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. 

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