Daily Archives: October 20, 2009
A general election for Botswana’s 57-seat lower house, the National Assembly, was held yesterday. Botswana uses the British Westminster style of government, with the President being Prime Minister and the VP being the Deputy PM. Botswana is often flaunted as an African success-story, having been considered a democratic, stable, working and historically prosperous nation (though the latter part has been shadowed a bit by the HIV-AIDs epidemic in the country and the region in general). It has been governed since independence from Britain in 1966 by the centre-right Democratic Party (BDP). While the country is undoubtedly a one-party dominant system, it remains a democratic nation with real elections. The BDP has never dropped below 50% in any election, though it came close last election in 2004. The main centre-left opposition has been the Botswana National Front (BNF) and, since a split in 1999, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and it’s ally, the Alliance Movement (BAM).
he current President, Ian Khama, succeeded Festus Mogae, who had been President since 1998, in 2008.
BDP 53.26% (+1.53%) winning 45 seats (+1)
BNF 21.94% (-4.12%) winning 6 seats (-6)
BCP 19.15% (+2.53%) winning 4 seats (+3)
BAM 2.27% (-0.57%) winning 1 seat (+1)
Independents 1.92% (+1.89%) winning 1 seat (+1)
Rather unsurprisingly, the BDP and Khama have won another term, and Khama won his first outright term in office. The divided opposition continues to duke it out, with the notable increase of the BCP over the BNF. Is it a matter of time before the BCP becomes the official opposition?
The runoff of the legislative by-election in the Yvelines’ 12th constituency in France was held last night, on Sunday October 18. I posted a bit about the constituency in question and the results of the first round last week. The runoff opposed the UMP’s star candidate, former judoka and close friend of Nicolas Sarkozy and Frédérik Bernard, the Socialist Mayor of Poissy, the constituency’s largest city. The relatively affluent (in some parts very affluent) constituency is a suburban constituency of Paris in the Yvelines department, located west of the city. The right has held this seat in its current incarnation since 1988, and has always been represented by RPR-UMP deputy Jacques Masdeu-Arus, who was recently removed from office for being a crook. Sarkozy won 55% of the vote in the runoff here, but Masdeu-Arus, whose judicial problems are nothing new, won only 52.3% in the 2007 runoff against Eddie Aït, the Left Radical candidate endorsed by the PS. This result was the right’s worse result, even worse than it’s 54% in the midst of the 1997 pink wave. In the European elections, the UMP won 33.3% against 19.3% for the Greens and 13.2% for the PS. This result is in line with other similar middle-to-upper-class constituencies in the region and France in general.
Turnout was slightly up at 33.7%, it was only 30.13% in the first round.
David Douillet (UMP) 52.10% (-0.22%)
Frédérik Bernard (PS) 47.90% (+0.22%)
David Douillet appears to have done very well (better than his predecessor) in the ultra-affluent communes in dark blue, nearly breaking 90% in one. He narrowly won Poissy, which voted against it’s Mayor, but the left dominated in most of the other middle-class communities and also in Carrières-sous-Poissy, the poorest community in the constituency.
David Douillet’s victory, while it has already been flaunted by the UMP and its talking heads as a major victory for Sarkozy and the right, it’s more of a Pyrrhic victory given the low majority on paper, but most notably the fact that he only won 52%, and a few decimals less than an unpopular crook did before him. Of course, one could hold the fact that Douillet actually won 52% in a bad time for Sarkozy and the UMP as a victory, given the recent scandal surrounding the nomination of Sarkozy’s son to the EPAD, the carbon tax, and the Culture Minister in a scandal of words. However, this result doesn’t give the right any legitimate reason to hold a massive party.
52% isn’t the right’s average level here, and they should hope it doesn’t become or if it does that it’s only a local factor. The right has already largely lost the urban (and, in some cases, suburban) middle-class to the left in many elections (though some return to the fold when the right wins big) and it has no business fully losing suburban middle-class voters.