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Ballot action prime on CNN's agenda

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MUMBAI: While Indian media is on constant prowl for news related to the upcoming elections, CNN has a broader angle in mind.

With the current flavour being the election, the internationals news channel will be looking at the elections around the world.

With the help of its network of international correspondents, local bureaus, political analysts and election experts, the channel hopes to provide unrivalled election coverage around the world.

The focus of the exclusive coverage will be on on upcoming elections in Taiwan, Malaysia, South Africa, India, Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, as well as the ongoing U.S. presidential election campaigning, says a company release. Indian elections meanwhile are marked for month of April. CNN's New Delhi bureau chief Satinder Bindra will lead CNN's extensive coverage of elections in the world's largest democracy. Bindra and his team analyze the issues facing voters and politicians alike in elections characterized by large voter turnouts, passion and tens of thousands of colorful candidates, says the release.

The polls will be staggered across four days in April and May with results to be declared on 13 May and CNN will bring live reports from New Delhi and elsewhere throughout the period.

According to CNN International senior vice presidentRena Golden, "Our audience of opinion-formers and decision makers look to us for incisive, timely reporting and analysis of the international implications of global politics, and we are committed to being the channel of record for political and election news around the world."

The coverage plans for the major upcoming elections in the first half of 2004 are listed below:

For March:

Taiwan: CNN's senior Asia correspondent Mike Chinoy will spearhead comprehensive coverage of the Taiwanese elections on 20 March from Taipei. With an in-depth focus, CNN aims to provide up-to-the-minute election results as they happen, extensive commentary and analysis on issues relating to the country's military and defence plans, foreign investment, social affairs and a look at what the future holds for Taiwan's relations with the rest of the international community, says the release.

Malaysia: As Malaysia prepares for its 11th General Election, CNN's Jakarta bureau chief and correspondent Maria Ressa takes her crew to Malaysia to provide comprehensive coverage of the elections. CNN will provide interviews and analysis in the run up to the elections, with live reports on election day, from 21 March. More than 10 million voters will choose representatives for the federal parliament and lawmakers for state assemblies, says the release.

For April:

South Africa: April marks the tenth anniversary of the end of apartheid and as South Africans head to the polls to vote in the country's general election, CNN and Johannesburg bureau chief Charlayne Hunter-Gault will look at events as they unfold, with live election-day coverage on 14 April 14 and special reports from Pretoria on 27 April 27 about the inauguration ceremony. Coverage highlights include interviews with leading political figures and analysis of key issues including education, AIDS, land redistribution, the South African economy and crime, adds the release.

Indonesia: The parliamentary elections takes place on 5 April, followed by the country's first-ever direct presidential elections on 5 July, Jakarta bureau chief Maria Ressa and her team take CNN's international viewers to the world's largest Muslim country and provide comprehensive coverage of the elections, including in-depth analysis on issues related to the elections and the results.

South Korea: On 15 April, voters of South Korea will directly elect the National Assembly which consists of 273 seats in total. CNN correspondent Sohn Jie-ae will gauge the mood of Korean voters and provide up-to-the-minute updates on the elections, adds the release.

The countries on May agenda are:

The Philippines: Maria Ressa will lead CNN's coverage of the Philippines' presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on 10 May. As the incumbent President Macapagal-Arroyo and five other candidates including the main opposition candidate and popular film idol Fenando Poe Jr. begin their official campaigning, CNN will provide in-depth analysis and commentary for its international viewers.

As for the ongoing US presidential election, CNN promises to continue providing the most comprehensive coverage of all the twists and turns of the election campaigning through the coming months. Throughout the year, CNN's Jonathan Mann and Richard Quest together lead the network's signature coverage of global reaction and interest in the battle for the White House. CNN will interview the top candidates, policy makers and citizens alike to gauge the temperature of international issues affected by U.S. politics, says the release.

With US foreign policy as a major focal point for CNN International's coverage of the presidential election, CNN plans to offer a regional perspective to its viewers around the world. Former defence secretary William Cohen will share his knowledge of political and world affairs and discusses the importance of US foreign policy in the election. Plus CNN will feature special reports from European political editor Robin Oakley, Senior Asia correspondent Mike Chinoy, Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange, senior Middle East correspondent Brent Sadler and Latin America correspondent Harris Whitbeck. 

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