Monday, October 16, 2017

Quick Japan update

An update to Japan.

Due to strong polling for the Constitutional Democrats, I've updated my projection as follows:

280 - Gov
100 - Right
75 - Left
10 - Others

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Austria early results

Counting is wrapping up in Austria. My earlier post can be found here.

Early results are as follows:

62 - OVP
52 - SPO
51 - FPO
10 - NEOS
8 - PILZ

Compared to the projection, it seems a number of Greens switched to the SPO.

A more complete write up will come in the following days (or weeks) as it becomes clear what kind of government coalition will be formed. OVP has the option of either SPO or FPO.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

CMHoC 9th election

Results are in from the fictional CMHoC snap election, which I mentioned previously.

CMHoC, which I've posted about before, is a political simulation (a game) called the Canadian Model House of Commons. This election featured the 3 major parties from the real world, plus parties such as the Socialists, Radicals, and Pirates on the left, many of the right-wing alternative parties having died off during the last term.

A good summary of the results is this:



The results map is as follows:



As you can see, I combined the left parties into the NDP for the table. This is because the NDP, Radicals, and Pirates all ran on a co-endorsement deal, meaning none of the 3 parties ran against one another, and each party endorsed the candidates of the others.

A video recap can be found here:



Unfortunately the original livestream has been lost.

There are three possible coalitions that would command a majority. CPC-NDP. CPC-LIB. and NDP-LIB-PIR. The Radicals have already ruled out a coalition involving the Liberals.

As the strategist behind the Liberal campaign, I spent quite a lot of time on the election, and now that it is over will hopefully have more time to blog and do other things I enjoy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Iceland

Iceland goes to the polls at the end of this month. I've done a post before looking at some history. I wanted to introduce the current situation.


This map shows the results of the last election and, thus, the current Parliament. As you can see my projection is included on the map, I will go into greater detail about it at the bottom of this post.

Iceland has a number of parties, and the turnover in new parties since the economic crisis has increased. The most recent government collapsed causing this snap election. Exactly why is a bit complicated as it's rooted in certain legal and civil procedures related to Icelandic culture. In short, the father of the Prime Minister supported a convicted pedophile in trying to clear his record. When revealed Bright Future withdrew from the Government, and a snap election was called as a result.

The parties are a bit complicated, so I will explain.



Independence
This is the current Government. They are generally right-wing and seen as conservative. They are one of the two historic largest parties. They are current suffering from the scandal listed above, but are still polling rather well.

Reform
This party was new and formed before the last election. They had been polling well, but this has changed since the snap election. The party was formed by defectors from Independence, and their main plank is supporting clean government.

Bright Future
The party has been polling rather poorly for the past while now, rendering their decision questionable politically; however the party's main plank is clean government, and in that context their decision does make sense.

Left-Greens
In 2009 they were the jr partner in a Social Democrat lead coalition. The party is polling very well right now, and potentially can lead the next government. If so, I think this will be the first time a party so far to the left has lead a government in a nordic country.

Pirates
This is your standard and default pirate party, that support an open internet, and copyright reform. The party is generally left but due to being a supposed "single issue" party, also has members on the right.

Progressives
Formerly one of the two major parties, the party is Liberal, but has most of its support from Rural areas. It was their leader and then PM, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who was involved in with the Panama Papers scandal. Needless to say, he was removed as leader.

Social Democrats
This party won the 2009 election, and their leader, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, became the first lesbian Prime Minister. Their inability to turn around the financial crisis lead to them suffering heavily in the polls in both 2013 and 2016. Policywise, they are a pretty standard social democratic party.

Peoples Party
This populist party is generally left, but as with all modern populist movements in 2017, has anti-immigration policies. Their main policy is to help the poor and disabled. The party ran in 2016, but did not meet the threshold.

Centre Party
The home of the return of our friend Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. The TLDR version of this party, is a copy of the Progressives, and as such, it can be expected to split the vote with them. The party is brand new (as in it was formed 3 weeks ago) so its policies are not nailed down yet.



The polls suggest the following is a likely result (these are slightly different than shown on the map due to additional poll data being available now)

18 - Left-Greens
16 - Independence
7 - Pirates
7 - Social Democrats
6 - Populists
5 - Centre
4 - Progressives


Polls are very good for the Left-Greens, and they are increasing in the polls. If trends continue (and they probably will) the Left-Greens will be leading the government in all likelihood. Likely coalition partners include the Pirates and Social Democrats. The latter, in particular, lead a coalition with the Left-Greens from 2009-2012

Both Bright Future and Reform have been polling below the 5% threshold, and thus, are unlikely to return to Parliament at this term.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Japan

The situation in Japan is finally stable enough to analyze.

Our last major look at Japan introduced some of the larger parties. Importantly, it introduced us to the fluid nature of politics in Japan.

Unfortunately, due to that, any introduction will not last more than one general election cycle. As such, lets get right down to business.


Government Coalition

Liberal Democratic Party
The LDP has been governing Japan nearly nonstop since the end of WW2. A small break of a year in 1993-1994 from government at the behest of an 7 party alliance was beat by an outright election loss in 2009 to the Democratic Party of Japan, which removed the LDP from government for a full 3 years. The party is generally Conservative in nature but has what we would consider a "red tory" philosophy on certain issues.

New Party Komeito
Oddly, the party is the "political wing" of the Soka Gakkai buddhist religion. The party has evolved over the decades and currently is generally conservative. Officially the party stands up for the "little guy" and it is known for various anti-corruption stances, but in the context of politics in modern japan, it is seen as a potentially permanent jr partner to the LDP.



Right Opposition

Democrats
Evolving from the Democratic Party (different name in Japanese) this party recently decided to plunge into the right opposition coalition. The Democratic Party itself is a mish-mash of various old parties that manged to win in 1993. Of the 7 parties that formed a short lived coalition, 5 eventually joined into the Democrats in some form. That alliance, and the party, are the only forces to defeat the LDP since the end of WW2.

Initiatives
This is the successor to the Restoration party, a right-wing alternative started in 2012 by a Tokyo Governor. The party quickly grew popular in Osaka after merging with the mayor's party there. Osaka and Tokyo are among the largest urban areas in Japan, and contain many seats. The party remains popular in the Osaka region.

Party of Hope
Formed by current Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike, the party has the support of Komeito on the Municipal level. Two thirds of the Democrats in Parliament have joined the party for this election, and the entire legal Democrat Party will be fighting under this banner



Left Opposition

Constitutional Democrats
This splinter group contains a third of the Democrats in Parliament. Many of them were rejected as being too 'left' wing for the Party of Hope, and others refused to work with a right-wing party. The party now finds itself in an working with other left parties due to its opposition to moves by the Prime Minister to increase the military.

Social Democratic Party
Once known as the Socialists, this party was the main opposition to the LDP for decades from the end of WW2 to the 1993 election. It, along with Komeito, were among the 7 parties to form a coalition government that year. The SDP however was able to work out a deal with the LDP that saw it head a coalition government from 1994 to 1996. The party has grown very small in recent years, and can only be expected to take a small handful of seats.

Japanese Communist Party
The JCP has been on the upswing in recent years due to moves by the Prime Minister to change the Constitution of Japan, as well as various trade and economic policies. The JCP now unofficially leads the left opposition coalition in the election and can be counted on to keep its two dozen or so seats, if not increase that number.



Current polls suggest the following:

300 - Gov
120 - Right
35 - Left
10 - Others

The main battle will be between Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, and Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo. While Koike has rejected suggestions she will become the first female PM of Japan should her alliance win, she currently has momentum and is popular with the voters.


While the parties have shifted around quite a bit in the past few years, the general split between the government, the centre and right opposition and the left opposition has not. One of the LDP's key strengths is its ability to win single member seats. Japan uses a parallel proportional system where parties are assigned seats from the proportional list based on their vote totals. Should the LDP win 50% of the vote in any particular region, they will get 50% of the list seats, irregardless of if they've won every single member seat in that region or no single member seats in that region.

The Right has a possibility of causing problems due to support in the major cities, however it remains to be seen if this is enough to defeat the LDP.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Austria

Austria goes to the polls on the 15th. In past decades, Austria has had very routine and boring politics. After WW2 an "all party coalition" was formed between the OVP (the Conservatives), the SPO (the Socialists) and the KPO (the Communists). After dropping the Communists from this arrangement, the OVP-SPO kept in coalition until 1966, when the OVP formed a single party government, which was replaced by a single party SPO government in 1970 which ran until 1983.

At that time the Socialists decided to coalition with the FPO, or Freedom Party. At the time the FPO was more centrist and Liberal, however Jorg Haider rose up in the party and turned the FPO into a vehicle for nationalism.

Finally, in 1986, the coalition was restored, and was maintained until 1999, when OVP formed a coalition with FPO. While Haider himself was not included in government, EU countries imposed some sanctions on Austria. When it became clear FPO was not a threat to democracy, those sanctions were lifted.

In 2006 the traditional SPO-OVP coalition was restored, and has been governing austria since.

In the last election, in 2013, the SPO took 52 of the 183 seats, compared to 47 for the OVP and 40 for the FPO.

Until this spring, polls indicated the FPO on course for victory with the SPO in second, however the election of a new OVP leader over the summer, Sebastian Kurz, has changed that. Polls have shown a very consistent and nearly flat line for the OVP at 33% support, ahead of the SPO at 23% and FPO at 25%.



OVP - Austrian Peoples Party.
This is the "Conservative" party in Austria and has strong christian democratic roots, it is often compared to the CDU in Germany. It is a moderate right party with a long history in government and is expected to win the election.

SPO - Socialist Party of Austria
This is Austria's answer to Germany's SPD. It is the main left-wing party in the country and is currently leading the government. Polls indicate it will do poorly, perhaps even finishing third overall.

FPO - Freedom Party of Austria
This party has become more anti-immigration and anti-islam over the years and now presents an extreme viewpoint on the issue. It is in line with people like Marine Le Pen and far exceeds Donald Trump on opposing immigration.

Greens
The current President of Austria was Green leader for many years, but the party has fallen on rough times as one of its members has quit to create a splinter party. This party is like any other common 'default' Green party that can be found in Europe

Peter Pilz List
Started by a former Green, this party focuses on corruption issues and democratic reform. Its main planks are support for transparency and opposition to unethical behavior.

NEOS - New Austria Liberal Forum
This party polled well in 2014 but has since fallen in the polls and is now at or near 5% as are the two other "smaller" parties in Austria at the current time. They are a Liberal and pro-europe party.


Current polls, which are mostly stable, suggest the following result:

63 - OVP
50 - FPO
43 - SPO
9 - Green
9 - Pilz
9 - NEOS

It is unknown, however, if OVP will chose FPO or SPO for their coalition partner, as both comes with their own risks.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Catalonia developments

The recent referendum is reported to have been a massively oversized landslide for the yes side, on roughly 40% turnout. This matches the previous referendum 3 years ago.

I recommend following the BBC which has semi-regular updates on the situation.

In short, Catalan leaders have indicated they will declare independence, but Spain insists they will not recognize such a move. Europe is to debate this, but some countries have already come down on the side of Spain such as Ireland.

Italy faces its own separatists who seem emboldened by this, and the reactions of governments like the UK may cause flair ups in Scotland, for example. The political reality means the EU is unlikely to back this drive for Independence at this time.

Elsewhere,

I'm very eager to start writing about Iceland and Japan but the situation in both countries remains chaotic with new parties being formed and not many polls showing how well said parties are doing. As such I will wait until the situation calms down before doing my intro.