Elections

Romania marriage poll: One man, one woman definition up for vote

Romanians are deciding this weekend whether a family should revolve around a married man and woman. BBC The two-day vote on changing their constitution has been portrayed by supporters of the referendum as a way of protecting the status of the “traditional” family. Opponents warn it will come at the expense of same-sex couples, single parents and children too. And there are accusations that the whole exercise is a sideshow to distract from a corruption case involving the leader of ... Read More »

Cameroon: Divisions Widen Ahead of Presidential Vote

The risk of violence around the 7 October vote is greatest in Anglophone regions, but other parts of Cameroon could also be affected. ICG The government should take steps to curb divisive rhetoric and declare a ceasefire, even if only temporary, with Anglophone armed groups. What’s new?  Cameroon’s presidential election on 7 October comes at a tense moment. The country is torn between the fight against Boko Haram in the Far North and the Anglophone conflict in the Northwest and ... Read More »

Australia’s obsession with opinion polls is eroding political leadership

In its early days, political opinion polling’s leading advocate, George Gallup, sold it as an essential tool for democracy. Ian Cook The Conversation He believed polling made for better representation because it allowed politicians to take the people’s “pulse”. But opinion polling didn’t so much enhance democracy as remake it. Thanks to Gallup, polls have become so ubiquitous in modern-day politics that we’re now convinced they can accurately predict elections. (Even though Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 US ... Read More »

Welcome to Europe’s ‘club’ for populists

A Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist want to unite the far right. By Maïa de La Baume and Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico Populists of Europe, unite — in suburban Brussels! That’s what an unlikely pair — a Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist — hope will happen with The Movement, the first ever “club” for Euroskeptics and populists. “We are building a club that will bring people together, whose members we will help … like ... Read More »

Iraqi Kurdistan’s Regional Elections Test a Brittle Status Quo

The fallout continues to settle after Iraqi Kurdistan’s fraught independence referendum one year ago. Maria Fantappie ICG In this Q&A, our Iraq Senior Adviser Maria Fantappie surveys the political landscape ahead of the first regional legislative elections since the plebiscite. What’s at stake in the 30 September elections? Voters in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq will choose the 111 members of the Kurdistan National Assembly, in the fourth election since the body was founded in 1992 and the… At stake, ... Read More »

Brussels rolls out red carpet for Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader met with chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Secretary-General Martin Selmayr. By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN Politico It was the European Commission’s own vote of no-confidence in Theresa May. Top EU officials rolled out the red carpet for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday, welcoming May’s arch-rival to the Commission headquarters and giving him a platform at a… Corbyn, who has criticized May and her Conservative Party for mismanaging Brexit, has yet to unveil a credible departure plan of ... Read More »

Comment: ‘People actually laughed at a president’: At U.N. speech, Trump suffers the fate he always feared

President Trump has long argued that the United States has been taken advantage of by other nations — a “laughing stock to the entire World” he said on Twitter in 2014 — and his political rise was countenanced on the… David Nakamura The Washington Post But at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump got a comeuppance on the world’s biggest stage. Delivering a speech that aimed to establish U.S. “sovereignty” over the whims and needs of other nations, the… ... Read More »

Corbyn faces clash with Labour members over second EU referendum

As the party gathers in Liverpool, is Corbyn’s promise to empower members coming back to haunt him? The Observer The Guardian Minutes after trouncing Owen Smith and winning his second Labour leadership contest in September 2016, Jeremy Corbyn promised to reward the mass membership that had backed him by giving them more power inside the party. “The participation is even higher, and my majority is bigger, and the mandate is very strong. So let’s use it to reach out,” he said. “With ... Read More »

Andrew Coyne: MPs wouldn’t need to cross the floor if a party leader wasn’t all powerful

The more that candidates ran, and voted on, their personal views, the less it would matter whether they sat with one party or another. Andrew Coyne National Post What are members of Parliament? Are they mere standard-bearers for their party, obliged to vote the party line at all times? Or are they representatives in their own right, entitled to apply their own judgment to the issues of the day? On which understanding do voters elect them: party affiliation or individual ... Read More »

Is democracy dead? Please Explain: the new podcast

Is Democracy Dead? – Please Explain – Episode 1: Today we’re launching Please Explain, the latest podcast from The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. And for starters – is democracy dead? Tom McKendrick WAtoday National editor Tory Maguire, chief political correspondent David Crowe and Nine’s political editor, Chris Uhlmann, get to the heart of the matter. Plus, we hear from former News Corp editor David Penberthy on the relationship between Rupert Murdoch and his editors. You can listen to the… Is democracy dead? Please… Read More »

Far-right French leader Marine Le Pen refuses court-ordered mental health test after tweeting pictures of Isis executions

‘I’d like to see how the judge would try and force me do it’, says former presidential candidate Chris Baynes The Independent French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has refused to undergo psychiatric examination that was ordered by a court after she tweeted graphic pictures of Isis violence. The National Rally leader told a judge to “try and force” her to undergo mental health evaluation, requested as part of an investigation into the dissemination of violent images. Ms Le Pen posted three graphic images ... Read More »

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour could grant second independence referendum

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to rule out granting permission for a second Scottish independence referendum if he became Prime Minister. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman The Labour leader said he would “decide at the time” whether to allow a new independence vote to take place if a request was made by the Scottish Government. Mr Corbyn said he is against a second referendum, and was “very clear on why we don’t think it’s a good idea”. Before the last Holyrood election, ... Read More »

Liberalism needs to be rebuilt – just not by the Lib Dems

Insurgent forces of the far left and right have resulted in a hollowing-out of centre politics. But Vince Cable’s tribe is not up to filling the void. Rafael Behr The Guardian If it is true that failure makes a great teacher, the Liberal Democrats must know a lot about British politics. Currently they are learning about Brexit by failing to capitalise on the… In 2016 support for EU membership was 48%, yet the Lib Dems struggle to reach double digits in opinion ... Read More »

Paul Manafort Agrees to Cooperate With Special Counsel; Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges

WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort agreed on Friday to tell all he knows to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as part of a plea deal that could shape the final stages of the inquiry into Russian interference in the… By Sharon LaFraniere and Kenneth P. Vogel The New York Times The deal was a surrender by Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, who had vowed for months to prove his innocence in a case stemming from his work ... Read More »

Why Rahul Gandhi is wrong on the issue of lynching

According to a recent survey, Indian National Congress (INC) President Rahul Gandhi is the favorite alternative candidate to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, way ahead of other opposition stalwarts like Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee and… Sagarneel Sinha Asia Times But despite this, his poor logic continues to hurt his image. His recent comment in Germany that incidents of lynchings are attributable to demonetization, unemployment and the GST (Goods and Service Tax) is surely not something that is expected from ... Read More »

Dangerous Democracy: The Problem With ‘The Will Of The People’

Westerners don’t really live in democracies, at least not ones where the true majority prevails, writes Stuart Rees. New Matilda Characters in Australia who advocate government by plebiscite think that such a voter mechanism would represent the will of the people and would therefore be truly democratic. A quick look at the political impasse in the ol’ mother country shows the absurdity of such thinking. To justify exiting Europe, Britain’s Brexit politicians keep repeating that they are following ‘the will ... Read More »