Monday, December 26, 2016

26DEC2016 - Updates

Still no government (sigh)
The most recent news is the Progressives are trying to cobble one together; they are the scandal ridden former government heads who were resoundingly voted out.

New Zealand
Still no new polls, but a poll taken during the resignation suggests national may be down slightly, perhaps, after everything is taken into account, down from an average of near 47 to closer to 43.

At Home (Canada)
The Liberals have lost quite a few points in recent polling, but are still polling ahead of their election performance.

Things have not generally turned to violence, so that's good, but things are still chaotic. Looks like the entire election hinges on a single polling booth that had a re-vote, and has yet to be counted.

Turks and Caicos
December 15th election, opposition has won, and is forming a new government.

Ivory Coast
Existing government re-elected handedly, taking 50%+1 of the vote compared to the largest opposition party, which took 5.8%.

Future elections to look to
Western Australia in March
British Columbia in May
And Nationally;
Netherlands in March
France in April

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Crossbenchers Assemble

Today the Senate announced the reaction of an Independent Senate Group, in effect, a crossbencher club within the Senate. You can read more about it here.

I'm not going to talk in detail about it, because, in part, I've mentioned this sort of thing, in drips and drabs, before.

However, I did want to update the "Senate Graphic" I use. Note that the ISG is in lighter greys while the Senators remaining "Independent" are darker. I've still shaded them by political leaning however.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 will be known for it's faithless electors.

When states like New Hampshire, Georgia, and Vermont produced results showing 0 faithless electors, it started to look like 2016 would be known as the year everyone worried about them, but that none showed up to vote.

In the end, there were numerous cases.

In Maine, Colorado, and Minnesota, one elector each tried to cast a a faithless ballot, but they were overturned in each state, and either replaced, or forced to cast a ballot that matches their states popular vote totals.

Washington cast 4 faithless ballots.

Texas cast two.

and Hawaii cast 1.

With a total of 7 faithless electors, from 3 states, and an attempt by 3 others, from 3, states, to join them, this clearly becomes "the" election of faithless electors. All previous faithless electors either had 'good reason', such as the death of a candidate, had their ballots cast under different circumstances, or were one-offs and aberrations in their elections.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Final Tally looking 305 Trump, 228 Clinton, 3 Powell, 1 Kasich, 1 Spotted Eagle

Voting continues, but we have a good idea of the final results. Trump has already won the 270 he needs, but there are other 'winners' as well.

Colin Powell is the surprise 'winner', taking 3 votes from Washington.

John Kasich is also a winner, taking the expected single vote from Texas.
Or possibly;
The John Kasich vote expected from Texas never materialized.
Texas is the state that put Trump over the top; without it, he would have failed to take a majority, and would have been left with 268 votes. 

But the surprise winner is Faith Spotted Eagle. You can see a video of her here from CNN.

As far as I know she's the first native person to win an electoral vote in US history.

There still could be faithless electors from states yet to declare such as California, Nevada, Hawaii, or the District of Columbia; which voted earlier but has yet to publish results. Even if all of them, and, the electors from Texas, voted for the same person, they would be unable to overtake Clinton. As well, if even 2 Texas electors vote for Trump (all signs are at least 37 will) it's all over, and Trump is the winner.

All of these votes will need to be read and certified in Congress, of course, but it's terribly unlikely that what was put into the envelope in the state capitol and what's read in Congress will be different.

Current map is as follows:

Electoral Vote rolls in

Just a quick update and current map.

In short, this mass of faithless electors has not appeared. I'm expecting a grand total of 2, possibly 3 by the end of the day, if that many.

You can watch "live" as the results come in here, at 270 to win.

The most interesting will be the texas vote. This should be where the livestream is. Not only will it put Trump over the top, but there's an expected faithless elector.

19DEC2016 - Elector Day

Today is the day electors from the US electoral college cast their ballots. Normally this day passes without notice, so I don't really have past memory of how all this goes. Theoretically the electors submit 6 envelopes. 1 to Congress, 1 as a backup to Congress, 1 as a backup to the backup, 1 to the State's Secretary of State (Who normally administers elections), 1 as a backup, and 1 to a local judge.

It's unclear when these are opened.
It's unclear if electors can, or should, talk about the results.

As such its quite possible that by the end of the day today we won't have any idea of how the electoral college voted.

Still no government

New Zealand:
No new polls since Key quit and English took over. I'll keep you updated when new stuff rolls in.

The elections have produced a near tie, and things are getting messy. I'll update when things become a bit more coherent.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rural vs Urban

Statscan has a great table showing the rural VS urban split here in Ontario.

There's a problem with it though, it does not reflect "feeling".

That might sound stupid, or silly, but I think it's something we overlook when it comes to politics.

Statscan defines "urban" as anyone living in a population centre with over 1,000 people, and, anyone living outside these areas but in an area with over 400 persons per square kilometer.

This means the nearby settlement to me, of Wyevale, seen here on google maps, is an "urban area"

It's difficult to try to figure out exactly how many people live in areas above or below a certain point. Consider that even Toronto has farms within it's municipal limits.

I have tried to estimate levels of "feeling" in the various ridings in Ontario. I caution these are personal guesstimates, and there are no hard facts and figures. Red means fully Urban while a darker Green indicates fully Rural. Lighter shades indicate a slightly mixed feeling with one side favoured, while Orange/Yellow indicates a roughly equal mix of the two.

Again, no hard numbers, but from this, I would estimate that a good 40%-45% of Ontarians consider themselves to be "Rural", regardless of what the official statistics say.

This is one reason why "rural" arguments impact. You are not talking to the farmers who live between Goderich and Kincardine, you are talking to people who live in Stratford. Your arguments aren't only for those in Port Milford, they are for those in Cornwall.

In general, and it's not an exact science, and there are always nuances, but you can assume that a third of more of those people listed in the "urban" section would self-describe as "rural".

Using this formula, Ontario is 42.7% rural. Quebec is 46% rural, Alberta is 45%, BC is 42.6%,  and the closest to the borderline is Manitoba at 51% rural, with all other provinces showing up as more "Rural" than Urban using this formula, with PEI being the most "Rural" at 69%, which, having lived there, seems low.

I think that, in general, feeling is important to keep in mind. If you "feel" poor, arguments designed for the poor will impact you. If you "feel" ignored, arguments designed for the ignored will resonate. Even if the statistics say that you are not poor, or ignored, if you "feel" you are, these political arguments will have sway with you.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Electoral College Day - December 19th

A week from today, the Electoral College will select the next President of the United States. As you know, I've been trying to keep a map that details the current standings.

Currently there are 7 electors who, in some form, say they will become faithless. That is, vote for someone who did not win the popular vote in their state or district. Of those, in all likelihood, there's a very good chance that half or more will not act as claimed. They may vote for the person they were elected to vote for, or, they may simply abstain. Despite that, these electors have unofficially indicated their support for John Kasich.

Most of them are Democrats. The thinking is that by committing to vote for a "moderate" Republican, they can entice Republican electors into doing the same. Should no one candidate get 269 votes in the electoral college, the House of Representatives will have to pick from the top three candidates. These electors feel that should Trump be on the ballot facing a moderate Republican, that the Democrats in Congress will vote tactically for that moderate, and, that enough Republicans can be swayed to do the same, that Trump can be blocked from becoming President.

Legally this plan is sound. Strategically it's flawed.

I've taken every last rumor of any electors being even slightly irked and have developed this "Worst" case scenario map:

As you can see, there are many changes to the results as they were cast by the voters.

Two things to note from this map.

First, even with this most extreme of circumstances, Trump would be elected President by a majority of the Electoral College.

Second, a heck of a lot of stretching has to happen for this to even become possible. At absolute maximum, I've heard of 3 texan electors who are unhappy. Of those, 1 has said nothing in a while. 1 has resigned and been replaced with a pro-Trump elector. And the last is part of the group I spoke of above. To take 1 confirmed elector and expand it to 9 is lunacy, yet that's how far I need to go to make this map even possible.

Note as well that for this to happen Kasich would need to sway strong Pence voters from Indiana, who have shown 0 sign of any desire to switch. As well he'd need to tap into supposed discontent within Michigan, Iowa, and Georgia. Again, all these reports were "iffy" at best. Lastly, he'd need to sweep Ohio, which will be difficult to do when he is explicitly telling people to knock this nonsense off.

I even had to make similar sized assumptions for the Democrats. Minnesota in particular has lost 2 electors, not due to any rumors, but because "That's the sort of thing Minnesota would do." - very weak grounds for suggesting such an unprecedented change in electors. Outside of New Hampshire, which seems united in it's desire to flip the result, only one Democratic elector from RI, and one from Maryland, seem committed to this. Meanwhile, 3 electors, total, in Washington are debating doing 'something' but that 'something' may include voting for Bernie Sanders, or, as mentioned above, abstaining.

Regardless, I present the above map as a "possibility" alongside Justin Trudeau announcing that he has secretly been Frank McKenna all along, and Gerry Adams being installed as the new King of England.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Somalia and Twitter

Just now I posted a "twitter thread" that you can read here.

It started with a tweet from CNN's Breaking News that read

The death toll from a car bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia, has risen to at least 20 people, an official says.

I said that was good news and explained why. I'll post the thread here.

despite the deaths, this sort of news story is great news, and I'll explain why in this thread
next I tweeted

Somalia has, for years, been a den of anarchy and fighting. In ~2014 the state started to stabilize.

last year my prediction for this year was that Somalia would become a far more stable, recognizable, and normal state

that seems, for the most part, to have happened. Replace Mogadishu in this tweet with any other city, and it still works.

Previously, a car bombing in an area of anarchy where no country has rule wouldn't be tweet worthy, nobody would notice in the larger world

Now, not only is this pushed to the front, but "officials" are making comment. It's simple but there's someone there to BE an official.

And while I hope this is the last car bombing I ever read about from Mogadishu, I truly hope to see Somalia continue its recovery.

The more news stories I see out of Somalia that 'could happen anywhere' the better. Somalia; my hopes are with you.

In effect, it's a mini blog.
I wanted to give all my readers a heads up; that one of the best ways to keep up with my thoughts is through twitter.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Ghana Election

Elections were held this week in Ghana.

The NPP's Akufo-Addo Dankwa, after two unsuccessful runs at the top job, now appears set to take the Presidency, from incumbent John Mahama of the NDC.

Dankwa leads with 54.7% of the vote, compared to Mahama's 43.6%.

In Parliament, the NPP is winning 119 seats, with the NDC sitting on 65. Both parties have won at least one seat in every province, though most provinces vote heavily for one party or the other. Ashanti, for example, currently is returning 25 NPP seats, to 3 for the NDC, while Volta is returning only a single NPP member, but 15 for the NDC. 91 seats have yet to declare, but all signs point to an NPP victory.

Some background.

The NDC is a left-wing party that is a member of Socialist International. They use Green as their colour, and their symbol is an umbrella with an eagle head on top; the logo has the colours Green, White, Red, and Black.

The NPP is a right-wing party that is a member of the IDC; the same organization of the Conservative Party of Canada. They use Blue as their colour, and their symbol is a flag that is Red, White, and Blue, with a Blue elephant in the centre.

The current democratic history of Ghana started in 1992.

Ghana achieved independence from the UK in 1960. Kwame Nkrumah became President and had a controversial rule. To skip a lot of somewhat repetitive history, between 1960 and 1992, a series of civilian and military dictatorships ruled the country, alternating between the armed forces, and various incarnations of Nkumah's party. Finally, in 1992, Ghana was faced with a free democratic election.

It is a sad reality that in much of sub-saharan africa, free democratic elections will only happen a few times in a row, before a dictator settles in. In the cases where this does not happen, the democratically elected government does terrible things, south as in South Africa. As such, I personally have a lot of respect and interest in Ghana for it's ability to foster a spirit of political stability in a region where this is uncommon.

In 1992, Jerry Rawlings, the candidate from the NDC, won the Presidential election. Observers said the election was free and fair, but the NPP claimed otherwise. The margin of victory was approximately 60%-30%. After the Presidential ballot, the NPP boycotted the Parliamentary vote, and all seats were won by the NDC's lead alliance.

Rather than use this term to install a new dictatorship, the NDC made changes to the electoral act that had been demanded by the NPP.

1996 saw the Rawlings re-elected over NPP candidate John Kufuor with 57% compared to 40%. In Parliament the NDC took 133 seats, compared to 61 for the NPP, and 6 for all other parties combined.

2000 saw the first peaceful transition of power from one elected government to another in the history of Ghana. In the first round, Kufuor took 48% of the vote to NDC candidate John Atta Mills' 45%. The second round produced a victory for John Kufuor, 57% to 43%. The NPP won 99 Parliamentary seats to the NDC's 92, with 9 seats being held by others.

2004 saw Kufuor re-elected over Mills, 52% to 45%, and the NPP win an outright majority in Parliament of 128 seats to the 94 won by the NDC and the 8 won by other parties.

2008 saw power change again as Mills took 48% in the first round compared to Addo's 49%, and Mills beat Akufo-Addo in the final round 50.2% to 49.8%. The NDC also won Parliament with 116 seats compared to the NPP's 107, and 7 for the other parties. Despite this, the NDC won fewer votes in the Parliamentary election.

If there was any one time to put democracy in Ghana in danger, this wast it. The NPP had won more votes for Parliament, and had lost the Presidential election by 40K votes with over 9M cast. Beyond that, polls suggested they were headed for a victory, and they were the sitting government. Despite this, the NPP accepted the result, and power was handed over.

Mills would die in office in the summer of 2012. John Mahama would take over the Presidency.

In the 2012 elections, Mahama won a narrow first round victory of 50.7% over  Akufo-Addo's 47.7%. Parliament also gave the NDC a win with 148 seats, to the NPP's 123, and 5 for all others.

This election marks a return to power for the NPP, and the 3rd peaceful handover of power in Ghana's history.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

PEI polls

I recently responded to a tweet regarding some headlines over recent polls in PEI by saying that both headline options - one saying the Liberals maintain their lead, the other saying they've dropped significantly, are useless. Since twitter has a very limited amount of space in which to make an argument, I wanted to do so here.

The answer is simple really. The Greens are doing extraordinarily well.

I want to start by contrasting the current Green numbers with NDP numbers from the past.

Now I have access to polls going back to 2006. I also lived in PEI and ran for the PEI NDP in the 2003 provincial election. I therefore have a good idea of what sorts of things polls said prior to 2006. In short, taking over 20% of the vote in a poll was rare for a party like the NDP, and while it did happen, it was both difficult to sustain, and short term.

The best poll numbers for the PEI NDP came between 1995 and 2000, starting with the Liberal decision to cut back on the wages of government workers, and ending with the loss of the NDP's only seat in the legislature.

The second period of strong NDP numbers came during the PC Party's troubles, as I noted in a blogpost I wrote over on Blunt Objects.

During this period the PEI NDP rose as high as 32% in the polls, mostly fueled by dissatisfaction with the PC Party. Once PC numbers recovered, the NDP dropped back down below 20%.

More context is that the NDP has formed governments in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, as well as the Yukon Territory. Outside of these areas, the NDP has managed, to form the official opposition Federally, to obtain 3rd party status in New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, and to elect members to the legislature in Quebec, as the CCF.

Lastly, the NDP's member in PEI's legislature, Herb Dickieson, did indeed reach 3rd party status. He was also fairly popular island wide, and managed to take 38.4%, and 37.5% in his riding in 1996 and 2000 respectively, winning in 1996 and losing in 2000.

Now compare this to the PEI Greens.

The party's only member of the legislature is Peter Bevan-Baker. He's not yet been tested for re-election, and currently sits as the MLA.

In 2015, when he won his seat, he won with 54.8% of the vote. He is popular province-wide. He holds status as the 3rd party on PEI.

The Greens currently have single MLAs in New Brunswick, and BC, and serve as the 3rd party in both. The Greens also have a single federal MP, and have had up to two MPs at one time if counting defections.

Prior to the most recent poll, the highest the Greens ever reached was 16%, polled this past May. The party was only registered in 2006, and has no PEI polling history prior to this.

Taking both into perspective, we have a party that can and does win across Canada, VS one without such a history. We have a party that's proven it's unable to keep up momentum within PEI, VS one that has yet to prove this. We have a party with a popular leader who was defeated by the vote splits in his own riding, VS a party with a popular leader who won his riding by a majority. We also have a party that's currently 5th in the House of Commons, VS and NDP, which, during their 'bump' in 2013, were serving as the Federal Official Opposition.

In short, the Green 22% is far more significant than the NDP's 32% in August of 2013, and yet, in August of 2013, that was what the news was.

PC and Liberal support has jumped and fallen at various points over time without any long-term lasting implications. Sure, one party may overtake the other for first, but both parties seem to have a floor that is close to the ceiling of the smaller parties. Most people in PEI today expect that if the Liberals lose the next election, it will be to the PC Party.

The only notable thing about this poll is what it says about the Green Party. None of the rest of it really matters. "Liberals maintain lead" and "Liberals suffer largest recorded* drop" are equal in weight, and making only one your headline is just plain silly

*recorded on the polls below

Below is a full list of all CRA polls that I've been able to find.

Date - Lib - PC - NDP - Grn
Nov 2016 - 46 - 25 - 7 - 22
Aug 2016 - 64 - 19 - 8 - 9
May 2016 - 58 - 20 - 7 - 16
Feb 2016 - 61 - 19 - 9 - 11
Nov 2015 - 61 - 18 - 9 - 11
Aug 2015 - 46 - 22 - 18 - 14
Apr 2015 - 44 - 35 - 15 - 6
Feb 2015 - 58 - 26 - 12 - 4
Nov 2014 - 50 - 23 - 15 - 11
Aug 2014 - 48 - 26 - 16 - 7
May 2014 - 53 - 23 - 21 - 3
Feb 2014 - 53 - 17 - 22 - 7
Nov 2013 - 49 - 17 - 26 - 7
Aug 2013 - 42 - 23 - 32 - 3
May 2013 - 52 - 22 - 21 - 5
Feb 2013 - 51 - 16 - 26 - 7
Nov 2012 - 45 - 28 - 22 - 5
Aug 2012 - 42 - 32 - 18 - 8
May 2012 - 47 - 26 - 18 - 8
Feb 2012 - 50 - 33 - 11 - 5
Nov 2011 - 53 - 34 - 9 - 4
Aug 2011 - 59 - 31 - 7 - 3
May 2011 - 51 - 35 - 13 - 2
Feb 2011 - 62 - 25 - 11 - 2
Nov 2010 - 53 - 34 - 4 - 8
Aug 2010 - 61 - 30 - 6 - 2
May 2010 - 61 - 27 - 8 - 3
Feb 2010 - 64 - 26 - 6 - 4
Nov 2009 - 57 - 31 - 9 - 3
Aug 2009 - 62 - 27 - 6 - 5
May 2009 - 57 - 32 - 7 - 4
Feb 2009 - 64 - 28 - 6 - 2
Nov 2008 - 55 - 31 - 8 - 5
Aug 2008 - 63 - 25 - 6 - 6
May 2008 - 61 - 27 - 7 - 4
Feb 2008 - 68 - 22 - 6 - 4
Nov 2007 - 65 - 25 - 5 - 5
Aug 2007 - 64 - 25 - 7 - 3
May 2007 - 52 - 42 - 3 - 4
Feb 2007 - 44 - 48 - 6 - 2
Nov 2006 - 45 - 43 - 8 - 4
Aug 2006 - 48 - 44 - 7 - 1
May 2006 - 46 - 44 - 8 - 2
Feb 2006 - 41 - 51 - 4 - 3

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

06DEC2016 - Update

An election in Italy is looking unlikely in the short term.

Iceland is still deciding on a government.

The US has an interesting development though.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

04DEC2016 - Updates

Austria has voted for Van der Bellen, the Green, as President.
Italy meanwhile voted No on it's referendum, and the Prime Minister has resigned. There is not yet an official call for an election, but it's expected to occur.

And breaking, within the last few minutes, John Key has resigned as the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Bill English will take over. English is perhaps best known for leading the governing National party to it's worst defeat ever in 2002. I'll add New Zealand to the countries to watch list, as, this changes everything.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

03DEC2016 Update - Austria and Italy

A housekeeping note. These "update" posts are due to the nature of politics in the off season. There are frequently many little stories VS fewer bigger stories which is more common in the spring or the fall.


Austria has been trying to elect a President for most of the year. Austria elects its President with a nationwide vote in a two-round system where the top two candidates continue to the final round. Austria uses a Parliamentary system, however, and the President has limited powers.

From 1951 to 1974, the Presidential elections all saw the main two parties, the Social Democrats and the Peoples Party, have their candidates make it to the run off, or, win in the first round. This includes times when people backed by one of the parties ran officially as an Independent. In 1980, both parties backed the same person, who won on the first round.

This trend would continue, with various footnotes and 'kinda' and 'sorta' qualifications until and including 2010.

2016, as it so often does, shattered the norm. The Social Democratic candidate finished 4th, and the candidate from the Peoples Party, behind him in 5th. The top two candidates were an Independent backed by the Greens, Alexander Van der Bellen, and a member of the Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer. The Freedom Party may be familiar, as it's one of Europe's "far right" parties that has tried to moderate it's viewpoints. The first round saw Hofer beat Van der Bellen by 35.1% to 21.3%, while Irmgard Griss, an Independent who was formerly on the supreme court, took 18.9% and finished 3rd.

This was in April and in May a 2nd round was held. On election night, counting showed a very close race, with both candidates taking over 49.5% of the vote. Hofer lead all night. When postal ballots were counted, however, Van der Bellen was declared the winner, having won 50.3% to 49.7%, a margin of victory of under 31,000 from a total of near 4.5 million ballots cast.

The Freedom Party brought an appeal to court, claiming irregularities such as opening ballot boxes (to count the ballots) prior to the closing of polls, and having ballots being handled by those not authorized. The court found that over 77K votes had irregularities, and since that was greater than the victory margin, cancelled the result, forcing a new election.

Elections were then set for the 2nd of October, however, problems with the glue on postal votes, caused another delay.

Finally we get to tomorrow, December 4th, where the vote will be taken again.

Most polls taken within the past month show Hofer with a very slight lead, but the most recent poll shows Van der Bellen with a very slight lead.

My personal money is on Hofer edging out a victory.


Since Austria's president has limited powers, a more impactful election might be considered the events in next door neighbour, Italy.

A referendum on the constitution is to be held.

Some background on Italy.

After WW2 three main parties formed to contest elections. The Christian Democrats, the Communists, and the Socialists. Italy's communist party was seen as, by far, the most pro-soviet of the "western" Communist parties, with leaders that continued to praise Stalin years after his crimes had come to light.

while there were elections in 1946, Europe was generally in chaos at the time. Thus, the 1948 election may be the first you can consider truly to have seen the sort of political considerations we can relate to. In that election the Christian Democrats (DC) took  48.5% of the vote while a united front of Communists and Socialists took 31%. Due to the use of regional lists, and effective thresholds, DC won a majority, as well as a majority in the Senate. Despite this, they governed in coalition with a few other centrist parties. The 1953 elections would see DC take 40.1%, the Communists (PCI) take 22.6%, and the Socialists (PSI) take 12.7%. This general trend continued throughout the entire cold war. In 1987 DC took 34.3%, PCI took 26.6%, and PSI took 14.3%.

1992 saw a shift. DC taking 29.7%, PCI's successor party taking 16.1%, and PSI taking 13.6%. Notable is that Lega Nord, a semi-separatist party that has been accused of far-right tendencies, took over 8% of the vote.
Everything changed during the period known as Mani Pulite. The long and the short of it was that corruption accusations and investigations caused all the major parties to disintegrate. As a result, the next election was fought between alliances of parties and not parties. As well the electoral system was changed so that 3/4ths of seats were now elected using FPTP.

In 1994, the alliance lead by Silvio Berlusconi beat the alliance of left-wing parties to form a government. While defeated in 1996, Berlusconi returned in 2001. While in office a new electoral system was designed that guaranteed the winning alliance 55% of the seats, regardless of the number of votes they took. As such, the 2006 election saw Berlusconi lose and his opponents take a majority. In 2008, Berlusconi was able to return, winning a majority due to the electoral system.

2013 saw perhaps the most egregious result of this electoral formula. The winning alliance took 29.5% of the vote, but, 55% of the seats in the house. This meant that parties like the South Tyrolean People's Party, a small regional party with 0.43% of the vote, elected 5 members. Important was that 2013 saw the rise of M5S, a new party that is very difficult to classify. Italy has it's own unique politics, and M5S fits into that grid, and as such, it's difficult to understand from outside the system. While it has right-wing tendencies, it's most known for it's stances towards "degrowth".

After the court found part of the election law unconstitutional, a new election method was drawn up. Part of this referendum focuses on getting the courts to review the new law and certify it as constitutional, or throw it out, and not to wait after a series of elections to do so.

The new election law will divide the countries into a number of proportional electoral districts. Parties passing a 3% threshold nationwide are able to elect members in these districts. In reality, however, unless a party is regional in nature, these districts will put an effective threshold of closer 10%.

Should a party be able to win 40% of the vote nationwide, it will qualify for the majority bonus, and be given 54% of the total seats. If no party achieves the 40% mark, the top two parties are subject to a nationwide runoff where voters choose which of the two they want to obtain a majority.

The new constitutional proposals would also see the Senate weakened, as well as other various changes.

These reforms are opposed by M5S, as well as both Forza Italia, Berlusconi's Party, and Lega Nord, Berlusconi's main ally.

Polls suggest the referendum is headed for a defeat, and the Prime Minister has suggested that if this happens there will be snap elections.

Friday, December 2, 2016

02DEC2016 Update

The Tories (or rather an Independent-Tory) lost an important by-election in the UK today. It's significance is that remain voters decided to back the Liberal Democrats. As such I've updated my projection for the next election:

345 - Tories
200 - Labour
50 - SNP
30 - LibDem
25 - Others

Tomorrow I will be posting more on some important upcoming elections in european nations.