Daily Archives: July 3, 2009

Albania 2009

Albania held a legislative election for its 140 legislature on June 28. The current government is led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha of the right-wing Democratic Party (PD). The Socialist Party (PS), which used to be Albania’s sole legal party under communist madman Enver Hoxha, is in opposition. After massively disproportionate results last time, due to massive tactical voting, the voting system has been changed from MMP (100 FPTP, 40 PR) to proportional representation using Albanian counties as constituencies. There is a 3% threshold for parties and a 5% threshold for coalitions.

While Berisha was a total incompetent as President, presiding over massive corruption, electoral fraud and a Ponzi scheme; he has had a decent term with good economic growth and stable foreign relations. He has gathered a coalition including his PD, and the smaller Republican Party (PR, nationalist) and the Party for Justice Integration (PDI), a Cham minority party. Opposed to this coalition (known as Alliance for Changes) is the Unification for Changes around the PS and the Greek minority party (Unity for Human Rights Party, PBDNJ). There are two smaller coalitions, the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) and the Christian Democratic Party (Albania, however, is majority Muslim with a sizable Catholic and Greek Orthodox minority).

The election is probably the first real free and fair election and the first one where voters have a real choice (because the government hasn’t been a complete and utter failure, like all governments have in the past).

Alliance for Changes 46.83% winning 70 seats (PD 39.99% and 68 seats, PR 2.1% and 1 seat, PDI 0.95% and 1 seat)
Unification for Changes 45.39% winning 66 seats (PS 40.85% and 65 seats, PBDNJ 1.18% and 1 seat)
Socialist Movement for Integration 5.56% winning 4 seats
Christian Democrats 1.82%

The PD has claimed victory, but it only has exactly half the seats, so it’s position is uncertain. The PS coalition has fewer seats, but with probable support from the LSI, it ties with the PD. Who knows how this will end up, but it certainly isn’t good for Albania’s political and economic stability. We might see an election in the next few months.

Argentina 2009

Argentina held legislative elections for half the seats in the lower house (Chamber of Deputies) and a third of seats in the upper house (Senate), as well as one gubernatorial election, local elections, and legislative elections in the City of Buenos Aires. Argentine politics and political parties are quite confusing, mainly because there are no real parties per se – political parties operate roughly as confederation of elected officials, similar to the French Third Republic.

In addition, Argentine politics have been dominated for a long time by a local ideolgy, Peronism. Peronism is a pragmatic ideology which is very hard to pin down. Under Juan Perón, the founder of the ideology, it could be classified as a Argentine application of Italian fascism. Others have compared it to Gaullism in France or Franquism in Spain. Overall, a populistic-nationalistic ideology. Peronist tenets include “social justice” (the current Peronist party is the Justicialist Party), strong centralized government, nationalism, a fascist-like mix of capitalism and socialist in a corporativist fashion. Perón and Peronism was widely supported in the general working-class population, and still has a relatively solid base of real popular support. It was opposed, under Perón, by the UCR-led bourgeoisie (the liberal Radical Civic Union, UCR, is Argentina’s oldest party), communists, and Catholic fundies. The current President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and her predecessor (and husband), Néstor Kirchner, are classified as Peronist (though neither can be classified as fascist admirers, but rather run-of-the-mill centre-leftists).

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government got into a major conflict with farmers over the rise of export tariffs in 2008. Since then, she has been generally unpopular, add to that the worldwide economic crisis.

The best results I could find are from Clarín, a Peronist-leaning newspaper.

Chamber of Deputies (all seats)

Kirchneristas (PJ and Front for Victory) winning 96 seats (-20)
Kirchnerist allies winning 17 seats (-4)
Civic Coalition (UCR, social democrats, liberals) winning 77 seats (+16)
Union PRO (right-liberals) winning 26 seats (+12)
PJ dissidents winning 17 seats (+1)
Others winning 24 seats (-5)

In notable result, Néstor Kirchner, the husband of the President and current leader of the Peronist party (PJ), was “defeated” in the province of Buenos Aires (not the city, mind you) by a wealthy right-wing businessman, Francisco de Narváez of Union PRO. de Narváez took 34% (13 seats) against 32% (12 seats) for Kirchner. While Kirchner has “won”, obviously, he “lost” by virtue of this race being turned into a referendum on him, his wife and so forth.

Overall, the Kirchners have lost their overall majority in the Chamber.

Senate (all seats)

Kirchneristas (PJ and Front for Victory) winning 36 seats (-4)
Civic Coalition (UCR, social democrats, liberals) winning 23 seats (+7)
PJ dissidents winning 9 seats (nc)
Others winning 4 seats (-3)

The Kirchners have exactly 50.00% of the seats, and the non-Kirchners have 50.00%.

City of Buenos Aires Legislature (all seats)

Union PRO winning 26 seats (-1)
South Project (democratic socialists) winning 9 seats (+7)
Civic Coalition winning 8 seats (+2)
Kirchneristas winning 7 seats (-4)
Dialogue for the City winning 5 seats (+1)
Others winning 5 seats (-5)