Monthly Archives: May 2009

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.

British Columbia (Canada) 2009

Status-quo and politics as usual have prevailed in British Columbia, in a rather dull election. Gordon Campbell’s Liberals have been re-elected to a third term, and both the seat count and popular vote have shown quasi-irrelevant movement.

BC Liberals 46.02% (+0.22%) winning 49 seats (+3)
New Democrats 42.06% (+0.54%) winning 36 seats (+3)
Greens 8.1% (-1.07%) winning 0 seats (±0)
Conservative 2.11% (+1.56%) winning 0 seats (±0)
11 Others and Independents 1.71% (-1.8%) winning 0 seats (±0)
turnout 52.2% (58% in 2005)

Referendum results:

FPTP 61.18% (+18.87%) winning 78 ridings
STV 38.82% (-18.87%) winning 7 ridings

BC 2009

As the results showed, status-quo prevailed at unprecedented levels since the SoCred days. In fact, only two incumbents were defeated last night: John Nuraney (Liberal) in Burnaby-Deer Lake won 46.3% to the NDP’s 48.2% and Jenn McGinn (NDP) in Vancouver-Fairview won 42.2% against the Liberals’ 47.2%.

Of the ridings I identified as close in my second post, only Stikine, Vancouver-Fairview (covered above) and Nanaimo changed, the first from Liberal to NDP and the latter from NDP to Liberal. In Maple Ridge-Mission, a notionally NDP new creation, the Liberals won. The Liberals won the notionally Liberal new seat of Boundary-Similkameen. Other than that, those ridings stayed with their old party, unsurprisingly.

Two seats will go to a judicial recount. In the Vancouver area seat of Delta South, Wally Oppal (Liberal) has defeated the Indie Vicki Huntington by a mere two votes. In Cariboo-Chilcotin, the margin between the winning Dipper and the Grit is 23 votes.

Turnout was an atrocious 52%, a major drop since 2005. This is the latest in a series of preoccupying declines nationwide, with 58% in the 2008 federal election and 57% (down from 71%) in Quebec’s 2008 election. Just in the late 1985, nearly 70% of British Columbian voted. And with their rejection of electoral reform, this trend is unlikely to be broken.

Unsurprisingly, the party strongholds remained the same. The NDP now quasi-entirely dominates the North Coast, the Pacific coast, and Vancouver Island. Especially in the North Coast, a lot comes from the important Native communities but also due to the strong precense of logging and manufacturing in the area. The same thing in the Cariboos ridings. In Victoria, only the wealthiest coastal communities evade the NDP’s omnipotence. In Vancouver proper, the NDP is based on the city’s famous “east side”, the poorest areas of Vancouver. In Burnaby, the same thing. Both of the NDP’s seats there are seats with low income levels. In Surrey, the NDP is especially strong in the poorer blue-collar Indo-Canadian neighborhoods, and weaker in the wealthier outskirts of Surrey.

The Liberals are strong in the non-industrial rural agrarian interior parts of BC, which are some of the Conservative Party’s strongest areas federally. In more urban areas, the Liberals dominates the northern suburbs of Vancouver, such as West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, and ridings with an important percentage of wealthy retirees. In Greater Vancouver itself, the Liberals win Vancouver’s much-wealthier “west side” and also the Chinese (though equally wealthy) areas of Richmond. Ironically, part of that strength is probably due to voter loyalty to the “Liberal” name federally, which carries over to the provincial Liberals, despite the vast differences between the two.

BC 2009- Green

The Greenies had a deceiving night last night, with only 8.1% of the vote, less than the 9% they received in 2005. They probably suffered the most from the atrocious turnout, given that Green supporters are often the least likely to turn out. Geographically, the Greenies did best where you expect them to. Their best result was 22% in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, a wealthy northwestern Vancouver suburb. They got their other best results in Victoria, downtown Vancouver, and the Kelowna area (not the city core itself, but its suburbia). As always with Greenies, their lowest results were either in low income areas or heavily blue collar areas.

The BC Conservatives, who ran a “record” 24 candidates won a decent 2.11% of the vote overall. This averages out to around 8% in the ridings in ran in, with lows at around 2-3% and a high in Boundary-Similkameen at 20.17% (the Tory candidate, Joe Cardoso, was a former Liberal). Its best results were concentrated in the BC Interior. Its few candidates in Vancouver or Vancouver Island polled significantly lower than their comrades in the Interior. The Conservative leader, Wilf Hanni, got 10.05% in Kootenay East. While the Conservatives remain a fringe in BC politics, and they probably didn’t prevent any Liberal victory, their continued growth off of discontented Liberal supportes (such as Joe Cardoso) could prove a non-negligible threat to the Liberals in the near future. has an interactive map of results here.

There was a huge turnaround in the electoral reform referendum, and STV was dealt a severe blow, sadly enough. I choose to blame the new ballot question used this time around.

New ballot

New ballot

Old ballot

Old ballot

The old 2005 ballot was a yes or no question to electoral reform, while this year’s ballot is a choice between the “existing FPTP” and the “STV blablabla”. Since a huge majority of voters probably had no clue was single-transferable vote was (a lot of Irish voters probably aren’t entirely sure what STV is, despite Ireland using it for a long, long time), they voted based on their little to no knowledge of the proposal. When asked if they wanted a nice little cute-sounding “STV” in 2005, they said yes. However, when asked to chose between the existing junk and the proposed new system, they prefered the current system to something they have no clue what it is. The same thing probably played a large role in the defeat of the MMP proposal in the Ontarian election in 2007.

Perhaps the change of mood was also partly based on the years passed since the 1996 and 2001 BC elections showed how FPTP was a worthless junk system. Voters don’t remember those atrocities, so they see no reason to vote against a system they know.

The referendum passed in only 7 ridings, all of them urban core ridings in downtown Vancouver and Victoria. Similar to how the only ridings to vote in favour of MMP in Ontario two years ago were downtown Toronto constituencies.

The cause of electoral reform is probably dead in BC for quite some time now, sadly. And this won’t do anything to help the case of turnout, which is also pre-occupying.

Election Preview: British Columbia 2009, Part III

British Columbia is voting as I’m writing this, and results will come out late tonight for us people on the eastern seaboard of North America. If you do happen to follow the results, either on the telescreen or the interwebs, I thought a few demographic maps by riding would help out a bit for comprehension of the results. These maps are quite few, since they take time to do, and not all are useful. The insets are Greater Vancouver (on top) and Victoria (on the bottom).

Visible minorities (aka, non-white people). Larger.

BC Vis Min

Largest visible minority group by riding. As I say in fine print on the map, results in riding with very tiny percentages of visible minorities are obviously based on a “small sample”, so to put it. The map is more useful for ridings with higher percentages, especially in Greater Vancouver. Larger.

BC Vis Min Largest

Labour maps, for important occupations. Manufacturing, managerial (unlike in the US, the definition is narrower and wealthier), trades (a traditional blue-collar occupation which isn’t manufacturing). Larger

BC Work

Median HH Income, self-explanatory. Larger.

BC Income

Aboriginal people, also self-explanatory. Larger.

BC Aboriginal

Eh, not much time for analysis, so I’ll leave that up to you. Enjoy, and needless to say, this is just the beginning of posts on BC!

As for the editorial endorsements, Greens for legislature and STV for the referendum.

New Caledonia 2009: Maps

This first map shows more than anything else the dispersion of political forces in New Caledonia, something which I alluded to in my post yesterday.

The key should be pretty straightforward, but here are the colours: red for UNI in the Nord and Islands, and for the FLNKS common list in the Sud. Blue for the RPCR, green for UC, orange for Future Together, purple for LKS, yellow for the FCCI (up there in Belep), brown for Labour (for lack of better, no need to take offense), the other oragie thingee for Caledonia Together, and gray didn’t get used (I think the map is already abstract art, no need to add to it).

Nouvelle Caledonie 2009

In the Sud, the RPCR won Noumea (which was won by AE in 2004) and most of its suburbs. Caledonia Together had its base concentrated around La Foa, the city which Philippe Gomès (the leader of CE and President of the Sud Province) used to govern. In the Nord, it seems the UNI base is around Poindimié, where Paul Néaoutyine (the President of the Nord) is mayor. On the islands, the LKS’ strength remains in Maré, where it polled over 30% despite polling single-digits in Ouvéa and Lifou, the two other Loyalty Islands. The FCCI, despite becoming entirely irrelevant this year, still won its Belep stronghold.

Nouvelle Caledonie 2009 - Coalition

This map is more useful and less abstract art. It shows the general loyalist vs. nat divide, and is obviously a quasi-identical reflection of the ethnicity map I posted in my very first post. However, Kanaks in the Sud seem to vote for loyalist parties in not huge numbers, but definitely in higher numbers than their northern compatriots. The Kanaks in the Sud also gave the non-sectarian parties (Ouverture Citoyenne) their best results. Ouverture Citoyenne won over 30% of the vote in Yaté and all of its double-digit results come from Kanak-majority communities. In the Nord and the Islands, the ethnic boundaries are strictly adhered to.

New Caledonia 2009: Results

New Caledonia renewed its three provincial legislatures yesterday, and these legislatures will in turn select the Congress of New Caledonia. In my last post, I outlined the various major parties and players in New Caledonia’s confusing and divided political scene.

For reminders, here are the major parties:

Loyalist (Anti-Independence)

Rally-UMP (RPCR): The main anti-independence right-wing party affiliated to the French UMP. Formerly a big tent for all loyalists, it has suffered numerous splits, including the departure of its historical leader, Jacques Lafleur.
Future Together (AE): Loyalist opposition to the RPCR started in 1994-1995, and emerged as the strongest political force for Loyalists in 2004. AE is considered more centrist than the RPCR, though many of its members are close the UMP in France. However, a sizeable share of its members are close to Bayrou’s Democratic Movement.
Caledonia Together (CE): Caledonia Together split off AE in 2008, due to a rivalry between Harold Martin (the AE President of Government) and Philippe Gomes (President of the Sud). CE is anti-independence, and ideologically quasi-identical to AE.
National Front (FN): The local branch of the French far-right FN. It is staunchly loyalist and even opposed the Noumea Accords in 1998 (all parties supported it except for them).
Rally for Caledonia (RPC): The name adopted by Jacques Lafleur’s new outfit when he left the RPCR.
Movement for Diversity (LMD): Party founded by Senator Simon Loueckhote, an anti-independence Kanak, when he left the RPC.

Nationalist (Pro-Independence)

National Union for Independence (UNI-Palika): The historically larger faction of the nationalist FLNKS union. While it started out very left-wing and very nationalist, it now favours dialogue with the loyalists but full independence after 2014. The term UNI refers to the electoral coalition based around the Party of Kanak Liberation (Palika) and its much smaller allies.
Caledonian Union (UC): New Caledonia’s oldest party, at first an autonomist cross-community party it is now the more radical component of the FLNKS. The UC favours sovereignty-association after 2014, but for now it rejects all dialogue with the loyalists.
Kanak Socialist Liberation (LKS): Formerly Marxist nationalist (non-FLNKS) party, it now favours perpetual dialogue between both sides.
Union of Pro-Independence Co-operation Committees (FCCI): The most moderate and right-wing part of the independence movement, the FCCI also favours perpetual dialogue and even co-operated electorally with the loyalists.
Labour Party (PT): New party founded by the radical USTKE trade union, which is strong island-wide. The PT is very left-wing, and is close to José Bové in French politics. It is considered as anti-capitalist, Trot, and all that stuff.

There also exists parties like Ouverture Citoyenne and Common Destiny, which are not classified in either coalition. Neither of the two take a side on the independence debate, but favour wishy-washy talks between everybody and love between everybody.

Here are the results. Due to the emergence of new parties, the changes for seat numbers are based on the standings at dissolution and not standings post-election in 2004. Note that in the Sud Province, a nationalist elected on the Future Together slate was re-elected on the FLNKS slate this year.

Congress (average of all 3 provinces)

RPCR 20.6% (-3.93%) winning 13 seats (±0)
Caledonia Together 16.83% (new) winning 10 seats (-2)
Future Together-Movement for Diversity 11.71% (-10.98%) winning 6 seats (-1)
UC 11.65% (-0.21%) winning 8 seats (+1)
UNI-FLNKS 10.52% (-5.84%) winning 8 seats (-2)
Labour Party 7.97% (new) winning 3 seats (new)
FLNKS Unitary (UC+UNI common list) 5.53% (new) winning 3 seats (+2)
Rally for Caledonia 4.46% (new) winning 2 seats (+1)
Ouverture Citoyenne 3.08% (new) winning 0 seats (new)
FN 2.7% (-4.76%) winning 0 seats (-4)
LKS 1.92% (-0.95%) winning 1 seat (±0)
Common Destiny 1.26% (-0.87%) winning 0 seats (±0)
Various loyalists 1.17% (-2.15%) winning 0 seats (±0)
FCCI 0.6% (-2.6%) winning 0 seats (-1)
Loyalists 57.45% (-0.46%) winning 31 seats (-4)
Nationalists 38.22% (-1.74%) winning 23 seats (+4)

Sud Province (FLNKS common list compared to UNI+UC Renewal+UC in 2004)

RPCR 28.54% (-2.65%) winning 15 seats (+1)
Caledonia Together 23.60% (new) winning 11 seats (-5)
Future Together-Movement for Diversity 16.33% (-17.56%) winning 8 seats (+5)
FLNKS (UC-UNI) 8.82% (-3%) winning 4 seats (+3)
Rally for Caledonia (RPC) 7.11% (new) winning 2 seats (+1)
Ouverture Citoyenne 4.91% (new) winning 0 seats (new)
FN 4.28% (-6.91%) winning 0 seats (-5)
Labour Party 3.68% (new) winning 0 seats (new)
Common Destiny 2.01% (-0.19%) winning 0 seats (±0)
ROC 0.73% (-0.05%) winning 0 seats
Loyalists 80.59% (-1.1%) winning 36 seats (-3)
Nationalists 12.5% (-3.61%) winning 4 seats (+3)

Nord Province

UNI-FLNKS 30.61% (-6.9%) winning 9 seats (-3)
UC 29.63% (+2.51%) winning 8 seats (+1)
Labour Party 11.97% (new) winning 3 seats (new)
RPCR 9.43% (-2%) winning 1 seat (-2)
Caledonia Together-RPCR dissident (Poadja) 9.05% (new) winning 1 seat (+1)
Future Together 6.53% (-2%) winning 0 seats (-1)
FCCI 2.79% (-2.96%) winning 0 seats (±0)
Nationalists 74.99% (+1.02%) winning 20 seats (+2)
Loyalists 25.01% (+2.4%) winning 2 seats (-2)

Îles Loyauté Province (UNI is UNI+UC Renewal in 2004)

UC 33.71% (+11.17%) winning 6 seats (+2)
UNI-FLNKS 24.66% (-2.82%) winning 4 seats (-2)
Labour Party 20.06% (new) winning 2 seats (new)
LKS 12.93% (-2.73%) winning 2 seats (±0)
RPCR 3.87% (-13.32%) winning 0 seats (±0)
Movement for Diversity 3.6% (new) winning 0 seats (-2)
Future Together-Caledonia Together-RPC 1.16% (new) winning 0 seats (new)
FCCI 0% (-8.85%) winning 0 seats (-2)
Nationalists 91.37% (+8.56%) winning 14 seats (+2)
Loyalists 8.63% (-8.56%) winning 0 seats (-2)

Congressional delegations.

Sud: RPCR 12, CE 9, AE 6, FLNKS 3, RPC 2
Nord: UNI 6, UC 5, PT 2, RPCR 1, CE 1
Iles: UC 3, UNI 2, PT 1, LKS 1

I have the data by municipality waiting for me to make a map, which will be coming relatively soon. Alternatively, look at the map of ethnicity and that’s pretty much your electoral map by coalition.

Somebody from Future Together commented that “this isn’t brilliant (commenting on AE’s result), but it isn’t brilliant for anybody!” That’s the best way to put it. The New Caledonian political scene, which not so long ago opposed a big-tent RPCR to a united FLNKS, is now hopelessly divided by partisan politics, typical French egomaniac politics, and petty squabbles between irrelevant people. This is kind of a pyrrhic victory for the RPCR, which is in good position to take the Presidency of the Sud Province and New Caledonia, but which lost votes to win its worst result ever. The split in the loyalist opposition to the RPCR allowed this “victory” of sorts for the RPCR, since in fact the Enemies Together would have won nearly 29% if they had run together, a result higher than AE’s 23% in 2004. As expected, neither side of the fence (loyalist or nationalist) gained significant ground nationally. While the nationalists have picked up seats in Congress, this is more the result of their newfound unity in the Sud Province where they ran very divided in 2004 and neither party broke 5% then. Ironically, the independence vote in the Sud has in fact slightly declined, if anything!

In the Nord, the UNI President Paul Néaoutyine is not alone anymore, and his list was closely followed by the Caledonian Union. Labour has also picked up 3 seats here, making them the kingmakers in the next nationalist governing coalition. In the Islands, where there are no anti-independence members left following the vote, the UC administration led by Néko Hnepeune should have no difficulty in governing, with a slightly increased plurality of seats. Labour’s strong showing in the province is also noteworthy.

The RPCR should probably emerge as the new senior governing party in Congress, though as I mentioned in my last post, the government is a perpetual grand coalition with the portfolios handed out proportionally based on the seats each party has. In the outgoing government, led by Harold Martin (Future Together), seven out of eleven portfolios were in loyalist hands, with the remaining four in nationalist hands. Based on the new seating, the nationalists could have five portfolios in the new government. It will be interesting to see whom emerges as President, but I have a feeling that Pierre Frogier, the leader of the RPCR (and a Sarkozyste) will take it.

As I said, maps and stuff later.

Indonesia 2009: Final Results

Well, one month later, the final results have been announced for Indonesia’s massive election.

PD 20.85% (+13.35%) winning 148 seats (+91)
Golkar 14.45% (-7.15%) winning 108 seats (-20)
PDI-P 14.03% (-4.47%) winning 93 seats (-16)
PKS 7.88% (+0.58%) winning 59 seats (+14)
PAN 6.01% (-0.39%) winning 42 seats (-10)
PPP 5.32% (-2.78%) winning 39 seats (-19)
PKB 4.94% (-5.66%) winning 26 seats (-26)
Gerindra 4.46% (new) winning 30 seats (new)
Hanura 3.77% (new) winning 15 seats (new)
PBB 1.79% (-0.81%) winning 0 seats (-11)
Others I’m too lazy to list winning 0 seats (-38)

Islam-based parties 25.94% (-9.06%) winning 166 seats (-52)

Golkar seems to have formed a coalition including PDI-P, Gerindra, Hanura, Prosperous Peace Party (a Christian party), Reform Star Party (Islamist), PKNU (also Islamist), People’s Concern Party, the Labor Party, and another small thingee. This coalition has 246 seats (a majority is 281). Jusuf Kalla (Golkar), the current Vice President, will run for President with General Wiranto (Hanura). However, Megawati Sukarnoputri (PDI-P) will also contest the election. The PD seems to be interested in forming a coalition with PAN and other Islamist parties to get an absolute majority.

The presidential election will be held on July 8. PD incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is heavily favoured, though the entry of Kalla/Wiranto in addition to Sukarnoputri might imply a runoff on September 8.

Election Preview: New Caledonia 2009

Warning: Extremely long and detailed post. I always write too much on New Caledonia.

New Caledonia will hold provincial elections on May 10. Ethnically, New Caledonia is around 44% Melanesian (Kanak), 34% white European (often known as Caldoches, descendants of convicts or free settlers from Alsace, Nord, but also Brits from Australia, Germans, Italians, and Belgians), 9% from Wallis-et-Futuna who came in the ’60’s and ’70’s to work in the nickel mines, 3% Tahitians, 1% from Vanuatu and also an Asian community from Vietnam and Indonesia. Note that Wallisians and Tahitians are Polynesians, and not Melanesians. The two don’t like each other a whole lot.

New Caledonian politics are based quasi-entirely around a marked dichotomy between full independence and staying within France (as an autonomous territory).

There was some awful violence in the ’80’s between loyalists and nationalists, which culminated in the Matignon Accords and later the Noumea Accords (1998), which ended up giving extensive powers to the local government and guarantees for the Kanaks. The Noumea Accord plans a referendum on independence between 2014 and 2018.

New Caledonia’s reponsible legislature is the Territorial Congress, made up of 54 members. The Congress itself is made up of representatives from each provincial (Sud, Nord, and Iles de la Loyauté) assembly. The Sud holds 71% of the population. The provincial assemblies are elected every 5 years by 5% PR. New Caledonia is governed by a collegial leadership, led by a President. After each election (or resignation of a President/government etc), there is an election in Congress to form the government. Parties run lists, which receive the votes of their members. The winning list gets the President, and the cabinet positions (today there are 11) are given out proportionally based on the results of each party’s list. So, the government is effectively a permanent Grand Coalition.

The anti-independence side, or loyalists, are almost entirely identified with the metropolitan right (RPR, UDF, UMP). Jacques Lafleur, a Caldoche, is the main figure of the loyalist movement. In 1977, which saw the start of an outright nationalist movement on the left, Lafleur founded the Rally for Caledonia (RPC) which became the Rally for Caledonia in the Republic (RPCR) in 1978 following its affiliation with the RPR. The RPCR was originally a big tent for a large majority of loyalists, whether they were liberals or Chiraquistes (like Lafleur, in the mold of Michaux-Chevry in Guadeloupe and Flosse in Polynesia). However, the first cracks in the RPCR appeared in 1995, when Lafleur broke his historical friendship with Chirac to endorse Balladur in the presidential election. Didier Leroux, the strongman of the local managerial trade union and a Chiraquiste, left the RPCR to found a party with the awfully tin-pot name of Une Nouvelle-Calédonie pour tous (UNCT, A New Caledonia for All). However, the RPCR remained, by far, the largest loyalist party in the 1994 and 1999 elections. It became the Rassemblement-UMP after the RPR became the UMP, but kept the RPCR acronym.

However, the RPCR started massively cracking ahead of the 2004 elections. In 2004, a group of RPCR dissidents who opposed Lafleur’s authoritarian leadership. Among these is Marie-Noëlle Thémereau, who left the RPCR in 2001 and supported Jospin in 2002 (fail); Harold Martin, once Lafleur’s dauphin but excluded in 2003 for running a dissident list in the 2001 locals; and Philippe Gomès, a friend of Martin. These dissidents formed a party called “Future Together” with the UNCT (or Alliance), which had become closer Bayrou’s New UDF but still UMP. Among the Alliance members is Didier Leroux, by now Bayrou’s representative on the island; Sonia Lagarde, a Chiraquiste; and Jean-Pierre Aïfa, a non-nat autonomist. There was also a lone right-wing nat, Christiane Gambey. In the 2004 election, Avenir ensemble shocked observers by winning as many seats as the RPCR. However, since New Caledonia is French and French centrism is so divided, Avenir ensemble split in 2008. This split started in the 2007 legislative election, when Gomès (President of Province Sud) ran in the 1st constituency (Lafleur’s stronghold) while Didier Leroux was supposed to run. Both ran in the end, and both polled 14%, but got third and fourth leaving the RPCR Gaël Yanno (yay, a Gaël!) against a nat, which Gaël ate alive in the runoff. Martin was also defeated running the 2nd constituency. Poor results in last year’s local elections precipitated an open split between Gomès and Martin-Leroux. In 2008, Gomès and 12 Avenir ensemble (including Thémereau) formed Caledonia Together. However, a smaller Avenir ensemble still includes Harold Martin (President of the Government) and most members.

Back to the RPCR. In 2005, Lafleur announced his intentions to step down in favour of Pierre Frogier, a Sarkozyste and his chosen successor. However, he came back on this decision and ran against Frogier for the RPCR leadership at the party congress. Frogier ate Lafleur alive, and Lafleur left the RPCR to form the Rally for Caledonia (RPC), which included New Caledonia’s lone Senator, an anti-independence Kanak Simon Loueckhote. However, in 2008  Loueckhote founded the Movement for Diversity (LMD).

The metropolitan National Front, contrarily to other overseas region, is relatively strong in New Caledonia, taking the most radical Caldoche votes. In fact, the FN openly opposed the Matignon Accords in 1988. In 2008, a number of local FN members founded the French Caledonian Movement (MCF), which joined the Martin-Leroux AE to form a parliamentary group. There also exists a small section of the MPF.

The idea of independence was born on the far-left in the ’60’s and develped in the ’70’s by Jean-Marie Tjibaou. New Caledonian independence, or Kanak nationalism, is almost entirely left-wing (Melanesian socialism) and close to the PS in France. The main nationalist movement is Tjibaou’s Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), itself an alliance of various nationalist parties of varying rhetoric and size. The two big factions are the Caledonian Union and PALIKA. The Caledonian Union was born as an autonomist cross-community autonomist party, led by Maurice Lenormand (longtime representative in Paris, affiliated with the French centre [MRP-CD-CDS] in France). However, the UC grew opposed to the arrival of Gaullist centralism in France, which undid most of the autonomist reforms of the Fourth Republic (the Defferre laws). The UC grew more and more radical, and started flirting with independence. This flirtation led to an outflow of Caldoches into new loyalist parties. This combined with Lenormand’s problems with the judiciary weakened the party considerably. In 1977 in Bourail, the UC adopted a nationalist platform, supported by Jean-Marie Tjibaou (and the rare European nationalists, such as Lenormand and Pierre Declercq). In 1979, the UC joined with Palika and other parties to form the Nationalist Front, which became the FLNKS in 1984. The UC was the largest faction in the FLNKS, led by Tjibaou. It was largely moderate, telling every to chill out and sit down. Tjibaou was killed in 1989 by some kooky Kanak nat. Rock Wamytan, the moderate leader lost in 2001 to Pascal Naouna, a radical. It has broken with Palika within the FLNKS, which has no unitary president and awfully divided. In addition, the UC has shifted to become the most radical, favouring a strict application of the Noumea Accords, no talks with the loyalists, but in favour of sovereignty-association similar to the Marshall Island’s status. The second big faction is the Party of Kanak Liberation or Palika. Palika  started on the radical left, with Marxist rhetoric, in the ’70’s. It participated, like the UC, in the Nationalist Front and later the FLNKS as the smaller, but more radical element. After Matignon, the division between Palika and UC heightened, and in 1995 Paul Néaoutyine led a dissident list (National Union for Independence, UNI) from the FLNKS (UC-Palika) united list in the Nord. In 1999, the Palika and UC ran separate lists in all provinces. At the same time, the Palika became more moderate, favouring talks with loyalists but still having as a final goal full independence. The term UNI has now been changed to include a broad coalition of Palika and smaller parties close to it, including Melanesian Progressive Union (UPM), which started as a LCR-like Trot party but more moderate today, the Oceanian Democratic Rally (RDO), the pro-independence wing of the Oceanian Union (UO) which seeks to represents Wallisians, and the UC Renouveau, a UC dissident party in the Loyalty Islands. Recently, the divide between the UNI-Palika and UC has narrowed down, and both parties agreed on a deal in the 2007 legislative elections: Palika ran a candidate with a UC suppleant in the 1st constituency and UC ran a candidate with a Palika suppleant in the 2nd. Both lost.

Other nationalist parties outside of the FLNKS include the Kanak Socialist Liberation (LKS) which started out Marxist but is now very moderate, having refused the FLNKS’ ’80’s strategy of boycotts and protests in favour of perpetual negotiation between both parties. LKS sometimes works with the FCCI, or Union of Pro-Independence Co-operation Committees, the most moderate wing of the nat movement. It was founded in 1998 by FLNKS members who refused the FLNKS’ conditions for sitting down with the RPCR (the FLNKS wanted a private nickel mining company in the Nord to sell off its stuff to a government-led mining firm). The FCCI ran with the LKS and RPCR in the Loyalty Islands in the 1999 election and the FCCI sat with the RPCR in a parliamentary group in Congress. The FCCI is now considerably weaker, with its sole Congressman having left the party in 2005. Lastly in 2007, the USTKE trade union, very radical and anti-globalization founded its own outfit, the Labour Party (PT). The PT is close to José Bové and is to the left of the FLNKS. It is classified as altermondaliste.

The 2004 election results:

Congress (average of all 3 provinces)

RPCR 24.43% winning 16 seats (-8)
Avenir ensemble 22.69% winning 16 seats (+13)
UNI-FLNKS 16.36% winning 8 seats (nc)
UC 11.86% winning 7 seats (-3)
FN 7.46% winning 4 seats (nc)
FCCI 3.2% winning 1 seat (-3)
LKS 2.87% winning 1 seat (nc)
UC Renewal 1.77% winning 1 seat (+1)

Caledonia, my country 2.13%
Other nats 3.9%
Other loyalists 3.32%
Loyalists 57.91% winning 36 seats (+5)
Nationalists 39.96% winning 18 seats (-5)

Sud Province

Avenir ensemble 33.89% winning 19 seats (+15)
RPCR 31.19% winning 16 seats (-9)
FN 11.19% winning 5 seats (nc)
UNI-FLNKS 4.62% winning 0 seats (-2)
UC Renewal 3.83% winning 0 seats (-1)
UC 3.37% winning 0 seats (-3)
Loyalists 81.69% winning 40 seats (+6)
Nationalists 16.11% winning 0 seats (-6)

The nationalists lost purely since they ran extremely divided in their weakest province.

Nord Province

UNI-FLNKS 37.51% winning 11 seats (+3)
UC 27.12% winning 7 seats (+1)
RPCR 11.43% winning 3 seats (-1)
Avenir ensemble 8.53% winning 1 seats (+1)
FCCI 5.75% winning 0 seats (-4)
Nationalists 73.97% winning 18 seats (nc)
Loyalists 22.61% winning 4 seats (nc)

Iles Province

UNI-FLNKS 16.3% winning 2 seats (nc)
UC 22.54% winning 4 seats (-2)
RPCR 17.19% winning 2 seats (nc)
LKS 15.66% winning 2 seats (nc)
UC Renewal 11.18% winning 2 seats (+2)
FCCI 8.85% winning 2 seats (nc)
Nationalists 82.81% winning 12 seats (nc)
Loyalists 17.19% winning 2 seats (nc)

Congressional delegations.

Sud: AE 15, RPCR 13, FN 4
Nord: UNI 7, UC 5, RPCR 2, AE 1
Iles: UC 2, RPCR 1, UNI 1, LKS 1, FCCI 1, UC Renewal 1

I made a map of ethnicity using ISEE-INSEE data. I’ll make more maps if I find interesting demographic data.

Ethnicity is a very important divide in politics (sadly, no data for the 2007 or 2004 elections by commune. Gah. Bad. Fail). Do note that Polynesians are, on the whole, mostly loyalist, with some exceptions. Kanaks are strongly nationalist and Caldoches are strongly loyalist. But there’s an exception to every rule.

Last notes. The two constituencies in New Caledonia are a bit gerrymandered. The 1st one includes Noumea and the Loyalty Islands, but European Noumea outnumbers the islands so badly. The 2nd includes the Noumea suburbs, quite white. These suburbs outnumber the other parts, that is the “brousse”, mainly nationalist. The 2nd is much narrower. But neither has elected a nationalist deputy since they were created.

I calculated the 2007 results for all New Caledonia and they say 32.71% UMP, 25.44% for all AE-CE combined, 5.34% FN, 1.44% DVD (UMP dissident in 1st only), 5.87% for Lafleur-RPC (in 1st only), 23.08% for UC+UNI combined (Palika in 1, UC in 2), 5.83% for USTKE-PT candidates in both seats.

Election Preview: Nova Scotia (Canada) 2009

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia goes to the polls on June 9, a bit less than three years after the last election in 2006.

The current Premier of Nova Scotia is Rodney MacDonald, Progressive Conservative (PC). MacDonald became Premier (and leader of the PCs) shortly before the snap 2006 election in replacement of John Hamm, first elected in 1999. The opposition defeated the government on a money bill, sparking a snap election which doesn’t really surprise anyone.

Nova Scotia, a Atlantic province, was one of the founding members of Confederation, but also probably the most Confederation-sceptic. The Anti-Confederation caucus in Nova Scotia, led by Joseph Howe, a Reformer provincially, won all but one of Nova Scotia’s 19 seats in the first federal Parliament and won all but two of the 38 seats in the House of Assembly. Anti-Confederationism remained an important issue (in fact, a 1868 motion which refused to recognize the legitimacy of Confederation has never been rescinded), Joseph Howe coming around to the idea of Confederation. The Liberals, who had a larger base amongst the province’s farmers and fishermen, dominated until the pro-Confederation Conservatives (supported by United Empire Loyalists and the wealthy business milieus) won the 1878 elections but was defeated by the Liberals in 1882. In 1886, William Fielding won the election for the Liberals on a pledge to remove Nova Scotia from Confederation. Fielding’s pledge was never carried out and the Liberals turned to economic development (including railroad construction, roadbuilding, and development of the coal industry on Cape Breton Island). In 1906, the Liberal instituted prohibition, though the Liberals also gave women the vote and passed a number of progressive labour legislation. Fielding moved on to federal politics in 1896 and George Henry Murray became Premier, a title he held for 27 years (the longest unbroken tenure for a head of government anywhere in Canada). In 1920, the left-wing opposition led by the United Farmers and the Labour Party won 6 and 5 seats respectively. However, the United Farmers movement was quickly destroyed due to the Liberals bribing the party’s leadership or passing legislation which redistributed the provincial surplus to the MLAs (now there’s a grand idea!). Murray retired in favour of Ernest Howard Armstrong in 1925. However, Nova Scotia (and the Maritimes) had suffered an economic downturn and the Maritime Rights Movement gathered strength throughout the region. Running on a Maritime Rights platform, the Tories won 40 out of 43 seats in the 1925 election. The Conservatives curtailed federal influence on the province and introduced old age pensions, but also solved labour disputes with miners in Cape Breton Island. After winning a narrow re-election 1928, the Conservatives were victims of the Great Depression in the 1933 election. Hurt by the the depression, which had contributed into turning Nova Scotia from the country’s richest province per capita in 1867 to the poorest by the 1930s, the Conservatives were defeated by the new Liberal leader, Angus L. Macdonald. Macdonald held office between 1933 and 1940 and 1945 and 1954. Macdonald’s long tenure saw the development of roads, infrastructures, quality education and electricity in the province. In 1945, the Progressive Conservatives were wiped out, with the Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), based in mining communities on Cape Breton Island winning two seats (the Liberals won 28). However, in 1948, Robert L. Stanfield, a “Red Tory” (in fact, a socialist in university and a life-long progressive) won the leadership of the PC Party. Since then, the PC has been of mostly moderate-to-Red Tory stock. The Liberals, divided since Macdonald’s retirement in 1954 along religious lines, lost to the 1956 election to Stanfield’s PC. Stanfield became leader of the federal PC in 1967, and the Liberals won the 1970 election. Due in part to the oil shock, the Liberals lost the 1978 election to the Conservatives. The PC lost the 1993 election to the Liberals in a landslide, thanks to disenchantment with the PC and a number of corruption scandals. John Savage, a fiscal conservative, became Premier, but was dumped by his party in favour of Russell MacLellan in 1997. In the 1998 election, the NDP (until then a fringe party limited to either Halifax Regional Municipality or Cape Breton Island) broke through and won 19 seats, tied with the Liberals. The PCs, with 14 MLAs, propped up the Liberal government until they defeated the government in 1999. In 1999, the PCs under the “shy MLA” John Hamm won a majority government, though this PC majority became a minority in 2003 and stayed one in 2006. As mentioned above, Rodney MacDonald, a Catholic from Cape Breton, became the PC leader and Premier before the 2006 snap election.

In 2006, the Conservatives lost four seats to the NDP (which also gained one seat from the Liberals) but due to MacDonald’s Catholicism, the PC took two Liberal seats on Cape Breton Islands. The Liberals won only 9 seats in 2006. Here are the full results:

Progressive Conservative 39.57% (+3.33%) winning 23 seats (-2)
NDP 34.63% (+3.52%) winning 20 seats (+5)
Liberal 23.44% (-7.99%) winning 9 seats (-3)
Green 2.33% (new)

The NDP has gathered significant strength in Nova Scotia since the late ’90’s. Throughout most of the post-war era, the NDP or its predecessor, the CCF, was either shut out or limited to a few seats. Until 1981, the CCF-NDP held all of its seats on Cape Breton Island. However, the university-urban wing of the party won out in the ’80’s when Alexa McDonough, a Haligonian, became leader. In 1981, the party won no seats on Cape Breton Island and only one seat in the province as a whole. McDonough became leader of the federal NDP in 1995.

Nova Scotia 2006

The NDP dominates in and around the HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality). It holds most seats in Halifax proper and dominates in more industrial Dartmouth and Cole Harbour. The Liberal holdouts have in common either Catholicism (Cape Breton is Catholic majority), or minority population (either Acadians or black). However, their one remaining Haligonian seat is a wealthy university constituency.

Polls have indicated that the NDP is running ahead of the PC, and the latest poll even has the PC in a close third behind the Liberals, who seem to have returned to their traditional ’90’s level of support (which is low 30s or so). The PC campaign theme seems to be the economy, but also attacking a so-called “risky NDP”. The Liberals have vowed to cut taxes (like the PC), but their website offers little to no policy details. For completion’s sake, I note that the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia are affiliated to the federal Liberals.

Panama 2009

Panama held a general election on May 3, 2009. The President of Panama, as well as Panama’s legislatures, local councils, and MPs to the Central American Parliament were up for election.

Ricardo Martinelli, the candidate of the right-wing Democratic Change (CD) has bucked the left-wing trend in South and Central America by defeating the candidate of the incumbent left-wing (Democratic Revolutionary Party, PRD) government, Balbina Herrera. The PRD; whose candidate Martín Torrijos, the son of Panamanian military dictator Omar Torrijos, won the 2004 election; has been hurt by the global economic crisis and a still-high criminality rate. Martinelli, a wealthy businessman and owner of a successful supermarket chain in Panama, exploited popular discontent and rode to victory on the back of support from Panama’s least well-off. His candidacy was supported by his party, but also the Panameñista Party (PAN), and the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (MOLIRENA). Balbina Herrera, a PRD cabinet minister, was originally anti-American, in fact she participated in anti-American protests following the US 1989 invasion which removed military dictator and drug dealer Manuel Noriega. She has downplayed these links to Noriega. Herrera was supported by the People’s Party (PP), a Christiandem party. Guillermo Endara, who was President between 1989 and 1994, also ran for his newly-formed Fatherland’s Moral Vanguard Party (VMP), formed by a split in the Panameñista Party.

Results for President:

Ricardo Martinelli (CD) 60.11%
Balbina Herrera (PRD) 37.54%
Guillermo Endara (VMP) 2.35%


Martinelli did best in Panama City, and probably the poor rural areas west of Panama City. His only defeats came from the comarcas of Panama, that is, provinces with a substantial native Amerindian population.

For the legislature:

PAN 24.58% winning 19 seats (+2)
CD 23.15% winning 12 seats (+9)
Patriotic Union 6.38% winning 4 seats (new)
MOLIRENA 3.44% winning 2 seats (-1)
Alliance for Change 57.54% winning 32 seats
PRD 34.68% winning 21 seats (-20)
PP 2.46% winning 1 seat (±0)
Liberal 0.94%
A Country for All 38.07% winning 22 seats
VMP 1.74% winning 1 seat (new)
Independents 2.65% winning 2 seats

Ecuador 2009

Ecuador held an early presidential and parliamentary election on April 25 (coverage is so late because the electoral commish took their sweet time to count). This is the first since the adoption of the new constitution in 2008. Elected in 2006, Rafael Correa, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is technically running for his first term under the new constitution, which now has a two four-year term limit. Voters also elected a new National Congress of 100 members.

Correa, the candidate of his left-wing PAIS Movement was opposed by Lucio Gutiérrez, a former President who led neo-liberal policies despite being elected (in 2002) on a anti-neoliberal agenda; and Álvaro Noboa, a right-wing banana tycoon and the richest man in Ecuador. Noboa was defeated in 2002 by Gutiérrez  and in 2006 by Correa.

Results for President:

Rafael Correa (PAIS) 51.94%
Lucio Gutiérrez (Patriotic Society Party) 28.24%
Álvaro Noboa (PRIAN) 11.44%
Martha Roldós Bucaram 4.34%
Carlos Sagñay de la Bastida 1.57%
Melba Jácome 1.35%
Diega Jara 0.63%
Carlos Albornoz 0.49%


Correa dominated in his historical strongholds in the south of the country, but he also won the coastal areas won by Noboa in the 2006 runoff. However, he lost the sparsely populated indigenous Amazonian provinces (which he had won in 2006) to Gutiérrez, who has a strong base with indigenous Ecuadorians. Napo Province, the only province to vote against the new constitution in 2008, was Gutiérrez’s best province.

Conveniently, the electoral commish’s site is down, as always, so I don’t have results for the legislative election. Anyways, the PAIS Movement does not seem to have an overall majority (45% of the vote, though it might end up giving a 50+1% majority when seats are allocated). I think Gutiérrez’s Patriotic Society (PSP) got a distant second with Noboa’s right-wing populist PRIAN in third (I think it was 11% or s0). More on this when the electoral commish is competent.