Sunday, August 30, 2020

New Brunswick, the math

 After the last NB election, I recorded all the results on a spreadsheet. It might be helpful to click here to follow along with the rest of this post. 

You should see a list of ridings, and the results. On the left you'll see the raw ballots cast, and on the right, the share of vote. For now, focus on all the numbers above the thick black line, and, only focus on cells without a grey background. 

The data above the line simply shows the 2018 results.

Now look at the numbers between the two black lines. 

Here I've placed the 3 most recent polls. Leger, all post-writ; Narrative, polled during the writ drop; and Angus Reid, polled months ago. There could be an argument to ignore such an old poll, but I wanted at least 3 polls for this example. 

I've summed the polls together. So, the PC Party for example, gets its 40% from Leger, added to its 44% from Narrative, added to its 39% from Angus Reid. This results in 123%. I then take one third of that, or, 41%, and this becomes our poll average for the PC Party. 

The next step is to use the following formula: (Poll Average) / (Previous election result) = (Factor)

The "factor" for the PC Party in this case is 1.29, as 41%/31.89%=1.29

Finally, I want to figure out the number of "points" in each riding each party is estimated to obtain. This is the greyed out area below the second black line.

Note that these are not votes estimated. These are simply the numbers that result when you multiply the last-election result, in each riding, by the factor for the party in question.

As such, the 961 votes the PC Party obtained ni Restigouche West becomes 1236 points, as, 961*1.29=1236

The last step then is to find the share of the vote in each riding. Doing so tells us the PC Party, by the math alone, is estimated to take 15.56% of the vote in Restigouche West. 

The sheet shows the math for every riding. It produces a map like this:

You'll notice however, that this map is not the map I've been using as my prediction map. Why?

Simply, cause there's more to forecasting an election than applying a single formula. A good election forecaster does not start with guesswork, they start with math. A good election forecaster does not end with math, they do more. Take for example the Peoples Party in the last federal election. Since they'd not run previously, all forecasters using only math would have had this party taking 0 votes. Therefore, every single forecaster across Canada had to do more than use one pure simple formula to estimate results. Additionally, each forecaster also broke things down regionally, using regional polls to project each region instead of a single nationwide topline poll. In effect, they were running roughly 10 different forecasts at the same time. 

Go back above the two black lines and look at the area on the right shaded in grey. For this area I've quite simply copied the raw vote in select ridings. Which ridings? Ridings that I decided were "french". I then summed these results, and found the vote share. This told me the PC Party took 21.78% of the vote in these ridings. Finally, I subtracted the vote numbers from the "french" ridings, to get a number for the "english" ridings. This told me the PC Party got 37.87% in the "english" ridings. Great! Now I have something I can roughly compare to the most recent Leger poll's demographics. Doing this helped me see that while the Liberals do appear down in Anglophone ridings, that they've not moved much in Francophone ridings. 

This is, of course, just a rough estimate; but it can help give you an idea of what's going on in subregions of a province. 

This is why my current prediction is as follows:

You'll notice that this differs from the math. Let me explain where and why. 

Firstly, I've given the Liberals a chance to win nearly every seat they currently hold. It is always possible that voters will sour on the tories for calling this election. While I'm not seeing that happening, I am keeping an open mind to its possibility. As such, each riding currently held by a Liberal has a red dot in it. As do two additional ridings in the Moncton area. 

Why these two, and not others where the Liberals were closer?

Simple; the PANB vote has collapsed. Polls show not only PANB doing poorly, but Kris Austin, their leader, also doing poorly. As such I've judged it more likely that PANB voters will go PC this election, and thus, boost the PC vote. Since these Moncton area ridings do not have PANB vote totals as high as outside the Moncton area, it seems likely that if the Liberals are to gain, it will be ridings like this where it will happen. 

So, what of ridings the math says the Liberals will win, but I've coloured in blue?

That is also simple, as we saw with the demographic numbers, the Liberals are down in Anglophone areas. This means any PC gains will be stronger there. Additionally, 2018 PANB voters could help push a 2020 PC candidate over the top. 

Great, but what of PC ridings I've predicted will go Liberal?

There's only one and its a Francophone riding. Given the PC Party seems up in Francophone ridings, people may consider this an odd choice, but remember that the PC MLA elected in that riding in 2018 left the party. When this happens, even if the MLA does not run again (he is, but in a different riding), strange things can happen. Sometimes the party will actually increase their vote, but just as often, their vote will decrease. Given the circumstances, it is my guess that the PC vote will drop here, and as a result, the Liberals will be able to take the riding; but, that they may only hold on to it for a single term. 

Wonderful. How about the prediction in specific ridings? What of Kent South (#13) for example?

This one could be a weird one. I actually lived here for a year and voted here in a federal election. Kent County as a whole tends to be somewhat united. What impacts one part can and will impact the other. Additionally a quick look at the poll by poll results of the federal riding can show what is on my mind. One easy way to get there is using this map. As you can see, the Greens, while only winning a single poll, did very well in other polls in Kent South. Put another way, I suspect the vote could be split here, and that if this happens, it could allow the PC Party to sneak round the right to victory. 

Note as well on that federal map how well the Greens did, federally, in the other riding they hold provincially. With that in mind, pan on over to Fredericton to see why I've made one of my more controversial calls. 

Fredericton North, the provincial riding, was "won" by the Greens, in the federal election. It is my expectation that the provincial party can pull this off again at the provincial level. Beyond that, the battle between the Liberal MLA and his PC opponent provides an excellent opportunity for the non-Green parties to split the vote and allow the Greens to sneak around the left to victory. It is important to keep in mind that in the Maritimes especially, all the parties are more 'moderate' versions of the same party we find elsewhere in Canada. It is thus not crazy to image someone who usually votes PC who will lend their vote to the Green candidate in 2020. The Candidate the Greens have also does not seem to be 'a weirdo' or 'crazy', and while I wouldn't rank them as a 'star', they seem to be active, and are likely acceptable enough to win. 

If you look closely at the riding, however, you'll notice some blue in there. 

These is one of the "dots" I mentioned earlier. It means that while I currently think the Greens will take the seat, that there is a very high chance that the Tories will take it instead. 

The same is thus true for riding #38. While I think the Tories will take it, PANB can hold it. It is not only their 'best' riding, but, is that of their leader, Kris Austin. Given his personal low polling, however, he may be in for a tough battle. 

So to re-examine the seats; ridings 32, 09, 46, 47, 20, and 18 could all be held by the Liberals if people show displeasure at an early election. Ridings 21 and 22 could be won by the Liberals if that is true but the displeasure grows. 

19 could go PC if the party is able to maintain its strong position in the polls. 07 could elect another PC MLA if the displeasure over the events that least to the defection of the previous MLA has been papered over. 13 could go PC if the Greens manage to split the Liberal vote just right. 38 will probably go PC but could be held by the PANB leader. And 41 could go PC if the Greens fail to pull off the saem level of victory in Fredericton that they did Federally last year.

Riding #10, Miramichi, could go PC but looks like it will go Liberal. It's the seat of a PANB MLA who won in a "shocker" last election due to her personal electability. It is the riding the Liberal Leader, Kevin Vickers, is running in. The actual winner will depend heavily on local factors, and as such, is difficult to predict. 

Lastly, Riding #01, Restigouche West, is probably one everyone has their eyes on. I had previously seen this as a clear pickup for the Greens. That changed upon seeing the breakdowns within the Leger poll. While the Greens could still take the seat, the Leger poll suggests the party is too weak in Francophone ridings to do so. 

As such, my current prediction is as follows:

PC - 29 (possible 20-34)
LIB - 16 (possible 11-24)
GRN - 4 (possible 3-5)
PANB - 0 (possible 0-1)
Others - 0 (possible 0-0)

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Japan - Electing a new PM

Note that in this post I will be using the preferred name order, which, by in large, the english world has yet to catch up on. 

With the resignation of Abe Shinzo as Prime Minister, a leadership election is being held within the governing Liberal Democratic Party to replace him.

As far as I can tell, there are two main candidates in the running. Ishiba Shigeru has run in the last two major contested leadership elections in 2012 and 2018. 

He is associated with both Heisei Kenkyukai (a party faction) and Nippon Kaigi (a far-right non-party organization). Trying to pin down his positions is this difficult, but my best guess is it comes down as "Imperialist" in nature. 

Kishida Fumio is his main opponent. His faction of choice is more moderate in some ways, and while he is not of the same faction as Abe Shinzo, this faction is closer in many ways to that of Abe's faction. 

Abe, supposedly, supports Kishida to succeed him, and this may give him a huge boost towards winning the leadership.

There are, however, other possible candidates. Koizumi Shinjiro is seen as more moderate than either of the two and would lead the LDP back closer to where it was under his father, Koizumi Junichiro. Suga Yoshihide is also often mentioned, he probably has views closer to Abe than anyone else mentioned yet. 

Other possibilities include Nota Seiko, Kono Taro, and Motegi Toshimitsu. The latter especially strikes me as not having the intangible 'stuff' a leader needs to win, and would require significant backing. Noda could get a boost by being the only woman on the list; and Kono a boost due to his father being a former PM. All three of them, along with almost everyone else mentioned (with the possible exception of Koizumi) hold views close enough to that of Abe that we are unlikely to see any drastic shift after the election of the new leader on September 15th. 

One important thing to keep in mind, however, is what impact the new leader will have on the factions with the LDP. The party is famously factional, and it is not unheard of for unhappy politicians to leave the party and take friends with them. This can result in the creation of new parties, which, have had a historic tendency to merge with one another. Any such moves could re-balance the political game board in Japan. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Updates about world elections

 A few quick updates from around the world. 

Belarus continues to be a hotbed of protests and opposition, but its starting to become more clear that Lukashenko has probably locked in his victory. Putin has offered to send in Russian police to help restore order. At this point, the only way the opposition could win is if an out-and-out coup is in the planning. Meaning military officers who plan to, but have yet to, take action against the government. Short of that, I can not see this ending well for anyone except Lukashenko.

North Macedonia seems to have a coalition, as the main albanian party appears to have dropped most of their demands (at least, most of the crazy ones). One of their larger demands that will be carried out is that for the final 100 days of the term, one of their members will serve as PM. Beyond that, this is just the old coalition that existed before the election, except re-elected to office. 

Northern Territory, in Australia, has held elections. They have a rule that a ballot must be sent by election day; so mail in ballots continue to arrive. Additionally, Australia uses a STV/AV system, where voters rank candidates. 

AV is not why we don't have full results even though the election occurred a week ago. The mail in rule is. AV is also not why ranked counts have yet to begin, the mail in rule, again, is. Regardless, because of this rule, we only have the first round count, and, the estimated final round count. In such a count, the election commission picks the two candidates they think most likely to be the final two, and simply counts the ballots based on which of the two candidates has higher preferences.

Normally this works brilliantly, and saves a lot of time. Results are known on election night! However, in maybe 1 out of 10 cases, the commission picks the wrong final two. The seat Araluen may be one of these. In the years since the previous election, a new party, TA, has forked off of the right-wing CLP. TA is more moderate. Labor is the main left-wing party, and the incumbent government. In this seat, the first round had the CLP at 38%, TA at 29%, Labor at 18%, and the Greens at 10%. There were 4% of voters who cast a ballot for other parties, with rounding making up for the missing percent. This means it is possible, but not likely, that Labor at some point in the count, could overtake TA. While this seat seems to be one where TA is probably the right choice for the "2nd" party in the "2PP" vote (IE where they pick the final two candidates, and count that now) it was rather close to being the wrong choice. 

Even worse is in Braitling. Unlike Araluen, I'm not convinced Braitling has the correct final two candidates. The first round has the CLP at 35.4%, Labor at 22.5%, an Independent named Hopper at 14.6%, TA at 11.2%, the Greens at 8.6%, an Independent named McConnell at 4.5%, and the "Federation Party" at 3.1%. From what I can gather, Hopper leans to the left, her campaign posters clearly calling for clean energy and climate safety. McConnell himself is a former Labor MLA. The Federation Party seems to be right-wing, but moderate; opposing deficits as well as opposing fracking, while supporting clean water and a "holistic" approach to security. I could thus see a number of Greens, McConnel supporters, and Federation Party supporters, rank Hopper above Labor. Alternatively, if the Federation Party and McConnell backed the Greens over their opponents, they could beat TA, and if so, TA might have chosen to back the Greens as a 'screw you' to Labor. Or, the Greens, McConnell, and Federation Party could have backed TA as another way to 'screw' Labor. Put simply, I'm unconvinced that the Labor should be the ones joining the CLP as the 2nd candidate in their "2PP" count. 

Regardless, the media seems convinced of this, and has listed Braitling as a CLP win. ABC has called all but 5 seats. They give 13 seats to Labor, 5 to the CLP, and 2 to Independents. Of the 5 seats in doubt; Araluen currently has TA in the lead, Brennan and Namatjira has the CLP in the lead, and Barkly and Blain have Labor in the lead. Adding these leads would give us a final result of the following (with the change VS the previous election noted on the right)

15 Lab (-3)
7 CLP (+5)
1 TA (-1*)
2 IND (-1*)

Thus, while this is a victory for the government, it is not nearly as big of a victory as they won in the last election. Note* as well that the two of the TA candidates running for re-election were elected in 2016 as Independents, hence how they could "lose" seats. 

The Geographic standings are also quite stark. Of the 12 seats outside Darwin, 5 went Labor, 4 CLP, 1 TA, and 2 to Independents; while of the 13 seats in the Darwin area, 11 were taken by Labor, and 2 by the CLP. This, however, is not unusual, with the 2012 election seeing the CLP take 10 of the 13 seats outside darwin, and the CLP splitting Darwin 6-6 with Labor. 

The good news, for the CLP, is that by taking at least 5 seats, they return to a more 'standard size' of opposition. 2016 saw them reduced to 2 seats, and 2005 had them down at 4. The next smallest opposition since 1983 (when the Northern Territory moved to 25 seats) was in 1983 and 1987 when Labor took 6 seats each time. More interesting is the pattern of government. The CLP managed to win the first 8 elections in the territory, starting in 1974, with that year seeing Labor shut out and only 2 Independents elected to oppose the 17 CLP members. It should be noted, however, that until 1978, the territory only had limited self government, and that by this time, Labor had 6 MLAs. 

Regardless, it was not until 2001, that Labor won a government here. Since then they've won in 2005, and 2008. 2012 saw the CLP return, but it was massively defeated in 2016, in part due to the CLP tearing itself apart with infighting (hence the later creation of the TA). With their re-election in 2020, Labor now has won 5 of the last 6 elections in the territory, making 2001 a drastic turning point which, save for a 4 year interruption, split the period of CLP rule from the period of Labor rule.

Lastly, I do continue to track polls from around the world. I think that FdI is finally overtaking M5S in Italy, but it is a very slow movement. It does, however, seem that this movement comes not from voters switching from left to right, but from Lega voters slowly dripping into FdI. A general reminder that I try hard on this blog to remind people that parties like Lega are not "NAZI", and part of the reason I do is that parties like FdI are to the right of Lega. Lega is closer to the AfD in Germany, or like Marine LePen in France. These are contrasted to the Hungarian Jobbik, or Jean-Marie LePen in France. Those are parties and people who like to straddle the extremist borderline. Lega and AfD on the other hand have a gap between them in the borderline which allows some daylight through. FdI is much more like Jean-Marie LePen, while Leaga is like his daughter Marine. Despite that, neither FdI, nor Jean-Marie LePen are outright "NAZI" in what they do, instead, you need to look at parties like Golden Dawn for that. It is important to remember the past. When you look at the things the NAZI party did, and, importantly, said they'd do, it is actually quite clear that the party was pretty open about many of their NAZI policies. People simply dismissed them as 'tough talk, just to get elected'. Parties like FdI do not talk like this, while Golden Dawn does. As I've said before, the big problem with parties like Lega is that they enable parties like FdI. Now that FdI is a contender, with 1 in 7 voters in Italy backing them, the big problem with FdI is that they will directly enable parties like Golden Dawn to rise in Italy. Parties like that, are, themselves, the problem. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Quick note(s) about O'Toole

 I was a bit surprised when O'Toole won the Conservative leadership.

Not that he won. That's not a surprised. How he won. 

It was always possible for O'Toole simply to appeal to more people than MacKay did, especially in Quebec. I also expected O'Toole's message, that he was a friend of socons (social conservatives) to work. What I didn't expect was that his similar message to your general run-of-the-mill right-wing Conservative, would work as well.

MacKay has always been good at one thing, convincing people he's more progressive than he actually is. Look back to his time in the PC Party, alongside folks like Bill Casey, Greg Thompson, and Scott Brison. Along with Peter MacKay, the 4 of them were seen as ideal role model examples of the progressive left wing of the party. In fact, among them, Brison was often seen as the most right-wing. The outrage among some about MacKay's deal to merge the two parties was always more than just his deal with Orchard. MacKay was supposed to have been the progressive guy who would never do such a thing. 

This becomes obvious when you look at how the media talked about him, and the things he himself did and said. MacKay was never as progressive or left wing as people thought. He wasn't then, he wasn't during Harper's government, and he isn't now. In fact, if he didn't already have a history in the PC Party, and, if he lived anywhere but the Atlantic, it is quite possible, if not plausible, that he would have joined the Alliance and not the PC Party; and in so doing, would not have stood out as having views that were in any way unique or different from the mainstream member of the Alliance. 

Frankly, and perhaps most shockingly, is the Stephen Harper himself was the opposite. He would have fit better into the PC Party than MacKay ever did. Sure Harper was a conservative, but the C in the PC party is conservative. There were right-wing conservatives in the PC Party right up to the end.

So then, where would Erin O'Toole have fit in?

O'Toole would have fit in the PC Party. Looking at what he has actually done, he is one of the more moderate MPs in the CPC caucus. In addition, his 2017 campaign, which lined up well with his actions, was run from the left of the party. 

O'Toole is, and always has been, on the CPC's Progressive wing. So, what happened this time?

Simple. O'Toole was able to convince Conservatives that he is the "true blue" option. That he, not MacKay, is right-wing. That MacKay is a "Liberal"

It will be interesting to see if O'Toole ends up leading the party from the right or not. Leaders can, and often do, bend their own views to fit that of the party. The current US President has done this on some issues. Joe Clark, former Prime Minister, lead his party from a more right-wing position than he himself has supported before and after (and after again) his term(s) as leader ended. Contrast this with someone like Jean Chretien, or Jack Layton who dragged the party to their own viewpoints, and won big because of it. 

While I don't really have any single unifying point or theme to give you about O'Toole, I do simply want to quickly note:

He's not as right-wing as the people who elected him as leader think he is. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Are we at risk due to power greedy politicians?

 Just a quick update today. Things generally continue to advance as last mentioned - IE Belarus continues to rest no a knife edge with Lukashenko holding the upper hand - but two new things have happened.

One of them is not the resignation of the federal finance minister. I always try to help my readers learn the difference between something that is actually important, and something that only looks important. His resignation is the latter. Freeland's taking the job is more important. The most important, however, is the prorogation. Alongside that is the call of an election in New Brunswick.

In these cases we have one Liberal and one Conservative, who both made a decision solely for political gain. A decision that puts legal locks on what can and can not be done in both jurisdictions for a number of weeks. It hampers the ability of the government to properly deal with Covid-19. 

It is hard to decide which decision is worse. Higgs seems to have been totally ignorant of what his own decision means, implying he could move the election date if needed (he can not). A dumb decision (politically speaking) that is only alleviated by the fact that he may come out the other end with a Majority. Trudeau meanwhile has prorogued the house; It's like a suspension but without meeting the technical definition of suspension. Unlike Higgs, he's going to have to work with the opposition parties he just screwed over after the new throne speech comes in. 

This is not a "Liberal Thing" or a "Conservative Thing". In fact, if the NDP were not such comparative electoral failures, I could easily point to them doing the same at another point in time. 

This is a "politicians making selfish decisions" thing. If you want them to stop, you'll need to keep that in mind at the ballot booth. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

16AUG2020 quick Belarus update

 A lot has advanced since my previous post on Belarus, yesterday. This has moved things along at a brisk pace, but does not seem to have changed the field of play. The government still holds the advantage. The Media in general have been a bit more open than usual, but, much of the larger media players are still showing government propaganda. One of the smaller media outlets has started to report on the protests quite openly, however in a countermove, Putin has announced his support for Lukashenko. 

It is likely thus that if the government of Belarus can not quiet the protests themselves, the Russians will march in and do it for them. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020


Feb 24th 1985. Belarus, along with every other Soviet republic, holds elections for their local Parliament. The Communists win, of course, as they were the only party allowed to contest. Even the Independent candidates who ran needed Communist support. Nikolay Slyunkov would thus continue as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Belarus. All according to plan. 

Konstantin Chernenko was still the widely accepted "Leader" of the USSR. Selected, in part to stop another man from taking that job, he was old, very old; so old that supposedly, his eulogy to his predecessor was so garbled and incoherent that it could not be heard. His death, less than a month after these elections, would pave the way for that man, who the party had tried to stop, to become the new leader. Mikhail Gorbachev. 

By the March 4th 1990 regional elections, things had changed. With power being entrusted more and more to elected officials, VS party stalwarts, Nikolay Dementey had become seen as the leader; he was Speaker of the assembly. He would 'lead' the Communists to a victory, taking 302 of 360 seats, while the Anti-Communist Nationalists managed 26 seats. While these elections were not as 'free' or 'fair' as we prefer our elections, the same regional elections saw non-communists come to power in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, and Georgia. 

Much like the rest of the USSR, things would collapse quickly from here on in. Dementey would be removed after he supported the coup against Gorbachev. He would be replaced by Shushkevich. He would become Belarus' first post-Independence leader. His career would end when he was accused of corruption by the head of the anti-corruption committee, a man who, like Shushkevich, had been elected as a Communist in the 1990 election. Shushkevich would be replaced by interim leader, then by Myechyslaw Hryb. It would be under Hryb that the final proposal for the new Constitution would be received, and voted into law. This would create the job of President. Hryb would not run for this job, and instead, would remain Speaker. Shushkevich however, would run. Also running was Vyachaslaw Kebich, who had served as Prime Minister since April of 1990. Other candidates included the candidate from that Nationalist party, the first Anti-Communist party in Belarus, as well as an Agrian, and a Communist. Finally, the last candidate was the head of that Anti-Corruption committee, the man who had been elected to the assembly as a Communist in 1990. Alexander Lukashenko. 

It was quite clear to any outside observer that Lukashenko had the best chance, by far, of winning any election, however free or fair. On the first round, he took 46% of the vote, and along with Kebich, advanced to the second round, where he trounced him in a landslide, taking 81% of the vote.

The 2001 election would see Lukashenko run for re-election. These elections were widely considered unfair, having both an unfair playing field that supported one candidate over the others, and an unfree ballot count, that skewed the actual results. It does seem, however, at least to me, that Lukashenko likely would have won the elections even if the actual ballots cast had been counted and reported honestly, however, likely with a lower share of the vote, closer to 60%-65% and not the reported 77%. 

The 2006 election would be much the same story. Unfair and unfree. Official numbers show Lukashenko taking an 84% vote, while unofficial polling suggests 60% may be a more realistic number. Yet again, however, it seems Lukashenko would have won the election had the actual ballots been honestly counted. This time, however, there were protests. These protests, known as the "Jeans Revolution" would last a little over a week, before ending. 

2010 is, yet again, more of the same. 80% official result, with polls suggesting an actual number closer to 40%. Despite these numbers, it seems likely, at least to me, that Lukashenko would have won the election on the second ballot, again, had ballots been counted honestly. 

2015 would repeat the same story. 84% official number, with polls closer to 40%. Again, it is likely that Lukashenko could and would have won the second round. 

So the question is, why would he have won all of these elections? The answer is quite simple, in each, the opposition was too divided. 

So, what happened in 2020. Is it the same old story?


First of all, independent polls, instead of showing Lukashenko at or around 40% of the vote, had him between 6% and 1%. This alone marks a drastic shift from previous elections. Secondly, those same polls suggested one person had what it took to win. Viktar Babaryka. 

Babaryka seems to be some sort of Businessman. It can be hard to pin down where those in the former soviet bloc got their money, but this man seems to have quite a lot of it. Beyond this, for the first time, former opposition candidates from across the political spectrum endorsed one person, Babaryka. 

Over June and July, Prosecutors managed to find that, surprise surprise, has committed crimes and can not be allowed to run. 

Bluntly, if he had been allowed to run, and, if the ballots had been counted honestly; he would be the President right now.

So, you might think; 'the dictator wins again'. Heck, he even banned another candidate who polled well in Independent polls, Tsepkalo. Is this, after all, not what a Dictator should do to remain in power?

Perhaps. But he missed one key aspect of his former victories. A divided opposition. In the past, his opponents themselves would disagree on things such as how close relations should be with Russia, or how Capitalist/Libertarian the state should be. 

There was another candidate who polled well. Siarhei Tsikhanouski. He is a youtuber. You can view his channel here. He too was banned from running, however, he was arrested early enough that his wife was able to register to run. She was never banned. Likely as Lukashenko did not consider her a threat.

As a result, he created a person that not only Tsikhanouski voters would support, but Babaryka and Tsepkalo supporters as well. If my estimate is correct, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya could have easily won 60%, or even 70% of the vote. Golos is reporting 80%, but only pro-opposition voters would submit data to Golos. Still, I estimate at least 51% of the vote was won by Tsikanouskaya. 

As a result, there has been nearly a week of protests.


What makes this different from, say, 2006?

Simple. She actually did get 51% of the vote. That means that many among even the security services, are likely to have voted for her. Have you seen the videos of "uniform shame?" Assuming the person in the video actually is part of the Police (it is quite possible they are not and simply have a uniform at hand) then these are people who voted for her. 

Where do we go from here?

In large part, that depends on what happens with the protests. If they continue, and continue to be as large as they are, for at least another two full weeks, then there may be change. There could even be change before that, but that would depend on what the Military and the Security services do. 

Regardless, I'll be keeping my eye on the situation. 


 It is the summer lull that happens every year.

I am following politics around the world; but simply, not much is happening that I feel fits on the blog. 

Most of you likely already know Lebanon's government has stepped down. You also likely know who the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate is in the USA. In other areas, there's simply little news, if any. 

Putin's party in Russia is down a point or two in the polls. Lukashenko continues to brutalize Belarus after "winning" his latest rigged election; In fact, I had planned a post on Belarus that just didn't come together. Basically, look into Viktar Babaryka. He is the one who would have won a "free and fair" election had Belarus held one. 

I continue to follow polling from everywhere. The biggest "change" is that in Japan, Ishin's polling bump seems to have ended. Polls elsewhere remain more or less the same as the last time I reported on it (including any trends I may have pointed out. IE if I said party X is going up, party X has simply continued going up) 

Perhaps the two most interesting countries right now are Israel and Bolivia. In Bolivia, it seems the final two candidates in the runoff will be Acre and Mesa, and polls suggest Acre will win. Why that is interesting is that Acre is from Morales' party, and Morales was the President overthrown. 

In Israel, Yamina is way up in the polls. One poll puts them at 18 seats. I'm keeping an eye on how all of this plays out as it may cause instability in a year or so.