Sunday, June 13, 2021

New Israeli Government is sworn in.

 The government mentioned in my previous post has been sworn in. 

One Ra'am MK abstained, meaning the vote was passed 60-59. Some key cabinet posts, held by the party leaders, are as follows:

Naftali Bennett - Prime Minister

Yair Lapid - Foreign Minister (& #1 successor)

Benny Gantz - Defence Minister 

Gideon Sa'ar - Justice Minister

Avigdor Lieberman - Finance Minister

Nitzan Horowitz - Health Minister

Merav Michaeli - Transport Minister

Mansour Abbas - Deputy Minister of Arab Affairs in the Prime Minister’s office

Including the PM and all deputy ministers, cabinet is as follows:

9 - Yesh Atid
5 - Yamina
5 - Blue and White
4 - New Hope
3 - Yisrael Beiteinu
3 - Labor
3 - Meretz
1 - Ra'am

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Shape of new Israeli government

 There is still a day to go, with all the exciting ups and downs that can bring, but, here is what seems to be the shape of the new government:

Naftali Bennett, leader of Yamina, will lead the government for the first half. The plan is that he would then step aside, and Yair Lapid would be the Prime Minister for the second half. This has been something that was done before in Israel in the 1984-1988 term. However, in the subsequent term (in which the grand coalition continued) "the dirty trick" occurred. When Gantz and Netanyahu formed a similar agreement, Netanyahu himself pulled his own trick to enable him to remain Prime Minister. Additionally, Bennett try, very hard, to form a right-wing coalition. As such, I strongly suspect that this new government will not last long enough for Lapid to come to office, and suspect Bennett will form a coalition with Likud as soon as Netanyahu is removed as a member of the Knesset. 

A few notes.

You'll notice I've coloured parties in based on their position on the right-left spectrum. Additionally, I've noted the Arab parties, and the Orthodox parties. Amichai Chikli is a Yamina MK who opposes the new coalition. From what I can determine, he might feel at home with the Religious Zionists. 

Lastly, there is still a day to go before the new government gets approval from the parliament (Knesset). Israeli politics has a tendency to remain uncertain until the final deadline, with deals historically both being approved, and, falling apart, during that crucial last hour. Beyond that, despite the vote being tomorrow, the swearing in will not take place until Sunday the 12th. All of the above is current as of today; but things can still change. As usual, I'll keep you updated as things progress. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Election results, Mexico and Saxony-Anhalt

 In Mexico, the governing Moreno party has taken roughly 200 seats in the chamber, down 50. The right-wing PAN has taken around 110, a gain of 30, while PRI will take about 70, a gain of 20. Counting is still early, and so the numbers are general. Helping President Lopez-Obrador is that their new ally, the Green Party, is set to take around 45 seats, up from 10. Labour will retain its 40 or so seats, they are another ally of the President. 

In Saxony-Anhalt, the CDU has outperformed expectations. Current count suggests results are as follows:

40 - CDU

23 - AfD

12 - LNK

9 - SPD

7 - FDP

6 - GRN

This would enable a simple CDU-SPD majority, but, it would be the narrowest of majorities, of only one seat. It would, however, enable the CDU to swap the Greens for the FDP if they did decide on the need for a third partner. Counting continues, and these numbers can change. In particular, the current count includes 14 overhang seats; meaning the total numbers could change radically as the number of overhang seats changes; while the overall balance would remain the same. This large number of overhang seats comes from the CDU currently winning 40 of the 41 constituencies in the state in counting. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Elections tomorrow in Mexico and Saxony-Anhalt

 A short post. Tomorrow Mexico holds elections for its parliament, and the results are expected to roughly mirror the last election. Polls are as follows:

Morena 40%-45%
PRI 15%-20%
PAN 15%-20%

Saxony Anhalt will be the more interesting location. Polls suggest the following:

CDU 25%-30%
AfD 22%-28%
LNK 10%-13%
SPD 10%-11%
GRN 9%-11%
FDP 6%-8%

with the Free Voters list at 3%, below the threshold. 

The current government is an unusual CDU-SPD-GRN coalition. It is very likely that following the election, the coalition will change, but, will likely retain the CDU at its head. The main concern is if the AfD can overtake for first place. Even if they do, their participation in any coalition is rather unlikely. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

New government in Israel

 Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, was from the Mapai party. That party went on to become Labor, including a period as part of the "Alignment" alliance. In 1977, Menachem Begin, leader of Likud, became the first Prime Minister to not be from Labor. 

In 2001, Ariel Sharon, Likud leader and Prime Minister, founded Kadima, while in office. After his strike, Ehud Olmert took over as Kadima leader. He too, was from Likud. 

Today, a third party enters the list.

Yair Lapid has informed the President that Naftali Bennet is to become Prime Minister.

Bennett has never served as an MK (member of parliament) for any party except the one's he has lead. While a member of Likud from 2005 to 2008, he never was elected to office under that party's banner.

There is still a chance it can all go wrong. The new government has a week or so (12 days it seems) to pass a vote of confidence. Should they fail, new elections will be held.

Once they take office, the new Knesset will look like this:

17 - Yesh Atid (left-centre)
8 - Blue and White (left-centre)
7 - Yamina (right-wing)
7 - Labor (left-wing)
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu (right-wing)
6 - New Hope (right-wing)
6 - Meretz (left-wing)
4 - Ra'am (arab, right-wing)

30 - Likud (right-wing)
9 - Shas (orthodox)
7 - UTJ (orthodox)
6 - Zionist (right-wing)

6 - Joint List (arab, left-wing)

This government will be difficult to manage, presuming it does indeed manage to pass. 

There are still details to work out between all the parties. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Updates - 28MAY2021

 Nothing much to update. Israel still is struggling to form a coalition government. 

On June 6th there are a number of interesting elections. Saxony-Anhalt in Germany, and national elections in Mexico. Bulgaria votes on the 11th of July. Beyond that, we are headed into another quiet time for politics. Things will pick up in the fall with elections in Russia, Germany, Norway, Iraq, Japan, and Chile, as well as Berlin, and Mecklenburg. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Updates - 21MAY2021

 Jason Kenney survived the rocky week, but the long term survival of his leadership remains in doubt. I do, however, continue to follow politics around the planet. Updates are as follows:

Israel - the recent violence has, supposedly, lead to a deal between Bennett and Netanyahu; however, Lapid has the current mandate, and says he will not give it up early; meaning there's likely no movement until June 2nd, when his mandate expires. I will address this more in due time.

Elsewhere, there is not much to update. There are a number of elections in the early part of June I'm tracking, on the 6th in particular. 

In personal news, I will be getting my vaccine on the 8th!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Explosive day in Alberta Politics

 Today, the UCP caucus met to discuss that party's political troubles. A prime topic of discussion was the leaks to the media. This was reported by the media, as the story had been leaked to them. 30 minutes later, they posted a new leak to say the story about the leaks was being discussed at the leak meeting. At this meeting, two MLAs were nominated to be expelled from the party.

This is the latest information as of 15 minutes ago.

Should they be expelled, it could encourage other MLAs to defect from the party. Should the motion fail, Jason Kenney could be out as Premier within the hour. 

The 15 minute leak silence may mean the motion has failed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Updates for 12MAY2021

 Israel is likely headed back to another election. Regardless of the cause, the recent upswing in violence is very likely to make any anti-bibi coalition all but impossible. There remains a small chance for a Bennett lead right-wing government to still emerge, however.

France has not seen polls change; Macron still defeats LePen 55-45 or so in the final round, and, both still advance to said round; but, my own gut is telling me LePen likely is going to win. There are all sort of intangible reasons for this; but France just "feels" like its ready to elect a radically hard-right President.

Tasmania results have firmed up. It appears the final results are as follows: 13 LIB // 9 LAB // 2 GRN // 1 IND. The one Independent, leans left politically. 

Italy, the parties continue to converge. Rough estimates of current support: M5S 17% // PD 19% // Lega 21% // FdI 19% - what is interesting is that M5S continues to slowly rise and Lega continues to slowly fall. All 4 of the largest parties are converging around 20% of the vote. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

UK update - 09MAY2021

 UK held its local elections over the weekend and I want to sum up some of the results.



English Locals
The general trend is that the Tories are up.

LAB mayor Sadiq Khan re-elected, 55-45, over CON Shaun Bailey. 

Some thoughts:

One of the biggest changes from recent elections is the absence of a strong hard-right party. In the past two decades, UKIP, the BNP, and other such parties have often been able to make some gains; but here we see a fairly strong rejection. There are still 3 (of 143) councils left to declare, but the combined total of UKIP, RUK, and "Liberal Party" wins is 3 councillors; contrasted with 3 undefined "others", 43 Residents Association members, 248 Independents, 143 Greens (subtotal of 437), plus 572 LibDems, 1332 Labour councillors, and 2313 Tories. This (3) is down from a combined 49 last time.

In Scotland the SNP has actually gained a seat; but, generally, the results are very similar to the previous election. The same can mostly be said for Labour and Wales, but with the absence, this time, of any hard-right parties. Tory strength seems to be driven, somewhat, by weak LibDem and Hard-Right results. This contrasts with Labour, which is facing a growing Green threat on its left. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Updates - around the world 07MAY2021

 UK local elections are taking longer than I expected to count; I will try to summarize results tomorrow, or, sunday. 

Bulgaria is going back to the polls, as expected. They will vote in July. Polls suggest the 3 anti-corruption parties are now siting on a combined 41.8% (up from 31.36%) while the traditional parties are on a combined 51.6% (slightly up from 51.0%). I expect the former to only continue rising. 

Mexican polls suggest the coming June elections will have a result similar to the 2018 elections.

I've made a very rough prediction for the Russian elections this fall:

285 putin's party 
70 communists 
55 nationalists 
40 moderates

And a similarly rough prediction for this fall's German elections:

180 Greens (Coalition) 
150 CDU/CSU (Coalition) 
100 AfD 
70 SPD 
50 FDP 
40 Linke

Lastly, Bibi's term to try to become PM has expired. Some parties shifted their recommendations; I've outlined this below:

Likud, Shas, UTJ, and RZ
52 members. Bibi last time, and Knesset this time

Yesh Atid, B&W, Labor, YB, Meretz
45 members. Lapid last time, and Lapid this time

New Hope, Joint List (except Balad)
11 members. No one last time, and Lapid this time

7 members. Bennett last time, and Bennett this time

Balad, UAL
5 members. No one last time, and No one this time

Had the Knesset faction won, it could have meant that the Knesset could nominate who would get the next chance to become PM. Of course, even had they won, the President would have had to agreed with this. Regardless, Lapid ended up with 56 recommendations, above 52 for the Knesset, and 7 for Bennett.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Update; Canada round up, 05MAY2021

Expected Election Date (or, my guess, if a minority)
Summary of results I expect

This fall
Liberal majority, gain of 2 dozen seats from the Tories.

Nova Scotia
Either right after the Federal election, or, Spring 2022
Lib Majority, gain of 4-5 seats from the tories. Houston stays on.

Summer 2022
PC minority, Libs second. 50-40-30 seat split, roughly. No deals, no coalition, minority lasts 2 years at most.

Fall 2022
CAQ re-elected to another majority, takes seats from PQ. PQ could be reduced to 2 or fewer seats. 

Spring 2023
NDP majority, alternative hard-right party takes a few seats as well

Fall 2023
PC majority. Libs and Greens might tie at 2 or 3 seats each. Possible the combined opposition benches contain less than 3 members. 

Fall 2023
NDP majority, tories down to ~20 seats. Pallister resigns as leader. 

Too far in the future to project

Looking at the Senate while I'm here, current standings are as follows:
42 - ISG (centrist and liberal, non-partisan)
20 - Conservative (right-wing, partisan)
12 - CSG (right-wing, non-partisan)
12 - PSG (left-wing, non-partisan)
5 - others (non-affiliated)
14 - vacant

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Liberals win in Tasmania

 Unclear if it is a majority of a minority; but it is possible, but perhaps likely.

According to ABC, the Liberals are on 12 seats, compared to 7 for Labor, and 2 for the Greens. There are 4 seats in doubt. 

Most seats have a party winner; even if a few don't have a specific MP that has won. 

Lyons has elected 3 Liberals and 2 Labor members; Braddon has also elected 3 Liberals, and 2 Labor members; while Franklin has elected 2 Liberals, 2 Labor members, and 1 Green. All of these match the results last election. 

Bass has elected 3 Liberals, as they did last time, and 1 Labor member. Labor could end up with 2 as they did last time, or, the final seat may go Green. 

Clark meanwhile is where the attention is. 2 Liberals have won seats, as well as 1 Labor member and 1 Green. Labour also took a 2nd seat last time, back when the seat was known as Denison, however, they will not be winning a 2nd seat this time. This seat has been the site of much drama. 

The speaker, who holds a seat here, quit as a Liberal after being told she would not be allowed to run again as a Liberal candidate. This was counter-balanced by a former Labor member, who lost in 2018 but won a countback (after a member retired) and re-entered the assembly as an Independent. She has since crossed to the Liberals. She is one of the two Liberals could take the final seat. The other contender is an Independent, Kristie Johnston. She may have benefited from the chaos in this seat, and her electorally successful terms in municipal politics. She could take the seat; and if she does, she would be the first Independent to win a seat since 1996, back when Tasmania had 7 seats per division (vs the current 5). This would be a feat, as, previous to 1996, the last win was in 1982, and before that, 1959 when two Independents won seats. Independent victories were more common prior to this. Still, there have been 20 Independents, total, elected since the 1909 adoption of proportional representation. 

Regardless, the Liberals are likely to hold on to power, but may have to do so in a minority situation. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Many updates! 30APR2021

 Within the past few hours and days, things have gotten moving around the world, politically.


In Israel, it is becoming more and more clear, at least to me, that Naftali Bennett has a good chance of becoming Prime Minister within the next few days and weeks. There is still a chance for another election, and, a chance Bibi holds on; but right now, the smart money is with Bennett. I'll save discussing this a bit more for a later post, as, I have many updates in this post.

In Palestine, the elections have been delayed. I will also address this in detail in a later post, where I'll also explain some of the technicalities and weirdness that places like the Seam Zone cause. 


The coalition process is moving along to its next step. While there is some agreement that more time is needed, there is also a desire to get a comprehensive covid plan on the table. Will update as more comes.


The Australian state of Tasmania votes tomorrow, May 1st. (or, "Today" in Australia, as this post will go up at about 4am local for Tasmanians) Polls suggest the governing Liberals are likely to be re-elected, but with no guarantee they'll get another Majority. I will post what we know of the results in tomorrow's blogpost.


I've seen enough in new polls to declare significant movement. The new poll average, very roughly, is as follows:

191 - GRN
182 - CDU
110 - SPD
85 - FDP
84 - AfD
56 - LNK

The Greens, polling as high as 28% in some polls, would win their first election, ever, at the federal level, in Germany. Note that I've used 709 seats for my calculation, as, this is the current number of seats, even though the election is expected to produce far fewer seats due to less of a need for overhang seats. 

Their next best showing was 10.7% of the vote in the 2009 election. 

This would not be enough for a Green-Social Democratic government; but would be for Green-Christian Democrat government. This would mean Merkel's party remains in government, but, as a Jr Partner. It is, of course, possible for a the Liberal/Libertarian FDP party to join a GRN-SPD government; and these numbers could even see a GRN-SPD government supported by the hard left Linke party. 

Things are expected to change as the details firm up, and the election date draws closer; but there's a very good chance the Greens could win this in the end. People are a bit tired of Merkel's party, and the chancellor candidate they've offered this election seems sub-par, while the Greens have offered up their own candidate this time, who seems quite popular. My money would be on the Greens winning the most seats and votes, and, heading the next government coalition; with Annalena Baerbock becoming Chancellor. 


British local elections have managed to sneak up on me this year. County-level elections are taking place in various locations across England. 

In Wales, the Senedd is also up for election. Polls suggest Labour is up by about 2 points from last election, and the Tories are up about 6 points. The Welsh Nationalist PC is about level, while the LibDems have lost 4 points. The 12.5% UKIP took last time has vanished, but two "UKIP-like" parties are each at 4%. Labour can be expected to either retain their seats, or gain additional seats, based on this. Currently they hold 29 of 60 seats, and are supported by the LibDems and some Independents. This could, roughly be expected to continue; but the exact counts need to be seen.

Scotland also votes at the same time. Regionally; which impacts the proportional seats; The SNP is down 5 points, while the Greens are up by 2. The other parties (which currently hold seats) are steady, with the new Alba Party, lead by Alex Salmond, makes up the difference, sitting at around 3% or so. In the Constituency vote, the parties are all within a point or two of what they took last time; but the SNP seems potentially slightly down. If that plays out, the SNP could lose their majority. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Arlene Foster resigns as DUP leader

 The First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster, has resigned as leader of the DUP. She has also resigned as First Minister. She'd been facing pressure to go in recent weeks.

The pressure stems from the Brexit deal, which, according to those in the DUP who oppose it, but a border between Northern Ireland and Britain. As Unionists, such a concept is fundamentally in opposition to the entire concept of what a Unionist thinks Northern Ireland is. 

As such, there is every chance that the next DUP leader will take a more hardline, more pro-Unionist stance on issues. This may make working with Sinn Fein much more difficult. 

Two moderate candidates for the top job are Jeffery Donaldson, MP; and Gavin Robinson, MP. 

However, there is thought that the job of DUP leader, and the role of First Minister, be split. Edwin Poots, MLA and Agriculture Minister is probably in the best position to become the next First Minister. He is a hardliner, and may be someone who SF has difficulty working with. 

There is time to sort all of this out. Foster will remain DUP leader until the 28th of May, and First Minister until the 30th of June. 

I will be keeping a close eye on all of this as it unfolds. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Updates for 25APR2021

 Again, little to update. I added one of my maps to the wikipedia page on the Yukon election, cause nobody else has yet. Nothing of note out of Bulgaria or the Netherlands, but there are signs of movement elsewhere. Germany and Italy are very close to having trends of note, I just need a few more polls to confirm things. 

Israel is where the biggest changes are. The upcoming Palestinian elections have caused disputes in Jerusalem. This is playing into government formation, and how it plays out remains to be seen. A cynic might think that Bibi is trying to inflame the situation to bolster his own support, if that is indeed the case, it may not be enough to save him. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Updates for 20APR2021

 Nothing much to update. The Tie in the Yukon has been won by the NDP, so the final standings are 8-8-3. The Dutch still seem to be forming a coalition government of some sort, while Greenland seems to have settled on the expected Ataqatigiit-Naleraq coalition, with Atassut support. In Germany the CDU has had a slight bounce while the Greens have announced a chancellor candidate for the first time. Bibi's chances of a coalition have narrowed, and it now looks like he may be out after all. 

When there is movement on one of the fronts I'm following closely, I will let you know. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Yukon election and other updates


7477 - 39.35% - Yukon Party - 8 seats
6142 - 32.32% - Liberal Party - 8 seats + 1 tie
5356 - 28.19% - NDP - 2 seats + 1 tie
26 votes - All Others

The results are in, and nobody has a Majority. 

It is all but impossible for the Yukon Party to end with more seats. That would require a 22 vote swing in Whitehorse West from any special ballots. This is extremely unlikely given the number of said ballots left to count. The single riding with a tie has no Yukon Party candidate, and, counting that tie as an NDP win, the Liberals still have 8 seats, the same number as the Yukon Party. As such the Liberals will be able to test the confidence of the house. Both the Liberal leader and Yukon Party leader accepted as much in their speeches. 

Any media outlets that have yet to call this for the Liberals are being pedantic. While the opportunity remains for the government to change hands after the legislature first meets; as it did in BC after the 2017 elections, or NB in 2018, the custom in Canada is to recognize the incumbent as the "winner" of the "election"

The most likely next step is for some kind of deal between the Liberals and NDP. There are three ways that can play out.

1 - "A Deal" - the weakest kind of deal - a one off "we will give you X if you give us Y", where the Liberals trade support on the throne speech for something the NDP wants to see

2 - "C&S" - Confidence and Supply - The NDP agrees to support the liberals as the government, voting for their throne speech and budget - in return for a number of policy points they wish to see implemented.

3 - "Coalition" - This means the Liberals and NDP will both supply members to the cabinet, both be part of "the government" and both govern the province together. 

Each of these has a history in Canada. The first has been used many times Federally. The second's most famous occurrence was after the 1985 Ontario election, when it was called an "Accord", but was also the result of the NDP-Green agreement after the 2017 BC election. Outright coalitions have been somewhat rare in modern times, but have happened. 1991 in Saskatchewan between the Liberals and NDP is an example. The most famous example is probably the alliance of the Progressives and the Liberals in Manitoba; which lead to the effective merger of the two parties. 

My current guess is that we will see a C&S agreement between the two parties. What actually happens will depend a lot on the personalities of the two party leaders, and their caucuses. 

Outside the Yukon:

Greenland and the Netherlands continue to slowly work towards a coalition government, as does Israel and Bulgaria. While none of them have seen positive progress (IE, an event has made a coalition more likely) all of them, especially the latter two, have seen negative progress (something that makes a particular coalition less likely), but since none of those events rule out a coalition, there is in effect, nothing of note to update.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Bulgaria, Greenland, and Bezalel Smotrich


On April 4th, Bulgaria held general elections. The results were as follows:

75 - GERB (Conservative)
51 - ITN (Anti-Corruption)
43 - BSP (Socialist)
30 - DPS (Turkish Minority)
27 - DB (Anti-Corruption)
14 - ISMV (Anti-Corruption)

Note that these numbers may change as counting continues. 

One issue that makes a coalition difficult is that none of the anti-corruption parties wish to sit with GERB. ITN also does not want to sit with either the BSP or DPS. and both DB and ISMV have reservations about those two parties. 

This makes any potential coalition difficult, if not impossible. It would require all 3 of the non-anti-corruption parties to unite to form a majority. 

I'm keeping my eye on the situation, but as it stands, it is likely Bulgaria will be headed back to another election in a few months, one that the Anti-Corruption parties are more likely to win by a larger margin. 


On the 6th, Greenland voted for a new Parliament. The main issue in the election was development of a mine. The governing Siumut supported the development, while the opposition Atagatigiit opposed it. An election was needed due to the Democrats (who also opposed the mine) withdrawing from government, causing it to lose its majority. 

The results show Atagatigiit taking 12 seats, a gain of 4, while the Democrats have lost 3, and now only hold 3 seats. Siumut has gained 1 seat, while their only other coalition partner has lost their single seat. 

As a result, at least on the mine issue, the new Parliament will look like the old one. Results summary below:

Inuit Atagatigiit - 12 - Left and Sovereigntist 
Siumut - 10 - Left/Centre and Sovereigntist 
Nalerag - 4 - Centre and Sovereigntist 
Democrats - 3 - Right/Centre and Anti-Sovereigntist
Atassut - 2 - Right and skeptical of Sovereigntism

Starting with the first elections in 1979, the Premier has been from Siumut for all, except, a 3 year period from 2019 to 2013, when the Premier came from Atagatigiit. Looking at historical governments, it is possible that Atagatigiit, Nalerag, and the Democrats could form a coalition government. 


I want to quickly introduce Bezalel Smotrich. He is leader of the Religious Zionist party, the party formerly known as Tkuma. The party itself won 4 seats in the recent election. Adding to that is 1 member of Otzma Yehudit,  and Noam. Otzma is extremely far right, to the point that there are often debates on it it should be banned. Noam is extremly anti LGBT. Somtrich, however, himself, is quite far on the right. He has held the following positions over the years:

That Jews should be able to redline Arabs when it comes to selling and buying houses. 

Opposition to "mixed marriages" between Jews and Arabs.

Announced he is proud to be a homophobe.

Supported segregation of Jews and Arabs. 

Supports a Halachic state (the Jewish version of the Islamic "Sharia Law") 

Yesterday, he said that Arabs who do not support Jewish control over the "Land of Israel" (a term that usually means 'including Gaza and the West Bank') should leave. 

In short, he has become "big" enough of a name in Israeli Politics that I will use his name, and not a party name, when summing up polls. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

06APR2021 very short updates


While Lega seems somewhat stable at 22%, the other 3 major parties (the Democrats, M5S, and FdI) all seem to be converging at around 18%


Bibi has been selected by the president, after a vote by Parliament, to be the first to try to form a government. It seems unlikely he can form one without somehow peeling away members from other parties. There is an interesting, if a bit crazy, proposal to elect Bibi as President. This would remove the major road block, as many members elected on the right refuse to sit in a government with Bibi. Either way, it seems more likely than ever that Likud will be in the government at the end of the day, even if Bibi's chances of sitting in that government himself remains 50-50. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Dry season for politics

 Not much is going on with regard to world elections. Both Israel and the Netherlands have run into roadblocks for government formation; but neither have moved in any direction worth reporting just yet. The only election of note this month is in the Yukon; though, I am still keeping by eye on Calabria. There are a few interesting elections coming up in May. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Newfoundland "Election" results

 Yesterday, we learned that elections officials are hiding ballots from scrutineers

I spelled out in this post that Canadian democracy is stronger than US democracy because we have scrutineers looking at each and every ballot.

Apparently, this does not apply in Newfoundland. 

Regardless, the so-called results, are as follows:

22 - LIB
13 - PC
2 - NDP
3 - IND

And that's it. No map for this farce. 

This this supposed "election" does not outage you, you are doing it wrong. The one key element that differentiates our healthy democracy from failed democracies is that each party/candidate is allowed to see each and every ballot.





Not some of them. All of them. Not one person trying desperately to look at two different piles, or worse, 10 different piles. One set of eyes, on each ballot. 

I'm not going to humor this process with any more coverage on my blog. Good day. When the lawsuits begin, I'll keep you up to date, and I'll cover the re-do of the election (if that is how the court rules) ina year or two. 

Edited to add - 

I've reviewed the results on twitter and found 6 ridings where I feel the results might be, could be, or perhaps even should be, in dispute. The solution I prefer is to start by looking at the margin of victory. IE the number of votes that the winner took, over the 2nd placed candidate. If the winner took 1000 votes, and the 2nd placed candidate took 900 votes, the margin is 100. Next, compare that, to the number of people who say they were unable to vote. If that number is greater than the margin (IE, lets say 101 people said they were unable to vote), then the losing candidate(s) could request a re-do. This would simply see by-elections called for these ridings, with the member elected today continuing to sit until the by-election results are declared.

As such, with that note in mind, I am willing to discuss the election in a bit more detail and will do so in the following days. 

Regardless, here is the results map:

Friday, March 26, 2021

Israel, two possibilities

 This will be a short post; my building was without power for much of the day. 

It seems two coalitions are potentially possible. I'll outline what they are and what the problems with them are


30 Bibi
16 Haredim
7 Bennett
5 Tkuma+Noam
4 Defectors

Total - 62

The 6 members elected under what I listed as "Otzma" actually make up 4 members of the party formerly known as Tkuma, one from Noam, and one from Otzma itself. Otzma is a racist party, that lies somewhere between parties like AfD and Golden Dawn. Tkuma and Noam are closer to the AfD, though, Noam is fanatically homophobic. 

The 4 defectors would be from the party lead by Gideon Sa'ar; New Hope. 

Such a coalition is likely not going to be all that much more stable than the last few, and would only give Bibi another year or two in office. 


17 Lapid
8 Gantz
7 Lieberman
7 Avoda
7 Bennett
6 Sa'ar
52 - Coalition Government
6 Arabs
5 Left
63 - With outside support

Supposedly, the way this would work is that Lapid would get the votes for PM when parliament opens; but Bennett would be the first to serve as PM. The government would sit for a year, and at the half-way mark, Bennett would hand over to Lapid. Somewhere before that, the Haredim parties would be invited in so that the government would not need the support of either the Arabs or the Left. 

Right now, this is the most likely option, but, it faces some big obstacles. Lieberman has made many enemies over the year, in particular, the Left, Haredim, and Arabs. The plan calls for all 3 to back this. 

Additionally, the existing government was based on a deal that Bibi would allow Gantz to become Prime Minister, only for Bibi to stab Gantz in the back. As such, whomever would serve second in any deal would have to worry about the honesty of their partner. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Newfoundland election

 The polls have closed in the NL election... sort of. 

As of 8pm local (IE the time this post goes live) the post offices in Newfoundland and Labrador close for regular business. As ballots must be received (or, if the rules changed, postmarked, by today) this means the "polls" have "closed". One could argue, "perhaps midnight is better", but, my point here is that we have no results.

And we will continue to have no results until noon on Saturday (40 hours from now)

To my knowledge, this is the first time in 100 years that a Canadian election is having its results held back, despite the fact that no one can vote as the polls have closed. This just "does not happen" here. In places like Ireland or the UK it is far more normal to wait until all results are counted to release the results. That, however, is not part of our political culture as Canadians. 

Remember that the original election date was February 13th. We are now 40 days out from that mark. Results are still 2 days away. The move to the 27th (as results day) marks the 5th change, after it was changed to the 1st, then the 5th, the 12th, the 25th, and finally to the 27th. 

Beyond that, 20 people are counting the ballots, when roughly 2400 people would normally do so in the province. 

Beyond that, the election itself was cancelled with under 24 hours notice. At the time of its cancelation, anyone with covid would have been barred from voting. 

Apparently, despite having been in a pandemic for 10 months, none of the members of the minority legislature thought it wise to update the election act to ensure that there would be procedures to deal with the situation. 

The opposition parties are demanding meetings with election officials, but are being refused. Only the government party, it seems, gets to bypass this by having its leader as sitting Premier. 

If it was not for the fact that polls agreed that the government would be re-elected easily, a liberal victory would likely have lead to a massive constitutional crisis in the country. 

In short, the management of this election has been offensive. 

Reports that some voters were told to vote illegally are perhaps the icing on the cake.

This election has been run with extreme incompetence. Only the lack of malice makes any of this in any way acceptable in Canada. 

We should not be relying on the goodness of our officials to ensure a healthy democracy. Things need to change. Now. 

After debating with myself for weeks on if I want to associate myself with this farce by covering the results, I've decided that I will, for the same reason outlined above - lack of malice on the part of the administrators of the election. As such, expect a short post on Saturday with the results. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Israeli Elections - Bad news for bibi

 With 88% of votes counted, Bibi's main path to victory has been closed

30 Bibi
16 Haredim
6 Otzma
52 - Core Bibi

17 Lapid
8 Gantz
7 Lieberman
7 Avoda
6 Sa'ar
45 - Core anti-Bibi

7 Bennett
Swing; 59 with bibi, 52 with anti-bibi.

6 Arabs
5 Left
5 Ra'am

~88% of ballots counted

Things can, of course, still change. The formula (Bibi + Bennett = Majority) has been swinging between "YES" and "NO" through the entire count. Ra'am currently sits at 4.02%, above the 3.25% threshold. With so many ballots counted, it would be difficult, but not impossible, for them to plunge back below that number. Given the other results, the most realistic way for Bibi+Bennett to get a majority, is if Ra'am plunges back below the threshold. 

This then leaves open the question of Ra'am itself. 

Ra'am ran its own independent campaign (outside the Joint List of other Arab parties) explicitly because it hoped that a Bibi government would work with it. It now looks like the numbers may have put Ra'am in the exact position it hoped for. The question then becomes; is Bibi willing to work with them, and if so, are Bibi's allies willing to stomach that. 

I will update/edit this post if any new releveling information comes out today, or even tomorrow before sunset (when another post goes up) Such edits will appear below. 

Thursday Morning update:

30 Bibi
16 Haredim
6 Otzma
52 - Core Bibi

17 Lapid
8 Gantz
7 Lieberman
7 Avoda
6 Sa'ar
45 - Core anti-Bibi

7 Bennett
Swing; 59 with bibi, 52 with anti-bibi.

6 Arabs
6 Left
4 Ra'am

~96% of ballots counted

So long as Ra'am remains above the threshold, there is no simple way for Bibi to get his majority. Bibi's allies are unwilling to work with them, at least, enough of them have expressed reservations that make such an alliance all but impossible. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Israeli election - good news for Bibi

 Exit polls suggest the following:

32 Bibi
17 Lapid
16 Haredim
8 Arabs
7 Bennett
7 Gantz
7 Lieberman
7 Avoda
7 Otzma
6 Left
6 Sa'ar
0 Ra'am

These are good numbers for Bibi.

Bibi, plus Haredim, plus Otzma has 55 seats. This means any of the other parties can put them over the mark for a majority. 

The TLDR is that this is good news for Bibi, but not great news. 

Right now, I'd say the odds suggest that Bennett can be brought on board and will support Bibi in government in return for something he dearly wants. 

Remember though, these are exit polls. Things can, and will, change as votes come in. As such, I will make another post tomorrow showing where things stand.

midnight edit - 

Results as of 6:21am in Israel:

31 Bibi
19 Haredim
6 Otzma
56 - Core Bibi

17 Lapid
8 Gantz
7 Lieberman
7 Avoda
6 Sa'ar
45 - Core anti-Bibi

6 Arabs
7 Bennett
6 Left
0 Ra'am

~64% of ballots counted

note that the above was edited with even newer results, an hour later.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Israeli Election, prediction

 Those of you who follow me may know that I "live" blogged this on my Twitch channel, showing people how I make my posts. 

On the 23rd Israel will vote in its 4th election in 2 years. Sadly, as you will quickly see, the results may be as inconclusive as the previous three.

Lets go right to the numbers:

32 Bibi
18 Lapid
15 Haredim
9 Bennett
8 Arabs
8 Lieberman
7 Sa'ar
5 Avoda
5 Otzma
5 Gantz
4 Left
4 Ra'am

This would give the pro-Bibi faction, 52 seats (Likud, Haredim, and Otzma), but also give the so-called "anti"-Bibi faction, 52 seats (Lapid, Bennet, Lieberman, Sa'ar, Avoda, Gantz).

The problem here is that the "anti" faction is far weaker than the "pro" faction. It is more likely that a party from the "anti" faction would join the "pro" faction, than vice versa. 

It is still possible that someone like Bennett could end up as Prime Minister (Lapid seems to know that the right-wing parties in the 'anti' faction do not want him as PM, and thus he seems 'okay' with the idea - seeming to never have campaigned as if him becoming PM was even possible.) but Sa'ar, with only 7 seats, is no longer the most likely victor. 

Bennett however, might be persuaded to join with Bibi for the right price. Frankly, almost any party might "sell its soul" to get in power. The 'problem' is that Gantz did this, and suffered badly for it. 

The TL;DR is that unless the polls (and therefore my predictions) are wrong, this election will not produce the stability that Israelis hope.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Dutch results clearer; liberal victory

35 - VVD conservative liberal (GOV) +2
24 - D66 social liberal (GOV) +5
17 - PVV right populist -3
15 - CDA christian democrat (GOV) -4
9 - SP democratic socialist -5
9 - PvdA social democrat +-0
8 - FvD far right +6
7 - GL green -7
6 - PvdD pro-animal +1
5 - CU christian democrat (GOV) +-0
4 - JA21 trumplike +4
3 - Volt european federal +3
3 - SGP christian right +-0
2 - DENK minority rights -1
1 - 50+ pro pensioner -3
1 - BBB pro-farmer +1
1 - BIJ1 egalitarian +-0

As the results above (with ~80% of votes counted) attest; to a stronger liberal presence. Not only is Volt now in the chamber, but both VVD and D66 are up. Together, the two main liberal parties now have 59 seats. With CDA added, this is 74, putting them only 2 seats from a majority. If these results hold, even a smaller party like Volt may be invited in. 

It is quite possible CU will not be part of the new coalition. While VVD, D66, and CDA seem comfortable to go forward, CU has always been the odd one out. D66 may demand their replacement with PvdA. Regardless, this election has been a victory for liberals in the Netherlands, and marks the first time since WW2 that a single party (VVD) has won the popular vote 4 times in a row. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Dutch election, liberal surprise

Originally, I'd planned a long complex post, but, the exit poll indicates the following:

76 for majority

36 - VVD conservative liberal (GOV)
27 - D66 social liberal (GOV)
17 - PVV right populist
14 - CDA christian democrat (GOV)
9 - PvdA social democrat
8 - GL green
8 - SP democratic socialist
8 - FvD far right
5 - PvdD pro-animal
4 - CU christian democrat (GOV)
3 - Volt european federal
3 - SGP christian right
3 - JA21 trumplike
2 - DENK minority rights
1 - 50+ pro pensioner
1 - BBB pro-farmer
1 - BIJ1 egalitarian

D66 was not expected to do this well. In fact, VVD has already said they are going to form a coalition with D66 as soon as they can. They would give them a combined 63 seats, only 13 short of what is needed for a majority, something they could easily get with CDA. In short, the current government is likely to continue, if with one less partner. I will post more updates as more results come in. 

midnight edit: 

36 - VVD 
24 - D66 
17 - PVV 
15 - CDA
9 - PvdA 
9 - SP 
8 - FvD 
7 - GL 
6 - PvdD 
5 - CU 
4 - JA21 
3 - SGP 
3 - Volt 
2 - DENK 
1 - 50+ 
1 - BBB 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Dutch elections tomorrow

 Polls suggest the following:

76 for majority
34 - VVD conservative liberal (GOV)
20 - PVV right populist
16 - CDA christian democrat (GOV)
18 - D66 social liberal (GOV)
11 - SP democratic socialist
11 - PvdA social democrat
10 - GL green
6 - CU christian democrat (GOV)
6 - PvdD pro-animal
5 - FvD far right
3 - SGP christian right
3 - Volt european federal
2 - DENK minority rights
2 - JA21 trumplike
1 - 50+ pro pensioner
1 - BIJ1 egalitarian
1 - BBB pro-farmer

Not much in the way of analysis, as, there are too many variables with this many parties in the game. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Australian rep-by-pop, and election updates

 German states: Not much appears to have changed. It's still possible the Greens and SPD could have a combined majority in both states, but it is currently below that in both as well. It also still remains likely that the incumbent coalitions will remain. 

Western Australia: Also not much has changed. Liberals look set to take 3 (vs the original 2) but National might also only take 3. Beyond these 3, there are two additional seats that might go Labor that National could take. 

However, what I really want to talk about is the Australian way of drawing constituencies. 

The map here is a representation. It shows an example of a fictional region, with a city, suburban areas, farming areas, and remote areas with sparse population. 

The first map, which is what we are used to here in Canada, draws remote ridings to contain less people. In my example, these 3 ridings have the population of 1 normal riding; this is actually somewhat unusual, at least on the Federal level. Ontario's northern ridings average about 80K people, while the southern ridings are closer to 110K. 

You can see the "true" populations by looking at the second map, which shows how Australia currently draws its boundaries. You may wonder why Australia would allow such large ridings. The reason is shown at the bottom; at one time, Australia over-represented not just the remote areas, but the farming areas, and did so heavily. This lead to repeated elections where urban and suburban voters would be defeated by rural voters. As a result, Australians became very wary of over-representing any area.

This will be a concept I plan to touch on more at a later date. For now, I'd simply like to introduce the idea so that it can be linked to when it is discussed in the future. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

German state elections - 14MAR2021

 Elections were held today in Rhineland-Palatinate, and Baden-Wurttemberg. In the former, the existing SPD-GRN-FDP coalition seems likely to continue. There is a small possibility that the FDP could be replaced by the Free Voters party; which is committed to direct democracy and perhaps therefore more moderate than the FDP. The only other option would be a SPD-CDU government; but, that option existed last time, and was rejected (and thus, probably would be rejected again, for the same reasons)

Baden-Wurttemberg is more interesting. Polls only closed 15 minutes ago, and  am relying on exit polling. It is possible the Greens and SPD could get enough combined seats for a majority; though, at this time that seems unlikely. The only other option would likely be a Green-SDP-FDP government; but, my understanding has always been the Greens and FDP have a wide gulf between them on policy. Additionally, I think that the Minister-President (Premier) of the lander, Winfried Kretschmann is more comfortable with a Green-CDU coalition; and as such, it too is likely to continue. 

I will update both, these two elections and the Western Australia election, as counting continues, tomorrow. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

WA election - Labor landslide

 With a third of the vote in, Labor sits at 53 seats, to 4 for National, and 2 for the Liberals. One of the Labor seats (Nedlands) is still too close to call, with the Liberals close behind. All other seats appear to be solid. The Liberals look set to be reduced to 2 seats and end up with a gender balanced caucus. 

Labor has taken 58% of the vote, compared to 22% for the Liberals, and 4% for National. the Greens at 8% are sitting on 0 seats. 

In the upper house, Labor appears set for 22 seats, facing off against 5 Liberals, 4 Nationals, and 5 for smaller parties (3 right wing, 2 left wing), which would also be a majority in the upper house.

If these results hold - and it looks like they will - the Liberal leader would not only lose his seat, but the party would lose its official opposition status. 

Anyone who catches this post early enough can watch results come in live here.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Antics of Saskatchewan Rural Municipality of McKillop number 220

 It is not often I delve into municipal politics, but, I felt this deserved an exception. My attention to this issue came via a tweet made by ksituan about the gerrymandering that had occurred. The map confused me, as it mentioned the incumbent council wanting to gerrymander districts along the lakeshore. Let me share with you a map I've made to help myself make heads or tails of the situation:

In blue you can see the existing divisions, while in red are the new ones.

While I worked through the issue, I thought I had solved it; and that the blue divisions (hereafter called ridings; as most Canadians understand the concept of a riding) were gerrymandered. However, I've uncovered that both sets of ridings are actually horrendously gerrymandered, pending how you interpret the right to vote. 

There are a ton of various news articles about the place; but I think I've discovered the unmentioned controversy at the heart of the dispute. 

The municipality has 732 permanent residents, and, it seems, about 1000 non permanent residents (or more)

Here in Ontario we could call these non-permanent residence houses, Cottages, and their part-time occupants, Cottagers. As this is a term I am most familiar with, I will use it. The remainder of the municipality appears to be heavily agriculture based. There appears to only be one non-agriculture based permanent settlement called Uhl's Bay, that appears to have between one and two dozen houses. The remaining houses, coloured in dark yellow on the map, belong to the Cottagers. 

An interesting, but not uncommon, fact, is that the building that houses the HQ for the municipality is outside of it, residing in one of the grey areas; which are separate municipalities. The Green area, for reference, is a provincial park; while the lake and land outside the municipality boundaries have been appropriately coloured. Also to note; this whole area is about an hour north of Regina, just across from Regina Beach. 

The dispute seems to be based on the following fact:

People who pay residential taxes in a municipality in Saskatchewan, can vote in the municipality. This means people who live in Regina but own cottages up in Saskatchewan Rural Municipality of McKillop number 220, can vote in both. With them making a majority of the voter base, they can effectively decide on issues for the entire municipality, something the people who live there full time do not seem to care for. Personally, I do not blame the full timers one bit. I may be biased, but from my prospective this is equal to someone from another city, who has money, buying their way into an equal vote to mine in my own municipality. On the other side, is taxation without representation really something we want to be encouraging? 

The old map was clearly gerrymandered against non-permanent residents. The new one, however, appears to be gerrymandered against the permanent residents. I say this because of the very weird shape of riding #5. Not only did they move Uhl's Bay into it, but there appears (to me) to be no reason why ridings 2 and 5 could not have been split with a simple straight line. The new ridings also seem to have been drawn specifically to over-represent the cottager vote, by packing farmers into ridings 2 and 5; similar to how the old ridings packed cottagers into riding 4. 

I don't suspect the solution - to give cottagers control over the municipality - will result in any good healthy permanent changes; and as such, we might hear about the antics of Saskatchewan Rural Municipality of McKillop number 220 again in a few months or years. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Western Australia looks set to re-elect Labor

 This article explains most of what you need to know. Saturday morning (in my time zone) we should start seeing results, but the polls all indicate this will be a blow out for Labor. What is interesting, is that in WA, the Liberals and National party, do not co-operate in the same way the parties do elsewhere in Australia. As such, having the National party take more seats could be extremely worrying for the Liberals. The Liberals, already at one of their lowest seat shares, are expected to lose seats. 

I will provide results when they come in. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Israel - poll average

 Just a quick update, the polling average seat projection is as follows:

28 - bibi
19 - lapid
14 - haredi
12 - bennett
12 - sa'ar
8 - arab
8 - lieberman
6 - avoda
4 - gantz
4 - otzma
4 - either ra'am or the left (but not both)

Note that Lapid has indicated he is willing to serve under Sa'ar or Bennett. It is likely that under this scenario, Sa'ar, Bennett, and Lapid, could form a bit of a coalition (with 43 seats) that would only need Avoda, Lieberman, and Gantz to reach a majority. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Israeli Election Guess

 Just a quick post; jpost had a quick little predict the election game, and I wanted to share the results I put in.

25 - Bibi
23 - Lapid
14 - Haredi
12 - Sa'ar
12 - Bennett
10 - Arabs
7 - Lieberman
5 - Avoda
4 - Gantz
4 - Otzma
4 - Ra'am
0 - Meretz

Bennett would then get to pick who the new PM is. Bibi, or either Sa'ar or Lapid leading an anti-bibi government, made up of their two parties, Bennett's party (subtotal 47 seats), Lieberman, Avoda, and Gantz (total of 63). My money is on him picking Sa'ar; but the new Sa'ar lead government only lasting long enough to see Bibi get out of politics; followed by an election to decide who (Sa'ar, Bennett, or the new Likud leader) will be "the" leader of the right. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

March 2021

 It occurred to me that putting out a schedule/game plan for each month may be wise. As such, lets look at this month. 

March 5 - Counting begins in the Newfoundland election. No results are likely to be released

March 12 - Counting may start to be released in Newfoundland, target date for post on said election

March 13 - Election in Western Australia, target date for post on said election

March 14 - Province-level elections in Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany)

March 17 - Dutch Election. Target to make a post that morning, with prelim results that evening

March 19 - Final Israeli Polls

March 20 - Target date for final pre-results post on Israeli Election

March 23 - Israeli Election and Exit Polls, target date for post on said election

March 24 - Israeli Election results more clear, target date for additional post

There will, of course, continue to be additional posts from time to time.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

New Australian online news bill passes

 After amending the bill to address facebook's concerns, the online news bill that I mentioned earlier, has passed. The amendment appears to impact facebook's ability to reject working with any random organization claiming to be "news". 

Unfortunately, this is all I can write at this time. I've been having horrific internet problems over the past week, and am currently tethered to my new cell. As you may know from previous posts, I live on disability, and have little money to spare. My cell is new, bought only on the 4th of this month. It's also a very cheap plan, 1GB of data; but with 2GB bonus for signing up to chatr; but that runs out after a few months. So I am not used to typing on the phone (hence the tether) and do not want to use my limited data. As such, I'll have to address this in detail later; likely after the first deals are worked out between facebook and australian media companies, and after I see how such deals impact posted links. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Covid is the 9th deadliest pandemic in human history

According to Covid has now passed 2,500,000 deaths. The Wikipedia/John Hopkins number is still about 12,000 deaths away from this number, but is gaining about 5K-10K deaths a day. I've used the worldmeters number for one reason and one reason only: I wanted to get this post out sooner rather than later (for a reason that I make clear at the end of this post). The more trusted Hopkins number will pass this mark in a day or two.

You may have seen this table before, as I've been posting and updating it on twitter. I wanted to address that table in a more full context on the blog, where I can explain things that are difficult to explain in 280 characters. 

As you may know, I built this with data from this Wikipedia page. You will note that the page includes a share of population lost, but, that I've not included that data in my table. Why? Simply, I want to work with uniform figures. As such I'd need all 10 of the pandemics listed to include world, and not local, population shares. Additionally, that brings up a good point; not all of these pandemics were worldwide. The Plague (in particular, the black death) was, more or less, worldwide. The Spanish Flu was as well. As is AIDS. There's a reason I bring them up. 

They are terrifying. AIDS? Spanish Flu? The freaking Plague!?

Covid can, in a way, be added to the list. 

The whole "point" of the table, all this time, was never to "compare deaths". It was to compare the psychological impact that Covid will have, on us (humans), vs the way previous pandemics (like SARS) had. 

In that respect, I feel this table does a somewhat good job of explaining exactly where Covid is going to end up in our collective memory. One important datapoint that is not on the table is the case fatality rate. That means, if you get sick, what are the chances you will die. Covid seems to have a rate of around 1% to 2%. The Asian Flu, which had a similar death toll as the Hong Kong Flu, had, as far as I can tell, a rate of closer to 0.3%. AIDS is difficult to quantify as it kills slowly. Spanish Flu seems to have had a rate somewhere around 4%. The Plague's rate is much closer to 33% from what I can find. 

I said when all of this started that we are very lucky that Covid seems to kill so "few" people. I still maintain that a 2% death rate is better than a 33% death rate. I also said that we are very lucky that Covid seems to spread poorly; and while I can't find exact figures, it would seem a good 2/3rds of the world was impacted by Plague, and  maintain that under 125 Million cases is better than 5.5 billion. Had this been "it", "the" "one", we could have lost 3 billion people in the past year. 

That this could happen - a pandemic happen in the modern era that kills 3 billion - is far less likely. In fact that - the idea that a massive pandemic killing 3 billion people is now less likely - has been the entire point of this exercise. 


Covid is the 9th deadliest pandemic in human history.

Look at how it compares to past world pandemics, it is 9th. Look at how many people it infected. How many it killed. Look how we reacted to it. Both in countries with lockdowns, and those without. And look what happened in those without, and how many more people died VS how much less money was lost from the economy. Do you want to be the one literally putting a price on lives? I certainly don't. 

This is going to stay with us. Humans. Around the world. In our collective psyche. Sure, it will impact those of us in the more globalized part of the world more - IE, the impact in much of Africa, and parts of Asia - but this impact is going to stick around much longer than, for example, the Asian Flu did.

Weather or not we reach Spanish Flu levels of impact are unclear. Covid didn't kill anywhere near as many as the Spanish Flu, but, the Spanish Flu came in the context of the end of WW1 and all the various chaos that this causes. The world of 2021 is far more stable than the world of 1919, there is simply less to focus on, except Covid. 

On a side-note, this is the 1000th post on this blog! I find it fitting that our 1000th post focuses so heavily on numbers and what they mean. It's also an important milestone! As such I should remind people that we have a patreon, that I've started streaming gaming on twitch (where I am always happy to answer questions about politics) and that I have a twitter where I shout my opinions into the void. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Australia Vs Facebook - the heart of the matter.

This article by the CBC addresses the story. In it, they suggest teaming up to take down big tech may be the best way to do it. Canada is considering an Australian style law, and calls for regulation are increasing. The whole idea is to take down the control big tech has over the world. More and more ad revenue goes to them, and Google's deal with News Corp shows that such deals can indeed be reached. In fact, some are looking at making a "Digital Stability Board" that would help co-ordinate relationships between world governments and global big tech. 

But, let me tell you something about all of this that the media has ignored. The "thing" they want to stop and control, is you posting links to stories. They don't want you to do what I just did above. They want to stop you from being able to do so on facebook. 

But... after I summed up the entire article, is there any reason for you to go read it? Or will you simply stay here and give blogpost, and thus google, the view. The argument governments are presenting are not without merit, but they are approaching this from the wrong prospective. 

These laws are being written to purposefully obfuscate that their intention is stopping people, like you and me, from using facebook and google (and, probably later, twitter too) in ways that make people not need to read newspapers. 

This is a much larger issue, and one that the public needs to be educated on an involved in. We should not be telling facebook that they must stop people from posting links, we must tell the people that the law does that, and not depend on facebook to explain that to people. 

Regardless, the australian law is currently very poorly written. It would, for example, remove my control to moderate comments on this very blogpost (if I, or the CBC, were Australian) Why? How? Section 52S of this draft bill spells it out. This would allow news outlets like newsmax and oann to delete any factual content that disputes their biased reporting. It would also, by implication, mean that Facebook/Twitter would not be allowed to declare fake news content as fradulent. They'd be forced to abide by whatever deal they come up with, and, (looking at what happens when facebook is, as is current, refusing to deal with anyone) force them to make deals with everyone. 

This is big, and this is important, and neither the government, the media, nor facebook are terribly concerned in telling you how all of this would impact you

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

2021 is shaping up to be a good year for elections

 Just a quick note that this year will be a busy one for elections. Here are some of the elections I currently plan on following:

March 5th - Newfoundland
March 13th - Western Australia
March 14th - Baden and Rhineland (German provincial)
March 17th - Netherlands
March 23rd - Israel
April 4th - Bulgaria
May 6th - England, Local (county)
May 22nd - Palestine
June 6th - Saxony
June 6th - Mexico
September 13th - Norway
September 19th - Russia
September 25th - Iceland
September 26th - Germany
September 26th - Berlin, Mecklenburg, Thuringia

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Update - Israel Polling

This is a short update. The Candidate deadline for the Israeli election has passed. The Joint List, originally having 4 parties, now has 3. Ra'am has left. Ta'al, however, (lead by Tibi), will remain in the alliance. Ra'am is skirting the underside of the threshold; appears unable to make it, but, in some polls, does. Additionally, Gesher has joined with Likud, this means Likud will have a muslim on their candidate list for perhaps the first time, ever. The last note of interest is that Otzma, a party as far right as FdI/AfD, is part of the 'Religious Zionist' alliance, which is polling above the threshold. 

Polls show the following:

29 - bibi
17 - lapid
15 - haredi
13 - sa'ar
11 - bennett
9 - arabs
7 - lieberman
6 - avoda
5 - otzma
4 - left 
4 - gantz

Labor is now on the board. Both Gantz and the Left are skirting the threshold, and one (or both) may not make it in the end. 

61 seats are needed for a majority. The Haredi parties already back Bibi and will likely continue to do so. This gives him 44 seats. He would need 17 more for a majority. Lapid will not sit with him (unless he is as foolish as Gantz, which seems extraordinarily unlikely) meaning at least two other parties are needed. Otzma could well sit with Bibi, which would mean Bibi only needs 12 more seats. After leaving Likud, I can't see Sa'ar willing to sit with Bibi. Bennett may do so, and with a few more seats (the election is still over a month away, things can change) this would be a majority, if perhaps a bit unstable.

Sa'ar and Bennett have a combined 24 seats. If they tried to build a 'centrist' alliance with Lapid, they'd have 41. Such an alliance would likely include Lieberman and Labor, for a total of 52. They would need 9 more seats; the Left and Gantz could provide these seats, presuming they can boost their standing before the election. This, however, would be a massive and unwieldy alliance. 

As such, the polls currently favor Bibi's chances at re-election. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Italy's new Government

 Late last week, Italy got a new government, and its a doozey. All parties, but one, are either in it, or support it. 

M5S will provide 4 members to the new cabinet, while Lega (aka, the League) provides 3. FI provides 3, while the Democrats also provide 3. IV and LeU each provide 1. They will be joined by 9 independent technocrats. 

Let me explain why this is outstanding. M5S is a populist left party. the Democrats are progressive. FI is mainstream Conservative. IV is social democratic. LeU includes the Communist Party, and the League sits in the "Trump" notch mentioned in yesterday's post.

Only FdI, the firmly Nationalist party, sits outside the government. 

This is not the first "grand coalition" in Italy, far from it. Such government sat for a week in 1993, from a full year from summer 1946 to summer 1947, 2 years from summer 1976 to spring 1978, and then a little over 2 years from the autumn of 2011 to the winter of 2014. 

I do not know how long this government will sit for, but I find it interesting the League was willing to particulate, while FdI would be the only party to not do so. 

So, what does this all mean? For starters, it means Italy will (hopefully) have a stable government for the next year or two. It also means that FdI support will likely increase. There are always some voters who simply dislike the government, no matter what that government is. The FdI will benefit from that. From what I can tell, the party is currently strong in the south, this will likely help bolster it in the north. On the flip side, there are also some voters who simply like whatever government is in power. This will help boost Lega in the south. 

I can see this weakening FI and seeing that support go to the League and FdI. Simply by sitting in the government, the League appears more moderate, and FI voters may simply head there. FI, who has been in opposition since the last election, may also bleed anti-government voters. 

By the next election we could see Lega, FdI, and PD all at about 15%-25% support; while M5S could drop a few pints and settle between 15% and 10%. This would only help solidify a potential future Lega-FdI-FI government. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A note on how far the "Far Right" is

 A quick, somewhat organizational note on the "far right".

As I see it, the right-wing, like the left-wing, comes in many flavours. Here in Canada, the Conservatives are home to moderates like Michael Chong, hardliners like Leslyn Lewis, and more 'standard' mainstream conservatives like Michelle Rempel. I am not going to focus on them. Instead, I'm focusing on those who are to the right of them. 

Folk like Donald Trump. In fact, Trump is where I will start. I consider Trump to be the first 'step' into the "far right" category. Trump is one notch "over" from where the general national consensus mainstream "overton window" ends. Trump, however, would still fit into the overton window of many on the right; just as Leslyn Lewis would not fit into it for those on the left. 

Trump and Trump-like parties, are thus the "mild" variant of the far-right. Derek Sloan would fit in here, for example, as would Maxime Bernier. When I say a party is "like Trump", I am not saying they would support a coup, or that they are guilty of nepotism; rather, I am saying that in terms of policy, they fit into that "one notch over" slot, just right of the 'mainstream' right-wing parties. 

The next notch over contains parties like the AfD. Parties don't like this notch very much, as it is a bit "scary". France's FN was firmly here, but is trying to move over to the Trump notch. AfD itself is constantly trying to move there, or, at least, portray itself as moving there. One party that seems to be here is Italy's FdI, which I will be speaking more about in another post. 

This notch is firmly nationalist, and one historical party I could point to as existing in this space is the DNVP. This is the only party that sat in coalition with Hitler. The party was not NAZI, but, was willing to work with them if needed. The "Danger" from parties in this notch is less what they would do on their own, and more what they could enable.

The final notch is the NAZI notch. Greece's Golden Dawn fit in here. These parties tend to be militant, and forceful. They will use violence to get what they want, and are quite willing to use death to further their own aims. 

There is little to say about this spot within the far right beyond the fact it poses a great threat to democracy and freedom. Since the end of WW2, parties in the AfD notch have been quite fearful of working with parties in this notch, for good reason. 

This post will hopefully help bring some context into our upcoming discussion on Italy's new government. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Newfoundland Election Disaster

 I've been holding off on making a post about this, but, I think it is time. 

Lets quickly go over events. 

On January 15th, Andrew Furey, Premier, called an election. 

On February 8th, 11 new Covid case were reported, the largest spike in nearly a year. By the 10th, daily new cases reached 50. 

Since then, the handling of the situation has been disastrous to say the least. First, voting was cancelled in 18 ridings (put off to a later date) but results would not be announced until that later date. This is, to my knowledge, unpresented in Canada. We have had many delayed elections before, usually in only one or two ridings; but results are always announced on time. 

This is when I learned something; apparently, people not being allowed to vote in NL is not unusual. While I've not found specific instances, I've read reports of people unable to vote in past elections due to, for example, car ferries not operating. 

How this could be allowed to occur ever is mind boggling. How it could occur more than once is offensively outrageous. I learned this at about the same time I learned some polling stations in ridings that were due to vote on-time, would be closed. 

Finally, 12 hours before the opening of polls, it was announced that no in-person voting would occur. Instead, the election becomes a mail-in one, with a deadline of March 1st. 

We've covered numerous elections during this pandemic, but never have I seen one handled so poorly. Even worse is that NL's financial situation is just as disastrous as its electoral planning. There is some talk the province may need to declare bankruptcy. 

Why is NL nearly bankrupt? Simply; voters kept voting for governments that liked to spend all that oil money. Once the oil money dried up, everything collapsed. Covid simply pushed forward the crisis to now. This Macleans article has an excellent graphic showing the problem. 

I am really not quite sure what else to say about this fiasco. 

Regardless. I'll let you know of the election results, either on March 1st, or, whenever we have them. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

26JAN2021 updates - covid, israel, newfoundland, canadan alternate history

 I wanted to take a look at my past posts on Covid (there are many) to see if/when/where I was wrong/right.

1 - Total number of cases -- I was very wrong about this, in large part, because humanity is dumber than I expected. 

2 - Time before a return to normal -- Since the very early days, 2023 has felt like when things will return to a 2019 sense of normal, and I still agree with this. While 2022 will likely see many things returning to normal, we will still be deep in the economic effects of Covid; in particular, the economic rebound. 2023 really does feel like when things will return to a 2019 level of normal.

3 - My focus on pivot point 3 -- At the time of this post, there was worry that this was "it". This would be the virus to end all viruses. This would be 1918 all over again. To put that into context; that would mean we have over 100,000,000 deaths by this point (Jan of 2021). Pivot Point 3 was showing that this would not be the case. In fact, looking at the spread of Covid, and vaccine deployment, it seems we will top out at between 2.75M and 3.75M total deaths. I do not think I made that clear enough in the post.

Israel (March 23rd 2021 election)

A number of parties are at, or, near the threshold. As a reminder, the threshold in Israel is 3.25% of the vote. This is roughly 150,000 voters. Yaron Zelenkha's NEP is polling at about 2.8% (according to one poll), while Huldai's Israelis party is polling at/above the threshold, and thus, possibly is set for a potential 4 seats. Both the Religious Zionist party (former part of Bennett's Yamina) and Labor are near the threshold, either polling at 4 seats, or ~2.5%. Gantz's Blue and White is also at 4 seats. Meretz is at 5 seats, which, gives them a bit of a cushion, but with so many other left-wing parties, who knows of this will hold. It is, however, very unlikely that all 3 of the left parties Huldai, Gantz, and Meretz (the left), will fail to cross the threshold, as, voters are likely to break for one if all 3 seem below the mark. 

I am still fascinated by Joint List being down at 10 seats. I've not yet been able to figure out exactly where former Joint List voters have gone, but given past voting demographic trends, some likely have gone to Bibi, however unlikely that sounds, while others are likely backing Lapid, or even Sa'ar. Israeli Arab voters are still Israeli voters, concerned with economics and Covid policy, and thus do indeed have reasons to vote for other parties. 

Newfoundland (Feb 13th 2021 election)

Comparing events to previous elections, and reading between the lines of the few polls we do have, it is likely the Liberals could win a majority here. The NDP is unlikely to repeat their abysmal 2019 performance, and may gain a few seats, but are unlikely to win even 3 additional seats. The 'problem' with prediction elections in places like this is that local factors matter quite a bit. You might swing 1000 voters due to local factors, but when you have ridings with 5000 voters total, these swings can make or break a campaign. 

Alternate History

I've always been fascinated with alternate history ideas. In the past I've worked on some where Western Canada breaks off from Canada. I think I may do so again, but, set in a hypothetical future. Any feedback on how welcome such a post might be on this blog would be helpful. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

22JAN20201 Israel updates

 The relative infrequency of polling, and fast pace of changes, make it difficult to do any purely mathematical projections. As such I've built sort of a trendline, with some "guesswork" put in, as to where the parties will go from here. In particular, I can see the smaller parties all collectively failing to cross the threshold. This would mean the numbers taken by the larger parties would have to change. As such a 'projection' that involves said guesswork is as follows:

30 - Bibi
18 - Lapid
16 - Haradim
16 - Sa'ar
14 - Bennett
12 - Arabs
8 - Lieberman
6 - Left
0 - Remainder

46 - Bibi + Haradim (Pro-Bibi)
The current "Pro-Bibi" camp. Short of the needed 61 for a majority

46 - Haradim + Bennett + Sa'ar (Right w/o Bibi)
Replacing Bibi with non-Bibi Right parties. Short of 61. 

56 - Lapid + Sa'ar + Bennett + Lieberman (Anti-Bibi)
The main "Anti-Bibi" parties; Short of 61, but... 

Any of; the Left, Lieberman, or even just one of the two Haradim parties, puts such an Anti-Bibi coalition into majority territory. The question then becomes if the three personalities of Lapid, Sa'ar, and Bennett would even be willing to work together. 

As you can see, this does not make the situation any less chaotic. It will likely come down to people like Lapid, Lieberman, Bennett, and Sa'ar, and this question:

"Am I willing to work with my political enemies if it means Bibi faces the trial I think he rightfully deserves."

Monday, January 18, 2021

Updates 18JAN2021

 Lets go topic by topic

The Mob

So, where is everyone? That's actually 'the' question. As I hinted at in my previous post, real power comes not from storming buildings, but from trying to seize people. Those people know that, and are not exactly going to let themselves be taken by the mob. The mob also knows this, and thus, waits. The "weekend" (in this context) is not over. It ends at noon on the 20th, and, potentially, extends to later in the day as well. 


I do not have enough new polls to be confidant in any new projections.


The country elects a new president on the 24th; but, I'm not covering it. Why? The incumbent has not polled below 55% for a year, nor have any of his opponents managed to get as high as 20%. He will be re-elected. He is backed by one of the two major parties, the other major party is officially backing nobody. 


Elections will be held here on the 13th of Feb. Expect multiple posts between now and then. 


This troubled region is holding elections in may. Expect posts on this as well. 


Polls suggest the result of the next election would be as follows:

271 CDU
142 GRN
113 SPD
73 AFD
59 LNK
51 FDP

Assuming 709 seats (the current number; which includes over 100 overhang seats)


It is difficult to project results 3 years out from an election; but Italy presents a unique challenge in that they will likely be changing the electoral system. We know they are reducing the number of seats to 400 however, so, I will work with that and use proportional representation with a low threshold to calculate the remainder:

98 Lega (Populist Right, like Trump)
83 PD (Progressive)
69 FdI (Nationalist)
60 M5S (Populist Left)
33 FI (Berlusconi) 
57 Other (left or moderate)

This would give the 3 main right-wing parties exactly half of the seats, and that fact is likely what is driving the left-wing government to consider changes to the electoral system.


Current polling suggests the following

38 VVD
23 PVV
18 CDA
13 D66
11 GL
10 SP
11 PvdA
7 CU
5 PvdD
4 FvD
6 Others

More posts will be made prior to the March elections, covering events including the recent mass resignation of the government due to a scandal. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Mob

If you've arrived here from a link, you may want to read the context post I did yesterday, as, it provides some background to what I'm about to discuss.

Over this coming weekend, supposedly, a pro-trump mob plans to storm the 165 governmental locations in all 50 states. The question some are asking is; will they succeed? 


Foremost of all, because even if they do storm and take over each and every one of those 165 buildings, that does not give them any power. 

Legislatures can meet wherever they damn well please. The only limit on this would be in a Constitution. Such a thing might limit the legislature to meeting in a particular city, for example. Federally, the US has no such limit, and the few state constitutions I've checked do not either. Even if one or two of them happen to, there are many places within a city a legislature could decide to meet. Occupying an empty building is simply a propaganda victory, and gives you little "real power". This is why the Jan 6th storming was of a a full congress. 

Legislators across the country know that this is a possibility, and that this is coming. They will not sit idle in the chamber as mobs storm it. Beyond that, many places have upped security. Congress has seen soldiers in fatigues sleeping on the floor, for example. 

Courts too can simply decide to end a session. While I'm not fully up-to-date on the technicalities of where a court may decide to meet, none of the state supreme courts are not going to sit idle and let themselves be stormed by a mob. 

That being said, some members of some legislatures might be quite willing to aid the mob. This is the first of the many things we could see over the coming days. A few (one, three, something like that) legislatures in states that are deep red, might decide that they mob is on their side. I can't see the mob on the floor of these legislatures, but allowing them to crowd into the gallery and chant, sure. I could even see the legislators making speeches to rile the mob up. 

That, however, depends on the mob forming in the first place. It's January, this means it is very cold in some places. Additionally, many legislatures are likely simply not in session. This means the chance of a mob storming any buildings, even willing ones, are quite low. 

In an ideal world, what we would see is video of arrests. Ringleaders in calling for violence in all 50 states being arrested and charged. I can't see much of that happening however. This will send the unintentional message that yes, yes the mob can use its weight to shove around the politicians. 

This is something that will remain a threat for the US for quite some time. Not just from Trump supporters, but from the left and the right. Any group with large numbers will start to think that they too could try to storm a legislature. We don't need a big show over the weekend to convince these people that 'mobocracy' can work; what happened on the 6th is enough. The 'better' the show the mob puts on this coming weekend, however, the worst things are going to be going forward. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Mob; And American Politics - context

 This coming weekend there are plans by some groups to protest outside of various government buildings, including all 50 state capitols. I want to address this and what "the mob" could mean for the United States and its democracy, but to properly do so, I need to provide some context; otherwise the post I plan for tomorrow would veer off into all sorts of tangents in various places.

Suggested reading: Federalist 10, by James Madison (audio, text) [Note that "Faction" can be understood to be "Political Party" in the modern context]

From 1776 to 1790, Pennsylvania had an extremely democratic constitution, one which saw a form of "mob rule" from time to time in that state. The state was ruled by a single house, with no real "governor", and with frequent elections and the ability of the chamber to govern itself (and thus remove minority/opposition members), this created an effectively chaotic time in that state. Sadly, there's little easy-to-find information on this period.

The idea of "Blue" and "Red" states is sometimes over-simplified. Most states are a mix. Governors, Legislatures, and the Courts can each have their own leaning. I want to start with the latter, in part because it is difficult to find partisan information for many of the state courts easily. 14 states use what is called the "Missouri Plan" for selecting supreme court judges, which is a fairly non-partisan method. An additional 15 use non-partisan statewide elections. However, one of those 15 is Wisconsin, which had an extremely partisan election in April. 6 see the governor appoint, and the senate confirm. 1 has the house confirm. 1 has both houses confirm. 3 have other bodies confirm. 2 have governor appointments require no confirmation. 2 have the legislatures do the appointing. The remaining 6 have partisan elections. As such, trying to classify all state supreme courts would be difficult at best. Regardless, I am going to ignore the partisan leanings of the courts for the rest of this post.

Currently, Alaska has a unique situation in the House. 15 Democrats, caucus with 5 Republicans and 2 Independents to form the majority. This is not unusual for Alaska, where the reverse situation (a few Democrats sitting with the Republicans) occurred the previous term. This seems to have started in 2007 with the Senate, and lasted to 2012. It began in the house in 2017 and is ongoing. Regardless, since Republicans control the house, this makes Alaska one of the two states with a split legislature. The governor of the state is a Republican. The other state with a split legislature is Minnesota, where the Republicans control the Senate by 1 seat, while the Democrats control the house. The state has a Democrat as governor. Note as well that Nebraska has only a single chamber; and that chamber is officially non-partisan. However, a majority of its members identify as Republican. 

The following states have Republican controlled legislatures but a Democratic governor: Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Kansas. The following states have Democrat majorities in the legislature, yet have elected a Republican as governor: Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maryland.

This means the 'fully' "Blue" states are as follows: Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. The following are the 'fully' "Red" states: West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona. 

Of the 49 bicameral states, 48 house the House and Senate in the same building. Arizona houses them in separate buildings less than 170 feet apart. 

Most states have an official residence for the Governor, frequently called the "Governor's Mansion". Some states, however, have no such official residence. These states are Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Some states have additional residences for their governor, or, have turned old residences into museums of some sort. There appear to be 7 of these that are of importance in the context of the coming post. 

Of the 50 Supreme courts, 43 normally meet in a single location; generally being the building that houses that state's supreme court. 3 are centred in cities outside the Capital; Delaware and Wilmington, Louisiana and New Orleans, and Maine and Portland. In all 3 cases, this puts the court in the largest city in the state; but also within 90 miles of the Capitol itself. 

The remaining 4 meet in 3 different locations. Alaska's court is centred in Anchorage, but also meets in Fairbanks and Juneau. California's is centred in San Francisco, but also meets in Sacramento and Los Angeles. Pennsylvania's court has no main centre, and has three coequal locations of Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, while Tennessee's 3 coequal locations are Nashville, Knoxville, and Jackson. 

Adding this up. We have 51 legislative buildings (49 states plus 2 buildings in Arizona), 53 residences (46 plus 7 additional), 58 court buildings (46 single-location states, 4 3-location states [12]) for a total of 162 state locations. Add to this the US Capitol, US Supreme Court, and Whitehouse for a grand total of 165 locations.