have got 51 seats. The Republicans have 226 seats in the 435-member House of Representatives as against 204 held by the Democrats. Two Independents were also elected. The Republicans’ seizing the Senate’s control and consolidating their grip over the House of Representatives would allow President Bush, midway in his four-year term, to press ahead with his conservative agenda with ease.

The Republicans view their victory as an endorsement of Mr Bush’s tough stand on Iraq and would help him press hard reluctant members of the UN Security Council to hasten military action against the West Asian country. The outcome of the election meant that Mr Bush is only the third US President in the century to make mid-term gains, after Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 and Mr Bill Clinton in 1998. PTIBack

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