Monthly Archives: July 2009

Guinea-Bissau 2009

I briefly posted some stuff on the Guinea-Bissau presidential elections last week or so, covering mostly the first round of the ‘special’ presidential elections held in the small West African country of Guinea-Bissau. Former Acting President (1999-2000) Malam Bacai Sanhá of the left-wing African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) was elected President over Kumba Ialá of the opposition centre-left Party for Social Renewal (PRS). Sanhá had received the support of most small candidates, though the main kingmaker was the Independent Henrique Rosa (24%) did not make an endorsement. In addition, former President Ialá is often held responsible for the dire state of the poor country’s economy – dependent on cashew nuts (and it also serves as a hub for drug trafficking).

Malam Bacai Sanhá (PAIGC) 63.52%
Kumba Ialá (PRS) 36.48%

Turnout was around 61% out of the 600,000 registered voters.

In a good sign for a country prone to military coups and disturbances following fake elections (this election, however, was not faked), Ialá conceded defeat and President-elect Sanhá claimed that he was willing to work with his rival, and also granted Ialá (former President) personal security, a protocol service and private transport. And since that’s probably all he cares about, Ialá was happy to accept this little gift.

Moldova 2009

Moldova held a snap general election on July 29 after a previous election on April 5 led to deadlock in the parliamentary vote during the election of the Moldovan President. The Constitution requires that the President be elected by a three-fifths majority, or 61 of the 101 seats in the country’s unicameral legislature. The Communist Party (PCRM) won only 60 seats and all other (pro-western-Romanian liberal) parties refused to vote for the PCRM’s candidate due to questions over the transparency of the April election. As a result, a new election had to be held.

Considerably fewer parties and candidates ran in the snap election, but the major parties stayed the same: the socialist Communists (PCRM), which are very hard to classify correctly; the Liberal Party (PL) and the Liberal-Democratic Party (PLDM), new pro-western liberals; the liberal Our Moldova Alliance (AMN) and the Democratic Party (PDM) now led by Marian Lupu, a PCRM dissident. The PPCD, which had seats until April 2009, is a Christian democratic centre-right party known for its support of Moldovan unification with Romania.

Results with 99.8% tallied. Turnout was 58.8%, slightly up on April.

PCRM 44.76% (-4.72%) winning 48 seats (-12)
Liberal-Democratic 16.55% (+4.12%) winning 18 seats (+4)
Liberal 14.61% (+1.48%) winning 15 seats (nc)
Democratic Party 12.55% (+9.58%) winning 13 seats (+13)
Our Moldova 7.35% (-2.42%) winning 7 seats (-4)
PPCD 1.91% (-1.13%) winning 0 seats (nc)

The PCRM has lost a dozen seats, though with the support of the PDM, which is, after all, a centre-left party led by a guy who was a member of the PCRM until this year, it can have the 61 votes. However, if Marian Lupu holds a grudge against his Communist friends, then he, with the liberal opposition, prevents the election of the PCRM’s candidate. However, this coalition can’t impose a candidate since it only has 53 votes, a majority but not a three-fifths majority. The outcomes of this election are either yet another snap election (unlikely), a PCRM-PDM coalition or even a Grand Coalition (as proposed by the Communist leader, Vladimir Voronin).

Hopefully, though, this won’t lead to more protests like last time or political instability.

Kyrgyzstan 2009

Incumbent President Kurmanbek Bakiev of the former Soviet Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan was re-elected to another four-year term. Bakiev was elected in 2005 following the Tulip Revolution, which overthrew President Askar Akayev. Since then, his Presidency has let down the hopes for democratic and honest governance and Kyrgyzstan remains a dominant party regime riven by corruption.

In an election marked by irregularities, Bakiev was re-elected with 76.12%, his nearest rival, former Prime Minister and leader of the sole parliamentary opposition party (Social Democratic Party) Almaz Atambaev won 8.41%. Temir Sariev won 6.74%, with three minor candidates splitting the rest. However, 4.66% voted for the ‘against all’ option available in a few former Soviet countries (such as Ukraine).

Indonesia (President) 2009

Result of the Indonesian presidential elections held in early July have been released. Incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), a mildly reformist guy, has been overwhelmingly re-elected by the first round. He defeated two relatively high-profile candidates, his outgoing Vice President Jusuf Kalla and former President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

SBY’s coalition included his Democratic Party (PD) and several other Islamist parties of varying moderation (mostly moderates, though an important radical one too). Sukarnoputri’s coalition included her Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI-P) and Gerindra, the personal vehicle of former military commander Subianto while Kalla’s coalition included the Golkar (the party of the former dictator, Suharto) and Hanura, another personal vehicle for another former military commander, this time named Wiranto.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono/Boediono (PD) 60.80%
Megawati Sukarnoputri / Prabowo Subianto (PDI-P) 26.79%
Jusuf Kalla / Wiranto (Golkar) 12.41%

Indonesia 2009

Colours as per the results table, of course. I’m not very well-read on Indonesian political geography, but it does seem that SBY’s coalition with the Islamist parties helped him a lot with the traditional Muslim community strong in Java but didn’t prevent him from doing well with modern Muslims in Sumatra, Kalimantan, or Sulawesi. And, surprisingly, didn’t prevent him from doing very well with Protestants in Papua. However, Bali Hindus and, probably, the small Hindu community on Kalimantan went for Sukarnoputri.

Norwich North (UK) by-election 2009

I posted last night on a by-election in the Westminster constituency of Norwich North which was held on July 23 after the resignation of the sitting Labour MP, Ian Gibson, over the expenses scandal. Here are the results:

Chloe Smith (Conservative) 39.54% (+6.29%)
Chris Ostrowski (Labour) 18.16% (-26.70%)
April Pond (LibDems) 13.97% (-2.22%)
Glenn Tingle (UKIP) 11.83% (+9.45%)
Rupert Read (Green) 9.74% (+7.08%)
Craig Murray (Honest) 2.77%
Robert West (BNP) 2.74%
Bill Holden (Ind) 0.48% (-0.17%)
Howling Laud (Loony) 0.42%
Anne Fryatt (NOTA) 0.17%
Thomas Burridge (Libertarian) 0.10%
Peter Baggs (Ind) 0.07%
Conservative GAIN from LabourConsevative majority: 21.37%
16.49% swing from Labour to Conservative

Unexpectedly good showing from the Conservatives, who managed to increase their vote share quite significantly even though UKIP also had a phenomenal vote increase, probably aftershocks from the Euros and a good turnout from their base. Labour, on the other hand, has fared worse than I and others expected, and much below that 30% the poll gave them. Their share is down nearly 27% and they have been reduced to a mere 18.2% in a constituency which is a generally safe Labour seat. Good result for the Greens, but they must be deceived they only polled fifth and below 10%, but it positions Read well to run in Norwich South, where he’ll do much better.

If the Conservatives can manage a majority of 21% in a seat like this, they’re well on their way to a landslide mandate in the next general election. And a 16.5% swing to them endangers a number of senior Labour cabinet members.

However, this is a low turnout by-election (45%), so it’s perhaps best not to use this as a prediction model for the general election.

Election Preview: Norwich North (UK) by-election

A by-election is being held today (July 23) in the British constituency of Norwich North, located in Norfolk in the East of England. This is held to replace Ian Gibson, a Labour MP involved in the expenses scandal who was excluded from the party and forbidden to run for re-election as a Labour candidate. His position was untenable and he resigned, without running for re-election as an Independent Labourite.

Norwich North is the poorer and more blue-collar of the two Norwich constituencies, and includes little industrial pockets and social housing. It has been held by Labour since its creation in 1966, but the Conservatives won it in the 1983 Tory landslide and held it until 1997 after a close election victory in 1992. Norwich South is wealthier and more service-oriented. However, the city as a whole has a reputation to be one of the country’s ‘greenest’ cities. In fact, the Greens were the largest party in the city in the June Euro elections – though their strength is mostly concentrated in Norwich South.

The 2005 results were as follows:

Ian Gibson (Labour) 44.9%
James Tumbridge (Conservative) 33.3%
Robin Whitmore (LibDem) 16.2%
Adrian Holmes (Green) 2.7%
John Youles (UKIP) 2.4%
Bill Holden (Ind) 0.7%

The two major contenders – Labour and Tories – have both nominated candidates, who, if elected, will be the youngest MPs in the House. Labour’s candidate is Chris Ostrowski and the Tory candidate is Chloe Smith.  The LibDem candidate is their 2005 candidate in South West Norfolk and local councillor April Pond. The Greenies nominated Rupert Read, their top candidate in the East Euro constituency in June as their candidate. Read is also a local councillor – the Greens are the second party on the Norwich council. There are also UKIP, BNP and Looney candidates. A notable independent is former ambassador Craig Murray running as an anti-corruption candidate.

The Greens are not strong in the North, but more in the South (over 7% in 2004); but Labour is bleeding a lot of support to the Greens according to a poll for the by-election (change on 2005). Craig Murray was not polled, but he is an important factor. His result will be important to this race.

Conservative 34% (+1)
Labour 30% (-15)
LibDem 15% (-1)
Green 14% (+11)

UK PollingReport has some information on the poll:

Norwich’s University & College Union have commissioned an ICM poll for the forthcoming by-election in Norwich North. […]

This is the equivalent of an 8 percent swing to the Conservatives, pretty much in line with national polling at the moment, though beneath those figures the actual shift has almost all been from the Labour party over to the Greens. The sample size was only 500 (and once don’t knows, unlikely to votes and so on were taken out, the voting figures were based on only 294), so there’s a hefty margin of error, but the Conservatives start the race slightly ahead.

This is of course an early poll – the by-election campaigning has barely started and Labour haven’t even named their candidate. 18% of the people ICM contacted weren’t even aware there was a forthcoming by-election, and 24% said they didn’t know how they would vote (as usual ICM re-allocate a proportion of these people based on how they voted at the last election, without this adjustment the figures would have been CON 35%, LAB 28%).

Labour is expecting a bad night (or day, seeing as counting starts tomorrow morning), but the Conservatives falling flat (albeit allowing them to win thanks to Labour’s collapse) wouldn’t be entirely good news. A good Green result for Read would position him well to run “for real” in Norwich South in the general election, since Norwich South is probably a top Green target and one of the few places they stand a chance to win.

Series of African elections

A few recent African elections, mostly under the radar in the Western media.

Firstly, in the Republic of Congo. Unsurprisingly, incumbent President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Congolese Labour Party (PCT), the left-wing dictatorship party, won another 7 year term. Sassou Nguesso first came to power in 1979 as a member of the ruling military/Marxist junta led by the PCT, but he was defeated in free elections in 1992 by an opposition candidate (although he received Sassou Nguesso’s endorsement in the runoff, from which Sassou Nguesso was absent) – Pascal Lissouba. The PCT soon ditched Lissouba after he didn’t give them enough cabinet positions and, in typical African style, went into civil war which culiminated in Sassou Nguesso’s return in 1997. He was re-elected with 89.4% in 2002.

He faced twelve candidates this year, but the divided opposition’s official candidate, Mathias Dzon called to boycott the election. Sassou Nguesso won 78.6%, and his closest ‘rival’ was an opposition dissident, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia Mboungou, who won 7.5%.

In Mauritania, an election was held after a military coup in 2008 overthrew the beginnings of a democratic regime. The coup leader, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, stood for election and he has won around 53% by the first round.

Guinea-Bissau is probably the only of these elections which isn’t a fake election. These elections, with the first round last month (June 28) and the runoff on July 26, are special elections being held after President João Bernardo Vieira was assassinated on March 2.

The runoff opposes Malam Bacai Sanhá of the (governing) socialist/Marxist African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and the leader of the opposition centre-left Social Renewal Party (PRS), Kumba Ialá. Henrique Rosa, an Independent and former interim President, was eliminated in the first round but his votes will prove decisive. In the first round, Sanhá received 39.59%, Ialá 29.42%  and Rosa received 24.19%.

João Vieira led a military coup in 1980 which overthrew the PAIGC-Cabral family business, the ruling party since independence. Vieira ruled until 1999, when civil war erupted. Kumba Ialá was elected President in 2000 and, despite good intentions, was fairly incompetent in office. The military staged a coup in 2003 and elections were held in 2005. JoãoVieira was elected as an Independent in 2005. He received 28.87% in the first round – behind Sanhá (35.45%) but won due to the Ialá voters (25% in the first round) backing him in the runoff, which he won with 52.35%.

Tokyo 2009

The large Tokyo Metro Area (encompassing Tokyo and some of its suburbia) held prefectural elections for the 127-seat Metropolitan Assembly today. These Tokyo elections, because of the huge electorate (10 million today) are often seen as a very accurate test of popular support for the government before an imminent general election. The current government in Tokyo is formed by the same parties which form government nationally, the conservative-corrupt Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Buddhist New Komeito Party. The opposition in Tokyo is formed by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), a coalition of former Socialists (moderate), neoliberals, centrist, and LDP dissidents which have little in the way of actual ideology but rather united by an anti-LDP sentiment. Other opposition parties include the Communist Party (JCP), which is actually quite moderate and decent, and the Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDP) which is to the left of the JCP and is the piteous remains of the most radical wing of the old Japanese Socialist Party.

As I said before, these elections are accurate “opinion polls” for the general election. In 1993, the LDP lost its majority in Tokyo which signaled the loss of national power nationally that same year. In 2005, the LDP and New Komeito won a majority in Tokyo, which signaled the coalition’s majority win in the 2005 general election.

DPJ 54 seats (+20)
LDP 38 seats (-10)
New Komeito 23 seats (+1)
Communist Party 8 seats (-5)
Tokyo Seikatsusha 2 seats (-2)
Independents 2 seats (-1)
SDP 0 seats (-1)
LDP-New Komeito 61 seats (-9)

A major defeat for the LDP, but not a massive thumping (no DPJ majority on its own) but still a bag sign for the elections this year. In this election, all the opposition parties have 66 seats and a theoretical majority.

Mexico 2009

Firstly, I apologize for a big error in last day’s post: the Senate was not up for re-election, only the Chamber was. Anyways, these elections saw one of the largest victories for the formerly ruling PRI since the advent of real democracy in around 1988. The governing PAN had a bad night, but the very divided Mexican left (PRD) had an awful night.

PRI 36.68% winning 137 FPTP
PAN 27.98% winning 71 FPTP
PRD 12.20% winning 39 FPTP
Green 6.50%
PT 3.56%
PANAL 3.41%
Convergencia 2.36%
PSD 1.03%
PRI-PVEM candidates 0.41% winning 50 FPTP
PT-Convergencia candidates 0.24% winning 3 FPTP
Write-ins (non-registered parties) 0.18%
Blank and null 5.39%

Mexico 2009

The PR seats haven’t been allocated yet, but here is what I’ve been seeing as to final composition with the PR seats. I’m not sure if they have broken down the PRI-PVEM common candidates in the FPTP vote by the party of the winning candidate, because I’ve also seen 21 for the Greens and 237 for PRI. I think they counted all PRI-PVEM common candidates as PRI.

PRI 241 (+137) or 237 (+131)
PAN 147 (-59)
PRD 72 (-54)
Green 17 (-2) or 21 (+2)
PT 13 (-3)
PANAL 9 (nc)
Convergencia 6 (-10)
PSD 0 (-4)

PRI+Greenies (PVEM) have an absolute majority (258), but if the Greenies, which is nothing more than an object to buy, put their votes up for sale and the non-PRI parties have a good price for the PVEM, then an anti-PRI coalition would be possible (though unworkable and useless).

This election is comparable to the 2003 mid-terms or the 1997 mid-terms, both of which were won by the PRI. Though, as you can see, three years later, those victories turned into defeats (especially 2006).

In state elections; the PRI has held Campeche, Colima, Nuevo León (fending off a strong PAN challenge in one of PAN’s historical bases). It has gained Querétaro and San Luis Potosí. However, it seems that Sonora has bucked the trend by dumping the incumbent PRI in favour of PAN. Overall, +1 net for the PRI and -1 for PAN.

In the Federal District, the PRD has kept the absolute majority. Overall, the Lopezobradorista faction has emerged the strongest in the DF. For example, in Iztapalapa (discussed in the preview post), the PT candidate endorsed by Lopez Obrador won 31.2% against 22.1% for the PRD candidate (a member of the anti-Lopez faction).

Bulgaria 2009

Detailed results of yesterday’s legislative election in Bulgaria, which, as I wrote yesterday, was won convincingly by the opposition centre-right GERB. Keeping with the anti-incumbent trend which has been seen in every Bulgarian election since the fall of communism, the governing Socialist-coalition took a thumping, the Socialists in particular. The BSP’s junior coalition partner, the centrist liberal NDSV party led by former King Simeon II Saxe-Coburg-Gotha fell to 2% and lost all representation. Only the Turkish MRF/DPS has held stable, since it has a solid ethnic base and maintains this base through paternalism. Here are the full results of the election, including the 31 FPTP constituencies:

GERB 39.71% winning 116 seats [90 PR, 26 FPTP] (new)
BSP 17.70% (-13.3%) winning 40 seats (-42)
MRF/DPS 14.46% (+1.66%) winning 38 seats [33 PR, 5 FPTP] (+4)
Attack 9.36% (+1.26%) winning 21 seats (nc)
Blue Coalition 6.76% (-7.34%) winning 15 seats (-22)
Order, Law and Justice 4.13% winning 10 seats (new)
Lider 3.26% winning 0 seats (new)
NDSV 3.01% winning 0 seats (-53)

turnout 60.20% (+4.4%)

Bulgaria 2009

The Socialists took a well-deserved thumping in the FPTP vote. It’s good payback for them introducing such an awful voting system and using unequally populated provinces as FPTP constituencies. The DPS, however, must be quite happy with some dose of FPTP since it gave them five constituency seats, including three in provinces where Turks are less than 50% of the population (and with all Turks voting DPS and Bulgarians splitting between Bulgarian parties, the DPS won).

GERB is five short of the majority, so with the extremely likely support of the Blue Coalition, GERB will form government and Boyko Borisov will be Prime Minister of Bulgaria. However, dear left-wing readers out there, don’t despair, all Bulgarian governments have proved to be failures and GERB is unlikely to be different. You’ll probably be rejoicing at the Socialist landslide in 2013!