Friday, November 17, 2017

Timing comparisons, Canada VS other nations

I wanted to go through the process of readying for an election, having an election, voting, counting the ballots, preparing for government, installing a new government, and starting the process of governing; for Canada and compare this to some select other countries.

For this example we will be assuming the sitting government is defeated.


CANADA


In Canada, at least until a few years ago when "fixed election dates" became common, the sitting Government can call the election whenever it pleases. Nova Scotia, without fixed election dates, still operates this way.

At some point, the Premier of Nova Scotia will decide to call an election. Usually when this happens there is between a few days and a few weeks of lead time. This is after the decision has been made, in private, but before the election has been announced publicly. In Nova Scotia elections must be on a Tuesday, and, the election period (also known as the writ) must be at least 30 days long. If an election is called on a Sunday, the writ period is exactly 30 days long as minimum, but if called on a Saturday, because of the Tuesday rule, the period would be 31 days long. For this reason it is usually decided a few days before an election is called, as there is a need to wait for the proper "day of the week" to make the call if, as is usual, the shortest possible election period is to be used.

This period of a few days can unofficially be thought of, in the context of some other nations, as the start of the caretaker period.

Once the writ is dropped, the election act comes into full force, and an election officially begins.

Election day will see no campaigning, and ballot booths are open for, usually, roughly 12 hours, closing somewhere around 8pm. Once the booths close, election results coverage begins. Ballots are counted in place, with each polling location locking the doors and physically counting the ballots. As there can be hundreds of polling booths in each constituency, they will report their results at different times, as such, the results slowly roll in over the course of hours with more and more of the results becoming available. Generally by midnight, the results are clear; but this is midnight local to the count, which can be 4:30am in some parts of Canada federally as Canada consists of multiple time zones.

Following this, results are officially validated. Federally this can take up to 2 weeks, roughly. It should be noted that of all the elections since the end of WW2, never has the total whole result of a general election (as in who has 'won' the government) changed during this period. The closest is in 1972 when two ridings in BC were showing leads by the Tories (that is, the polling booths that had been counted indicated more votes for the PC Party) but by sunrise the next morning, both had, in fact, been won by the Liberals.

If a government is defeated, a "transition" period begins. The government that was defeated remains in office during this time. Generally, this period takes roughly 2 weeks, but can be longer or shorter pending the wishes of the incoming leader.

While coalitions are rare in Canada, if there were to be a coalition, it would be negotiated during this transition period. Canadians would generally expect that within 3 or so weeks of the election, the new government would be fully in place.

On that date, the new Premier/Prime Minister is sworn in alongside his or her cabinet, which has been chosen during that 2 week transition period.

Parliament, or the Legislature as the case may be, will then meet and government will begin. How long this takes can vary wildly. Generally, houses only meet during the spring and fall, so a summer election may see months go by without such a meeting. Federally this usually is about a month after the new government is in place, or longer for out of season elections.


COMPARED

This, of course, is not the only way to do things.

In the Australia and New Zealand, the "caretaker" period of government is much more codified, and the UK concept of Purdah, also applies. Generally this encompasses the 6 weeks prior to an election, which is much much longer than in Canada.

The election period itself is typically a week or so shorter outside of Canada, but can be longer or shorter as well. The US in particular has no concept of a "writ period" and thus has no campaign length, with campaigning occurring nearly 24/7

Election day is similar in developed countries around the world, with polls being open for 12 hours, give or take a few hours, and closing at around 8pm, give or take a few hours. Results then generally come out quickly. The US, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, for example, all count ballot booths individually, meaning results slowly roll in throughout the night, with the final result in each seat not being known for quite some time. The UK and Ireland however, use centralized counts. This means all ballot boxes are physically re-located to a central location within each seat, and counted as one. For this reason results in these countries only come out once per seat (compared to hundreds of times with more and more being known, in Canada etc) but are final once released. For this reason, elections in the UK are generally not "finished" counting until sunrise the next morning, whereas in the US/Australia/etc they are, as in Canada, generally "finished" by midnight local. Irish counts take a particularly long time, due to STV, with results of each round slowly rolling in over the following day or two, with no "election night results" in the same way as is done in the other countries named. 

Validation is wildly variant. In the UK and Ireland, validation takes place before results are announced, and any recounts happen on the night of the election. Announced results are final. In New Zealand, parties will wait sometimes for valid results before even beginning coalition negotiations, and this can take weeks. Additionally, unlike the UK, where postal ballots need to be received by election day to count, in NZ those sent by election day count, and thus more and more ballots can come in during the following weeks. In the US, for Presidential elections in particular, the schedule for validation of electoral votes is set in the constitution. 

In most countries, a transition period after the election but before the government is sworn in, is common. The United States has such a period written in to the constitution, and is roughly 10-11 weeks long, give or take a few days. The UK has no such period, and by sunrise the next morning, a new Prime Minister is generally expected to take office, with the 5 day coalition negotiation period after the 2010 election being seen as exceptionally long. Normally a UK PM is sworn in alone and appoints their cabinet in the following few days. This contrasts wildly with parts of Europe. Belgium has taken over 540 days to transition to a new government, though this was an unusually long period of time, in Germany this period can be a month or longer as a standard matter of course, whereas in the Netherlands, a transition period of 3-4 months is not unusual. 

Parliament then meets for the first time. In the UK this can happen as little as one week after the election, and while language barriers make this information difficult to find in some countries, it appears a 1-3 weeks after a new government being sworn in, is common, with Canada actually having one of the longer periods. 




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Australia votes for gay marriage

Australia held a non-binding referendum on same sex marriage and the results are in. 61.6% have voted in favour.

The result was overwhelming with only 17 divisions (ridings) voting a majority against. Of those 17, 3 were in Queensland, 2 in the Melbourne area of Victoria, and 12 in the Sydney area of New South Wales. The 14 outside Queensland are dominated by immigrant populations, while the 3 in Queensland are majority white australian.

More details can be found on the wikipedia page for the event.

The government is now expected to introduce legislation allowing for same sex marriage.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Winter Doldrums

We've entered what is effectively the winter break for politics. For the next few weeks I'll likely be gearing down, posting 2 entries per week, sometimes 1, but I plan to ramp that up in December to cover in detail all the various places holding elections in 2018.

I will however continue to update on various things.

Japan: The Democrats are still re-organizing. The CDP is officially down to 16 while the DP is officially up to 28. In the end the party should have a united 70 or so MPs.

Iceland: The Progressives and Centre Party have been in talks to mend their differences. This would enable both to sit in a government, important after the Progressives rejected the earlier proposed alliance for being too narrow a majority. It is thus now possible that the Centre Party and Progressives, which old a combined 15 seats, would be willing to sit in coalition together. This would enable a few new coalition options, including with the Left Greens and Social Democrats (33 seats) or with Independence and Reform (35 seats); Pending on how well the talks went, the two might try to form their own government, likely with the Progressive leader as PM

Upcoming: Queensland goes to the polls at the end of this month, and Catalonia votes on the 21st of December. I also may look in on the Nepalese elections occurring on the 26th of this month and 7th of next month.

In Queensland, Labor is expected to win again, but One Nation may act as a spoiler preventing a majority.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Updates - Japan, Iceland, Germany

Apologies to those who saw the following post on Japan a few minutes ago; I decided it was better to group the updates rather than spread them out.



Japan:

The parties are starting to form up more solidly, as the Democratic members are deciding what to do. CDP leader, Yukio Edano is now the opposition leader, and it is likely he will lead a re-unified Democratic party for the next term.


In the house of representatives:

LDP - 313*
DEM - 72**
KIB - 51
JCP - 12
ISH - 11
OTH - 2

* Combined LDP and Komeito

** 60 CDP supporters, 54 official CDP, plus 12 DP members. (many unofficial are, for example, SDP, or other small parties)


And in the house of councillors:

LDP - 151*
Dem - 57**
JCP - 14
ISH - 11
KIB - 3
OTH - 3

* Combined LDP and Komeito

** 9 CDP, 48 DP.



Germany:

Negotiations continue between the conservative CDU, the liberal FDP, and the Greens. They are expected to successfully conclude in the next week or two.



Iceland:

Negotiations have begun on forming a left wing government lead by the Left-Greens, and joined by the Social Democrats, Pirates, and Progressives.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Iceland coalition options.

There are a number of coalitions possible in Iceland. A reminder of the party labels:

16 - D - Independence - Conservative
11 - V - Left-Green -  Green
8 - B - Progressive - Rural Liberal
7 - S - Social Democrat - Social Democrat
7 - M - Centre Party - Moderate
6 - P - Pirate Party - Pirate
4 - C - Reform Party - Right-wing reformist
4 - F - Populist Party - Populist

Coalition options generally break down into the following:

DVB
DVS
DVM
DVP
VBMS
VBMP
VBSP
DBMC
DBMF
DBFC

It thus seems likely the Progressives will end up in Government. However, the Moderates are unlikely to thus get in due to the problems between the leaders of these parties, and a few other options present their own difficulties; As such the most likely options are as follows:

DVB (Grand Coalition)
VBSP (Left Liberal)
DBFC (Right Populist)

At the moment my money is on Left Liberal, but the other options remain possible.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Iceland results

As with last time, I expect it will take some time for coalitions to become clear.

16 - D - Independence
11 - V - Left-Green
8 - B - Progressive
7 - S - Social Democrat
7 - M - Centre
6 - P - Pirate
4 - C - Reform
4 - F - Peoples

Some controversy over proportionality. The Social Democrats took 12.1% of the vote but only win 7 seats. Contrast with the Progressives on 10.7% and 8 seats, and the Centre Party on 10.8% and 7 seats.

Coalition options are too numerous to realistically list, and none of them will be easy or obvious. I will update when it becomes more clear which parties are willing to coalition with which other parties.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Final Iceland Update

16 - D - Independence
12 - S - Social Democrats
12 - V - Green-Left
7 - M - Centre Party
6 - P - Pirates
5 - B - Progressives
5 - C - Reform



Iceland election tomorrow.

Projection:

16 - D - Independence
14 - V - Green-Left
11 - S - Social Democrats
7 - M - Centre Party
6 - P - Pirates
5 - B - Progressives
4 - C - Reform

A trend towards the Social Democrats, and the peoples party falling short of the threshold are the current projection assumptions. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Iceland update - 3 days out

3 days remain to the election. 

15 - D - Independence
15 - V - Green-Left
9 - S - Social Democrats
7 - M - Centre Party
6 - P - Pirates
5 - B - Progressives
3 - C - Reform
3 - F - Peoples Party

32 needed for majority

More to come

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Parallel PR, PEI: a Japan example

Japan uses a system of Parallel Proportional Representation. This is a proportional system that is non compensatory. For example, if a country had 200 seats in Parliament, and 100 ridings, with 100 PR seats, and a party in this country won 40% of the vote, they would win 40 PR seats. It would not matter if they won 0 ridings or 100 ridings.

Japan in particular uses a form of this that allows the closest losing candidates to advance to the proportional list. In short, if the winner took 3000 votes and the runner up took 2500 votes, then that runner up has taken 83.33% of the winners vote total, and is ranked based on that 83.33%. This ensures that areas with a divided electorate will end up with both voices in Parliament. Additionally, it prevents parties from simply stacking the proportional list, as it only elects candidates who are popular with the voters.

I want to take a look at the kind of PR Japan uses.

For the sake of example, lets assume PEI used this kind of system in 2015. In this context, this would result in 16 additional seats. This is 0.6 multiplied by the number of ridings (27) which is the average number of proportional seats in relation to ridings seats used in Japan.

Note that in the event of an actual move to Proportional Representation, the ridings are likely to be redrawn, and so this is not a perfect nor exact comparison. Adding 16 extra seats to the existing riding map simply makes this easy to compare and understand. In reality, the legislature would not grow so much so quickly.

In the real PEI election, 46.4% of all votes cast were cast for winning candidates. The other 53.6% of voters did not have their candidate win, and their choice of MLA was not sent to the legislature. Keep that in mind.

Due to popular vote, the Liberals would win 7 of the 16 PR seats. The Tories win 6. The NDP wins 2, and the Greens win 1. Since the Japanese system of the closest loser allows us to know exactly who would win, we can determine that, and I've done so below.

As the Green with the highest loss ratio (47.75% of the votes of the winner in her riding) district 12 candidate, Darcie Lanthier, would become an MLA.

The top two NDP vote getters are, in order, Gord McNeilly and Michael Redmond, and thus both would join the Legislature.

The 6 Tories, in order, are: Mary Ellen McInnis, Rob Lantz, Brian Ramsay, Linda Clements, Major Stewart, and Daniel MacDonald.

The 7 Liberals are: Charlie McGeoghegan, Russel Stewart, Tommy Kickham, Dan MacDonald, Bertha Campbell, Ramona Roberts, and David Dunphy.

This allows 66.96% of people to have voted for an MLA in the legislature. Most districts also end up represented by more than one party, allowing for voters in these areas to have both a government and a opposition voice in the legislature. Since those elected on the list are not beholden to their original area, they can also represent larger swaths of voters.

The end results are as follows

25 - Liberal
12 - PC
2 - NDP
2 - Green

Not only does the NDP enter the legislature, but the Greens grow as well. The opposition Tories now have a caucus made up of members from across the province, and the Liberals have an MLA from all but 2 of the ridings. Unlike a pure PR system, the government is not turned into a minority.

There are many reasons to want Proportional Representation and many reasons to oppose it. Two key reasons are as follows.

1 - It allows more voices to be heard in the legislature, and ensures that the opposition is strong enough to counter the government.

2 - It ensures that only governments elected by a majority of voters are allowed to govern.

Opposition to each would say that some voices are extreme and should not be heard, and that people want stable government and are fine with governments elected with, say, 45% support.

In Canada, there are many more people who worry about the loss of stable government than worry about parties like the NDP or Greens getting elected.

Parallel systems do very well at getting a multitude of voices heard, but do not tend to result in the overturning of a majority government elected with a minority of voters.

As such, and given the worries Canadians have about PR, I feel (and have for a long time) that a Parallel system is the only path to a later and fuller form of PR that Canadians will be willing to stomach.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Updates on recent elections.

AUSTRIA
The most likely coalition at this point in time is Conservative and Nationalist, with the Socialists preparing for opposition.


GERMANY
A Conservative-Liberal-Green coalition is still the most likely outcome.


CZECHIA
The Conservatives have ruled out a coalition with ANO, and ANO is having talks with their current coalition partners.


JAPAN
Final results are as follows:

party - constituencies - PR seats - (total seats)

LDP - 218 - 66 - (284)
CDP - 18 - 37 - (55)
KNT - 18 - 32 - (50)
NKP - 8 - 21 - (29)
JCP - 1 - 11 - (12)
INO - 3 - 8 - (11)
SDP - 1 - 1 - (2)
IND - 22 - 0 - (22)

By Unofficial Coalitions:
313 - Government
69 - Liberal
61 - Conservative
22 - Other


After expected defections*:

313 - Government
85 - Democrats
46 - Conservatives
14 - Left (JCP+SDP)
7 - Other

Compared to 2014:

326 - Government
73 - Democrats
41 - Conservatives
23 - Left
12 - Other


* = assuming that of the 25 people who may leave the KNT, only 15 do so; but that all Independents who may join, will do so. The 25 people from the KNT in question are former Democrats who hold left-wing views on issues such as the Constitution, and who generally were Democrats prior to the mergers with Innovation. The Independents were judged on the same basic rule set, but, most of them are left by default. There is no guarantee they will join the CDP, however, given that the "original plan" when the party was split was to rejoin its parts, it does make a certain logical sense. The CDP has outright ruled out merging back into the old party, and given their massive win over the other former democrats (who make up roughly 4/5ths of KNT) this also makes sense.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Japan, results

Results are nearly complete, and with the possibility of one or two seats changing, the results are as indicated in this table:



The Government has won the majority they need. The LDP has a majority in the chamber, and has a large enough majority to guarantee chairmanship of the committees. As well with their allies in the NKP they command the 310 seats needed to amend the constitution.

The LDP however has been expected to win by a large margin for a while as even without a 310 majority, parties like KNT by in large support the amendment which would allow Japan to re-arm and militarize.

Abe's victory was expected. As such the 'winners' of the election are the CDP. Originally projected to get a dozen seats, they've beat the KNT in total seat count. The Democrats split in three with the party leadership joining the KNT for the election with the plan to re-unite the party after the election. Many members decided to run as Independents to protest this, and some on the left created the CDP, which, has been wildly successful.

After a few hours of searching through wikipedia, I've divided up the Independent candidates and KNT candidates by weather or not I feel it is likely they would join the CDP after the election. This is a maximum estimate. As such the CDP can be expected to have up to 96 seats when parliament holds its first session, and may well end with 80 or less.

In the end, Prime Minister Abe gets what he wants, he can amend the constitution, and can continue his policies for another 4 years.

You can click here for the introduction to the election, as this helps provide context for who these parties are.

Japan early results

Japan's election rolls on as counting continues. Current results suggest the following:

308 GOV
71 LEFT
60 RIGHT
26 OTHER

breakdown:

277 LDP (Shinzo Abe)
31 NKP (Social Conservative)

56 CDP (Left Liberal)
13 JCP (Communist)
2 SDP (Social Democrat)

49 KNT (Tokyo, Conservative)
11 INO (Osaka, Conservative)

26 IND (Others)


Many of the Independents are DP members. It's difficult to get an exact count but I would personally suspect 34 KNT members and 20 of the Independents are as well. These 49 members would thus join with the 56 CDP members for a 105 seat merged caucus. However it is unclear if they will, in fact, re-join into a single party or not. If they did, and if NKP continues to work with LDP as close as in the past, and if KNT goes the way of INO and becomes a small regional conservative party based on one city, then, what we could be looking at as a final result is as follows:

308 GOV
110 DP
26 CITY
15 LEFT
6 OTHER

This would put the LDP just short of the 310 they need for 2/3rds majority to change the constitution on war issues, however, the city parties support the move and would easily put them over the top.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Czechia election results

Nearly 100% count in, and the results are as follows:

78 ANO (liberal)
25 ODS (conservative)
22 Pirate
22 SPD (nationalist)
15 KSCM (communist)
15 CSSD (social democrat)
11 KDU (christian democrat)
6 TOP (liberal)
6 STAN (centre right)

With these numbers an ANO-ODS coalition could be very likely. While they do not control a majority in the Senate, the Czech Senate is very weak.

However, with such a commanding result, 78 seats, 101 required for a majority (23 additional seats needed) ANO could pick some other combination of parties to sit with

Friday, October 20, 2017

Czechia votes today

Czechia, also known as the Czech Republic, is voting today and tomorrow in their national elections.

I won't do a full post but will get you up to speed on the basics.

The most recent election projections from within the country suggest ANO is headed for a massive win. ANO is difficult to classify politically, but is perhaps one of the closest parties to our Liberal Party in the world, with a key difference being the fact ANO is "outsider" and not "insider"

ANO is set to win 67 seats according to projections from the 16th, the last legal day to make projections in the country due to election blackout laws.

CSSD, the Social Democrats, are on 29, while KSCM (the Communists) are behind on 27 seats. SPD the Nationalist party (think Marine Le Pen) is on 20 seats, as is ODS the Conservatives. The Pirates could take 17 seats, while the KDU (Christian Democrats) take 11 and TOP 09 takes 11. TOP 09 is also hard to explain, but basically is a right-liberal party.

The current government of CSSD-ANO-KDU fell apart over scandal with the ANO leader, but ANO did not suffer in the polls, in fact, CSSD did if anything.

CSSD, KDU, and TOP all want to adopt the euro ASAP while, KSCM, and SPD do not want the euro at all. ANO and ODS only want the euro at a later date when all the instability currently in Europe has been worked out.

With all of this in mind, there are some coalitions that pop out as possible.

ANO-ODS-KDU-TOP could happen if the Euro issue can be solved. These parties also hold enough seats in the Senate to pass bills with support from some of the Independent members, or, from the 'alliance of Mayors' members, which whom KDU has good relations.

ANO-CSSD-KDU is possible, but unlikely given they were the current government, and CSSD suffered heavily.

Pending exact seat totals, CSSD might try to form a coalition with the Pirates, and Communists, probably also bringing TOP and KDU along. The problem is that this would be an unstable coalition, and, the Communists have never taken part in a coalition government since the collapse of communism.

Voting will end tomorrow, and hopefully results will be out shortly thereafter.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Quick Iceland Update

A quick update to Iceland.

Reform has edged up, towards the threshold. Additionally I've decided to include the official letter of each party for clarity. 

The two number totals are if Reform does, and does not, pass the threshold.


17-18    V    Green-Left
14-15    D    Independence
8-8    S    Social Democrats
7-7    P    Pirates
6-6    M    Centre Party
4-5    B    Progressives
4-4    F    Peoples Party
3-0    C    Reform

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.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Singh first round victory

As mentioned in my post earlier today, the best result for the NDP was a first round victory. Singh, unlike Angus, does not have a seat, but with 55% of the party behind him on the first ballot, it puts significant energy behind the NDP and makes for a strong star for Jagmeet Singh as leader.

Update - October

Catalonia is "voting" today; at least where the police are not smashing down doors to grab ballot boxes. It's safe to say regardless of the result, few will view it as legitimate.


The NDP is voting as well. Mathematically, given the controversial stances of some candidates, the best result for the NDP may be 33.4% of the vote for both Angus and Singh, and 16.6% for Ashton and Caron. Don't get me wrong, I like Caron and would be tempted to vote NDP if he were leader, but I don't think he is appealing to the wider party, and Ashton turns people away due to her far left stances. If both were dropped on this ballot and the race became head to head between Singh and Angus, I think it would serve the NDP well.


There are a number of elections that I simply won't be following. Portugal's municipal elections today, for example, or the local and regional votes and referenda in Luxembourg, Austria, Venezuela, Italy, Kosovo, and the Philippines. It is also unlikely I will follow national elections in Liberia, Kyrgyzstan, Slovenia, or Kenya, mostly due to them either having unstable democracies, or, being for positions without much real power.


On the 15th Austria votes in Parliamentary elections. The Conservatives appear set for a win, with their new leadership being rather popular. They've pushed both the Socialists and the Nationalists down in the polls. Austria has a strong and long history of Conservative-Socialist coalition government, and that is likely to continue.


On the same day is regional (AKA provincial) elections in Lower Saxony in Germany, where electors will send members to the legislature in Hanover. In the federal election, the CDU took 35%, and the Greens 9%. Both parties are polling at the same numbers provincially, but Die Linke took 7% federally and is only at 5% at the state level, while the FDP took 9% and is at 8%. AfD, which I'm keeping an eye on was at 9% but is polling at 6%. The big gain is for the SPD which only took 27% of the vote here last week, but is sitting on 34% of the vote for the Landtag.


Czechia, formerly known as the Czech Republic, votes on the 20th and 21st. ANO2011 is the leading party in the polls. The party is interesting as it is probably the closest analogy to the Liberal Party of Canada in the world, being big-tent, pragmatic, and willing to use working ideas from across the spectrum.


On the 22nd is the election in Japan, which is still fluid. I've decided to report the entire alliance which the opposition Democrats is participating in as DP, or the Democratic Party. While not entirely accurate, it helps with understanding and simplicity. I've also gone over some historic results to help me understand the results of this coming election, as such I have a projection update:

245 LDP
30 NKP
265 GOV

150 DP
25 JCP
15 OTH

While this still gives the LDP a majority of their own, the DP becomes a very strong opposition force and one that will need to be dealt with properly if the LDP plans to continue winning elections. Part of the reason the DP has gained so much since my last projection is the system Japan uses, Parallel. A 5% change in vote will only gain you 5% of those proportional seats. The DP's alliance partner has done very well in Tokyo and I project 20 'ridings' that they can win, hence the sudden jump. Add to that the new poll that shows the DP at 18% "approval" (which translates into around 38% at the polls) and you begin to see where the remainder of the gain comes from.


On the same day is elections in Argentina. I'm not certain I'll cover these fully. Argentina is still a somewhat "new" democracy, only a few decades of stable democratic rule, and its parties are still somewhat fluid making a quality analysis difficult. Additionally, many countries that do not speak english have data that is hard to find; while in cases like Japan I can reference history to help me understand things, with newer democracies this is all the more difficult.


Lastly on the 28th is the election in Iceland which I plan to do a full post about in the coming days.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Update - Catalonia, Kurdistan, and more

The Spanish Government is moving to block the referendum in Catalonia.

Iraqi Kurdistan voted heavily for independence, as expected, but Iraq is rejecting the results, as are Turkey and Iran. More to come.

Iceland will get its own update. Election on the 28th. The old Prime Minister (the Progressive one, tossed for corruption, not the most recent one) is trying to start his own party. The current government is sitting on a potential 15 seats in the polls as are the left-greens. The Pirates are closer to 7 as are the Progressives, while the Peoples Party are on 6, the Socialists are on 5, Reform is on 3, and Bright Future is on 2.

Japan is in a state of flux. They got o the polls on the 22nd. I'll do a far more detailed post once news becomes more clear.

And lastly, fictional CMHoC, which I've mentioned before, is also holding a snap election; a great time to join and campaign for your fav party.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Shake up in Japan

As reported earlier, Japan is headed to the polls.

What's suddenly changed is not only the creation of a new Tokyo based party, but it's merger with the Democratic Party.

This has the potential to make a large change to my earlier projection, and as such, I present an updated projection:

265 LDP
35 NKP
300 GOV

115 KnT
25 IO
25 JCP
10 OTH


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

German election results maps and data

Having some writers block as of late, but I thought I would share the maps I've made showing some data. Interesting numbers between West and East germany.






Monday, September 25, 2017

Japan calls snap election

Shinzo Abe has called a snap election.


current projection:

295 LDP
35 NKP
330 GOV

70 DP
30 IO
30 JCP
15 OTH


More to come, as always.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

German Election

Sorry for the late post, the NZ election has a way of ruining a sleep schedule.

this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV9mc9sOmDs&ab_channel=DWEnglish
seems to be a good english livestream.

My last minute projection is as such:

224 - CDU
131 - SPD
76 - AfD
60 - FPD
58 - LNK
49 - GRN

95% chance of a grand coalition (CDU/SPD) and 5% of a Jamaica coalition (CDU/FPD/GRN)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

NZ election results

Counting continues, and NZ is infamous for taking forever to count. Final results, in fact, will not be in for nearly a month! Unlike political parties in Canada, of the UK elections agency, any postal ballots only need to be sent by, not received by, the date of the election.

As such, my post that explains the results in greater detail will be a few days away.

However, the results we have are somewhat clear.

At current, expected seats are as follows:

58 - National
45 - Labour
9 - NZ First
7 - Green
1 - ACT
0 - Maori

National has clearly won the election, but the coalitions are not yet formed and Labour could still find a way in to government.

Chances are, however, that Winston Peters of NZ First will choose to go with National; but will leverage the possibility of going with Labour to get the best deal possible.

Friday, September 22, 2017

New Zealand - What to expect

Exactly 24 hours from now we should be getting a good idea of what the new government will look like as the results come in. What kind of results can we expect?


The most recent polls show Labour falling behind. It is unclear if this is simply due to the margin of error, or a swing back to National. Due to the general lack of polling it is difficult to tell what kind of results are most likely.

My current projection is as follows.

53 - National
48 - Labour
9 - New Zealand First
8 - Green
2 - Maori
1 - ACT

121 seats; 1 overhang.

It is likely that National and New Zealand First would form a government in this scenario.

Keep in mind that we could still see a 10 seat variance on either of the top two parties, and it is, in fact, possible for New Zealand First, or the Greens, to take 0 seats due to failing to meet the threshold.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Emergency Update - Europe

There are enough small stories going on in Europe I decided for an emergency update.

First off, more of a public service announcement, the UK terror level has been raised. Trump has tweeted about related events, and May has attacked him for it (as usual) but this does have the potential to change views politically.

A politician in Sweden was raped for being a leftist. The details of his attack are outlined in the article. It's very very rare to hear about something like this, and hopefully it remains that way.

The government in Iceland has collapsed. It fell apart due to accusations of pedophilia and links to the Prime Minister through his father's support of a convict.

And the Spanish government is making threats to take over effective operation of one of its states, Catalonia, which wants Independence.

Not Europe, but in the neighbourhood, Iraqi Kurdistan will vote on Independence. It is always difficult to get news from non-english nations. Lebanon, for example, was supposed to have an election this year, but, just, didn't. Details on the election being called, and on it being cancelled, are scant at best; so confirmation of a poll (like this article) is always great.



I'll be reporting on the latter of these 5 when the vote occurs on the 25th and results come in, and almost certainly will cover the Spanish situation as well. Given previous coverage of Iceland, its safe to say I will also be covering any election in that nation.

Quick Update - Germany

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_German_federal_election,_2017

I've been keeping track of this page, and wanted to give everyone a heads up on recent movements.

AfD is on a minor uptick. While this might not seem like much, it has pushed a CDU-FDP coalition, and a SPD-GRN-LNK coalition into very unlikely territory. As such, the bump by the AfD makes a continuation of the CDU-SPD coalition much more likely.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Norway - Coalition Negotiations

The final results in the Norwegian election have become clear.

49 - AP - Labour
45 - H - Conservative
27 - FrP - Progressive
19 - SP - Centre
11 - SV - Socialist (Left)
8 - V - Liberal
8 - KrF - Christian Democrat
1 - MDG - Green
1 - R - Red (Communist)

A few notes about how I've been referring to the parties. The Socialists I've been calling the "Left"

Left in Norwegian is Venstre. There is a party called Venstre, the Liberals. Hoyre (actually Høyre) meanwhile means right, and Hoyre is the Conservatives. It's generally and widely accepted that Venstre is the "Liberal" party, and Hoyre is the "Conservative" party, when translated to English. However, technically, the direct translation, is Right and Left. As such I've decided to start calling the Socialist Left party, the Socialists.

Additionally, the Red party is separate and distinct from the actual NKP, or Communist Party.

Moving on

The existing government coalition, and previous government coalition, provide us with these results.

88 - Right Coalition - H + FrP + V + KrF
79 - Left Coalition - AP + SP + SV
2 - Others - MDG + R

This is a clear victory for the government, however, there is a problem.

The Progressives (FrP) are very much a party in line with Trump policies on immigration and very nationalistic. Forming the coalition 4 years ago was difficult, due to how controversial the Progressives are, and, this is happening again.

The Liberals and Christian Democrats are both looking for changes. Without them, the Conservatives and Progressives only have 72 seats, compared to a total of 97 for the other parties. There is a chance that the Liberals and Christian Democrats could sit with other parties.

A possible alternative coalition is V+KrF+SP+AP. The Centre Party, along with the Liberals and Christian Democrats, have a total of 35 seats, and could easily work with one another. The problem comes with who else they sit with. If they chose Labour, you end up with a "left" coalition. However, you have the problem that this is only 84 seats, not the 85 needed for a majority.

This is why it is likely that the current coalition will continue. In the end you may end up with a coalition of just the Conservatives and the Progressives, with "support" from the Liberals and Christian Democrats.

In the end this will likely take some time to play out, as European coalition negotiations tend to. When all is said and done, I suspect that the current coalition will continue, even if in another form.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Norway election results

85% counted, in norway. Compared to my projection the biggest change is that the Greens did not meet the threshold.

Current results show the following:

49 - Labour (L)
45 - Conservative (R)
28 - Progressive (R)
18 - Centre (L)
11 - Left (L)
8 - Christian Democrats (R)
8 - Liberals (R)
1 - Greens (L)*
1 - Communist (L)*

This is a victory for the right-wing coalition, but only just. The Liberals are just on the very edge of the threshold, and if they fail to meet it, the left parties could still manage 85 seats compared to 84 for the right. Despite this, Labour's leader has admitted that he fully expects the Liberals to pass the threshold when all is said and done. 

I'll make another post in a day or two once the dust settles. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Norway election tomorrow, how to watch it

Since my last update, the right-wing coalition government has appeared to have solidified their lead, and as such, are all but certain to be re-elected.

You may be wondering how you can watch the election live. I'll detail how I find the answer to this, as, simply giving you a fish is less efficient than teaching you how to fish.

First off, note the time zone difference. Norway is in Europe, which, generally, is an hour beyond the UK. This means a 5 hour difference with Toronto.

Elections can begin at varying times. Some places start counting as early as 6pm and others as late as 10pm, and still others, even later. 8pm seems a generally good estimate. Given that we are talking about a 5 hour difference, it means results can be expected to begin at 3pm here in Toronto, give or take the aforementioned two hour window.

As for how to watch, I find the "media of" pages on wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_of_Norway

From here I'd go to Television, and when possible, Newspaper as well.

NRK appears to be the top broadcaster and after a quick visit to their wiki page, you can easily get the link to their actual website.

Now this is when a problem hits that I've become used to but that you may not have necessarily realized. None of this is in English. I use google chrome which translates a lot of this for me automatically. Doing so leads me right to the news tab from which I can see a tag that says "election 2017"or "vlag 2017" in the original norwegian.

A quick click and we get to the meat and potatoes.

Norwegian parties use legally approved acronyms. In fact, many countries do this. While in Canada you may see CPC for the Tories, Elections Canada does not enforce that, and the Communist Party of Canada is free to use CPC if they wish. Many countries, however, have strict limits on acronym use. Wikipedia provides a guide to who is who. Additionally, the colour scheme for the parties is consistent across multiple platforms.

At this time, the H party, light blue, is on 24.2% in the polls. These are the Conservatives. FRP is on 17.0% with their dark blue, these are the progressives. AP, red, or Labour, are on 25.8%, with SP, light green, or the Centre Party, are on 9.6%

This is when a solution hits that, again, I've become used to but which not everyone may necessarily have realized; elections are numbers. To a degree it does not actually matter if you understand the words around the numbers so long as you understand what the numbers themselves mean.

In fact it becomes obvious the little graphic on the right with the poll bars is some kind of polling bank. Clicking on it confirms this. It shows you all the various coalition possibilities given the current polls.

Now there is an issue with "watching the election". It will all be in norwegian. Personally, I watch anyway, numbers are numbers and they'll show them on the screen, even if I can't understand a word they are saying. Sometimes, with larger countries, you'll get lucky and find an english feed. France 24 had an english feed for the French elections, for example, but for countries like Norway, you can forget about it. This is why, sometimes, you want newspapers.

While TV networks are great at making video, they are not always the best at making easy to follow content full of numbers. By that I mean content like this, from the UK's Guardian newspaper about the 2016 US election. Maps, numbers, graphics.


These are the general strategies I use to find live results coverage video on the date of elections in various countries. Another prime source is actually youtube. Increasingly, more and more major media outlets are realizing the benefits of streaming their election coverage to youtube, and more are doing so. For the New Zealand elections on the 23rd this is what I plan to use, as it's almost certain TVNZ will stream to youtube.

For the German election on the 24th I will look for an english stream, and if I find one I'll share it, but in the past I've had no luck. German TV however tends to have streams, and there is a website I consistently forget about until I need it that has truly excellent graphics and information about all german elections, national or state.

Regardless, I hope these skills serve you well in watching your own international elections.

Friday, September 8, 2017

NZ Labour in the drivers seat

Just a quick update, Labour is in the drivers seat in New Zealand.

54 - Labour (16 list, 38 electorate)
48 - National (17 list, 31 electorate)
10 - NZ First (10 list, 0 electorate)
7 - Green (7 list, 0 electorate)
2 - Maori (0 list, 2 electorate)
0 - ACT (0 list, 0 electorate)
0 - Mana (0 list, 0 electorate)

A newsroom poll shows Labour leading National 45% to 30%. However, Newsroom has not done many polls before; polls from One News and Bauer show leads of 43% to 39%, and 37% to 34% respectively. All 3 shows Ardern leading English by a margin of at least 3 points as best PM. 

If you are interested, you can do a vote compass for NZ 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Norway; government re-election likely

Polls are showing that the right-wing government is likely to win re-election.

As mentioned in my last post, there were tight polls, but that has changed through August.

I've been attempting to pinpoint exactly why, but this seems to be a more widespread and general feeling that a change is not needed.

Solberg, the Conservative Prime Minister, is popular. Oil prices have recently bumped up, important for this oil producing nation, and there have been increasing concerns that a Labour lead government would need support from parties that wish to reduce oil production. Additionally, the economy has performed better than expected.

Based on current polls my current projection is as follows. (L) / (R) indicate likely left or right coalitions

47 - Labour (L)
43 - Conservative (R)
28 - Progressive (R)
19 - Centre (L)
10 - Left (L)
8 - Christian Democrats (R)
7 - Greens (L)*
6 - Liberals (R)
1 - Communist (L)*

It is possible for the Greens and Liberals to fail to meet the threshold, if this only one of the parties fails to meet it, it helps the other coalition significantly. It is also possible the Communists will actually make the threshold, which would help a potential left government significantly.

This projection would see 85 (R) members elected and 84 (L) members, however, 8 of those noted with a * are parties not currently working together with the left coalition, and may thus decide to not participate in any such left coalition.

The TLDR is that the government (the right-wing coalition) is in the drivers seat, and has a good chance of winning

Friday, September 1, 2017

Germany

Germany is going to the polls on the 24th of September.

I've done three previous posts that are recommended reading in general. This post outlines how much of a challenge the 3 left parties have. This projection is from exactly one year ago. This post outlines how things have been stable for a while.

It is hard to follow what the big issues are, but from what I can gather, there are none. One reason that Merkel and the CDU is doing so well is the simple lack of focus of attention on a few issues. As such voters default to their general view of the parties. The actual platforms of the (two leading) parties are not calling for much in the way of radical change. For this reason I do not expect much of a change between now and the vote.

However, I wanted to do a more full introduction to Germany, and as such, I will go through the parties contesting the election, in particular, those polling at rates to possibly win seats.


CDU

The CDU, at least, in the context I've been using it, is actually two parties. The CDU and CSU. The parties were formed after WW2 as a break from the old Centre Party (Zentrum) which had a similar political leaning and support base.

The (coalition of) parties are generally right-wing, but mostly moderate. The CSU is far more liable to have socially conservative views. The CSU itself is organized in Bavaria. It is seen as a successor to the BVP, or the Bavarian Peoples Party, which itself broke off from Zentrum during the Weimar Republic era.

The closest Canadian analogy to the CDU is probably the old PC Party.


SPD

The SPD, or Social Democratic Party, is the oldest of the major parties. The SPD was founded prior to WW1 in 1863, and won seats in the first elected of the united German Empire in 1871.

The Party is generally social democratic in nature, and has had its leanings match that of social democratic parties elsewhere in Europe and around the world, including the UK Labour Party.

The closest Canadian analogy is the New Democratic Party, perhaps a bit more left wing even.


FDP

The FDP, or Free Democratic Party, is the "Liberal" party. That is liberal in the European sense, or, more "libertarian" to most North Americans.

The party has spent nearly 60 years in government, as the junior coalition partner, due to its centrist position, a longer period of time than either the SPD or CDU.

It has no real match in Canada. In general, it can be thought of as a mash of the Liberal Party and the lesser known Libertarian Party. They are pro-business, but otherwise generally hold "Liberal" views on the issues.


Greens

Alliance 90/The Greens is the Green Party of Germany. They are generally a left-wing Green party. They current form government in one of the German states; Baden-Wurttemberg, across the Rhine river from Strasbourg in France, and bordering Switzerland. To specify, they lead a coalition with the SPD, and their 2011 victory was the first since WW2 to lead a state coalition that is not SPD or CDU (excepting a few interim FDP regimes lasting only a few days)

The party has an interesting incident. Starting in 1965, only the three parties listed above won seats. In 1983 the Greens won seats for the first time, and have always had seats since. However, in 1990, upon the merger of Germany (east and west) the same Greens that had been holding seats, lost. That is, there was a dual threshold to win seats, 5% in either West or East germany. The West German Greens did not meet the 5% and lost all of their seats; however the East German Greens, Alliance 90, managed to win 8 seats. This caused the cementing of the existing alliance (the Greens agreed to fully support Alliance 90)

The party is similar to that in Canada, except more of a traditional left-wing Greens and not the eco-Greens that are more common in Canada.


Die Linke

Die Linke, or, The Left in german, is the successor to the old Communist party in East Germany. Like most successor parties, Die Linke is fully democratic. They are strongest in the former East Germany, but have managed to win seats in a few other assemblies as well.

The party is on the hard left, and from time to time has rejected a coalition with the SPD or Greens. However, there are times that such coalitions have been formed. Die Linke currently leading the government in Thuringia, won in 2014, and is and has been the junior government partner in various former East German states.

The party has no match in Canada outside except possibly the Communist Party.


AfD

AfD, or the Alternative for Germany, is the hot new gig in town. The party failed to pass the threshold in 2013, but polls have them comfortably winning seats.

They've managed to win a few seats in various state assemblies. They are Nationalist in nature, and right-wing. They are Germany's answer to UKIP, Marie Le Pen, and Donald Trump. Given the former NAZI history of Germany, there are great concerns about this party within certain segments of the German voter base.

The closest match to the party in Canada is Kellie Leitch.



Polls suggest the SPD have returned to their low position prior to the selection of Schulz as the candidate.

Current poll average suggests the CDU and FDP could take 289 seats, short of the 300 they'd need for a majority. However, SPD, even with the Greens and Die Linke, only reach 251 seats. AfD is set to take 58, tied with Die Linke for 3rd.

As such, a continuation of the current CDU-FDP coalition, which would take 383 seats, seems most likely.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Quick updates on coming elections

In Norway, the right wing alliance has been able to open a narrow lead, and if the momentum continues, will win re-election.

In New Zealand, the two main parties are neck and neck.

In Germany, polls remain stable. A post introducing Germany will be done within 2 days.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Alternate History

In a month Germany goes to the polls; but I've posted about Germany a few times on this blog. Instead, for now, I want to talk about alternate history.

I've been working on a story on my new personal blog.

Unlike the old one, I've decided my new personal blog won't be filled with random filth and profanity, but will be an outlet for my creativity, and a place I can post things that do not fit in with the theme of this, my professional blog.

I'm going to be updating the alternate history later today and encourage anyone curious to follow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Zealand

One month from now, New Zealand goes to the polls.

Much has changed in New Zealand in the past year, and even more in the past month.

The shake up began with the Kaikoura earthquake in November. John Key, the long time Prime Minister, decided, a few weeks later, to retire. He was replaced with Bill English, who announced the date of the coming election.

English is a former leader of the National Party. He ran the 2002 election as leader, and captured 20.93% of the vote, the lowest ever vote total for National, by far.

In February, Jacinda Ardern, a list MP from Labour, ran for and won a constituency. She was named Deputy Leader. An interesting fact is that Ardern was raised a mormon, but left the church over the issue of gay rights.

By June of 2017, a new scandal had broke. English, who is a list MP, does not have a constituency. The MP who replaced him in his old constituency, also from English's National Party, secretly recorded a conversation, an act illegal in New Zealand. That MP, Todd Barclay, announced he would not run for re-election.

Not only was National Party money supposedly used as a hush fund, but Bill English admitted he was aware of this scandal prior to it becoming public.

In July, Metiria Turei, Co-Leader of the Greens, admitted to not disclosing Rent payments made to her while she was on welfare, also illegal and known as benefits fraud.

A few weeks later on August 1st, Andrew Little, leader of Labour, stepped down. Little had been tied with or trailing Ardern in leadership preference polls since her becoming deputy leader.

On August 3rd, Turei admitted to lying on official elections documents in order to vote for a friend in 1993.

August 7th saw two Green MPs quit the party, and also saw a flare up of the Barclay scandal involving Bill English.

On the 9th, Turei resigned as Greens leader.

Three polls came out in august. All three show Labour above 32%. Labour has not had polls this strong for this long since 2013. Additionally, Ardern has tied English in prefered Prime Minister polling, a feat Labour has not achieved in nearly a decade.

With polling showing a likely loss, United Future leader, Peter Dunne, announced he would not run in the coming election, and is retiring. Polling shows the Maori party likely losing all of their seats as well.

All of this is a massive shift in politics in New Zealand, away from what had been a stable trend that has lasted a decade. It is now unclear who will win the election.


SYSTEM

New Zealand uses a fairly simple MMP Proportional Representation system.

There are 64 "Standard" electorates (constituencies) and 7 Maori electorates. Added to these 71 electorate seats are 49 "list" seats. These seats are elected so that the final proportions of parties in the Parliament is equal to the proportion of voters who cast ballots for those parties.

There are two thresholds. If a party wins 5% of the vote, they win list seats. However, a party may also win list seats if it wins any electorate seat.


PARTIES

New Zealand has two major parties, two mid-size parties, and a number of smaller parties.


National

The National Party, or Nats are New Zealand's answer to Canada's Conservatives. The Nats are a fairly moderate party in comparison, but Bill English's socially conservative views have some potential to change that. Like Stephen Harper, however, English is not expected to allow his social views to impact his governance.

The National is campaigning on continuing what is seen by many as the positive record of government over the past decade. It focuses on issues like Transportation, Justice, and Healthcare.


Labour

Labour is a moderate left party, similar to the Labor party in Australia, and more moderate Labour members in the UK. It is best compared in Canada to left-wing Liberals or moderate New Democrats.

With the resignation of Andrew Little, Labour is restarting its campaign. It focuses on change. Labour's transportation policy focuses more on rail than road. Labour wants to reverse the tax cuts in the most recent budget to invest the money in support for social services.


Greens

The Greens in New Zealand are a more traditional and left-wing group than that in Canada, and can better be compared to other Green parties elsewhere in the world. The scandals and controversies of late have harmed the Greens.

The party has taken a hard left turn in this election, wishing to increase welfare by 20% and hiking taxes on the richest by 40%. This comes after years of trying to moderate their platform. Most attention, however, has been focused on the scandals of the party.


New Zealand First

This party is seen as populist, but is in reality a vehicle for its leader, Winston Peters. Peters is very popular with a segment of the population, and his party is polling between 5% and 15% of the vote. Most expect that both National and Labour will require NZF support to form a government.

Policies include forcing the government to spend GST in the areas where it is collected, cancelling student loan debt for those willing to work in rural areas, cutting immigration from 73K a year to 10K a year, and holding a referendum on the Maori electorates.


ACT

ACT is a Pro-Business and Libertarian party. In practise, it is seen as propping up the Nats, electing 1 electorate seat without the votes needed for a list seat, thus adding a "free seat" to the Nats (compared to if the Nats had won the seat themselves)


Maori

Created as a party run by and for the Maori people, this left-wing party has run into trouble due to their support of the National government; polls show they may lose all of their seats.


TOP

This is a new party, and the only other party that can realistically win a seat at this point. TOP was founded by Gareth Morgan. The party wishes to tax assets in an effort to reform the tax system to better support wage earners, reduce immigration, and legalize marijuana. Interesting Morgan has called for all cats in New Zealand to be sterilized as to eliminate the cat population, reasoning they are a menace to nature.



PREDICTIONS

It is hard to predict a winner at this point. There are many questions, such as if the Greens will actually pass the threshold. As such there are three basic scenarios that could play out.


No Greens
54 Nats
54 Lab
11 NZF
1 ACT
This scenario would see Winston Peters get to choose the government.

Pro-English
54 Nats
46 Lab
11 NZF
8 Grn
1 ACT
It remains Winston Peters who is kingmaker, but Bill English now becomes the obvious choice for 'king' in this analogy.

Jacindamania
54 Lab
46 Nats
11 NZF
8 Grn
1 ACT
Not nearly as much of a stretch as might be imagined. Ardern is very popular. Still, however, it remains up to Winston Peters; but it appears that as of now, he slightly favours Labour over National.


I will, of course, keep you updated as things progress.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New alberta map

This post is largely a test; a new account to use to post on the same blog (long story)

However, I've decided to include my alberta map, latest version, so this is not simply a "wasted post"


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to do Canadian seat diagrams

After a debate with a friend, I realized it may be useful to share this here.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Break and New Zealand

For a few months now, I've been getting in a few dollars on my Patreon each month, and this is what drove me to try to fill the summer with posts. Despite that, I do not think I've made quality posts this summer so far mostly, and, the donations have now dried up.

As such, I will be taking a short break of a week or two.

New Zealand goes to the polls on the 23rd of September, and on the 23rd of August, I hope to have an introduction post ready. Quite a bit has been going on in New Zealand in the past few weeks and months, so the election itself looks interesting.

Just within the past 2 weeks; Bill English (Prime Minister) has faced questions about his involvement in a major scandal, Jacinda Ardern has taken over as Labour leader (official opposition), two Green MPs resigned to protest the leader, and this was followed by the Green leader (one of the two co-leaders) resigning herself.

After nearly a decade of stable polling, Labour is now in a possible winning position, and weakness in the Greens may push them over the edge.

All will be detailed in my intro post on or before the 23rd.

While donations will not change my plans for a break, donating to my patreon does help keep me motivated. Money is very tight for me, and after paying for housing bills (rent, internet, power, and so forth) I have about $10 left to spend a day on food and everything else. Not having to worry about the few dollars to throw at other creators through patreon is a huge relief on my mind.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Introduction: Norway

The next election in Norway is expected on September 11th, 2017. One month from the date of this post.

As this is an introduction to post, I want to introduce the political scene in Norway. Since an election is upon us, I also want to discuss where things currently stand.

Since 2000, the three largest parties in Norway have been Labour, the Conservatives, and Progress.



Labour is a Social Democratic Party, that has won the plurality of seats in every election since 1927. A Labour member has been Prime Minister for all but 24 years since the end of WW2. Labour is expected to win the most seats in this election, as usual.

Labour can be thought of as a moderate left-wing nordic party, and the policies of Labour are often what people picture when they think of the policies of scandinavia. Of course, there is nuance beyond this; but this is an introduction post, intended to introduce Norway and the politics therein to people who may not know anything about Norway itself; and it is designed to be short and easy to digest.



The Conservatives currently provide the Prime Minister, Erna Solberg. She heads a 4 party coalition of moderate and right-wing parties. The Conservatives are a right-wing party, but very moderate compared to right-wing parties in places like Canada.

Socially the party is progressive, and it fits in well with other moderate conservative parties in Europe, and in Scandinavia in particular.



Progress, despite its name, is a nationalistic party, with a libertarian streak. The party is similar in some ways to the policies of Donald Trump. For many years, parties refused to work with Progress, but that changed in recent years due to a more moderate position on some issues.

Their main concern is immigration, and they wish to see the rates of immigration reduced. They are currently in the right of centre government coalition.




Poll suggest a 4th party has risen to join these parties as one of the larger parties in Norway.

The Centre Party is an Agrarian party, difficult to explain in the Canadian context, but in short, a party with strong rural support, but that is otherwise moderate. This would contrast with, in the Canadian context, "urban" right-wing figures such as current Toronto mayor John Tory, or former Calgary mayor Ralph Klein.

The Centre Party usually sits with Labour when in coalition, and much of its recent growth in the polls is due to weakness in Labour polling numbers.



Current polls show Labour with around 31.5% support, followed by the Conservatives around 23.5%, the Progressives around 13%, and the Centre Party around 10.5%

The five other parties that look set to win seats are all between 5% and 2% in the polls.


Socialist Left makes up the third party in the 'standard' or 'expected' Labour-Centre-Left coalition. While all 3 parties may not be in official coalition, in general, they can be expected to support one another so that even if outside the coalition, they will support the coalition on confidence matters. The party is hard left and socialist in nature, and is considered by most to be feminist.


The Christian Democrats often sit with the centre-right, and currently support the centre-right coalition government on confidence matters. They are socially conservative but otherwise moderate in policy.


The Liberal Party is a moderate centrist party with small l liberal values and ideas. They make up the 4th in what is usually considered the potential right of centre coalition, and like the Christian Democrats, support the current coalition on confidence matters.


The Green Party has so far avoided being lumped in to either left or right coalition. Their best result was in the last election in 2013 when they elected a single MP. Given the policies of the party, chances are if they were forced to choose, they'd back a left government over a right government.


The Red Party is currently seatless, and has never won a seat, but is polling at a level to potentially take a seat in the coming election. They are openly communist and propose a national income cap, charging 100% income tax above a certain level (roughly $250K Canadian a year)



Polls currently show the left-wing coalition of Labour, the Centre party, and the Socialist Left are in the lead, but only just. There may be the need of the Green member to join them to push them over the majority. Regardless, with a month to go, the Labour lead coalition should is ahead, but the current government is close behind, and Labour can take nothing for granted.




Monday, August 7, 2017

Alberta baseline


I've finished refining my alberta baseline. This is what I am assuming the starting position will be when the next election happens.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Personal post - Left and right

I was browsing twitter recently and a name popped up that I'd not thought of in a while. Reminded me of a story. Two stories, in fact, I wanted to share.


You see I used to post on the preeminent left-wing political discussion forum in Canada. The problem was that I was not very left-wing. Sure I'm progressive, but I'm a moderate, and even have some conservative views. Eventually, I left, but in doing so, it became known that I was suffering from mental illness, and was depressed, and suicidal.

That is when Audra, the admin, contacted me personally. For no reason other than to make sure I was okay. I was, but I still remember that the administrator of a large forum took time out of their day to personally contact me, just to make sure I was alright.

Many years later, I found myself on the preeminent right-wing political discussion forum in Canada. Again, while I do have some conservative views, in general, I'm moderate, and more progressive. Again, my mental illness caught up with me, and this time, I ended up in the hospital.

That's when Connie, the admin, sent me a get well card. She too, contacted me personally, for no reason other to to make sure I was okay.


Left and Right. Debate, discussion, and argument, and yet at the end of the day, I found the two "leaders" of online political discussion for both the left and the right in that era both were good decent individuals who cared about people

There are good people on all sides, and I just wanted to take a moment to call attention to two of them.

Thank you audra
Thank you connie

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Alberta, new poll

A new poll was published today suggesting the UCP is in majority territory.


Running the poll through my spreadsheet, I get the following result. The NDP actually is doing very well in Calgary even if the map does not show it; the UCP is losing half the vote in that city, and is only winning ridings due to their massive lead over the NDP. In a tighter race, Calgary would not be going blue to such an extent.

I want to caution however that undecided voters can sway the outcome heavily. Polls taken before the writ was dropped in Alberta in 2015 show the NDP gained significantly, so much that you'd almost need to add the entire undecided total in to the polled response for the NDP to project the actual outcome. Doing so now produces a very different map:



This, would be a return of the NDP with a majority.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Update: 31JUL2017

This post is unfinished, but has been pre-scheduled to help the author with planning.

Fortnightly Update on events:

Not much. The US has had political occurrences; but I don't follow the US much as readers know. BC's new NDP government was sworn in, and they appear to be softening on pipelines. More importantly, Christy Clark resigned, not just as Liberal leader, but as MLA. I'll go into greater detail when I cover BC on Wednesday.

Poland perhaps has had the biggest update, with the President vetoing the more controversial legislation which would have allowed Parliament a great deal of power over the judicial branch.


I'll make a post shortly covering the countries I've already done in greater detail, in the way I intended, and from there we will continue our summer look at various countries and provinces.