Monday, July 29, 2019

Israel and party mergers

First, a quick note, that any post about Boris Johnson will need more time with him in office, as, reactions are taking longer to shake loose than I expected.

Israel has seen a number of party mergers for this election. I'd like to go over them.

First is Likud-Kulanu. The centrist Kulanu party, lead by Moshe Kahlon, a defector from Likud, has agreed to run with Likud in this election as a joint slate. It remains to be seen how solid this agreement will be, and if this will effectively see Kahlon re-join Likud, or the alliance be temporary.

The Joint List of the 4 main Arab parties has been re-established. I can't yet find details, beyond that this re-merger is not going smoothly, with Balad in particular having issues.

Gesher, which failed to cross the threshold at the last election, is in a joint run with Labour.

Ehud Barak, the former PM who has returned leading his own party, has agreed on a joint run with that party that includes Meretz, and the Greens; the latter gaining 1 MK in a defection from Labour after that MK lost the leadership election in June. This joint-slate is called the Democratic Union.

Most recently, the United Right and New Right have announced a joint run as well, but have been explicit about their plans to dis-unite once the new Knesset actually sits.

It is somewhat unlikely that any further mergers will occur, as, these mergers all include parties near the threshold, and thus ideally, through the merger, guarantees those parties seats. The only party left near the threshold, Zehut, rejected joining the Right-wing New United New-Right United-Right alliance, and has no other party with which to form any such merger.

Further unions, such as Labour-Gesher joining with the Democratic Union, or, with Blue and White, are made difficult as such alliances would require a re-negotiation of seat distribution not just between the two factions themselves (IE Labour-Gesher and Gantz-Lapid) but between all the member parts (Labour, Gesher, Gantz, and Lapid) 

Pre-Existing party mergers from the last election, meanwhile, continue. Blue and White is still a merger of Benny Gantz's forces with Yesh Atid. United Right continues to house both the Jewish Home party and Tkuma. UTJ continues to be a long-time coalition between Degel HaTorah and Agudat Yisrael.

In the end, the overall political balance has not changed much from the previous election, but only one or two additional seats is actually needed to break the deadlock, and polls currently Bibi falling behind

Possible Results:
30 - Likud-Kulanu
27 - Blue and White
12 - New United New-Right United-Right Right
11 - Joint List
10 - Democratic Union
8 - Yisrael Beiteinu
8 - Shas
8 - UTJ
6 - Labour-Gesher

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Final word on Ukraine and Japan

The full results are below, including the [Proportional + Constituency] results.

253 - President [124 + 129]
43 - Opposition [37+6]
26 - Tymoshenko [24+2]
25 - Poroshenko [23+2]
20 - Voice [17+3]
6 - Opposition (splinter) [0+6]
3 - UKROP [0+3]
1 - Svoboda [0+1]
1 - Self Reliance [0+1]
1 - United Centre [0+1]
1 - Bila Tserkva Razom [0+1]
41 - Independents [0+41]
12 - Crimean seats (no election) [0+12]
14 - Donbass Separatist Held (no election) [0+14]

Historically in Ukraine, the Independents rush to join or form new political blocs once the Parliament opens. I've taken a look at some of the people elected, but not all, as the way the data is presented is very unhelpful to someone who does not speak the language. Using that sampling, and what I know about how things work in Ukraine, I've developed the following possible groupings when parliament starts:

260 - President
59 - United Opposition
33 - Poroshenko
27 - Tymoshenko
23 - Voice
22 - United Independents

This is, of course, just an estimation.

Japan's upper house results are now clear, and adding the half that was up for election to the remaining half, we end up with the following:

113 - LDP
32 - CDP
28 - Komeito
21 - Democratic Party 
16 - Innovation Party
13 - Communist Party
2 - Reiwa
2 - Social Democrats
1 - Anti-NHK
17 - Independents

Assuming the Independents roughly break in a similar proportion to how they did in the past assembly, and grouping the caucuses by how many sat previously, we end up with the following basic groupings:

142 - Government
40 - Progressives
30 - Moderates
17 - Conservatives
13 - Communists
3 - Others (traditional non-partisan posts)

lastly a reminder: this may be the final post for some time (pending a post on Johnson's future as PM)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Boris Johnson to become UK Prime Minister

Quick post; With a margin of 66%-34%, Boris Johnson has defeated Jeremy Hunt for the Conservative Leadership. Tomorrow, he will be sworn in as Prime Minister. I will then look into what that means and what some possibilities are of this.

Lastly, update on counting in Ukraine:
257 - President
51 - Opposition
25 - Poroshenko
25 - Tymoshenko
14 - Voice
1 - Svoboda
1 - Self Reliance
50 - Independent

Monday, July 22, 2019

Ukraine parliament election results.

With 70% of the votes counted, the results of the election are below

248 - President (123 + 125)
50 - Opposition (37 + 13*)
26 - Poroshenko (24 + 2)
26 - Tymoshenko (23 + 3)
18 - Voice (18 + 0)
1 - Svoboda (0 + 1) Neo-Nationalist
1 - Self Reliance (0 + 1) Moderate
52 - Independent (0 + 52)

*This includes 7 candidates officially endorsed by the main Bloc, and 6 by the secondary Bloc that broke off from the main Bloc earlier this year.

As I suspected was possible, a large number of Independents was elected. Generally, in post-soviet countries, these tend to be people who support or supported the old soviet consensus. This is not always the case however, but, it is likely that at least 2/3rds of these people would be unfriendly towards Zelensky, the President.

This gives Zelensky 58% of the seats, and, a clear majority. The first single-party parliamentary majority won in Ukraine since the collapse of the USSR.

For anyone looking to compare this to past elections, note that Tymoshenko and Poroshenko both supported the "Orange Revolution" while the Opposition Bloc - Literally its name - was formed after said revolution out of the Party of Regions.

With only 70% of the vote counted, there could still be seat swings, but I would not expect any party to gain or lose more than a handful of seats compared to the above list. Voice is more than 1 point above the threshold, while the Radical Party is more than 1 point below it, meaning likely no change there.

Lastly, in Japan, the popular vote figures are now available.

35% - LDP
13% - Komeito
48% - Coalition Government

16% - CDP
10% - Restoration
9% - Communist
7% - Democratic Party
5% - Reiwa (Personalist, Yamamoto Taro)
2% - Social Democrats
2% - Anti-NHK Party (state media)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ukraine exit poll results, and more on Japan

I've averaged all the exit polls and have thus produced the following results:

In the Proportional list, the results are as follows
126 - President('s party)
37 - Opposition Bloc
24 - Poroshenko('s party)
21 - Tymoshenko('s party)
17 - Voice (Pro-President Liberals)

For the FPTP seats, I've determined the following:
129 - President
31 - Opposition Bloc
23 - Poroshenko
14 - Tymoshenko
2 - Voice

For those wondering, I made the following adjustments: the Opposition Bloc was given 20 extra seats, Poroshenko was given 18, and Tymoshenko was given 10. These are ballpark figures based on their Presidential results. Otherwise, I simply used the 'square method' to estimate the FPTP vote result; squaring the poll result and using that to determine the share of the vote.

Thus the totals are as follows:

255 - President
68 - Opposition Bloc
47 - Poroshenko
35 - Tymoshenko
19 - Voice

This gives the President 3/5ths of the assembly; which may or may not be important pending how constitutional amendments are done. (it does not appear to be with 2/3rds seemingly required, a number not reached even combining Voice and the President's Party.)

In Japan meanwhile the opposition alliance against the government has scored an unexpected victory.

Abe Shinzo, the Prime Minister, called the election with the intention of winning a 2/3rds majority and thus having a mandate to amend the constitution. Going into the election, Abe, along with opposition parties that supported this amendment, held 2/3rds of the seats, but, the results of the election has seen the government lose that 2/3rds majority. As such, this is a far more devastating blow to Abe than I'd originally understood it to be.

Regardless, the LDP has won handily, and while it lost its majority in the chamber, it still retains that majority with Komeito, the party with which it forms the coalition government.

LDP likely fails to obtain 2/3rds Majority in upper house

Doing better than polling suggested, it appears the LDP and their ally, Komeito, have failed to obtain the 2/3rds majority in the upper house that they were aiming for. A key aspect of this appears to be a united front presented by various opposition parties. Results are still unclear, but there are not enough undeclared seats left for the LDP to obtain their 2/3rds majority, even with Komeito is added in. There is a caveat, however, that not all opposition parties oppose the move by the LDP to amend the constitution. As such Abe may still be able to amend the constitution, as he wishes, before 2020; but all signs point to this now being likely impossible.

In other news, Ukraine exit polls suggest a very strong majority for the President's party, with 260 seats being most likely.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Majorities expected in Japan and Ukraine

Just a quick update; the President's party in the Ukraine continues to poll well into majority territory, and, the half-house election for Japan's upper house, polls, with the caveat noted here, indicate the LDP lead coalition is set to take the 2/3rds majority they need in the upper house.

Note that Ukraine uses a Parallel voting system - the system I frequently suggest would work best for Canada. As such, the number of seats the President's party can win on the proportional list - which currently looks to be about 130 of the 225 proportional seats - does not impact the number of single-seat constituencies won. With 213* seats needed for a majority in the chamber, an additional 85 seats need thus be won. It is both possible that with such widespread support - 50% in some polls vs 10% for the nearest opponent - that the party could sweep and take all 199* of these seats. It is, however, also possible that a large number of Independents could win those seats, as this has happened in other post-soviet countries in the past.

Based on my understanding, I am thus predicting the following:

260 - President's Party (possible range of 190-330)
65 - Opposition Bloc (pro-russian)
30 - Poroshenko's Party (likely to be largest pro-europe party)
30 - Tymoshenko's Party (could sneak past the above with constituency wins)
30 - Voice (new party, semi pro-president, pro-europe, liberal)
9 - Others (possible range of 0-140)

*The remaining 26 seats are in areas formerly part of Ukraine, but currently held by Rebels, or other Russia. 213 thus is a majority of the 424 seats up for election. 226 being the majority of the entire 450 member chamber.

Japan, being so far ahead of us timewise (when it is 7am here, it is 8pm there) should produce somewhat clear election results fairly early in the day on Sunday. As such I will make a post at that time detailing the results. Ukraine's election may not become clear until Monday or even later, at which point I'll post the results of that election as well. Tuesday we find out who the next UK Tory leader will be, and thus, I will be doing a write-up as well on that.

Following that it is into the doldrums of August, with elections only occurring in places I do not cover; Nauru, which does not have any political parties, and Guatemala, a country I do not know much about.

September is far more interesting. Israel votes on the 17th followed by Austria on the 29th. German state elections occur in Brandenburg and Saxony on the 1st. I have a friend who lives in Saxony, and she may be able to help provide me with information and contexts that I've previously missed the way my Friend with an Israeli background was able to during the last Israeli election.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Greek election results

The results of the election are as follows.

158 - New Democracy (Christian Democrat)
86 - Syriza (Socialist)
22 - Movement for Change (Social Democratic)
15 - Communist (Communist)
10 - Greek Solution (Neo Nationalist)
9 - MeRA25 (Progressive)
0 - Golden Dawn (openly NAZI)

As such, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the ND leader, has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister with a majority government.

One big question is that of relations with the recently renamed North Macedonia. Mitsotakis opposed the deal which saw the name change in return for Greece dropping its opposition to North Macedonia joining NATO. Mitsotakis, however, says that a deal is a deal, and that despite his opinion that this was a bad deal, it's been signed and he will honour it.

The big news is Golden Dawn falling below the threshold. Golden Dawn always was apart from other Neo Nationalist movements in Europe such as France's National Front (now the National Rally), or Italy's Lega Nord, or Germany's AfD, or the Swedish Democrats. Golden Dawn openly used NAZI-like symbolism, and had a NAZI-like ethos. They are now replaced in the Parliament by the Greek Solution, a Neo Nationalist party.

The shift in seats is also not as drastic as it may seem. Greece awards the winning party with 50 additional seats to help them obtain a stable Majority. Removing that brings ND down to 108 seats, compared to Syriza's 86. Removing the bonus 50 seats from the previous election has Syriza on 95 seats vs ND on 75. While both parties gained a dozen seats, the swing between them was only of about 20 or so seats.

While the defeat of Golden Dawn is a good thing for anyone opposed to totalitarian racist fascism, it should be remembered that the original NAZI party also had a lull, going from 32 seats in 1924 to 12 in 1928 before returning to 107 seats in 1930.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Austria - quick update

Just an update to show where the polls are and how things look.

72 - OVP (Christian Democrat) [+10]
42 - SPO (Social Democrat) [-10]
34 - FPO (Nationalist) [-17]
20 - GRN (Green) [+20]
15 - NEOS (Liberal) [+5]
00 - JETZT (Left-Green) [-8]

Given the recent scandal, it would be extremely difficult for the nationalists to rejoin the coalition. With this in mind, my feeling is the coalition that Kurz (OVP leader) wants is with NEOS. At this time, they don't have a majority in the polls. Kurz could get one with the Greens, but it is likely the two are simply too far apart in terms of policy.

Austria has had a minority government before, but such things are rare and don't tend to last for very long. Its quite possible however that if OVP and NEOS can get close enough to a majority, a minority could run for a few months. It's also possible that the OVP could rule in minority with some sort of supply and confidence agreement from the FPO while the FPO remains out of government.