Madrid regional chief hits out at Spanish government Covid measures

The woman at the heart of the dispute over one of Europe’s coronavirus hotspots says Spain’s government is exacerbating the crisis and depicts herself as a bulwark against socialist revolutionaries in its ranks. 

To her supporters, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, head of Madrid’s regional government and perhaps the second most powerful elected official in the country, is the voice of resistance against a dangerous leftwing government running roughshod over democratic institutions and devastating the motor of the Spanish economy. 

To her detractors, the leader of the region of 6.6m people is a rightwing ideologue who has been far too slow in responding to some of the highest infection rates in Europe.

Ms Díaz Ayuso, a 41-year-old who took office last year after a career largely spent in communications for her centre-right People’s party, portrays the regional administration as one of the most important checks on what she says is an “authoritarian”

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Spain to lock down capital, angering regional government

By Belén Carreño and Ingrid Melander

MADRID (Reuters) – Residents of infection hotspot Madrid are to be barred from leaving except on essential trips under new rules to fight the coronavirus resurgence, Spain’s government said on Wednesday.

But regional authorities said the decision had no legal basis, setting the stage for a political showdown in an area accounting for more than a third of Spain’s 133,604 new cases in the past two weeks.

“Madrid’s health is Spain’s health. Madrid is special,” Health Minister Salvador Illa told a news conference to announce the new regulations, due to come into force in days.

The capital city, with more than 3 million people, and nine surrounding municipalities with at least 100,000 inhabitants each, are to see borders closed to outsiders for non-essential visits, the government said.

People would be allowed to cross boundaries for work, school, doctors’ visits or shopping, but not for

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Nigeria says Mali transition government yet to satisfy regional demands

FILE PHOTO: Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who heads a delegation of ECOWAS mediators, attends the Inauguration ceremony with Malian officials in Bamako, Mali, September 25, 2020. REUTERS/Amadou Keita

ABUJA (Reuters) – West African states are not ready to lift sanctions on Mali because the leaders of an Aug. 18 coup have not yet satisfied all the demands for a handover of power to a fully civilian government, Nigeria’s president said on Monday.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it would lift sanctions, which have caused imports to the landlocked country to slump 30%, once a civilian prime minister was named, as was the case on Sunday, among other demands.

President Bah Ndaw, a retired colonel appointed president of the transition, named veteran diplomat Moctar Ouane as interim prime minister.

But in a briefing with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, the ECOWAS envoy to Mali, former Nigerian President

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