Monthly Archives: April 2009

Election Preview: British Columbia 2009, Part II

In my first post yesterday I briefly outlined BC’s fascinating political history up till the 2005 election. In this post I will attempt to outline the electoral developments since 2005, the parties, the polls, the new seats and so forth.

I alluded to the parties in BC in the first post only so briefly, so I decided to post some more stuff on the parties. BC has a largely two-party system, Liberal and NDP. The Liberal Party, which has no affiliation with the federal Liberals and are more similar to the federal Tories than anything else. The BC Liberals include federal Conservatives (ex-Reform/Alliance types too), some federal Liberals, most of the old-days BC Liberals, and the ex-SoCreds who didn’t end up in prison. These Liberals are more liberals in the classical European sense than in the perverted American sense where liberalism is somehow left-wing. In office, the Liberals have reduced corporate income taxes, reduced welfare roles and some social services, privatized BC Rail, cut income tax by 25%, and abolished the NDP’s corporate capital tax for most businesses. The economic managment has been generally successful, with unemployment reaching lows, and improved business confidence. On the other hand, the Liberal government also introduced North America’s first carbon tax, a move which frustrated the most conseratives in the party.

The BC NDP is affiliated with the federal NDP and its supporters are the federal NDP supporters but also a sizeable share of federal Liberals. The party is quite diverse, including the social liberal/urbanite/quasi-Greenie wing and the traditional more socially conservative blue-collar wing. In the logging protests in the 1990s, the ironic thing was that both the loggers and the environmentalist protestors both voted NDP in the past elections then. Though the environmental protestors are probably Greenies right now. I don’t think I really need to explain the NDP’s actual policies that much.

An interesting factor in this election could be the Conservative Party, which I alluded to when discussing parties in my last post. This election, the Conservatives will field around 20 candidates, and strong Conservative performances in some ridings could seriously hurt the Liberals. The Conservatives have said that the Liberals are not right-wing enough.

As I briefly noted in the first post, there has been an electoral redistribution in BC, and the legislature will have 85 seats instead of 79 seats. A map in PDF format of the new districts is available here. There are 6 new ridings:

Abbotsford South (Liberal): Fraser Valley. Safe Liberal, with minimal NDP strenght in urban areas.
Boundary-Similkameen (Notional Liberal, but 1 Liberal MLA and 2 NDP MLAs): BC Southern Interior. Very tight marginal by the looks of it, but notionally Liberal 46/NDP 41. The Conservative Party is running a former Liberal here- might hurt the Liberals.
Coquitlam-Burke Mountain (Liberal): Lower Mainland. Safe Liberal, with very Liberal rural areas and NDP areas in the Port Coquitlam areas of the riding.
Nanaimo-North Cowichan (NDP): Vancouver Island. Safe NDP seat with a large native community and an important logging industry.
Surrey-Fleetwood (NDP): Surrey/Fraser Valley. Tight notionally NDP seat with a large immigrant (Indo-Canadian) population.
Vancouver-False Creek (Notional Liberal, 2005 riding has NDP MLA): Downtown Vancouver. New riding created from Vancouver-Burrard (NDP since 2008). Safe Liberal in wealthy, educated downtown Vancouver. Some University campuses.

There is a great site out there, bc2009.com, which has further information and maps for all ridings.

BCVotes lists 16 ridings as “tight”/TCTC. Here are these ridings:

Burnaby-Lougheed (Liberal): GVRD/Burnaby. Notionally 47/44 Liberal. Immigrant population nearly 50%. NDP strength around Simon Fraser University, generally Liberal outside of that with a few exceptions.
Burnaby-North (Notional NDP, Liberal incumbent): GVRD/Burnaby. Held by a Liberal, but redistribution gives the Dippers a 46/45 advantage. Should be very tight.
Coquitlam-Maillardville (NDP): GVRD/Coquitlam. Notionally NDP 47/45. Generally typical suburbia, but there is a significant industrial area along the waterfront.
Vancouver-Fairview (NDP): Vancouver city. Old riding of relatively similar boundaries held by the NDP in a 2008 by-election. New riding loses some NDP areas in False Creek, but gained some back in the southeast. The Liberal machine didn’t GOTV in the 2008 by-election, and a better GOTV this year is primordial for them.
Maple Ridge-Mission (Notional NDP): Fraser Valley/Maple Ridge. A marginal NDP seat notionally, with most of the NDP strength in urban industrial areas of Maple Ridge and Mission.
Surrey-Fleetwood (NDP): New seat. See above.
Cariboo-Chilcotin (NDP): Northern Interior. The NDP has an edge on notional figures, 47/44. The riding is nearly 20% aboriginal and is heavily dependent on lumber and logging. Redistribution has probably helped the NDP.
Cariboo North (NDP): Northern Interior. A dead race even on notionals, the NDP’s numbers have no doubt suffered from the loss of Williams Lake to Cariboo-Chilcotin. Another riding dependent on lumber and logging.
Stikine (Liberal): Northern Interior. The largest and least populated riding in British Columbia. As expected, the riding is one-third native and is also dependent on lumber/logging (but also manufacturing, tourism and some agriculture).
Kamloops-North Thompson (Notional NDP, Liberal incumbent): Southern Interior/Kamloops. This riding has a Liberal incumbent, but significant boundary changes in the Kamloops areas have made this seat notionally NDP (45/43). The new riding includes the most NDP-friendly parts of Kamloops, which outnumber the rural Liberal areas (in addition to this, the NDP is strong on native reserves out there).
Comox Valley (Liberal): Vancouver Island, and one of the few ridings left untouched by redistribution in 2008. Some industrial areas, but the riding is becoming more of a retiree destination and there is a more right-leaning Canadian Forces Base in Comox.
Nanaimo (NDP): Vancouver Island, including a large majority of the city of Nanaimo. The redistribution has undoubtedly helped the Liberals a lot, turning the old safe NDP riding into this more marginal (though still NDP) riding.
North Island (NDP): Northern (sparsely populated) Vancouver Island. The riding has a sizeable native population and is economically dominated by fishing and logging.
Oak  Bay-Gordon Head (Liberal): Vancouver Island/Victoria. Very wealthy and educated suburbs of Victoria, with Liberal coastal areas but more NDP areas inland and around the university.
Saanich South (NDP): Vancouver Island/Victoria. Tied riding on notionals, but NDP incumbent. The coast, quite Liberal, is a prominent spot for retirees and by consequence very wealthy. Inland areas are more NDP.

As to polling in this election. On that front, the pollsters have been either a) inconsistent or b) downright crappy pollsters. However, the later polls up to now seem to agree that the Liberals have an edge over the NDP. Impossible to conclude how large that gap is, though. Also though to gauge where the Greenies stand. While all polls show them over 10%, the Greenies lost votes (quite a bit) in both November 2008 by-elections. Is that a trend which is real, or just the effect of joke-level turnout?

The most reliable pollsters of the bunch, Angus-Reid (all bad reputation aside, Angus-Reid nailed the 2008 federal election) and Ipsos-Reid have the following results.

Liberal 43-46%
NDP 35-37%
Greenies 13-15%
Others 4-7% (Angus-Reid included the Conservatives @ 4%. Way too high)

Election Preview: British Columbia (Canada) 2009

British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point, dissolved British Columbia’s provincial legislature yesterday, as expected, calling an election for May 12, 2009. British Columbia, Canada’s 3rd province in terms of inhabitants and a very culturally diverse province is currently governed by Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell. The last election was held in 2005, and BC has fixed-date elections.

British Columbia has had an entertaining and quite unique political history. Political parties were introduced only in 1903, and the first party system was a regular Liberal/Conservative setup. The Conservatives were totally destroyed by the Great Depression, so greatly destroyed that the party couldn’t even field a common slate of candidates in the 1933 election. The Liberals won the 1933 election, with the social democratic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) taking official opposition status. Despite rebounding in 1937 and 1941, the Conservatives were effectively destroyed by the Great Depression. However, with a “red threat” from the left-wing CCF, the Liberal Party and Conservative Party formed a coalition government following the 1941 election. This coalition won the 1945 and 1949 elections massively, but in 1951 the Liberal-dominated coalition collapsed and Liberal Premier John Hart led a minority government which collapsed in 1952. However, the coalition had introduced alternative vote-IRV with the idea that coalition voters would second pref the Liberals or Conservatives and continue to keep the evil communists out of power. Except that in 1951, a Conservative MLA, W.A.C. Bennett, ran and lost for the Conservative (now known as Progressive Conservative, PC) leadership. He got pissed and joined the small Social Credit League, which originally espoused social credit monetary theories. However, Bennett dropped that crap and turned the SoCred into a populist and conservative party opposed to the “red threat” of the CCF (now NDP). The SoCreds used the AV-IRV system to their advantage in the 1952 election and got Liberals and Conservatives to preference SoCred candidates in first or second, electing 19 SoCred MPs (CCF 18, Liberal 6, PC 4, Labour 1) despite SoCred polling only 30.2% against 34.3% for the NDP. The SoCred minority became a majority in the 1953 election and the Liberals and Conservatives became irrelevant while refusing to die. BC returned to a tw0-party system: SoCreds, which united the entire anti-NDP group, and the NDP itself. The SoCreds returned to FPTP and ruled until 1991, with the exception of a brief NDP majority between 1972 and 1975. The later SoCreds, apart from being crooks, also became much more socially conservative (under Premier Bill Vander Zalm) and moderates abandoned it. In 1991, the SoCreds lost 40 seats while the NDP gained power and the Liberals (on the back of a great debate performance) were re-juvenated. Despite a scandal, the NDP was narrowly re-elected in 1996. The NDP’s 1996 victory was due in part to a split in the right-wing vote. Former Vancouver Mayor Gordon Campbell became the Liberal leader in 1993 after the then-Liberal leader, Gordon Wilson left the party due to an affair with another MLA (Wilson later founded his own party which won one seat in the 1996 election, but Wilson joined the NDP to get a cabinet job). In 2001, Campbell’s Liberals defeated a scandal-ridden NDP government in a massive landslide, taking 77 seats against 2 for the NDP. The Green Party polled 12.4% and the Marijuana Party polled 3.2%. Campbell won a much more narrow majority in 2005.

BC effectively has a two-party system, Liberal vs. NDP. However, the BC Liberals are independent of the federal Liberal Party and are in fact more conservative or centre-right than anything else. The BC NDP is affiliated with the federal NDP and remains quite left-wing. British Columbia has a strong Green Party, which won 12.4% in 2001 (but declined to 9.2% in 2005), which is similar to the federal Green Party. There also remains a small rump Conservative Party, a continuation of the original Conservatives/PCs. These Conservatives won 0.6% in 2005.

In 2005, British Columbia held a referendum on switching to a single-transferable vote (STV) system. Depsite winning 57.7% of the vote and winning all but two of the 79 constituencies, it failed since the law required a 60% majority for it to pass. The STV option will be on the ballot again this year. If you don’t understand STV, CBC.ca has a slightly silly but basic tutorial online. For a more detailed look, the EBC has a map of the proposed STV constituencies as well as the 85 constituencies in use this election.

Here are the 2005 results, for reference’ sake.

BC Liberal 45.8% (-11.82%) winning 46 seats (-31 on 2001 election)
BC NDP 41.52% (+19.96%) winning 33 seats (+31)
Green 9.17% (-3.22%) winning 0 seats (nc)
22 Others and Indies/NA 3.51%

Hopefully I’ll be able to post some maps and demographic profiles on a few constituencies in play this election, as well as recent polling and all that fun stuff between now and the election. In the meantime, play around with CBC’s riding profiles. CBC has done some very nice interactive maps in the last few elections here in Canada, so hopefully they won’t let us down this time.

Europe 2009: Revised Predictions

I have found the first prediction for the European elections on the interwebs. It’s a model-based prediction by three psephologists, two from the London School of Economics and one from the Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. The model integrates data from the EU elections in said country since 1979 (or whenever it first voted), as well as variables such as opinion polling and government/opposition status. In addition, it attempts to correct the overestimation of large parties and underestimation of small (notably Eurosceptic) parties. This prediction is done in every individual country and seats are calculated in said country using that country’s electoral law. I’ve always been sceptic of these model-based predictions that use too much past statistics in the analysis and too little variables such as electoral alliances and so forth.

Here is the overall prediction of the model for the EU Parliament

EPP 249 (vs 288)
PES 209 (vs 217)
ELDR 87 (vs 100)
UEN-MER 58 (vs 44)
EUL-NGL 48 (vs 41)
Greenies 39 (vs 43)
NI 29 (vs 30)
ID 17 (vs 22)
Total 736 (vs 786)

Analysis by member state is here, for reference.

Here is my critique, analysis, revised predictions, whatever thee wants to call it.

Austria: First mistake is not counting Hans-Peter Martin’s list. He’ll probably run. HPM’s exclusion screws this whole thing up. Their prediction has obviously been based on federal election polling, and not European polling. European polling now indicates a narrow edge to the ÖVP and much lower results for the far-right FPÖ-BZÖ, which suffers from low turnout amongst its anti-European supporters. As of now, I expect the ÖVP and SPÖ to poll roughly 32% each, maybe the ÖVP slightly ahead, with Martin at around 8-10%, like the FPÖ and the Greenies. The BZÖ will probably be right at the 4% threshold, and I probably agree that they’ll win one MEP. ÖVP (EPP)

Belgium: Belgian politics are fragmented, they’re right on that. The rest of their prediction isn’t that bad either. While I agree that the CDV will pull ahead in Flanders, I disagree on placing the Flemish Socialists second in Flanders (that is a fight between VLD and Ljist Dedecker) and the MR first in Wallonia (the PS will take first place rather easily). Current polling in Belgium (regional elections are being held the same day) indicates that the Ljist Dedecker in second is a very real possibility, as is a collapse of Vlaams Belang and a general fall in the votes of the main parties (CDV, VLD, Socialists, Greenies) to the benefit of Dedecker and the Flemish nationalist N-VA. In Wallonia, the two biggies (PS and MR) should both lose ground to the benefit firstly of the Greenies (who are nearly polling 20%) and the Christian democrats. Once again, the far-right (FN) is falling back. No gains for them. CDV (EPP) overall

Bulgaria: GERB is, I think, by far the favourite party in this election. Good call. But NDSV at 9.5%, gaining over 2007? Haha. I think not. They’re probably still polling 1% nationally. Hard to predict the Turkish DPS. Depends on how good their GOTV effort is and how low Bulgarian turnout gets. GERB (EPP)

Cyprus: I don’t know Christofias’ approval ratings, but assuming it’s still sky-high, AKEL wins and gets a third seat. AKEL (EUL-NGL)

Czech Republic: The effect of the recent political crisis and caretaker government will be interesting to see, but current polls seem to indicate a tightening race between the ODS and the opposition ČSSD. I still think that ČSSD, but I disagree with the prediction that it will be by such a big margin (39-33). I agree that the Greenies should pick up a seat. ČSSD (PES)

Denmark: Denmark got a new Prime Minister just recently, Lars Løkke Rasmussen to replace Anders Fogh Rasmussen (no relation), who will be heading to NATO. Polling indicate that Lars Løkke as Prime Minister absolutely destroys the governing Venstre to the benefit of the other parties, notably the Social Democratic, Socialist People’s, and Venstre’s Conservative coalition partner. In fact, Venstre would be behind SD and the Socialists! It is important to cite (I just learned this too) that Denmark uses surplus votes in EU elections. The Social Democrats, Socialists, and Social Liberals have formed a electoral alliance, meaning that surplus will get distributed inside those parties, allowing the very weak Social Liberals to keep an MEP. The two anti-EU outfits have also formed an alliance, practically guaranteeing one (maybe both, but that’s uncertain) of them an MEP. Probably the June Movement. SD (PES)

Estonia: A good analysis. Centre wins, governing Reform second, massive Social Democratic loses. Centre (ELDR)

Finland: Another good analysis. Expect the conservative KOK to get first, ahead of the opposition Social Democrats and the senior government party, the Centre. The True Finns (nationalists) should win their first MEP. And it will be another tough fight for the Swedes to get in. However, I have no clue where they’re getting the Christian Democrats at 5.5% from. KOK (EPP)

France: Gah! Correct on the UMP ahead of the PS this time around, with important loses for the Socialists. Their prediction for Besancenot’s NPA and the MoDem seem too high and too low respectively. MoDem at 11% and NPA at 9% would make more sense. Now it gets silly. DLR at 6.6%? What? Unless they got dibs on some ultra-secret poll, they pulled that number out of their ass. The DLR will get 1%, 2% if they’re lucky. The DLR will never get 6.6%. The MPF number isn’t too bad, though. I have no clue why the Greenies are down to 5.6% all of a sudden, when all polling places them at 7-9%. I feel that they’re slightly overestimating the FN (they forgot to include the FN dissident lists, which will play an important role in certain regions) and the LO, while underestimating the PCF. I won’t mention seat numbers, since heaven knows it’s hard to work with those retarded constituencies. UMP (EPP)

Germany: Not too bad, though separating CDU from CSU is a bit weird since they’re always included together. Their figures put CDU/CSU at around 34.5%, so ahead of the SPD. But it seems the pollsters tend to overestimate the SPD to the detriment of the CDU/CSU. Current polling also puts the Greenies quite high (13%), with the FDP (10%) and Linke (8%) improving on their 2004 results.  CDU/CSU (EPP)

Greece: No qualms with placing PASOK ahead of ND, and a 38-33 prediction seems reasonable. However, placing LAOS at 8% is clearly too much. They’re polling low and they tend to overpoll, it seems. On the other hand, the Communists and Radical Left seem a tad too low. It will be tight for the Greenies, nobody knows if they’ll make it or not. One can hope. PASOK (PES)

Hungary: I doubt anybody that is reasonably sane could disagree with the assessment that Fidesz will win a huge victory in Hungary. The debate is over whether or not they break 60%. While these guys say they don’t, I do, and polls seem to agree with me. Their problem seems to be overestimating the small parties, the MDF and SZDSZ. Fidesz (EPP)

Ireland: I don’t know where they’re getting this from. They’re expecting Fianna Fáil, massively unpopular, to move ahead of Fine Gael and make gains vote-wise? No, no. Fianna Fáil will lose votes, certainly, get second, certainly. Fianna Fáil’s seat count could fall from 4 to 2, even.Fine Gael could lose votes, but they’ll stay ahead of Fianna Fáil. On the other hand, they’re pegging Labor at a small +3% gain, while they’re pulling 17%, maybe even 20% in polls right now. Sinn Féin’s performance will be interesting to watch. Fine Gael (EPP)

Italy: Pegging PdL at 32.5% seems too modest for me. 34-36% is more the range for PdL this time. On the other hand, the PD will be lucky to get 29.8%, very lucky. The PD’s range seems to be 22-25% for now, 25% being generous. They’re being too mean to the smaller parties, notably Italia dei Valori and Lega Nord. Both could get around 8-10%. Polls disagree with their placing of the UDC at 5%, polls say that it’s nearly 8%. Furthermore, they don’t take into account two electoral coalitions being formed. The first, Sinistra e libertà, composed of the PS, Democratic Left (Communist dissidents) and the Greenies, is polling around 5-7% right now, which would save some of the PS and Greenie MEPs. The PRC+PdCI electoral alliance is very weak, at around 3%, and could potentially lose all seats. Lastly, I have no clue where they’re getting Alessandra Mussolini at 3.7%. That makes zero sense. Zero. On a very last notes, European elections in Italy defy common sense and established reality because of intricate eletoral deals and coalitions, which allow a ton of parties to get MEPs while polling way under the 4% “threshold”. PdL (EPP)

Latvia: The government is unpopular, resigned in February, and has yet to be replaced. Plus, opinion polling is hard to come by. Common sense says that the opposition, the New Era and Harmony Centre, should be the main benefactors. The Union of Greens and Farmers should also win seats, and the governing People’s Party should minimally improve on its 2004 result (but still lose the election). New Era (EPP)

Lithuania: If my memory serves me correctly, I think the governing Homeland Union (TS-LKD) is still leading, with like 15%. The far-right Order and Justice is second, the opposition Social Democrats are third. I agree that the main losers will be the Labour Party, which has suffered a lot since 2004. TS-LKD (EPP)

Luxembourg: Polls are very hard to find in Luxembourg, though I think it’s very likely the CSV will win. There should be little or no movement in terms of seats. CSV (EPP)

Malta: I agree with these guy’s predictions. Labour wins probably. Interesting to see how the greenies do. They came close to a seat in 2004, they’d be very lucky to get one this time. Labour (PES)

Netherlands: There was some speculation as to if Geert Wilder’s far-right PVV could top the poll, seeing as some (generally bad) pollsters have them leading all other parties. Thankfully, he probably won’t. The sane parties, the Christian Democrats (CDA) should get first and Labour (PvdA) will fight PVV for second, though I think Labour will end up second in the long run. Though these guys are underestimating Wilders, I think. Apart from PVV, D66 will be the other main winner in this election. The SP will manage a few percentage points higher, but will probably stay under 10%. ChristianUnion-SGP (electoral alliance between slightly sane Christian right [CU] and totally insane ultra-orthodox Calvinist Christian right that closes party website on Sundays [SGP]) should perform at its 2004 levels. The liberal-conservative VVD should suffer, as will the governing CDA and PvdA. CDA (EPP)

Poland: I think, like Hungary, it’s certain beyond all reasonable doubt that the governing PO will win massively. The question here is if they break 50%. On here, I agree with this estimate. They won’t. 34% for PiS is being a bit generous, but not that much. However, it seems as if these predictors are not taking into effect the split in LiD, which split up into three old parties. I think the biggest of those is the bunch of ex-Communists, Democrats of the Left or something. That gang should pull 8-10%. The far-right will get wiped out. But, as I said in December: Turnout gives weird results here, as seen in 2004. So take these with a grain of salt. Maybe a bag of salt. PO (EPP)

Portugal: These elections will be a dry-run for the September general elections in Portugal. I agree that the PS is likely to pull first place again, ahead of the conservative Social Democrats (PSD). However, the PSD will have a hard time breaking 30% as they seem to predict. However, based on recent polling, they seem to be underestimating the Left Bloc (the libertarian part of the far-left) slightly, while being too generous with the Communist Party. If the conservative CDS/PP allies itself with the PSD as in 2004, then that coalition would likely pull first. In lack of such coalition, expect the PS to shed some seats and votes but remain on top. The PSD should also shed some votes, to the benefit of the smaller parties. PS (PES)

Romania: It’s hard to get polling figures for Romania now, but I believe the Emil Boc PD-L/Social Democratic government is still enjoying a honeymoon period, so I’d expect the PD-L to win, and the PSD in second. The rest of their prediction is generally good, save for giving Independents (László Tőkés and Elena Băsescu) 13% of the votes. László Tőkés got 3.4% in 2007, and since he’s Hungarian, that’s unlikely to change much. I somehow doubt Elena Băsescu will do that well.

Slovakia: As with Hungary, it’s obvious Smer wins by a large, large margin over SDKÚ-DS. The main losers should be all the EPP parties, SDKÚ-DS, Mečiar’s ĽS-HZDS (which will be suffering massive loses), Christian Democrats, and the Hungarian MKP. Smer’s fascist friends, the SNS, should have little trouble getting past the 5% threshold. These guy’s guesses don’t seem too bad, except being too harsh on Smer and a little too generous with SDKÚ-DS. Smer (PES)

Slovenia: The Social Democratic government is running high in polling apparently, and it’s quite certain they’ll win. Their predictions seem pretty spot on here, I think. LDS might keep one seat, but it will be hard for them to survive due to only 7 seats in play and their imminent political death (as if they weren’t dead already). SD (PES)

Spain: On this, I must differ with these predictions. Despite the troubles in financeland being felt a lot in Spain, the Socialist government actually remains high in polls, ahead of the conservative PP. However, both the PSOE and PP should shed some votes and seats since 2004, to the benefit of the liberal-unionist UPyD primarily, and potentially the communists (IU) and maybe the nationalists. These predictions are also too nice on the nationalist Galeusca (which lost the Gal-Galician part with the BNG joining the more leftie more nationalist Europe of Peoples with the Catalonian ERC), which won’t get 3 seats but will rather keep its two seats (one CiU, one Basque). As for Europe of the Peoples, ERC’s coalition now including the Galicians and the leftie Basque nats, they won’t gain anything (let alone win 6%!) except holding ERC’s lone MEP. BNG won’t gain anything back judging on their poor performance in the Galician elections. 5.8% for IU is probably too nice, as is 5.2% for UPyD, despite everything. PSOE (PES)

Sweden: While it’s pretty certain the Social Democrats will get first place (it would be practically impossible for the governing Moderate Party to get first place) and improve on their disastrous 2004 result, the interesting thing to watch will be whether the combined governing right-wing parties (Moderate, Liberals, Centre, Christian Democrats) will run ahead of the Red-Green opposition (SD, Left, Greenies) as some current polls are suggesting. At any rate, the main losers in the circle of establishment parties will probably be the smaller Liberals, Left, and potentially Christian Democrats all at the benefit of the Moderates and SDs. As to the June List, these guy’s predictions that they’ll fall to 6.2% is as good as any guess. It’s hard to predict these uniquely European anti-European lists that may do atrociously in nationwide elections but have a much larger base in European elections. However, I don’t expect the June List to grow beyond its 2004 level, 14.5%. It will be interesting to see if the xenophobic far-right Swedish Democrats break the 4% threshold to get an MEP as some polling suggests. Or maybe the June List will keep them low. SD (PES)

United Kingdom: A bad prediction on their part. UKIP’s total collapse will help the Conservatives, and they should certainly make further gains in votes and seats. Labour won’t collapse any further, and should win back seats, but +3 is a bit too much. The LibDems will stay at their 2004 levels, and UKIP will be lucky to get 4 MEPs. 2 is probably what they’ll end up with. The Greenies shouldn’t be under any pressure and their 2 MEPs are safe. The Nazis BNP’s exclusion from their calculations is very frustrating and reflects on the poor nature of their prediction, especially since the BNP is very close to getting an MEP. 1 DUP, 1 UUP, 1 Sinn Féin is a sane guess in Northern Ireland, though it depends on preferences here. Conservatives (ED)

My revised prediction in terms of member states:

EPP-ED 15
PES 9
EUL-NGL 1
ELDR 1

Government 15
Opposition 12

Algeria 2009

In fake election news, incumbent Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the 72-year old senile crook in office since 1999, has been massively re-elected. With around 74.54% turning out (against barely 36% in the 2007 legislative elections), Bouteflika has won over 90% of the vote. He had recently changed the constitution allowing him to run for a third term in office. The election was boycotted by Said Sadi, a secular liberal who opposed the constitutional change and called the election, rightly, a farce.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika (FLN, crooks) 90.24%
Louisa Hanoune (Workers’ Party) 4.22%
Moussa Touati (FNA, nationalist) 2.31%
Djahid Younsi (El Islah, moderate islamist) 1.37%
Ali Fawzi Rebaine (Ahd-54, nationalist) 0.93%
Mohamed Saïd (PJL, moderate islamist) 0.92%

Indonesia 2009

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, elects its bicameral legislature today, in the world’s second most massive election (after India). Indonesia’s bicameral legislature has 560 seats in the lower house, or People’s Representatives Council (DPR) and 132 seats in the Regional Representatives Council (DPD). Both chambers are elected via proportional representation on a provincial basis. Indonesia remains a struggling democracy since 1998, when the long-time dictator, Suharto, was ousted. Government corruption remains very important.

Most Indonesian parties are based around the common local ideology of Pancasila, devised by the country’s founder, Sukarno. The three biggest parties in the DPR and the President’s party all adhere to the principles of Pancasila. The dominanting parties are Golkar, Suharto’s party; the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Sukarno; and the Democratic Party (PD) of the current reformist President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). All these parties, like almost all Indonesian parties, are personal machines. And the Pancasila parties have no real and concrete ideological differences, except for the phrasing of their fluff. Smaller parties include the Islamic (the degree of Islamism and religious rhethoric varies from party to party, either from moderate democratic Islam to Muslim Brotherhood-type stuff) National Awakening (PKB), United Development Party (PPP), Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Crescent Star Party (PBB), and the moderate Islamic (but classified as Pancasila) National Mandate Party (PAN).

The last election was held in 2004. Here are the results for the DPR.

Golkar 21.6% winning 128 seats
PDI-P 18.5% winning 109 seats
PKB 10.6% winning 52 seats
PPP 8.1% winning 58 seats
PD 7.5% winning 57 seats
PKS 7.3% winning 45 seats
PAN 6.4% winning 52 seats
PBB 2.6% winning 11 seats
Others I’m too lazy to list 17.4% winning 38 seats

Islam-based parties 35% winning 218 seats

Around 113 million voters cast ballots in the election.

In the July presidential election, the first direct election of the kind, PD candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono defeated PDI-P incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri with over 60% of the vote. SBY’s Vice President is Jusuf Kalla from Golkar. However, Golkar’s relation with the PD has become less cordial lately, with the eventuality of a Golkar-PDI parliamentary opposition bloc quite likely.

SBY is very popular, and, by the looks of it, will likely win easy re-election in July. However, Indonesian law says that a party must win at least 20% of the parliamentary vote or 25% of the seats in order to field a candidate outright (parties not achieving this threshold often form a coalition with another party to be able to field a candidate). If the PD breaks 20%, SBY will be able to run alone on a reformist platform. If not, he’ll need to cobble together a shaky coalition making his reformist agenda a tad more difficult to implement.

New parties this time around include two new personal machines of two Suharto-generals. These are Hanura, led by General Wiranto; and Gerindra, led by Prabowo Subianto.

Early exit polls tonight give SBY’s PD around 20%, the PDI-P at 15%, Golkar at 13%, the PKS at 8%. Pre-election polling placed the PD at 26.6%, PDI-P at 14.5%, Golkar at 13.7%, PAN at 5.1%, PKS at 4.9%, PPP at 4.8%, and the PKB at 3.6%. Others polled 18.4% and 8.2% were undecided.

SBY leads Sukarnoputri 52.5% – 18.5% in a presidential matchup in the first round. Kalla polls 4.4%.

Elections are also being held in the separatist province of Aceh, which you probably remember from the 2004 tsunami. The Aceh Party of the former separatist rebels is expected to win massively.

Here is a map of the 2004 results by province and regency/city.

Moldova 2009: Update

Since my last post, a series of unfortunate events have taken place. Young students, apparently organized via twitter (lolz) have staged massive protests saying these elections were rigged, demanding democracy and so forth. As to that question, international observers concluded on election night that voting was free and fair and neither the EU lesson-givers or the United States have said anything contradicting the observer’s observations. However, some have said that the OSCE team was mostly Russians. The people who said the Turkmen elections were “democratic”. So, yeah. In addition to street protests, you have the usual scum coming out in full force to loot and destroy everything (including the Parliament chambers). The main opposition, the PL and PLDM have not denounced these demonstrations, quite to the contrary. Meanwhile, the Communists have decided to blame Romania for all this (I’d wager their reason for this is the fact that the students held mostly Romanian flags. CONSPIRACY!111), and they recalled the Moldovan ambassador in Bucarest. President Voronin has also said that he might throw in the army to prevent further looting and destruction.

The flag is upside down, numbnuts.

The flag is upside down, numbnuts.

On the statistical front, things have gotten difficult. The Communists have dropped to 60 seats, sheding one seat to the PLDM since my last post. Remember, 60 seat is one less than the required 61 votes to elect a President. And the opposition has already said they’ll vote against the Communist candidate in any vote and judging by the statements made by the PL and PLDM during the protests, this isn’t likely to change. If no President is elected after three ballots, a new election must be held.

I’m debating whether to post this under “fake elections” too.

Macedonia 2009: Runoff

Gjorgje Ivanov has been elected President of Macedonia by a massive margin in the runoff, soundly defeated his SDSM rival Ljubomir Frčkoski. Turnout fell from 57.4% in the first round to 42.61%, just above the 40% turnout threshold required to validate the results of this election. Nearly 6% invalid ballots, about double the invalid ballots in the first round. I guess Albanian turnout wasn’t very good at all. We’ll have to wait for sub-national data, though.

Gjorgje Ivanov (VMRO-DPMNE) 61.14%
Ljubomir Frčkoski (SDSM) 36.86%

This result is a good result for the centre-right (sometimes classified by the foreign media gnomes as “nationalist” or even, rofl, “ultra-nationalist”) VMRO-DPMNE government of Nikola Gruevski. Also good news for Macedonia’s European future in general. These elections, contrarily to the 2008 legislative elections, were not marked by violence (1 dead, 9 wounded in 2008). Ivanov has stated that his first priority will be to settle the contentious Macedonian-Greek political conflict. Indeed, Ivanov has said he wants to meet the Greek President and solve the dispute concerning Macedonia’s name.

Moldova 2009

Europe’s only democratically elected Communist-led government has won a re-election with an increased majority. The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) led by President Vladimir Voronin has won just under 50% of the votes and – as of now – a three-fifths majority on its own. The PCRM, considered as pro-Russian until 2005, has become more western, favouring closer ties with the EU but opposing NATO membership. Under Voronin, Moldova’s poor economic state has improved, and the PCRM’s economic acheivements were boasted by the party this time around. However, Voronin and the PCRM failed in solving the Transnistrian problem. Transnistria is a nasty little Russophone breakaway republic since the early ’90’s squished in between the Dniester River and Ukraine. Transnistria is recognized by no UN member state.

The opposition to the PCRM is now formed by two new parties, also pro-European and pro-NATO, and both with similar names (Liberal and Liberal-Democratic). The electoral alliance “Our Moldova” is classified as liberal, but I’m not sure if it’s pro-Russian or pro-Europe. I think the Democratic Party is pro-Russian, though. Until this year, the Christian Democrats (PPCD) were represented. The PPCD openly favours union with Romania: 75% of Moldovans are often classified as “Romanians” and they speak Romanian. Moldova uses d’Hondt proportional representation, with a relatively high threshold (6%) for parties and a 3% threshold for independent candidates. The EU criticized, very hypocritically, this threshold. Why doesn’t the EU get Greece to fix its vandalized version of “proportional representation” first before giving lessons on electoral systems?

T/O 59.50%. 98.13% reporting
PCRM 49.95% (+3.97%) winning 61 seats (+5)
Liberal 12.79% (new) winning 15 seats (+15)
Liberal-Democratic 12.26% (new) winning 14 seats (+14)
Our Moldova 9.81% (-18.72%) winning 11 seats (-12)*
Social Democratic Party 3.72 (+0.8%) winning 0 seats
PPCD 3.03% (-6.04%) winning 0 seats (-11)
Democratic Party 2.96% (see Our Moldova) winning 0 seats (-11)

* Note: Our Moldova is compared to the 2005 “Democratic Moldova” electoral bloc, which included the Democratic Party. Out of that list’s 34 MPs, 23 were from Our Moldova and 11 were from the Democratic Party.

The President, which holds much of the real power in Moldova, is elected by Parliament. President Vladimir Voronin. In office since 2001, he can’t run for a third time. He has, however, declared that he will stay on as PCRM leader and will continue to overshadown Moldovan politics- possibly in a Putin-like fashion as Speaker of Parliament.

Moldovan law requires 61 votes (three-fifths majority) for a President to be elected. As of now, it seems as if the PCRM has 61 votes on its own, and Voronin’s successor will probably have no hard time being elected. However, if the PCRM does drop to 60 seats, there could be some trouble. The three opposition parties, all anti-communist (especially the PLDM and PL), have announced that they will not support the PCRM candidate. So, if the PCRM has 60 votes and can’t move to 61 after three ballots, the constitution requires a new election. Now, this shouldn’t happen as long as the PCRM stays at 61 seats or a opposition rebel votes the PCRM.

Turkey Locals 2009

Turkey voted in local elections for all levels of local governance on March 29. The last local elections had been held in 2004. Observers expected the (religious) liberal-conservative AKP of Prime Minister Erdoğan to win a large victory, maybe even rivaling the AKP’s 47% in the 2007 general election. However, the reverse took place. The AKP won 38.99%, much lower than its 2007 GE result. The Kemalist secular-nationalist opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) obtained a pleasing 23.23%. The Turkish far-right Nationalist Movement (MHP) won 16.13%, also a pleasing result. The Kurdish DTP won 5.41%, an excellent result. The outright Islamist Felicity Party (SP) won 5.18%, also a good result. Not so good for the Democratic Party (DP), a right-wing secular party whose name alludes to the main opponent of the CHP in the ’40’s and ’50’s. The DP won 3.71% after winning 5.41% in 2007. The Democratic Left (DSP), which ran with the CHP in 2007, won 2.74%. The awful nationalist BBP won 2.22%.

The AKP has won 45 provinces, against 13 for the CHP, 10 for the MHP, 8 for the Kurdish DTP, 2 for the DSP, 1 Democratic, 1 Indie (really, Islamist), and 1 BBP. The AKP held on to provinces that include Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and Ankara, the capital. However, the west coast city of İzmir, a traditional CHP stronghold, was retained by the CHP in a landslide. The MHP very narrowly gained Adana, Turkey’s 4th largest city, from the AKP. In the Kurdish provinces, the AKP took a massive beating. In the Kurdish capital of Diyarbakir, the DTP took 65%. The AKP also lost Van, in Kurdistan, by a landslide.

Here is a map of the said election.

turkey-2009

Queensland 2009

I guess I can finish up Queensland 2009 now. Counting in Australia always tends to take quite some time to be complete. With 90.8% counted, these be the results.

Labor 42.28% (-4.64%) winning 51 seats (-8)
Liberal National 41.57% (+3.65%) winning 34 seats (+9)
The Greens 8.37% (+0.37%) winning 0 seats (-1)
Daylight Savings Party 0.94% (new) winning 0 seats (new)
Family First 0.82% (-1.07%) winning 0 seats (±0)
One Nation 0.38% (-0.22%) winning 0 seats (-1)
Indies 5.65% (+0.97%) winning 4 seats (±0)

LNP gains from Labor

Aspley: 54.5% PP. Traditionally Liberal northern Brisbane seat.
Burdekin: 53.1%. Notionally Labor, but held by an LNP incumbent.
Clayfield: 55.8%. City of Brisbane (north). Notionally Labor, but held by an LNP incumbent.
Cleveland: 50.3%. Eastern Brisbane.
Coomera: 52%. Gold Coast. A large swing to the LNP (10.3%).
Gaven: 50.7%. Gold Coast hinterlands.
Hervey Bay: 55.3%. Uhm. Let’s see now. Hervey Bay!
Indooroopilly: 55.9%. Wealthy western Brisbane. Held by Ronan Lee, the ALP > Greenies MP.  Ronan Lee did not outpoll Labor on first prefs.
Mirani: 50.6%. Notionally Labor, held by an LNP incumbent.
Mudgeeraba: 53.9%. Gold Coast.
Redlands: 50.1%. Eastern Brisbane

And now, a map.

queensland-2009

queensland-2009-brisbane

The LNP dominates rural areas, the old strongholds of the National Party. Only exception to that is Cook in the far north and Mount Isa. I believe Mount Isa has historically been a left-wining mining area. The LNP, however, is much weaker in Brisbane. It still has lots of work to do in urban areas, Brisbane in particular, before it wants to re-gain power in Queensland.

I’m a bit tired-busy now, so I’ll stop short my analysis. I will redirect you the Tally Room, which probably does a better job than I do at analysing all the minute details of this election. And Moldova will come soon!

On a final note regarding my prediction, which was ALP 43, LNP 42, Ind 4, I have calculated to be 91.01% correct. That’s quite good considering how this is my first time doing this for Australia!