Bolivia’s Evo Morales to face three challengers in the October 2019 elections

President Evo Morales of the Plurinationational State of Bolivia is seeking reelection this October 2019 under the Movement for Socialism (MAS). He is being challenged by Carlos Mesa of The Civic Community, Óscar Ortiz Antelo of the Democrat Social Movement, and Jaime Paz Zamora of the Christian Democratic Party.

Evo Morales
Photo credit: wikipedia.org

The 2019 presidential race is the third reelection bid of Morales. He was first elected in 2006, and reelected in 2009 and 2014.

For this year’s election, the strongest challenger of Morales is Mesa. The two are statistically tied at 32% based on the January 2019 survey of Mercados y Muestras. Mesa’s support, however, declined to 23.6% this July based on the report of Captura Consulting. The case is otherwise with the incumbent whose voting preference surged to 38.4% in the same period.

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Will Torres Win the 2019 Guatemala Presidential Elections?

J.A. Carizo

The 2019 Guatemala Presidential Elections is an uphill battle for former First Lady, Sandra Torres. Torres who is running under the National Unity of Hope (UNE) Party generated 33.4% of the votes cast during the first round of the presidential elections last June 16, 2019 but only climbed 7.56% based on the pre-runoff polls conducted by the CID Gallup for Fundación Libertad y Desarrollo.

The pre-runoff polls was conducted last July 9-14 with a sample size of 1,204 and a ± 2.8% margin of error.

Torres’s rival, Alejandro Giammattei of Vamos Por Una Guatemala Diferente (VAMOS), on the other hand, jumped to almost three times of the votes he gathered during the first round. From 13.95% of the total votes cast during the first round of the presidential race, Giammattei got 40.6% in the CID Gallup poll.

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Is populism finally coming to Japan?

DAISUKE MINAMI | The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – While populism is rising across the world, Japan has so far been immune to it. There is no Japanese equivalent to French politician Marine Le Pen, U.S. President Donald Trump or Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. This, however, seems to be changing after the Upper House election on July 21, in which a new left-wing, anti-establishment party made big strides. What is happening to Japan’s “firewall against populism”?

Reiwa Shinsengumi founder Taro Yamamoto is called “Japan’s Bernie Sanders” for his anti-establishment stance. | KYODO

Scholars attribute the firewall to the lack of ethnic or economic cleavages that populist leaders can exploit to build an anti-immigration or class-based platform. Despite measures to increase foreign workers, Japan remains a homogeneous nation, with resident foreigners only accounting for 1.76 percent of its population. Japanese society is also egalitarian, without high income inequality as in the United States and elsewhere. And the country has seen a steady economic recovery since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in 2012, with an unemployment rate at historic low 2.3 percent.

Against this backdrop, the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partners won almost a supermajority in the Upper House by touting the success of Abe’s economic policies known as Abenomics.

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Guatemalan Elections: Torres vs Giammattei heads to the runoff

On August 11, 2019, the voters of Guatemala will cast again  their votes to the second round of the 2019 presidential elections. The second round of elections, also called as runoff elections, are usually held when the leading candidate fails to generate at least 50% of the votes cast. Only the top two candidates will be eligible in the runoff elections who, in this year’s election, are former first lady Sandra Torres of the National Unity of Hope (Spanish: Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza, UNE), and Alejandro Guammattei of the “Let’s Go” Party (Spanish: Vamos Por Una Guatemala Diferente, VAMOS).

The first round of voting was held last June 16 with Torres garnering 25.73% of the votes cast while Giammattei got 13.89%. They competed with 17 other presidential candidates. The rest of the presidential candidates and the votes received is as follows:

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Zelenskiy’s party sweeps Ukrainian parliamentary elections: what has changed?

Peter Mikhailenko, 29 July 2019

Last Sunday, Servant of the People, the parliamentary party of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, swept the elections, gaining 254 out of a possible 424 seats. This represents one of the largest parliamentary majorities ever, but with another record low turnout of less than half of potential voters.

This is not surprising, since no left-wing candidates ran, given the past several years of state repression against them, particularly the Communist Party of Ukraine. Another factor is that many more voters are working overseas due to Ukraine’s weak economic situation, even relative to poor Eastern Europe, among whom Ukraine is now the poorest country, with the GDP per capita now lower than Moldova.

Poroshenko’s bloc – renamed after May’s presidential defeat to “European Solidarity”, based on his promise to get Ukrainian closer to EU membership – won only 26 seats from 132 in 2014 (total votes down from 3.4 million to just over 1 million). This again confirms the hatred the Ukrainian people had for his government, as expressed in opinion polls. Even the majorities in his strongholds in the western districts during the presidentials almost all evaporated, although this is still where he got most of his support.

The sad irony is that Zelenskiy’s programme represents a continuation of Poroshenko’s policy of privatisations and austerity in the interest of Ukrainian oligarchs, while bowing and bending to the pressures of US imperialism. This is a line that he has not really strayed from, before nor after the election. In a recent English-language video aimed at Western capitalists, Zelenskiy highlighted his desire to “deregulate” industry and how the potential investors could “make money both internally and externally” from Ukrainians. The external part is clearly aimed at those EU companies currently looking for more Ukrainian migrant workers they can pay a pittance to work in miserable conditions.

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Political clans take House seats in tandems and trios

Dave Abuel | ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group

As the 18th Congress opens, at least 20 political families in the House of Representatives will be sitting together as husbands and wives; parents and children; siblings; cousins; uncles; aunts and in-laws.

The political families who will occupy the most number of seats in the lower chamber are the Suarezes of Quezon and the Dys of Isabela. They have 3 seats each.

Dr. Ronald Mendoza, dean of the Ateneo de Manila School of Government, said having relatives sitting together in Congress may lead to the “rapid erosion” of independence and credibility of Congress.

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Will India’s Bahujan Samaj and Samajwadi political parties beat the Bharatiya Janata Party?

TheVote.Net | April 11, 2019

In Indian politics, there are no strange bedfellows. In the 2014 elections, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP) were on the opposite side. For 2019, they joined alliance to challenge the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which controls Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar.

The SP and BSP is joined by Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal to contest 78 of 80 Lok Sabha in the first of the seven-phase voting. The first phase starts April 11, 2019 and will end on May 19, 2019 with the counting of votes and the declaration of results on May 23.

The Lok Sabha, also known as the House of the People, is the Lower House of the bicameral Indian Parliament. The members of the Lok Sabha are elected every five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers. The maximum seats allocated by the Indian Constitution is 552.

Source: wikipedia.org

See: Lok Sabha elections 2019: In voting for first phase, big test for Akhilesh-Mayawati’s grand alliance

2019 Bataan Province Candidates

With the entry of Ver Roque in the gubernatorial race, will 1Bataan still dominate the 2019 local elections in the Province of Bataan?

Bataan is a highly contested area primarily because of its being an economic zone and strategic geolocation providing easy access to Manila Bay and Subic Freeport, and because of its votes estimated to be 545,041 this year. Control of the province is therefore crucial particularly to investors and locators that make Bataan a highly industrialized province.

In general, local power is controlled by the Garcias starting from Enrique “Tet” Garcia down to the second or even third generation. Tet, who was convicted of graft, was succeeded by his son, Albert “Abet” Garcia. Other Garcias in power are Jose Enrique “Joet” S. Garcia III, the Congressional District Representative of the Second District; Maria Angela S. Garcia, the municipal mayor of Dinalupihan; and Francis Garcia, the city mayor of Balanga.

The Garcias took the local power from the Romans and the Payumos. After more than two decades, the Garcias are being threatened by Lilvir Roque, the mayor of Limay who made the municipal coffers grew fivefold from P200 million to P1 billion in just seven years from 2010 to 2017. The P 61 million municipal debt inherited by Roque was also fully paid with his sound economic policies. With these feat being trumpeted around Bataan, will the Garcias finally bow down to Roque and allow the latter to efficiently manage also the provincial coffers now marked by debts and red flags from the Commission on Audit?

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Elections 2019: How Norway’s Big Cities Voted

David Nikel | LifeInNorway.Net

Norway’s smaller parties made big gains across the country in the 2019 local elections. The results leave the Labour Party clinging on to power in many of Norway’s biggest cities after their worst electoral night in generations.

The Greens in Oslo, the road toll protest party in Bergen, the collapse of support for Labour in their heartland of Trondheim. Wherever you look, there is a big story in Norway’s 2019 local elections.

The nationwide results

Not all the results are in, but the results so far show a stunning trend. Although these are municipal and county elections, it’s always expected that the main opposition party in Parliament will receive a boost. Not so.

All four of Norway’s governing parties lost votes compared to the last local elections. But the big surprise was the incredible fall in Labour Party (Ap) support all across the country. The pro-local, pro-rural, pro-farming Centre Party (Sp) were the biggest winners, finishing a clear third place in the popular vote.

Also polling well were two parties on opposing sides of the environment argument. The Green Party (MDG) took a lot of the urban vote, while the protest party People’s Action – No To More Road Tolls (FNB) recorded stunning success in Bergen.

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Norway Elections: Labour Plunged Into Crisis As Greens, Centre Party Make Gains

David Nikel | Forbes.Com

Une Aina Bastholm and Arild Hermstad, joint spokespersons for the Green Party of Norway.
Une Aina Bastholm and Arild Hermstad, joint spokespersons for the Green Party of Norway.MILJØPARTIET DE GRØNNE

On a night when several smaller parties are set for big gains in Norway’s nationwide local and county elections, some of the country’s biggest parties took a bruising. The first projected results show that all four governing parties lost votes, but it’s the main opposition Labour Party that are bracing themselves for a devastating result.

A new political landscape

“The fiery red thread is anger and protest. A dramatic signal that changes Norwegian politics,” said NRK’s politics correspondent Lars Nehru Sand, who described the overall results as Norway “giving the finger” to the establishment. VG said the vote leaves Norway with a new political landscape.

The agrarian Centre Party look set to beat three of the four ruling parties to finish a clear third place in the popular vote, while the Socialist Left and the far-left Red also made notable gains. Norway’s Green Party also recorded a major success. Their projected share of the vote is 6.7% in the local elections and 7.5% in the county elections, in both cases a rise of well over 50% from the last votes four years ago.

Despite the apparent success of the Green Party’s pro-environment campaign, there was also a significant backlash against road tolls in major cities. FNB, Norway’s protest party against road tolls, is projected to win influential numbers of seats on Bergen and Stavanger city councils with representation also in Oslo, a result set to temper the Green celebrations.

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Russia’s ruling party loses a third of seats in Moscow election after protests

By Naira Davlashyan  translated by Alice Tidey | EuroNews.Com

Russia’s ruling party has seen its majority decrease dramatically in Moscow’s city legislature after a summer of protests.

Candidates from United Russia, which supports President Vladimir Putin, were on course to claim 26 seats of the City Duma’s 45 seats, according to RIA news agency, citing nearly-complete election data.

This is down 16 from the 40 the party previously held, while the Communist Party was reportedly going to win 13 seats, the centre-left A Just Russia three seats and liberal party Yabloko three seats, coming back from its leader, Sergei Mitrokhin, initially being banned from standing.

It suggested a tactical voting strategy pushed by Putin’s opponents may have worked — prominent opposition politician Alexei Navalny advised his supporters to vote tactically across Russia for the candidate with the best chance of defeating United Russia.

Several regional and local elections took place across Russia on Sunday following two months of intense protest in the capital to denounce the authorities’ decision to ban opposition and independent candidates from running.

Most of the attention has been focused on Moscow, where rallies calling for free and fair election were organised every weekend throughout July and August, gathering tens of thousands in the biggest social unrest movement to rock the country in years.

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Russia’s ruling party hit badly in Moscow election

BBC.Com

Russia’s ruling United Russia party has suffered major losses in Sunday’s election to the Moscow city parliament, nearly complete results show.

The party lost nearly a third of the seats in the 45-member parliament, but remains on course to retain its majority with about 26 seats.

With most opposition candidates disqualified, the Communists, independents and others gained seats.

The exclusion of the opposition candidates triggered mass protests.

Thousands of people have been detained, and riot police have been accused of a brutal crackdown on demonstrators.

What’s the latest from Moscow?

With nearly all the results in, United Russia is predicted to get 26 seats in the city parliament (Mosgorduma).

The party’s brand has become so toxic lately that all its members ran as independents, the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford in Moscow reports.

Media captionPolice marched away detainees on the 27 July protest

In a major upset, the party’s leader in the Russian capital, Andrei Metelsky, was not re-elected.

The Communist Party is expected to get 13 seats, while the liberal Yabloko party and left-leaning Just Russia will each have three seats.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny promoted a strategy of “smart voting” after his own allies were all barred from running in this election.

Mr Navalny’s team exposed what they called “undercover” United Russia candidates, and campaigned for those best placed to defeat them. He described the result as “fantastic”.

State media are mostly presenting the results in Moscow as a win for the governing party in any case, our correspondent says.

But the Kremlin will certainly be studying the real picture, and what it says about the public mood in the Russian capital, she adds.

Turnout in Sunday’s election was about 22%.

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An Election Brings Abkhazia Back into Focus


Rejeanne Lacroix
 | FairObserver.Com | Aug 23, 2019
Abkhazia news, Abkhazia election, South Ossetia, Russia news, Georgia news, Caucasus news, Russia-Georgia relations, Russia Georgia war, Raul Khajimba Abkhazia, Georgia anti-Russia protests

An old dilapidated building of parliament of Abkhazia in Sukhumi © Gans33

The disputed existence of the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has come into focus again in the context of the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Russia and Georgia and the August anniversary of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Abkhazia remains at the heart of discussions because its upcoming election on August 25 is reflective of the duplicity of post-Soviet electoral spectacle and a hope for positive change that seems to escape citizens. Elections in breakaway republics shift the focus away from geopolitics and toward the idiosyncrasies inherent in political cultures unique to all nations.

A Deterioration of Relations

In June, a series of anti-Russian protests broke out in the Georgian capital Tbilisi and across the country. The appearance of high-ranking Russian politician Sergey Gavrilov at the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy and his consequent seating in the speaker’s chair inflamed Georgian sensibilities. But to identify this act as a catalyst for the protests is to oversimply matters, as deeper frustrations with the Georgian Dream ruling party are a factor as well. 

The Georgian Dream attempted to balance relations with the West while at the same time ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia. Voters within the country are increasingly displeased with internal political affairs. The sight of a Russian politician occupying the chair of the speaker of parliament could easily be construed as Moscow’s long arm reaching toward its southern neighbor, or as an act of occupation. It was viewed through this lens when Georgian commentator Giorgi Gabunia went on a televised expletive-ridden rant labeling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “miserable creature” and “stinking invader.” Further, Gabunia crossed even the lowest of professional lines by mocking Putin’s deceased parents.

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Nauru Parliament picks lawyer Lionel Aingimea for president

DW.COM

A former rights lawyer has been elected Nauru’s president. The change in leadership follows calls for humanitarian reform in the tiny Pacific nation, which Australia uses as a detention center for displaced people.

Nauru (picture-alliance/dpa/MSF)

Nauru’s Parliament chose Lionel Aingimea as president on Tuesday, three days after elections in the tiny Pacific island nation. 

Aingimea won the presidency 12-6 over rival David Adeang, the Nauru government information office reports.

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Guatemala elects right-wing president amid dismal turnout

Sandra Cuffe | The Washington Post

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalans on Sunday elected Alejandro Giammattei as their next president. When he takes office Jan. 14, he will inherit a nation plagued by years of political scandal, where a recent surge in migration has laid bare the monumenta l challenges ahead.

Giammattei, the right-wing Vamos party candidate who is a former prisons director, beat out former first lady Sandra Torres for the next four-year term. The presidential runoff election came at a crucial moment — as Guatemala prepares for the possible implementation of a “safe third country” agreement with the United States, a plan touted by the Trump administration but with potentially grave consequences for a country whose own citizens are fleeing in droves.

Guatemala is the leading country of origin of migrants and asylum seekers apprehended at the U.S. southern border.

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