Monthly Archives: January 2009

Iraq Provincial 2009

Elections are being held in 14 of Iraq’s 18 governorates (or provinces) today, the first election since 2005. There is no election in the three governorates of Iraqi Kurdistan (Arbil, Dahuk, As Sulaymaniyah) and in Kirkuk governorate, where a referendum on the governorates’ status keeps getting postponed and postponed.

Elections are by open party list, with a quota for women and minorities (3 Christians, 1 each for Yazidis, Mandean, and Shabak). The Sunni parties, which boycotted the past election in 2005, are running this time and should drastically increase turnout in the Sunni areas (Al-Anbar, Salah ad Din), which are currently ruled by Shia and Kurdish governments which lack popular support. Turnout was something like 2% in Al-Anbar in 2005.

The election in Shia areas is to be fought between current PM Nouri-al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party (Shia conservatives, favouring a centralized Iraq) and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (pro-Iran Islamists, favouring a federal Iraq with a huge Shia region), both government parties. The opposition Sadrists (those allowed to run) is also expected to provide competition, as is Iyad Allawi’s secular grouping. Al-Maliki’s Dawa is said to be favoured, and Allawi’s bloc could do well. Other say Islamist parties, sich as the SIIC, will do poorly.

In Sunni areas, the election is between the government Iraqi Accord Front (a broad coalition of Sunnis) and the tribal Awakening militias (formed to fight Al-Qaeda).

In total, around 400 parties (over 14,000 candidates) are contesting a total of 440 seats. Results are expected to take quite some time to come in.

Bolivia Referendums 2009

Two referendums were held in Bolivia last Sunday, and the CNE has counted around 99.98% of the votes, so here are the results. Turnout was around 90% with the CNE reporting that 3,511,493 voters cast a ballot.

The first referendum was on Morales’ new pro-indigenous constitution

Yes 61.43%
No 38.57%

The second referendum limits the legal size of private property to 5,000 hectares instead of 10,000 hectares.

5k 80.65%
10k 19.35%

Here is a map of the first referendum, to show the clear division between the east and west in Bolivian politics.


The constitution passed overwhelmingly in the mountainous indigenous and poorer regions of western Bolivia, the traditional stronghold of Evo Morales and his party, MAS. Western Bolivia’s economy is heavily dependent on mining. In the mestizo-majority east, flatter and wealthier, the constitution was heavily defeated. The east accounts for about 42% of Bolivia’s GDP and is generally the stronghold of Bolivia’s right-wing (it voted for Quiroga in 2005 against Morales and the right-wing PODEMOS does best here).

El Salvador 2009: Really final

Here are the full results for all 84 seats in El Salvador. Results for a few seats were withheld because a new vote had to be held in a municipality.

FMLN winning 35 seats (+1)
ARENA winning 32 seats (-2)
National Conciliation Party winning 11 seats (+1)
Christian Democratic winning 5 seats (-1)
Democratic Change winning 1 seat (-1)

South Australia: Frome by-election 2009

A by-election was held in the South Australian seat of Frome (for the state legislature) on January 17. We have just gotten the final results, which have been disputed and have an outside chance of still being disputed or even overturned.

Frome is a primarily rural constituency but is quite diverse in its make up. It goes from the industrial harbour city of Port Pirie in the northwest of the constituency to conservative rural areas in the southeast. Here is a map. It also includes the wealthy Port Broughton.

A very different Frome existed as a Labor seat in the far north of the state from 1938 to its total redistricting in the ’70’s. The name Frome was revived in 1993, but covering a very different part. Through the 1980s, Port Pirie and Port Augusta were joined together in the safe Labor seat of Stuart. The two centres were split by the new redistribution procedures and Port Pirie and nearby rural areas became the revived electorate of Frome. Despite it being a marginal Liberal seat on paper, Labor has never won it. Liberal Rob Kerin won the seat in 1997, and won re-election in 2002 (after becoming Premier of South Australia in 2001) on a very large swing to the Liberals (while the general mood was a shift against the Liberals, who lost powers to Labor). In 2006, the Liberal vote fell, and he won with 53.4% after preferences against the Labor candidate. Kerin resigned his seat in November 2008.

Since voting is compulsory in Australia, it eliminates the risk of having weird by-election results caused by pathetic turnouts. On another note, Australia uses Instant-runoff voting (IRV), also called preferential voting.

Here are the results. Geoff Brock is the Mayor of Port Pirie, and received support from, among others, anti-gambling Independent federal Senator Nick Xenophon.

Terry Boylan (Liberal) 39.2% (-8.9%)
John Rohde (Labor) 26.1% (-14.9%)
Geoff Brock (Independent) 23.6% (+23.6%)
Neville Wilson (National) 6.6% (+6.6%)
Joy O’Brien (Greenies) 3.8% (+0.1%)
Peter Fitzpatrik (One Nation) 0.7% (+0.7%)

After distribution of preferences (called 2PP in Australia, or Two-Party Preferred).

Geoff Brock (Ind) 51.7%
Terry Boylan (Liberal) 48.3% (-5.1%)

Be careful with these results. ABC still has a Liberal victory in a 2PP “runoff” against Rohde, as does the State Electoral Office. However, Brock claimed victory a few hours ago, even though Boylan and the Liberals did likewise a few days ago. Brock won the seat on the back of Labor preferences, especially in Port Pirie. His FPV support was very localized around Port Pirie and its suburbs, where he did well. He took off a lot of FPVs from Labor. Polling booth results are especially interesting in this case.

If there was to be a Lib/ALP 2PP matchup, Boylan would win 51.7-48.3. That would represent a swing in favour of Labor.

In any case, this is the first time in South Australian political history that the opposition loses a seat in a by-election, and this by-election certainly isn’t good news for the Liberals, who will face a general election in 14 months. Another bad sign is the swing to Labor in the 2PP matchup if Labor had made it. Australian by-elections often see a swing in 2PP against the sitting government.

El Salvador 2009: Final

I was lucky to fall across the Tribunal Supremo Electoral‘s interwebs site in my hunt for more detailed Salvadorian results. It seems that the final results are about. It seems as if the seat totals add up to only 81, and not 84, so it’s possibly the electoral system that alters seats based on votes (proportional representation by department, IIRC).

FMLN 42.83% winning 34 seats (±0)
ARENA 38.46% winning 30 seats (-4)
National Conciliation Party 8.71% winning 11 seats (+1)
Christian Democratic 6.72% winning 5 seats (-1)
Democratic Change 2.11% winning 1 seat (-1)

Under these numbers, ARENA-PCN has a majority (albeit very thin, 41 seats/81). With PDC support, it’s more comfortable. Interesting to note how inaccurate the preliminary results posted before this post were woefully inaccurate.

Below is an attempt at a map using slightly outdated numbers found a few days ago, so some of the stuff may have changed and I believe that the gray municipalities, for which they were no results, have come out. White are lakes, for lack of a better colour. Here are the results in the top 5municipalities in terms of population (2009, data from the World Gazetteer)

  1. San Salvador (550,828): FMLN 44.67%
  2. Soyapango (402,198): FMLN 55.53%
  3. Santa Ana (189,014): FMLN 46.39%
  4. San Miguel (174,467): FMLN 48.78%
  5. Mejicanos (165,652): FMLN 55.35%

Soyapango and Mejicanos are both suburbs of San Salvador.


In local elections, the makeup seems to have been generally similar. However, on a positive note for ARENA, it gained the capital of San Salvador. In terms of seats, ARENA won 120, FMLN alone won 75, PCN 33, FMLN-CD 18, PDC-FMLN 2, PDC-FMLN-CD 1, FDR-CD 1, CD 1. Full results by municipality are available on the TSE website.

These results point to a close race for the presidency in March, even though the FMLN candidate is leading opinion polls.

El Salvador 2009

There are some early results in terms of seats coming from the legislative election held Sunday in El Salvador. The socialist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a former revolutionary guerilla group, seems to have defeated the ruling conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). No results from local elections also held on January 18.

According to Wikipedia and, here are the results.

FMLN 37 (+5)
ARENA 32 (-4)
Christian Democratic 7 (+1)
National Conciliation Party 4 (-6)
Democratic Change 2 (-)

The conservative National Conciliation Party (PNC) is ARENA’s traditional allies, but ARENA + PNC gives them 36 seats. However, the Christian Democrats also side with the ARENA at times, and could provide the right-wing a majority.

However, FMLN candidate Mauricio Funes (a moderate within the FMLN, though his running-mate comes from the left of the FMLN) continues to lead the March presidential. According to a UTEC poll, he has 45.9% support against 28.6% for ARENA candidate Rodrigo Ávila. Around 21% are still undecided, according to that same poll. A candidate needs 50% +1 to win by the first round, or a runoff is held.

Hesse 2009: Results

The full results of the Hessian Landtag elections held today are now out. The CDU-FDP has won a majority of seats, and CDU incumbent Minister-President Roland Koch will keep his seat.

CDU 37.2 (+0.4) winning 46 seats (+4)
SPD 23.7 (-13.0) winning 29 seats (-13)
FDP 16.2 (+6.8) winning 20 seats (+9)
Greens 13.7 (+6.2) winning 17 seats (+8)
Left 5.4 (+0.3) winning 6 seats (+0)
Others 3.8 (-0.7)

Turnout 61.0 (-3.3)

CDU-FDP 53.4% winning 66 seats

The SPD won nine out of the 55 constituency seats. Since the CDU won 46 constituencies, the smallest total that gives them 46 is used. This is why there are now 118 seats, majority is thus 60.

The 3.8% others broke down 0.6% (-0.4) for the Republicans, 1.6% (+0.7) for Freie Wahler (same grouping as the one which won seats in Bavaria last year), 0.9% for the neo-Nazis, 0.5% (+0.3) for the Pirate Party, and 0.2% (+0.2) for the LaRouchites. Seven parties that ran in 2008, taking 1.4%, did not run this time.

The CDU didn’t do as well as some polls might have led one to suspect they would. The main reason is Koch’s unpopularity. Many voters voted FDP because they didn’t like Koch but didn’t like the left either (according to the Infratest-dimap exit poll, 66% of FDP voters voted that way out of disapproval for Koch). The Greens, which they didn’t see their vote squeezed by the SPD like in 2008, benefited from the SPD’s unpopularity and took a record high result. According to exit polls, Koch would have won a direct vote for Minister-President 47-38 against Schäfer-Gümbel.

Below are two maps. The first one shows the constituency vote results and the secondvote (list vote) results. The second map show the results of the 5 biggies in the list vote.



SPD incumbents in the direct vote fared much better than the SPD list, and a few held on by narrow margins. However, the SPD’s collapse was quasi-universal. In the city of Kassel, where they won 42%, they won 28.5%, second to the CDU’s 28.6%. The Greenies nearly broke 20% there. In Frankfurt, where the SPD had defeated the CDU in 2008 (33.5 vs 33.2), they won 19.8% this time around, far behind the CDU (32.7%) and only narrowly ahead of the Greenies (19.6%). The SPD won only one district in Frankfurt, the Riederwald. The Greenies won two districts (one of the Nordend districts and Bornheim). Nordend and Bornheim have young populations, are wealthy, and quite “bohemian”. Frankfurt maps are here.

The SPD’s traditional base remains in poorer northern Hesse. The CDU absolutely dominated in the wealthy Frankfurt suburbs, but the FDP and Greenies did extremely well there too. More later. Maybe.

Hesse 2009 Exit Polls

We have three early exit polls from Hesse coming in. All the figures are applied to’s seat calculator. There are 110 seats, so 56 seats are needed for a full majority. First, ARD.

CDU 37.5%, 43
SPD 23.5%, 27
FDP 16.0%, 18
Greens 14.0%, 16
Left 5.1%, 6
CDU-FDP 53.5%, 61 seats

And the ZDF exit poll

CDU 37.5%, 43
SPD 23.5%, 27
FDP 17%, 19
Greens 13.5%, 15
Left 5%, 6
CDU-FDP 54.5%, 62 seats

And also Infratest dimap

CDU 37.4%, 43
SPD 23.5%, 27
FDP 16.1%, 18
Greens 13.9%, 16
Left 5.1%, 6
CDU-FDP 53.5%, 61 seats

When the actual stuff starts coming in, here are a few sites:

More tonight, when we have results.

Hesse 2009: Poll Update

A new poll by Forsa is out today for the January 18 Hessian Landtag election. According to this poll, Die Linke would see its 2008 gains evaporate into thin air. The CDU-FDP coalition would have 67 seats in the Landtag (over 60%) and win 56% of the vote together.

CDU 41% 49 seats
SPD 25% 28 seats
FDP 15% 18 seats
Greens 13% 15 seats
Left 4% 0 seats

But there’s also other surprising information. Despite the SPD failing badly, Schäfer-Gümbel’s ratings are up. Koch would defeat him 39-32 in a direct election for Governor (44-24 in December). However, only 55% of voters are aware that Schäfer-Gümbel is the SPD candidate for Minister-President… and only 49% of SPD voters know that! (60% CDU, 66% FDP, 70% Greenies, 42% Linke). The weird matchup of the SPD in Hesse may have a role: 2008 candidate Andrea Ypsilanti is still party leader, but number 2 on the SPD list. The same poll shows that 57% disapprove of Koch, therefore a lot of the CDU votes are for being the least-worst. The high FDP support may be coming from disenchanted CDU supporters, who aren’t fans of the SPD either.

However, it seems as if the election is pretty much over. CDU-FDP wins, game over.

Hesse 2009

Elections to the Hessian Landtag will be held on January 18, a bit less than a year after the very close 2008 elections. The left (SPD, Greens, Linke) was not able to form a stable majority under Andrea Ypsilanti. The CDU incumbent, Roland Koch, was favoured to win the 2008 elections by a relatively large margin until he made remarks that were interpreted as xenophobic (immigrant youth criminals), and he narrowly “lost” to an hypothetical left-wing coalition, but remained acting Minister-President since that coalition never materialized. He is now the leading candidate for the CDU, and he faces the SPD top candidate, Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, who is trying to portray himself as the Hessian Barack Obama. Unfortunately for Schäfer-Gümbel, who is unknown to a majority of voters, that doesn’t seem to work, as voters are likely to punish the SPD at the polls and turn to the CDU in large numbers.

The 2008 results were

CDU 36.8 (-12.0) winning 42 seats (-14)
SPD 36.7 (+7.6) winning 42 seats (+9)
FDP 9.4 (+1.5) winning 11 seats (+2)
Greens 7.2 (-2.6) winning 9 seats (-3)
Left 5.2 (+5.1) winning 6 seats (+6)
Others 4.5 (+0.4)

Turnout 64.3

Below is a map of the direct-vote for the  2008 election, and not the second vote (party vote).


Current polling indicates a majority for a potential CDU-liberal (FDP) coalition government, as the one in power from 1999 to 2003 (when the CDU won a massive victory and an outright majority). The last poll, by FG Wahlen, applied to’s mandate-calculator gives the following. The CDU-FDP has 61 seats out of 110 seats.

CDU 41% 46 seats
SPD 25% 28 seats
FDP 13% 15 seats
Greens 13% 15 seats
Left 5% 6 seats

In addition, projects that the CDU will win 49 (26 safe, 9 likely, 14 leaning) out of the 55 direct seats, leaving the SPD with only 6 seats (2 likely, 4 leaning). Here is their map. The SPD would only hold their current seats in northern Hesse (Kassel), their stronghold. Northern Hesse is Protestant country, but was quite conservative in the past (Anti-semites, nationalists, and the NSDAP all did well in the past in that area). Northern Hesse is also much less wealthy than the wealthy western and northwestern ultra-CDU suburbs of Frankfurt. The Greens will likely gain back that ground lost in 2008 due to a squeezing of their vote (“useful voting”, though that’s a term I hate to use, for the SPD against the CDU) and maybe do even better than their 10% in 2003.

This election marks the start of Superwahljahr (Super Election Year) in Germany with five state elections (Hesse, Saarland, Thuringia, Saxony, and Brandenburg), locals in over half the country, EU elections, an indirect presidential election, and finally a federal election.