Tuesday, January 18, 2022

18JAN2022 updates

 Only one real update; the Serbian referendum, which passed.

It passed 60-40, however, the more interesting thing, is the 30% turnout. 

Serbia recently changed its laws to allow for the passage of referenda without a 50% turnout.

These are the facts; however, what is more interesting to me, is the 50% turnout threshold that many countries have.

This is where we veer off the usual fact based talk and get into more opinion based talk; but, why do such things even exist?

The answer is simple enough; to ensure that they people really want change. However; would people simply not be able to vote "no" if they did not want change?

Why are we assuming those who did not turn out are just as opposed as those who vote no?

In my opinion, such rules are silly. If you want turnout, you should simply combine two laws; first, mandatory voting, and secondly, a none-of-the-above option. This allows people to send whatever message they wish. 

Regardless, the referendum in Serbia has passed, and as such, Serbian laws will move more in line with laws in the EU surrounding judicial issues. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

11JAN2022 updates

 Not much to update. A state in Venezuela held elections won by the opposition. I am not a fan of the ruling party in the country, but actually counting the votes (and thus allowing the 'other guys' to win) is something I do support. Not much else to say about this at this time.

I've added new bookmarks to check regularly. I already regularly check on polls in Israel, Italy, Hungary, and France (2nd round, president). I've now added both Ireland and Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein is in an excellent position to win both. 

In Ireland, SF sits around 32%, while FG is at about 22%, and FF around 18%. No other party has more than 5% of the vote. For reference, in the last election, SF took 25%, while FF took 22% and FG took 21%. In short, this means SF can be expected to gain seats. One projection for December 2021 has SF on 63 seats, FG on 40, and FF on 35, with 24 others. 

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, SF leads with 24%. This is down from 28% in the last assembly election. The DUP, which also took 28%, but slightly more votes, is polling far down at near 18%. The why is easy to see, the TUV is up to a whopping 11%. The party is a far more extreme version of the DUP, and on these numbers, could elect a dozen or more members. The non-sectarian Alliance Party of Northern Ireland is also up, at about 15%. Meanwhile the SDLP and UUP, and most of the smaller parties, sit roughly where they were last election. 

Elections in Ireland, in general, both in the north and south, are hard to project. If I had to make an utter mathless guess, I'd say SF could take 24 seats, and have a gap on the next party; which I suspect to still be the DUP, at 15. The TUV and APNI could each take 12, and the SDLP and UUP could also each take 12. The remaining 3 seats would be taken by smaller parties. If this came to pass, the Unionists would hold 39 seats, down from 41, while the Nationalists would hold 36, down from 39. 15 non-sectarian MLAs would set a record; and with the TUV in such a strong position (the party opposes the current way the assembly is structured, with its sectarian based co first ministry) we may be approaching a nexus point for NI; where they will need to make a decision on their long term future. 

I, for one, could see 6 party talks (SF, SDLP, APNI, DUP, UUP, TUV) take place. If they come to an agreement, which is doubtful, it could become the new way politics are done in NI. If not, it may come down to a referendum on the status of NI, one in which joining Ireland is actually a possible result. In such a result, I've put together a very rough guesstimation of a possible first election in a re-unified Ireland, based on current polls (which itself is problematic). This would see SF take 36%, boosted by a successful reunification, with FF and FG both tie at 13%. The 5 small parties would each take about 5% of the vote, with the 6th, PBP, suffering from the high SF vote, and not clearing 1%. The 5 smaller parties would be the Greens, Labour, the Alliance (which would be a vehicle for NI voters who are 'iffy' about reunification), and the two "Loyalist" parties, the Ulster Loyalists, a successor to the UUP, and the Traditional Democratic Loyalists, a successor to the TUV and much of the DUP. I could see the Ulster Loyalists sitting in the Dail, but the TDL likely would not, at least, not for the first session, and/or at least not quietly. 

All of this, of course, is just guesswork and playing around with potential future history. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Looking ahead to 2022

 The year is ending and it is time to look forward to upcoming elections in 2022!

Jan 16 : Serbia Referendum
Jan 30 : Portugal General
Mar 09 : South Korea President
Mar 27 : Lebanon Parliament (if)
April? : Hungary General (date?)
Apr 03 : Serbia General
Apr 10 : France President
May 05 : Northern Ireland
May 08 : Schleswig-Holstein
May 09 : Philippine General
May 15 : North Rhine-Westphalia
May 21 : Australia General (date?)
Jun 02 : Ontario
Jun 12 : France Parliament
Jul 25 : Japan Upper House
Sep 11 : Sweden General
Oct 02 : Brazil General
Oct 03 : Quebec
Oct 09 : Lower Saxony
Nov 08 : US Midterms
Nov 26 : Victoria

Hopefully that's clear enough. I have doubts Lebanon will manage an election on the date listed. Also Hungary's election date is unclear. Also unclear is the election in Australia; however, I've made my best educated guess as to when such elections might occur. 

In general, things will remain somewhat quiet until March, and then get crazy busy in May. While the fall/autumn might seem to not be very busy, keep in mind that snap elections can happen at any time, and we may see a few of those during this period. 

Also note that just because an election is listed here does not mean I will cover it in detail, nor does an election being missing from the list mean that I will not cover it.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Bulgarian government to be sworn in

 Bulgaria is going to finally have a new government. The incoming coalition has been worked out, and the new government is expected to be sworn in tomorrow. The new government will have 134 members, exactly half of which will come from PP (Continue the Change party). 26 are from the social-democratic BSP, 25 from anti-corruption ITN, and 16 from anti-corruption DB. A note that DB has more seats from urban areas (8) than ITN (4) and it thus could be viewed as being more "progressive". 

The cabinet will have 7 PP members, 3 'pro-PP independents', 4 ITN members, 3 DB members, 4 BSP members, for a 10-11 balance between the lead party and other parties; similar to the new coalition cabinet in Germany denying a majority to the lead party. 

PP will hold the post of prime minister, and a number of other key posts such as finance, and health. ITN will hold the foreign post,  DB the justice ministry, and BSP the Labour portfolio. 

Kiril Petkov is the incoming Prime Minister. He has a Canadian connection, having graduated from UBC, and holding a dual citizenship until a few months ago. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Germany's new government sworn in.

 We are in the winter doldrums, when politics slows down in the countries we generally cover. As such, no regular updates, as, nothing has changed, and there is nothing to update. However, one change is the new government of Germany has been sworn in. A list of cabinet members can be found here.

What In find interesting is that the cabinet has 8 SPD members, 5 Green members, and 4 FDP members. Why is this interesting? Because if you went purely based on share of seats in parliament, the SPD would have 9 members, the Greens 5, and the FDP 4. Basically, the Greens and FDP were able to convince the SPD to drop one member. The impact of this is that Cabinet has 8 SPD members and 9 non-SPD members, giving these two parties a majority around the cabinet table. I suspect when I saw the Green and FDP leader smiling at one another during the post-election debate, that this is why. Both knew they had the numbers to make this demand a reality. 

The new government will have 416 members, 210 are from outside the SPD and 206 are from the SPD. From outside the party, 118 are Greens and 92 are FDP. 

Interestingly, in the upper house, the "government" only has 7 seats. In Germany, each state has a certain number of seats in the upper house, and all those seats are under the control of the state coalition government. As such, the 3 members from Hamburg as under the control of the SPD-Green coalition. This means there are not 2 SPD and 1 Green member, but, 3 SPD-Green members. The same is true for the Rhineland-Palatine coalition, which has 4 seats, and the same makeup of the federal coalition. 

I say this is the only "government" members, because all other states have a party outside the government as part of their coalitions. 4 include the left party, while 10 include the CDU/CSU. This means the state CDU parties hold the ability to vote "no" on legislation. However, this 'veto' is only a time lock. The lower house can simply pass the bill again. The 'catch' is that the re-passed bill must have 50%+1 of all lower house members, not just 50%+1 of all voting lower house members. In a coalition of this size, this effectively does not matter, meaning the upper house can only stall bills. The veto, however, is a true veto when it comes to bills that could impact the powers of the individual lander (states). Historically, however, German governments have chosen to work with the upper house to pass legislation rather than against it.

The 416 seat government will be facing off against a 320 seat opposition. A majority of which, 197 members, come from the CDU/CSU coalition. Of those, 152 are from the CDU and 45 are from the CSU. Additional opposition members include 83 AfD members, 39 Left members, and 1 member of the danish minority SSW.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

30NOV2021 updates

 We are into the winter doldrums for politics, but there are a few minor updates.

The czech and icelandic coalitions are now in place. 

I've also run some quick numbers for Italy, and the basic poll average (in terms of seats potentially won at the next election) is as follows:

85 PD (progressive) 
82 FdI (neo-nationalist) 
79 Lega (trump-like) 
64 M5S (left populist) 
32 FI (conservative) 
15 Az (left liberal) 
11 IV (liberal) 
8 EV (green) 
7 A1 (social democrat) 
7 SI (socialist) 
7 +Eu (euro liberal) 
3 CI (moderate)

Lastly, Japan's CDP has picked a new leader. 

Izumi Kenta has won. Mr. Izumi was the furthest 'right' of all the candidates, having stuck with Kibo and the DPP until the final merger. This may indicate a willingness to re-unite and heal the party. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

23NOV2021 updates

 Not much new to report. Germany's coalition is solidifying, The Czech coalition gets sworn in, in a few days. Iceland's coalition is finalizing the details. 

Perhaps the most report worthy thing is that Japan's CDP, its main opposition, is electing a new leader, and the 4 main candidates have emerged. The best way to classify them would be by how they reacted to the party split in the last election. Nishimura stayed with the party. Osaka became an independent. Ogawa became an joined Kibo. Izumi joined the DPP. No polls yet indicate how popular any of them are.