Elections

Iraq’s Pre-election Optimism Includes a New Partnership with Saudi Arabia

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After the defeat of the Islamic State in 2017, normality is returning to Iraq ahead of the 12 May parliamentary elections. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the Arabian Peninsula Elizabeth Dickinson says the country’s cautious optimism includes hopes of a new partnership with Riyadh, balancing Baghdad’s strong ties with Tehran. Elizabeth Dickinson ICG First: the facts. What is happening on 12 May, who is competing? And any prognosis as to the outcome? This is the fourth time ... Read More »

Sting in the tail of strict High Court ruling

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Time this week seems to be on the government’s side: the Treasurer on Tuesday handed out a budget that promised significant tax cuts, and a return to surplus, largely through a series of complex choices about timing. Rosalind Dixon Brisbane Times And the High Court ruled Wednesday that ALP Senator Katy Gallagher was incapable of being chosen for the Senate at the last federal election, because at the time she nominated as a candidate the UK Home Secretary had not ... Read More »

Libya’s Unhealthy Focus on Personalities

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The surprise electoral defeat of one Libyan leader and the hospitalisation of a rival show the error of relying solely on individuals to achieve national reconciliation in Libya. All sides in Libya’s conflict should focus instead on making institutions more representative and improving governance. ICG What’s new? Two events have shaken up Libyan politics: the election of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Khaled Mishri as president of the Tripoli-based High State Council, replacing Abderrahman Swehli, who had held the post since 2016, ... Read More »

What You Need To Know About The Special Election In Arizona

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Democrat Hiral Tipirneni’s race against Republican Debbie Lesko has been surprisingly close. Daniel Marans HuffPost Tuesday is Election Day in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, where Democrats have mounted a serious bid to flip a GOP-held House seat in a district Donald Trump won by 21 percentage points. Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a health care advocate and physician, is battling Republican Debbie Lesko, a conservative former state senator, for a seat representing an area that encompasses a swath of Phoenix’s western and northern ... Read More »

Cuba nominates Castro replacement Miguel Díaz-Canel

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Cuba’s parliament has picked Miguel Díaz-Canel as the sole candidate to succeed Raúl Castro, 86, bringing the family’s decades-long rule to an end. BBC Mr Castro took over as president from his ailing brother Fidel in 2006. The National Assembly, the country’s legislative body, will vote on the nomination but Mr Díaz-Canel is almost certain to be confirmed. Mr Castro is expected to remain a powerful influence in the communist state even after he steps down. He will stay on ... Read More »

Would America vote for Oprah for president?

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America has had a black president. Is the country ready for a black president who is also a woman? Chryl N. Laird The Conversation Speculation about the candidacy of Oprah Winfrey makes clear that some voters think so. Granted, Winfrey says she won’t run, but friends, commentators and many in the Twitterverse are pushing for her to reconsider. As a scholar of race and politics, I’m curious about whether Oprah will change her mind about running – and even more ... Read More »

Afghans register to vote in long-delayed elections amid violence

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Afghanistan at the weekend began registering voters across the war-torn country as it seeks to ensure that long-delayed legislative elections in October are seen as credible and fraud-free. KABUL – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Over the next two months authorities hope to register as many as 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centers – an ambitious goal in a country where militants control or contest much of the territory. “The main challenge is insecurity, particularly in rural areas,” Abdul ... Read More »

Major anti-Orban demo in Hungary

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Tens of thousands of Hungarians thronged Budapest on Saturday in anger at strongman Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s crushing re-election victory. AFP The crowd, around 100,000 strong according to organisers and AFP reporters, marched through the city centre in sunshine to parliament for a rally under the motto “We are the majority”. People protest against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s re-election in Budapest, Hungary on April 14, 2018 “We want to live in a state of law, where checks and balances ... Read More »

Marketing and the Delegitimization of Elections

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The core issue is not one of marketing but of citizenry. George Friedman GPF Last week, I wrote about the use of marketing in elections. This week, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces a congressional hearing on how Facebook data was used during the 2016 presidential election, I will address one of the critical consequences of marketing. It is a tool used on a global basis to delegitimize elections and, with it, democracy. As I argued last week, the use ... Read More »

Viktor Orban victory in Hungary: German minister warns EU

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A key German minister says the EU must drop its “arrogance and condescension” towards Hungary, where Eurosceptic PM Viktor Orban has just won re-election. BBC Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants curbs on Muslim migration to the EU, and Mr Orban sees himself as a defender of “Christian” Europe. It is a tense time in EU-Hungary relations, as Mr Orban is defying EU migration and rule-of-law policies. Anti-EU politicians, including France’s Marine Le Pen, also welcomed his win. Mr Orban, 54, ... Read More »

Hungary’s war on democracy is a war on democracy everywhere

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As Hungarians vote on Sunday, Britain is shamefully courting the Orbán regime as it tries to get a favourable Brexit deal Owen Jones The Guardian Is Hungary still a democracy? It was a question I posed to Nóra Köves, an activist with the pro-democracy Eötvös Károly Institute, in the Castro Bistro café in central Budapest. “I wouldn’t say that, no. Not, I think, any more. We are heading to a kind of dictatorship, but we are not there yet. We are ... Read More »

German politicians invest in opera when seeking re-election – here’s why

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In virtually all rich democracies, governments subsidise expensive highbrow culture, such as theatre and opera. And they hire artists to work for these theatres and operas as public employees. Pieter Vanhuysse The Conversation At first sight, this might seem to pose a puzzle. After all, highbrow culture is elitist. And it seems electorally irrelevant. Parties don’t really compete on culture in elections. It’s unlikely that hiring artists to turn them into grateful voters (patronage) makes electoral sense. Even if it ... Read More »

Bring back the sensible centre

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It will not surprise many that a new study of attitudes shows Australian voters are deserting the centre ground and moving to the fringes and extremes. Editorial The Sydney Morning Herald As we have reported, an analysis of time-series data collected in the Australian Election Study after every federal poll since 1987 shows more voters are thinking of themselves as either “left” or “right” in political terms. Where in 1996 54 per cent of voters described themselves as in the ... Read More »

Electoral Poker in DR Congo

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Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been postponed since December 2016, but now seem to be slated for the end of the year. ICG All parties should work to ensure credible polls, the best hope for a peaceful transfer of power. What’s new? After repeated delays, President Joseph Kabila’s government in the Democratic Republic of Congo has made progress over the past few months toward organising elections for 23 December 2018. But there are still important concerns ... Read More »

Costa Ricans split over gay marriage vote for next president

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An evangelical pastor who has capitalized on opposition to same-sex marriage was in a tight presidential race in Costa Rica on April 1 against a novelist and former cabinet minister. SAN JOSE – The Associated Press Hurriyet Fabricio Alvarado went from also-ran to leading candidate after he came out strongly against a call by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for Costa Rica to allow same-sex marriage. His opponent, Carlos Alvarado of the governing Citizen Action Party, has openly backed ... Read More »

The master plan to stop Brexit

An anti-Brexit demonstrator waves a Union flag as he stands draped in a European Union (EU) flag outside the Houses of Parliament in London on March 28, 2018.
With Britain just a year away from leaving the European Union, the transition deal agreed between the two sides is viewed as a key element to absorbing the Brexit shock. British Prime Minister Theresa May kick-started divorce proceedings one year ago, and March 29, 2019, has since been set as the date the UK will leave the bloc. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN        (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Best for Britain group trains activists how to persuade Leave voters — less hectoring, more listening. Charlie Cooper Politico LONDON — The leaders of the last-ditch effort to stop Brexit are rallying their troops with an uncomfortable message — they’ve been fighting in the wrong place. With just a year to go until the U.K.’s official exit date from the EU, leading anti-Brexit group Best for Britain is assembling an army of volunteers educated with tactics that couldn’t be further from ... Read More »