Elections

Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Six States to Watch

Nigerian elections are high-stakes affairs often marred by street clashes and worse. ICG As the 2019 contests approach, the risk of disturbances is particularly high in six states. The government and its foreign partners can limit campaign-related violence by enhancing security and promoting dialogue among rivals. What’s new?  As presidential, gubernatorial and legislative elections draw near in Nigeria, the risk of violence is widespread, particularly in six states where stakes are high or other conflicts fester. Why does it matter? ... Read More »

Democracy has no clothes

Experiments with citizens’ juries point to a better way of making decisions. Patrick Chalmers Politico TOULOUSE, France — In the Danish fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” it was a little boy who pointed out what no adult dared expose: The king was naked; his court, a cast of pompous fools beguiled by tricksters. It’s time to do the same with our own reified system of government — representative democracy and its so-called free and fair elections. Shocking? Of course it ... Read More »

Socialism: What do Americans think?

| In 60 Seconds In a recent USA Today article, President Trump stated that “If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America.” Karlyn Bowman American Enterprise Institute Is he right? AEI’s Karlyn Bowman reviews polling data to discover American attitudes about socialism… Read More »

Armenia Elections Boost Hopes for Peace with Azerbaijan

With his party’s victory in the snap parliamentary elections and a new calm on the frontlines with Azerbaijan, Armenia’s leader Nikol Pashinyan and his team will have more space to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Olesya Vartanyan ICG BERKABER, Armenia – One of the windows in Sonya Matinyan’s home is filled in with bricks. The glass of the other is splintered by a rifle bullet. The roof has taken a few missile hits and leaking water has stained the ceilings in ... Read More »

Brexit: UK can unilaterally revoke article 50, says ECJ

Britain can stop Brexit process without approval of member states, court of justice says Soverin Carrell The Guardian The UK can unilaterally stop the Brexit process, the European court of justice has said in a ruling that will boost demands for a second EU referendum. The court concluded that any EU member state can revoke an article 50 process without needing approval from every other member state, but only before its withdrawal comes into force. “The United Kingdom is free to revoke ... Read More »

Adapt or become obsolete, lead candidate Timmermans tells European Socialists

Dutchman becomes center-left nominee for Commission presidency. By MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico LISBON — European Socialists will need to adapt if they don’t want to “become obsolete,” European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans told a party congress in Lisbon on… Timmermans’ nomination as the European Socialists’ Spitzenkandidat was a formality after fellow Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, the only other contender, pulled out of the race last… The nomination makes the Dutch former foreign minister the Socialists’ official candidate to be the… Adapt or ... Read More »

Voters are crying out for better government but have mixed views on how to achieve it

Support for democracy and trust in politicians is falling. We hear a lot about evidence-based policy as a way to stem this decline, but less about how that evidence should be generated. Authors: The Conversation One idea that may generate the type of evidence that will help make more informed decisions appears, paradoxically, fairly unpopular with the punters. Perhaps the problem is that not enough has been done to explain to the public what this idea – carefully testing new ... Read More »

Australians’ trust in politicians and democracy hits an all-time low: new research

Over the past four years, we have conducted a range of attitudinal surveys with the Social Research Institute at Ipsos on the relationship between trust in the political system and attitudes towards democracy in… Authors: The Conversation Our latest research, conducted in July 2018 (prior to the Liberal Party’s leadership spill), includes a quantitative survey of a representative sample of 20 focus groups and 1,021 Australians from a wide range of… We understood political trust in this survey as “keeping ... Read More »

Vox shakes up Spain

Far-right party does better than predicted in Andalusia’s election, and is already causing big problems for the government. Diego Torres Politico MADRID — The far right has arrived in Spanish politics. Vox, a party founded in 2013 that had suffered one electoral failure after another, pulled off a coup on Sunday when it won nearly 11 percent of the vote and 12 seats in a regional election in Andalusia. It was a better performance than any poll had predicted and it ... Read More »

Under far-right pressure, Europe retreats from UN migration pact

Populists seize chance to put favorite issue on agenda ahead of EU vote, causing ructions among governments. Eline Schaart Politico A previously obscure 34-page, jargon-filled document is causing political convulsions across Europe — even though it’s not even legally binding.   Italy this week became the latest in a string of European countries to say it would not sign the U.N.’s Global Compact on Migration at a ceremony in Marrakech in just under two weeks. From the Netherlands through Belgium and Germany ... Read More »

Liberals need to give up on the merit myth

Julia Banks announced her decision to quit the Australian Liberal Party yesterday. While unfortunate, it is hardly surprising. Shivani Gopal The Canberra Times It’s the result of what happens when parliament and politicians fail to represent the people they serve and cling to the myth of meritocracy. Banks is not buying it anymore and neither should the Australian people. Only a few months ago Banks announced that she would not recontest her Melbourne seat at the next election, citing a ... Read More »

Switzerland votes against putting ‘Swiss Law First’

Swiss voters have rejected a plan to put Swiss court rulings ahead of international ones. However, they approved of allowing insurers to spy on customers and against a ban on the dehorning of cows. DW Some 66 percent of voters and all of the country’s 26 cantons voted on Sunday against the “Swiss law, not foreign judges” measure. The measure, backed by rightwing groups, called for domestic law to be placed above international law, a move that opponents claim would damage the ... Read More »

How an EU citizens’ assembly could help to renew European democracy

There’s an urgent need to reduce the distance between citizens of EU member states and the EU’s political institutions, to challenge the rise of populism and to renew citizen engagement in the way those institutions make decisions. James Organ The Conversation An EU citizens’ assembly – a representative group of randomly selected citizens, brought together to learn about and deliberate upon an issue, and then make a policy recommendation – would be a major step towards achieving… That’s the recommendation ... Read More »

Friendly Fire: Venezuela’s Opposition Turmoil

As Venezuela’s socio-economic woes deepen, so do the fissures in the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. ICG Bridging these rifts is vital if the country’s crisis is to end through a negotiated transition. Outside powers should back opposition unity and stop hinting at military intervention. What’s new?  The Venezuelan opposition is split into seemingly irreconcilable factions that cannot settle on a strategy for ending their country’s crisis. They disagree over whether, and when, to take part in elections, whether to ... Read More »

Hillary Clinton urges Europe to curb migration to stop populists

Former US presidential candidate says leaders must show they can no longer ‘provide refuge and support.’ Eline Schaart Politico Europe needs a tougher approach on immigration in order to curb the growing threat of right-wing populists, Hillary Clinton said, calling on EU leaders to show their electorates that they can no longer “provide refuge and support.” “I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” Clinton said in an interview with the Guardian published ... Read More »

Making Ethiopia’s Electoral Board Independent New Appointment Furthers Gender, Political Reform

New Appointment Furthers Gender, Political Reform Felix Horne HRW There was good news from Ethiopia as former opposition leader, lawyer and judge Birtukan Midekssa was named head of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). Following years of almost completely closed political space, Ethiopia’s government continues to institute an important series of reforms. The appointment of a highly respected – and crucially, independent – new elections chair is another step in the right direction. The NEBE, like many of Ethiopia’s ... Read More »