Monthly Archives: December 2008
Regional elections are being held in the Italian region of Abruzzo today and tommorrow (polls close at 15:00 on Monday). This election is to replace the incumbent President, Ottaviano Del Turco (PD), who resigned after being suspected of criminal activities. Del Turco, then SDI, was elected in the red wave that swept the 2005 Italian regional elections. He defeated the AN incumbent, Giovanni Pace, in a landslide. Del Turco was the first outright left-winger to win the regional presidency of the traditionally conservative-Christian democratic region, although a PPI (successor to DC) member was elected from 1995 to 2000.
The winning majority will serve a normal five-year term until 2013 (while all other regions renewed in 2005 will be renewed in 2010).
PD 35.33 (2005: DS+DL): 12
PS 5.21 (SDI): 2
PRC 4.91: 1
UDEUR 4.73: 1
PCI 2.95: 1
IdV 2.45: 1
Greenies 2.01: 1
Other left 0.32
Left 57.91: 19 seats
PdL 27.18 (FI+AN): 8
UDC 8.42: 3
DCA 2.79: 1
Reformist Moderates: 1.16
New Italian Socialist Party–PRI–PLI: 0.96
Right 41.21: 12 seats
Assorted Fascists 0.88
The election was delayed from November 30-December 1 to the 14th and 15th to make place and time for a tiny list For the Common Good (PBC). The PdL is running alone, having refused to run with the UDC or La Destra. Its candidate is Gianni Chiodi, a former mayor of Teramo. The left finally settled and united behind Carlo Constanini, a member of the IdV (Italy of Values. Its leader, Antoni di Pietro comes from neighboring Molise). Constanini will lead a large IdV-PD- Commies-Greenies-PS list. Various centrists, the UDC and the UDEUR (I would’ve thought those crooks were dead…) have settled on Rodolfo de Laurentiis. Other candidates include Teodoro Buontempo (Destra), Leopoldo Rossini (Lega Nord), Angelo di Prospero (PBC), and Ilaria del Biondo (Trot).
Random election maps from a few past elections (the party maps are from 2008 Senate, btw). 2006 and 2008 Camera maps are the same as the Senate maps, btw.
Brief overview of institutions in Ghana:
President: John Agyekum Kufuor (NPP) [since 7 January 2001; elected 2000, re-elected 2004] The President is elected by direct popular vote for a 4-year term. Since Ghana is basically two-party (NPP and NDC), runoffs are not always held.
Parliament [unicameral]: (230 Seats) MPs are elected by direct popular vote in single-member constituencies using the first-past-the-post system
Parties: Convention People’s Party (CPP: socialist), National Democratic Congress (NDC: center-left, socialist), New Patriotic Party (NPP: liberal-conservative, close to the UK Tories), People’s Convention Party (PCP: far-left), People’s National Convention (PNC: left, socialist). Two biggest parties are NPP and NDC. The PNC and CPP are small.
Results for President
Akufo-Addo (NPP) 49.34%
Atta-Mills (NDC) 47.77%
Nduon (CPP) 1.38%
Mahama (PNC) 0.81%
4 others taking the rest of the vote
Akufo-Addo will face Atta-Mills in a late December runoff. Akufo-Addo needs just a handful of votes to win (if there are no huge turnout swings + or -). The CPP and PNC candidates will likely support Atta-Mills, though.
In the Parliament, though, the NDC has made important gains and falls just short of a majority on its own
NDC 113 (+19)
NPP 109 (-19)
Ind 4 (+3)
CPP 1 (-2)
PNC 2 (-2)
One result withheld for now
As with most other West African countries, the electoral map could double, in most instances, as an ethnic map. At quick glance it seems that the map is Akan (NPP) vs. about every other ethnicity (NDC). The Muslim north is NDC, and the non-Muslim south is generally NPP. Like in countries like Nigeria or Cote-d’Ivoire.
State assembly elections were held in five Indian states recently. The results were counted on December 7. A 6th state, Jammu and Kashmir are still voting in long elections and results will be tallied on the 27th. These elections were held after the Mumbai bombings, and the Hindu nats (BJP) tried to exploit it, but failed miserably. Not only did it not pickup anything anywhere but actually is on the way to lose control of Rajasthan to an INC-led coalition. It failed to pick up Delhi NCT, despite the INC all but giving it up a few days prior.
INC 42 (-5)
BJP 23 (+3)
BSP 2 (+2)
LJSP 1 (+1)
Independents 1 (±0)
Others 0 (-2)
INC 96 (+40)
BJP 78 (-42)
BSP 6 (+4)
CPI (M) 3 (+2)
JD (U) 1 (-1)
SP 1 (+1)
LSP 1 (+1)
Independents 14 (+1)
Other parties 0 (-6)
The 14 Independents are mostly INC members who lost the INC nomination and would likely support an INC government. INC gain
Madhya Pradesh (preliminary)
BJP 143 (-30)
INC 71 (+33)
BSP 7 (+5)
BJS 5 (+5)
SP 1 (-6)
Independent 3 (+1)
Other parties 0 (-8)
BJP 50 (±0)
INC 38 (+1)
BSP 2 (±0)
NCP 0 (-1)
INC 32 (+20)
MNF 3 (-18)
MZPC 2 (-1)
ZNP 2 (±0)
MDF 1 (±0)
HPC 0 (-1)
Mizoram is a small Christian far-eastern state. The BJP is inexistent in the province. Landslide defeat for the Mizo National Front. INC gain
India is an example of how awful FPTP can be at times. The popular vote doesn’t always show the same picture here, really.
This is some good news for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the incumbent centre-left INC-dominated coalition for the national Lok Sabha elections in 2009. The BJP seems stronger than in 2004, but it lost allies everywhere (notably the BSP), many to the commie Left Front.
The PLQ won the election with a narrower than expected victory, despite winning a majority of the 125 seats.
Liberal 42.05% (+8.97%) winning 66 seats (+18)
PQ 35.15% (+6.80%) winning 51 seats (+15)
ADQ 16.35% (-14.49%) winning 7 seats (-34)
QS 3.64% (+0.15%) winning 1 seat (+1)
PVQ 2.18% (-1.67%)
The PLQ was expected by many to win a majority with over 70 seats, giving the PLQ a comfortable majority. The PQ did better than expected, and did even better than in 2003. The current insanity in Ottawa and Quebec-bashing on the part of Steve Harper might have turned voters to the PQ. Alternatively, it could be that the polls underestimated the PQ and overestimated the PLQ (and the effect of the English vote on poll numbers and seats). The PLQ’s 7% margin of victory is about the lowest MoV the PLQ can expect to get a majority with. Any tie is a PQ win (see 1998). Geographically, the PQ recovered from its quasi-wipeout on the north shore of Montreal (a traditional Pequiste stronghold that switched massively to the ADQ in 2007) and returns to quasi-unopposed dominance in the region. In the Laurentides and Lanaudiere regions, they also recovered. In the Lanaudiere riding of L’Assomption, former Green Party leader Scott McKay (half-Anglo, half-Franco) was elected for the PQ defeating the ADQ incumbent. The party also recovered on the populated south shore, where the ADQ had made inroads in 2007. However, it lost seats, sometimes gained in 2007, to the the Liberals in Abitibi, Gaspesie, and Saguenay. The Liberals held their Montreal-Laval strongholds (with scores back into the 70-80% range) and their other strong areas over the province.
The ADQ collapsed, but held up slightly better than polls had predicted (most polls agreed on 12-15% for the ADQ in the final days) and its seat count didn’t go down into humiliating sub-5 territory and seven incumbents resisted. Apart from Mario Dumont easily holding his Riviere-du-Loup stronghold in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and a lone (narrow) holdout in Shefford (Eastern Townships), all 5 others came from the conservative areas surrounding Quebec City and the Chaudiere-Appalaches region. Many ADQ incumbents finished third in their ridings, such as House Leader Sebastien Proulx in Trois-Rivieres (back and forth between PQ and PLQ all night). On a side note, the two late floor crossers from ADQ to Liberal were defeated by PQ candidates in their respective ridings of Champlain and Iberville.
The hard-left nationalist QS won its first ever seat in the Montreal bohemian riding of Mercier, where its co-leader Amir Khadir defeated PQ incumbent Daniel Turp. The other co-leader Francoise David narrowly lost in neighboring Gouin. Despite other strong results in central Montreal (downtown, Hochelaga-Maisoneuve, the gay quarter, Outremont) and a select urban areas (Hull, the inner Quebec City riding of Taschereau) the party did badly (and lost votes, in many cases) in rural areas, even in its other strong area, Abitibi. It seems like the myth that QS wants to dispell that it’s a “party of the Plateau” has some truth to it. If I remember correctly, this is the first time since the CCF won Rouyn-Noranda (in a very divided election, mind you) in 1944 that a hard left party wins seats. The Greens ran only 80 candidates, against 108 in 2007. They lost votes, as many of the potential Greenie-type voters stayed home or turned to the PQ or other parties.
On the note of the turnout, it was down from 71% in 2007 to 57%. This is the lowest turnout since atleast 1927, but there were around a dozen elections by acclamations then, so if they held actual elections in those seats then, the 1927 turnout would have been easily higher than 2008.
Two congressional races were held yesterday in Louisiana’s 2nd and 4th congressional districts.
Louisiana-2 (PVI D +28)
Anh Cao (R) 49.55%
William J. Jefferson (D) 46.82%
Malik Rahim (G) 2.81%
Gregory Kahn (L) 0.82%
R gain from D
Louisiana’s 2nd CD represents New Orleans (Orleans Parish and a part of Jefferson Parish) and has been held by Democrats since 1891 (and by Jefferson since 1991). The district is 64% black, and the median HH income is only $27,514. Jefferson is a corrupt African-American Democratic establishment politician, who narrowly defeated a Democratic challenger in a 2006 runoff (despite the state Democratic Party supporting his opponent). Cao’s unexpected victory is a huge surprise in a 64% black and historically Democratic stronghold. Many liberals and Democrats probably voted for Cao over the crook, but might not do so again 2010 with a different Democratic challenger (who would be the favourite to re-gain the seat).
Louisiana-4 (PVI R +7)
John Fleming (R) 48.07%
Paul Carmouche (D) 47.69%
Chester Kelly (I) 3.51%
Gerard Bowen (I) 0.73%
The 4th CD covers most of western Louisiana, and includes the city Shreveport in the north. The conservative-leaning district is majority white (62%) but a third of the population is black, mostly located in Caddo Parish in the northwestern tip of the district. The district is relatively poor, with a median HH income of $31,085. While national (liberal) Democrats do poorly in the district (40% for Kerry in 2004 and Obama only won Caddo Parish), local (conservative) Democrats do much better (as is the case in many Southern states, just look at MS). The seat was held by retiring Republican incumbent Jim McCrery. Carmouche and Fleming won in their respective primaries on November 4. Carmouche had some good returns last night, and seemed favoured to win narrowly. However, Fleming pulled it out narrowly.
With the elections coming up and everything, I thought it would be a good idea to post a little something on the elections and Quebec politics.
Firstly, the parties.
Quebec Liberal Party (Parti libéral du Québec, PLQ): The Liberals are the main federalist (anti-independence) party in Quebec, and also the oldest (in existence since Confederation). In the ’60’s, the Lesage era, the Liberals had a largely autonomist platform (though not nationalist). However, since the Charlottetown Accords, the party has become more right-wing and more federalist. Its leader is former federal Conservative (PC) MP, cabinet minister, and PC leader Jean Charest.
Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ): The ADQ is a socially and fiscally conservative/populist party that claims to be “autonomist” (apparently, Dumont likes the Catalonian autonomy status) and wants a “Quebecois constitution”. From 1994 to 2003, Dumont was the ADQ’s only MNA. In 2003, some early polls showed the ADQ leading the field, but in the end it only won 4 seats (apart from Dumont’s seat, they were in the conservative rural areas of Beauce/Chaudiere-Appalaches). As a result of public dissatisfaction with Charest and the weak PQ leader, the party won 41 seats in 2007, most of those 41 MNAs were paper candidates, and thus they failed horribly in opposition. The party is similar, in some respects, to the conservative/nationalist Union Nationale of Maurice Duplessis that reigned in Quebec from the ’40’s to to early ’60’s. The UN was closely allied with the omnipotent Catholic church.
Parti Québécois (PQ): The PQ is a generally left-wing party, but its main platform is the independence of Quebec from Canada. Evolved from the more radical RIN in the ’60’s, it formed governments several time since 1976, though both independence referendums in 1980 and 1995 failed (the 1995 one was very close). It usually had the support of organized labour, such as the CSN, though the CSN endorsed QS in 2007.
Green Party (Parti vert, PVQ): A new party to the political scene, the PVQ does not seem to take a stance on the independence question, though the old Greenies that briefly existed in 1989 were nationalists.
Québec solidaire (QS): Some say this is the provincial version of the NDP, which is far off from the truth. QS is a left-wing (in some respects, it’s very similar to the Scottish Socialist Party, SSP) and nationalist party. It rallies Trots, Commies, altermondialists, feminists, ecosocialists and so forth.
The latest poll, out today from the usually reliable CROP sez this (change from the last poll)
Lib 45% (=)
PQ 29% (-3)
ADQ 15% (+3)
Greenies 6% (+1)
QS 5% (=)
Others 1% (+1)
Francophone: PQ 36%, Lib 35%, ADQ 17%, Greenies 6%, QS 5%, Oth 1%.
Non-Francophone: Lib 89%, Greenies 4%, ADQ 3%, PQ 2%, QS 2%
Best PM: Charest 43, Marois 24, Mario 13, NOTA 12, Und 8
I don’t care about this!: 54% (-3) agree with me. Down from 60ish in the first days, but still not a good sign for turnout.
Approve: 48-48 approve of the government. -3 for approvals, +3 for disapproval.
Lib 45% (=)
PQ 29% (-3)
Francophone: PQ 36%, Lib 35%, ADQ 17%, Greenies 6%, QS 5%, Oth 1%.
Non-Francophone: Lib 89%, Greenies 4%, ADQ 3%, PQ 2%, QS 2%
Important subsamples for Quebec politics. Be careful with the non-francophone samples in polls, since those have a high MoE, but gives a good indication overall. In the 1998 election, the PLQ won 43% of the vote against 42% for the incumbent PQ, but the PQ won 76 seats and the PLQ won only 48 seats. There is a difference between how high the PLQ might poll and the number of seat it will win on election night. The PLQ wins anywhere from 60% to 90% in the wealthy Anglo seats on the Montreal West Island, and the Liberal problem comes partly from there. The Liberal support is concentrated in around 40 seats (West Island, a few in east Montreal, Montreal suburbs, Outaouais and random spots in the Eastern Townships). For the Liberals to win an election, they need a strong popular vote victory. A tie means, generally, a PQ victory.
Switzerland, home of direct democracy, held five referendums on legislation or popular initiatives on Sunday.
1. Initiative: No statute of limitation in prosecution of child rapists (there was a 15-year timeframe to prosecute child rapists, the proposition would make prosecution of child rapists permanent). The Federal Council and Federal Assembly opposed the initiative as did most parties except the right-wing SVP and Federal Democratic Union.
2. Initiative: Legalization of Cannabis – acquisition, possession and growing of Cannabis would be allowed in small amounts for personal purposes, while the state would regulate the trade and growing of Cannabis. The Federal Council and Federal Assembly opposed the initiative as did most parties except small left-wing parties and the youth wing of the liberal FDP.
3. The Swiss parliament revised the law on illegal substances in March 2008. It provided for a statutory basis for the Swiss strategy against illegal drugs, which consists of four pillars: prevention, harm reduction, therapy and repression. The revision allowed for a continuation of the governmental distribution of heroin to heavily addicted persons. Conservative politicians from the SVP and Federal Democratic Union opposed to the law (and favoring strict prohibition) collected enough signatures to subject it to a referendum. The current law of distribution of heroin to patients is adopted.
4. Initiative: Elimination of the right of legal remedy for environmentalist groups for building contracts approved by the Swiss Parliament or the voters.
5. Initiative: Lowering of the retirement age from 65 (men) and 64 (women) to 62 years.
The final results with 100% of the votes counted. Turnout was only 39.2%, down a lot since 56.5% in 2004.
PSD+PC: 33.09% winning 114 seats (-10)
PD-L: 32.36% winning 115 seats (+48)
PNL: 18.57% winning 65 seats (+5)
UDMR: 6.17% winning 22 seats (±0)
Ethnic minorities: 3.56% winning 18 seats (±0)
PRM: 3.15% winning 0 seats (-21)
PNG-CD: 2.27% winning 0 seats (±0)
PSD+PC: 34.16% winning 49 seats (-6)
PD-L: 33.57% winning 51 seats (+22)
PNL: 18.74% winning 28 seats (+4)
UDMR: 6.39% winning 9 seats (-1)
PRM: 3.57% winning 0 seats (-13)
PNG-CD: 2.53% winning 0 seats (±0)
The outgoing government was formed by only the PNL and UDMR and was a minority parliament. Following the 2004 election, the government was formed by the PD (now PD-L), the PNL, UDMR, and the PC, which left its electoral partner. The UDMR has supported governments of all political colours in the past, from PSD to the liberals. Basically the party which gives the most to the Hungarians wins their support.
A few scenarios: PD-L+PNL+UDMR has a large majority in both houses. A PD-L+PNL only (unlikely) also has a majority in both houses. The outgoing PNL+UDMR lacks a majority in either house. So does PD-L+UDMR. PSD+UDMR lacks a majority in either house. The chances that the PSD actually enters government are very slim.
Legislative elections to both houses were held on November 30 in Romania.
The results of last election in the lower house
PSD/Humanist Party 36.8% 132 seats (113 PSD, 19 PUR)
Justice and Truth Alliance (PD and PNL) 31.5% 112 seats (64 PNL, 48 PD)
Greater Romania Party 13.0% 48 seats
UDMR 6.2% 22 seats
minorities 18 seats (1 seat each for Roma, Germans, Armenians, Italians,
Bulgarians, Greeks, Jews, Lipovenians, Croatians, Albanians, Turco-Islamic
Tatars, Ukrainians, Slavonic Macedonians, Serbs, Ruthenians, Turks,
In the Senate:
PSD/Humanist Party 37.2% 57 seats
Justice and Truth Alliance (PD and PNL) 31.8% 49 seats
Greater Romania Party 13.6% 21 seats
UDMR 6.1% 10 seats
The PC is the Conservative Party, a ultra-conservative kooky party allied with the Social Democrats (for some weird reason). Romania seems to have adopted MMP since the last election in 2004.
With 99.62% of the votes counted, the vote count is currently (seat count still unknown).
The exit poll from last night, which turned out inaccurate in a few spots projected this final distribution of seats for both houses. The PRM, a far-right nationalist party which was in the presidential runoff in 2000, has lost all its seats in both houses. The PNG-CD, a party classified by the US DoS as extreme-nationalist and having links with a Iron Guard revival group, has also failed to enter parliament.