Daily Archives: May 16, 2009

India 2009

India’s massive month long election ended today in a Indian-style “landslide” for the governing centre-left United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which includes, among a ton of others, the Indian National Congress (INC or Congress). The opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which includes the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fared much worse than expected, as did the new Third Front formed by various regional parties and India’s Communists (CPI and CPIM).

With almost all seats declared, here are the results by coalition:

UPA 252 elected + 4 leading=256 seats (+76)
NDA 162 elected + 1 leading=164 seats (-13)
Third Front 76 elected + 4 leading=80 seats (-28)
Fourth Front 29 elected=29 seats (-35)
Others 14

I gave a brief overview of the situation as India started voting a month ago in an earlier blog post.

As I said then, detailed analysis at the Indian level would be very hard, so I’ve preferred to continue analyzing by state and Union Territory. Some of this may be wrong, or may change.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1 MP): These remote islands in the Bay of Bengal have only one MP in the Lok Sabha. The BJP has won the seat representing the islands from the INC. NDA 1 (+1)
Andhra Pradesh (42 MPs): India’s 5th most populated state is largely Hindu, but speaks a Dravidian language (Telugu). In a huge surprise, the INC has repeated it’s 2004 landslide in the state, winning 31 seats (two more than the 29 seats won by the INC in 2004). The state’s two Telugu regionalist parties, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (NDA-TRS) won 2 seats and the Telugu Desam Party (3rd Front-TDP) won 6 seats. The BJP won one seat, as did the new left-populist Praja Rajyam Party (led by an actor, which is not uncommon in India), and the “MIM” (I think it’s another Muslim party) won one seat. UPA 31 (+2), 3rd F 6 (-1), NDA 3 (-2), 4th F 1 (+1), Others 1
Arunachal Pradesh (2 MPs): The easternmost state of India high in the Himalayas has 2 MPs. The INC gained both seats from the BJP. UPA 2 (+2)
Assam (14 MPs): Assam is located just below Arunachal Pradesh and has 14 MPs. The INC and a local ally now have 7 MPs, while the BJP has 4. In addition to two Third Front (Assam United Democratic Front) MPs, the regionalist Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), an ally of the BJP, has one seat. UPA 7 (-2), NDA 5 (+1), 3rd F 2 (+2)
Bihar (40 MPs): Bihar, in northeastern India, is one of the states dominated by regional parties. The largest of these parties is the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), a member of the UPA in 2004 (and now totally independent, in a so-called Fourth Front) whose support comes from Yadavs and Muslims. The RJD is locally allied with the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJNSP). The RJD lost the 2005 state elections to a coalition led by the Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), which is affiliated with the BJP’s NDA. Ironically, both the RJD and JD(U) originally evolved from the same party. The JD(U), a member of the NDA, won a landslide winning 20 seats (the BJP itself won 11 seats). The RJD took a thumping, as expected, and fell from 25 to just 4 tonight. In addition, the INC holds two seats and there are two Independents. NDA 32 (+21), 4th F 4 (-21), UPA 2 (-1), Others 2 (+1 I guess)
Chandigarh (1 MP): Chandigarh, the richest city in India, is a Union Territory and a city serving as capital of Punjab and Haryana states. The INC holds the seat representing the city since 1999 and held it again this year. UPA 1 (nc)
Chhattisgarh (11 MPs): The central Indian state of Chhattisgarh is a BJP stronghold, which won 10 seats in 2004. The INC holds one seat. This election gives the exact same result. NDA 10 (nc), UPA 1 (nc)
Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1 MP): Dadra and Nagar Haveli, formerly part of Portuguese India, is another UT on the west Indian coast. The seat, which was won by the Bharatiya Navshakti Party (BNP), independent of coalitions, in 2004 was won by the BJP today. NDA 1 (+1)
Daman and Diu (1 MP): Daman and Diu, also formerly Portuguese and also a UT has one seat, which was lost by the INC to the profit of the BJP. NDA 1 (+1)
NCT of Delhi (7 MPs): The Indian capital, New Delhi, has 7 MPs. The INC won all seven constituencies in a clean sweap, destroying the BJP (which held one in 2004 and all seven in 1999). UPA 7 (+1)
Goa (2 MPs): The former Portuguese colony of Goa has 2 MPs, one each for the INC and BJP. On a side note, the INC MP has a Portuguese name, interestingly. NDA 1 (nc), UPA 1 (nc)
Gujarat (26 MPs): The state of Gujarat, which, contrarily to what the media likes to think, does not have a huge Muslim population (slightly below national average, in fact) is a generally solid state for the BJP. The INC, which held twelve seats in 2004, limited its bleeding, which was widely expected, to lose only one seat. NDA 15 (+1), UPA 11 (-1)
Haryana (10 MPs): Haryana, a state in northeastern India, is the 3rd richest in India and also the hub of a lot of the Indian industry (IT, and outsourcing). The INC kept all its 9 seats, but the BJP lost its only seat to a new independent outfit, abbreviated HJCBL. UPA 9 (nc), Others 1 (+1)
Himachal Pradesh (4 MPs): Also located in the larger Punjab region but to the north of Haryana, the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh has 4 MPs. A logical suite to the 2007 state elections, in which the BJP won a landslide, the BJP won big in Himachal Pradesh. It has 3 MPs, against one for the INC. NDA 3 (+2), UPA 1 (-2)
Jammu and Kashmir (6 MPs): India’s northernmost and largest Muslim state has 6 MPs. The JK National Conference was allied with the NDA in 2004, but joined the UPA since it now forms government in Kashmir with the INC. The JKNC has won three seats, the INC has won two, and one Independent won in Buddhist Ladakh. UPA 5 (+1), Others 1 (-1)
Jharkhand (14 MPs): The east Indian state of Jharkhand has 14 MPs. The BJP won the majority of the seats in the state, which was won by the INC in 2004. The BJP has eight MPs. The INC has just one, though its local ally, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha has two. There are also two Indepedents and one representative of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM). NDA 7 (+7), UPA 3 (-7), Others 2
Karnataka (28 MPs): The south Indian state of Karnatka, which includes the city of Bangalore, has 28 MPs. Despite it being a Dravidian state, Karnataka has become a strong state for the BJP, which now holds 19 seats. The INC has 6 seats, while the Janata Dal (Secular), a member of the Third Front, has three seats. NDA 19 (+1), UPA 6 (-2), 3rd F 3 (+1)
Kerala (20 MPs): The southwestern state of Kerala (and the largest Muslim state, with 24.7%, outside of J&K) is one of the best off states in India, with low poverty, high literacy and HDI. Ironically, the state is traditionally a stronghold of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – CPI(M) for short, which was founded in the ’60’s in a pro-Chinese/Maoist lines as opposed to a more pro-Russian (but also pro-cooperation with the INC) Communist Party of India (CPI). Both parties are quasi-identical nowadays. The Communists were destroyed this year, reduced to four seats, all of which are CPI (M) members. Both the Communist Party of India and the Janata Dal (Secular) lost all their seats. The UPA won 16 seats, of which 13 are for the INC. A Muslim party allied with the UPA has two seats, and an outfit known as KECM (I think it may be a faction of the Christian Kerala Congress) won one. UPA 16 (+15), 3rd F 4 (-12)
Lakshadweep (1 MP): The Lakshadweep Islands off the west coast of India are a Union Territory with one MP. The seat, which was held by the JD(U) in 2004 was won by the INC this year. UPA 1 (+1)
Madhya Pradesh (29 MPs): The central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is a BJP stronghold. However, the INC made significant inroads in the state, reducing the BJP to 19 seats (25 in 2004). NDA 19 (-6), UPA 10 (+6)
Maharashtra (48 MPs): India’s second most populous state and home to Mumbai, the central Indian state of Maharashtra is a swing state in Indian politics. The UPA has won 25 seats compared to 20 for the NDA. I have calculated that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a anti-Sonia Gandhi INC splinter, has won 6 seats (9 in 2004) and the INC has won 14. Despite the Mumbai bombing, the UPA now controls all Mumbai seats, including one seat gained from Shiv Sena. Within the NDA, the radical Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena has 11 seats (12 in 2004) against 9 for the BJP. There is one Independent and two MPs for other regionalist parties which have names I’ve never seen before. UPA 25 (+3), NDA 20 (-5), Others 3
Manipur (2 MPs): A small state in northeastern India with a sizeable Christian minority, Manipur has two MPs: two INC since 2009. UPA 2 (+2)
Megahalaya (2 MPs): Yet another small state in NE India, Megahalaya has a Christian majority (70%). It has Congress MP and one NCP MP. UPA 2 (+1)
Mizoram (1 MP): See Megahalaya. NE India, Christian. The MP elected in 2004 represented the regionalist Mizo National Front (MNF/NDA). The MNF lost the 2008 state election to the INC in a landslide on the back of a strong anti-incumbency wave. Logically, the INC gained the seat. UPA 1 (+1)
Nagaland (1 MP): See above. NE India, Christian. The current MP represents the regionalist Nagaland People’s Front (NPF/NDA). NDA 1 (nc)
Orissa (21 MPs): Orissa, on the east coast of India, is another state with a strong regionalist party. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), allied to the BJP until this year, joined the Third Front. Thus far (count is not complete), the BJD has 13 seats and the CPI has one seat. In addition, the UPA (aka INC only) has seven seats. The NDA took a thumping and is left with no seats. 3rd F 14 (+6), UPA 7 (+4)
Puducherry (1 MP): The former French territory of Puducherry/Pondichery has one MP, which is now a member of the INC. The Tamil-based Third Front Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) lost the seat. UPA 1 (+1)
Punjab (13 MPs): Punjab state in northeastern India has a Sikh majority. The Sikh Shiromani Akali Dal, a member of the NDA has seen its share of seats halved, from 8 to 4. The BJP holds only one seat, while the INC went from two to seven. UPA 7 (+5), NDA 5 (-5)
Rajasthan (25 MPs): The state of Rajasthan, the largest state in terms of land area (but a lot of desert), is generally a BJP ’safe’ state. In fact, the BJP won 21 seats in 2004, against 4 for the INC. However, the BJP lost the control of the state to the INC in 2008 and logically the INC swept the state this year. UPA 19 (+15), NDA 4 (-16), Others 1 (+1)
Sikkim (1 MP): Sikkim, a tiny state up there in the Himalayas is the least populated state in India. It has one MP, representing the Sikkim Democratic Front. The SDF is omnipotent in Sikkim. Others 1 (nc)
Tamil Nadu (39 MPs): Tamil politics are incomprehensible to the outside world, including me. So I’ll try my best to explain what I do understand. Parties, most of them regional Dravidian parties, don’t really seem to have ideologies, or if they do, it’s very minimal in actual political matters. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK-UPA) has 18 seats now. The INC had 8, and the Dalit-based Viduthalai Siruthaigal.The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK, Third Front), the major component of the Third Front in the state has won 9 seats, while its allies, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK-Third Front), the CPI(M) and CPI each hold one seat each. UPA 27 (+1), 3rd F 12 (-1)
Tripura (2 MPs): Tripura is a small northeastern state in India, with a mostly Bengali (Hindu) population. The CPI(M) holds both seats.3rd F 2 (nc)
Uttar Pradesh (80 MPs): With 80 seats in the Lok Sabha, the state of Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state (190 million people. Would be 5th most populated country in the world if independent!). Dominated in the past by the INC, Janata Dal, and later BJP, it is increasingly dominated by local parties. In 2004, the Samajwadi Party (SP), which is independent of coalitions nationally, won 35 seats. The SP’s support is mostly Muslim (18%) or in the lower castes (Dalits). The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is also a lower-caste party led by Mayawati, a dalit herself, but an opportunist more than anything else. The BSP, like so many Indian regional parties, has no ideology except for being Mayawati’s personal machine. The Economist, which understandably has no great love for the BSP or the Indian left (and is certainly biased), says that she is “masquerading as a promoter of dalit rights”. The BSP won only 19 seats in 2004, but the BSP won UP’s first majority government since 1991 in 2007, with Mayawati as Premier. Recently, the BSP has expanded to become a party for all Indian dalits, and this endeavour has been met with some success, based on recent state elections. The BSP, independent in 2004, is now a member of the Third Front and Mayawati is the unofficial leader of the coalition, with some even seeing her as India’s PM. The BSP was excepted to sweep UP this year, but the SP actually resisted spectacularly despite infighting and actually won the most seats in the state! The INC, and to a lesser extent, the BJP, have also performed well in this state where national parties seem to be falling out of vogue. The election was a close finish, however. The SP has 24 seats, the INC has 21, the BSP has 20, and the BJP has 15. 4th F 24 (-11), UPA 21 (+12), 3rd F 20 (+1), NDA 15 (+5)
Uttarakhand (5 MPs): Uttarakhand, a northern state, has 5 MPs. The BJP won three seats here in 2004, but this year, the INC has swept all 5 seats. UPA 5 (+4)
West Bengal (42 MPs): West Bengal in eastern India has been an historical base of Indian communism. The state was a base for Naxalite, Marxist, and trade unionist movements; and has been ruled by the CPIM for three decades. As in Kerala, the Communists have been given the boot. The Left (CPIM and CPI) have lost twenty seats, ending up with only 15 MPs. The INC and its ally All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) have a net gain of 18 for 25 seats. The BJP has picked up one seat. I’m too lazy to break down the seats just yet. UPA 25 (+18, 3rd F 15 (-20), NDA 1 (+1)

In state elections, the INC has won a majority of seats in Andhra Pradesh, the BJD has a majority in Orissa, and the SDF won all 32 seats in Sikkim.

The BJP has conceded victory and the UPA should have no trouble finding a few allies to form government (a majority is 272). If they ally with the Fourt Front, they already have 286. They could also ally with a few parties in the Third Front and even the NDA (except for the BJP and Shiv Sena) to form another majority. In addition, the UPA won’t be annoyed on its left by the Cold War-era Communists and the government’s economic reforms shouldn’t be hindered by the Communists any longer.

Western Australia: Fremantle by-election 2009 and DST Referendum

A fourth referendum on adopting daylight savings time (DST) and a by-election in the state division of Fremantle were held today, May 16 in Western Australia.

DST Referendum

Today’s vote was the fourth vote on adopting DST after similar referendums in 1975, 1984 and 1992. In 1992, the proposal failed, with 53% voting against the adoption of DST. As the results stand now, the referendum has failed once again, with 55.49% against and 44.51% in favour. As in 1992, the West Australian outback voted overwhelmingly against, with the NO vote reaching 84% in the Agricultural electoral region and 67% in the Mining and Pastoral region. Unlike in 1992, however, Perth narrowly rejected the proposal, with 50.3% against (53% voted in favour in 1992).

Roughly 70% has been counted, but the YES count has remained relatively steady for quite some time, and it is extremely unlikely that there will be a massive YES push in the final votes.

The defeat of DST is probably the final nail in the coffin for DST.

Fremantle By-Election

The division of Fremantle, located south of Perth and centred around the important harbour city of Fremantle held a by-election today following the resignation of its sitting Labor MP, Jim McGinty, who was Attorney General until 2008, when Labor lost government to the Liberals and Nationals. In the 2008 election, McGinty defeated the Liberal candidate 62-38 on the two-candidate preferred count, although on first preferences, McGinty was ahead of the Liberal candidate 39-30, with the Greenies performing very well (27.6%).

Map of Fremantle

Map of Fremantle

Historically, Fremantle has been a solidy Labor seat, the ALP having held it since 1924. The electorate was once a very important (although it remains important even today) industrial harbour, and was at the centre of many labour disputes. Hurt by corruption, local divisions, and an evolving socio-economic situtation, Labor’s first preference vote total plumetted to 43% from its usual 60% range in the 1989 election and the ALP has never again broken 50% on the first count.

The governing Liberals did not stand a candidate in this by-election, although Carmelo Zagami ran as a Liberal Independent. The main constestors were Peter Tagliaferri for Labour and Adele Carles, the Greenie who narrowly missed winning in 2008.

Adele Carles (Green) 44.3% (+16.7%)
Peter Tagliaferri (ALP) 38.6% (-0.1%)
Carmelo Zagami (IndLib) 5.3% (Liberal vote was 30.2% in 2008)
Nik Varga (Ind) 3.4%
Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance) 2.3%
Steve Boni (Ind) 1.7%
Andriette du Plessis (Family First) 0.9% (-0.8%)
Jan Ter Horst (Ind) 0.8%
Rosemary Ann Lorrimar (Ind) 0.8%
Rob Toten (LaRouchite) 0.3%

After distribution of preferences (called 2PP in Australia, or Two-Party Preferred). Zagami, Ter Horst, and Wainwright directed preferences to the Greenie, and the other candidates directed preferences to the ALP candidate and Mayor of Fremantle Peter Tagliaferri.

Adele Carles (Green) 54%
Peter Tagliaferri (ALP) 46%

It is amazing how awful Zagami polled. It seems as if most Liberals followed his instructions to preference Carles, but a whole lot  did so by giving her first preferences and not second preferences. This, compounded with historical Green strength in Fremantle gave the Greenies over 40% of the primary votes, a historical feat in Australia. This election is also a historic defeat for the ALP in Fremantle, after years of gradual decline.

Maldives 2009

The Maldives voted in their first real free legislative election on May 9. As a brief recap, in the country’s first free election in 2008, Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party defeated the incumbent dictator, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party. I briefly covered those elections here.

It seems this election used FPTP in 77 single-member constituencies. A majority is 39 MPs.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party 28 seats (projected PV: 25%)
Maldivian Democratic Party 26 seats (projected PV: 31%)
Independents 13 seats
People’s Alliance 7 seats
Dhivehi Qaumee Party 2 seats
Republican Party 1 seat

The DRP and the People’s Alliance hold 35 seat, and the current MDP-DQP-Republican alliance holds 29 seats. However, the Maldives has just become the latest country to experience the worst electoral system possible, FPTP. A great article on Maldives News outlines how FPTP sucks, not just in the Maldives, of course:

Let me give you an example: suppose we hold an election of three seats. In two seats, the DRP wins with ten votes to the MDP’s nine. In the third seat, the MDP wins by ten votes to the DRP’s one.

In the above example, the MDP won a total of 28 votes, the DRP won 21 votes. However, the DRP wins two seats and the MDP only wins one.

Similar scenarios happened up and down the country in the parliamentary elections. In fifteen constituencies, the MDP candidate lost by less than 100 votes. In seven constituencies, the MDP lost by fewer than 50 votes.

As you see, the MDP won 31% to the DRP’s 25%, and even if you total the opposition coalition, their numbers remain inferior to the MDP’s 31%. The government lost since the MDP, DQP and Republicans failed to agree on common candidates, mainly due to the fact that the DQP and Republicans are egomaniacs. Such a coalition would probably have had a majority, but, as the Maldives News article points out later on, this coalition would have had a minority of loyal MDP members, and a majority of unruly egomaniacs from the DQP and the Republicans.

The Maldives run under under a presidential system, a system adopted in a 2007 referendum. The presidential system, supported by the then-governing DRP, won 61%. Nasheed will undoubtedly stay in power, and he has enough votes to block most attempts by the opposition to screw around.