Author Topic: World Politics and Elections 2024  (Read 2587 times)

dubsartur

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Re: World Politics and Elections 2024
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2024, 04:39:55 PM »
Canada seems to have inherited Britain's allergy to formal coalitions.
Its another of those leftovers from the 19th century, where many Older and Wiser Heads act like Canada has a two-party system even though that has not been true since the NDP were founded in the 1950s (the Reform Party of Canada in 1987, Bloc Quebecois in 1991) and Canada's parliament has as many parties as most European countries.

Jubal

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Re: World Politics and Elections 2024
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2024, 08:48:44 PM »
European political news: the headline bit is that Robert Fico, hard-authoritarian prime minister of Slovakia, has narrowly survived an assassination attempt. The trigger seems to have been his attempts to bring state media under closer government control. I've often wondered why more people don't get assassinated in politics: don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it would be a good thing, but I think one can point to a fair number of prominent cases where it's worked in achieving political goals from the assassin's perspective. I think the main explanation is that senior political actors are much more scared of eroding norms against assassination than they are of, say, going to war, because the latter only involves a bunch of other people getting shot rather than themselves. I do worry that in Slovakia the failed attempt will now be used as a pretext for cracking down on the opposition.

Georgia is in turmoil and with continual protests over its 'foreign agent' law. I'm really personally sad seeing the country becoming more authoritarian: the new legislation adds large invasive monitoring obligations on anyone who recieves significant funding or payments from abroad, and is generally mostly intended as an attack on civil society institutions.

Also the Dutch now have a government! It's not a very good government, and we're still not sure who's going to be prime minister, but the four right-wing parties who were involved in coalition talks now have a coalition agreement, perhaps in large part spurred by polls showing that if the country had another election the far-right PVV would do even better at the expense of their now coalition partners, such that said partners had a strong negotiating incentive. The parties evidently hate each other and there are clearly VVD and NSC members who hate working with the PVV in particular so we'll see how that goes.
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dubsartur

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Re: World Politics and Elections 2024
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2024, 02:04:49 AM »
Illia Ponomarenko on Ukraine's internal problems (birdsite IAPonomarenko/status/1791440191615307900 )

Quote
There's one thing that one should keep in mind as he or she follows the developments in Ukraine.

The people of Ukraine are actually fighting two wars at the same time. Apart from the Russian invasion, the largest war of aggression in Europe since Adolf Hitler, there's another war -- a domestic war of our people against so many things that undermine us from within.

It's about corrupt officials, it's about incompetent and populistic decision-makers, it's about those who embezzle our money allocated on fortifications and defenses, it's about those who give exemptions from military conscription to sports-betting firms (with very murky tax records), and don't it to charity foundations providing the military with fast and vital aid.

It's also, for instance, about entire departments of the SBU security service spying on anti-corruption investigating journalists during the war with Russia.

It's a war against so many things that try to drag us back to what we used to be - a weak and corrupt informal Russian colony.

Just like the "military" war with the foreign invader, this internal war for saving this country from its own dark side has had its victories and setbacks.

Every time high-profile malpractice is exposed in the open, it is fought daily, triggering a scandal and a public uproar.

And these two wars are interconnected.

A favorable outcome of the war against Russia's aggression is not possible without significant victories in this domestic war of ours.

That's our life and the struggle for national survival in the last... ten years!

And I must say that sometimes I look through the news, I can't help but keep thinking about the fact that so many of those insolent pen-pushers in high cabinets don't deserve to even hold a candle to all our men and women who save this country every single day and do the impossible on the fronts of Russia's war.

The Ukrainian military also seems to have both aspects, with those who figured out how to fight Russia to a standstill since 2014 on one side, and the older school of Soviet-minded commanders on the other.  I suspect that is one reason why expanded conscription is controversial, nobody wants to die because someone embezzled the money for fortifications and the commanding officer is stuck on doing things the way his textbooks told him to do it.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2024, 02:18:26 AM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: World Politics and Elections 2024
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2024, 09:47:36 PM »
Some European news, as we approach the EU elections (early June):

The Dutch still don't know who's going to be Prime Minister because the obvious candidate has come down in a scandal, also the right-liberal VVD look like being kicked out of the European liberal party for working with the deeply anti-European PVV.

Also, even more darkly amusingly, the Identity and Democracy group in the European parliament, which is to say the most fascist of the formal groups, is blowing itself up on the cusp of the elections because the German fascists are increasingly too obviously Nazi for the French fascists. Being too Nazi for Marine le Pen is not something anyone should ever want to achieve, but turns out it's happened, and it does look like le Pen has actually ruled out sharing a group with the AfD after the election, which in turn will force the other ID parties like Lega, the PVV, the Austrian FPO, etc, to decide which part of the split they go down. Possibly the result is that le Pen goes to the ECR, since she's moved to a much more publicly anti-Russian stance to deflect her own past dealings with them whereas most of the rest of ID is more anti-Ukrainian.

We're also just a week away from South Africa's election: the ANC might just scrape a majority still, they've recovered a tiny bit of ground in the last few polls. The DA look a bit stuck, probably doesn't help that they've got a white leader which may blunt their reaching out to most of the rest of the country. The new MKP have clearly taken a chunk off the ANC based on Jacob Zuma's personal vote, but the radical EFF don't look like they've made much progress either: the ANC aren't being crushed, just losing bits off all sides to different political parties.
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dubsartur

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Re: World Politics and Elections 2024
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2024, 02:14:46 AM »
Capital have been trying to line up BC United (formerly the BC Liberals) and BC Conservatives (until recently three men and a PO Box) as one movement to defeat the centrist BC NDP.  The populist wing of the Canadian conservative movement is not having it. Part of the problem is that without an election, nobody can know whether the Conservatives can become the dominant party on the right (and whether you can do that while letting capital fell all the trees, mine all the minerals, harvest all the fish, move money in and out of the province without too many questions, and hammer the public-sector unions which is what capital wants in a provincial conservative party). https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-united-no-merger-1.7214326
« Last Edit: May 25, 2024, 02:41:50 AM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: World Politics and Elections 2024
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2024, 03:49:37 PM »
So, it looks pretty clear that the ANC has lost its parliamentary majority in South Africa for almost the first time in my lifetime (the first democratic election was about two months after I was born so technically the National Party still had its "majority" of the Apartheid white electorate at that point). The biggest shift seems to be that the new MK party of former president Jacob Zuma topped the vote in KwaZulu-Natal, almost entirely at the ANC's expense, and thus coming third in the election and knocking the ANC's vote from the mid fifties to mid forties percent.

I don't get the impression that an anti-ANC coalition is possible: the EFF and MK are far further from the DA than the ANC is from either. If there's a formal agreement my tentative expectation would be that the DA and ANC will form a grand coalition or at least a supply and confidence deal. The ANC, on the basis of these results, don't need to feel too threatened by the DA who haven't really pushed forward out of their heartland (and their white/mixed-race voter demographic). The ANC would need fewer policy concessions to deal with the MKs but there's probably too much personal bad blood there, and the EFF are probably too radical and are also a mistrusted ANC offshoot.
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Jubal

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Re: World Politics and Elections 2024
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2024, 11:23:56 AM »
Right, two more elections to report on!

In Mexico, the left-populists won the presidential election again, giving the country its first female president who is also a climate scientist so on balance that seems like probably a good thing? I get the sense she's a bit more focused on the left and less on the populist side than her predecessor so I'm feeling reasonably hopeful.

Over in India, the NDA have a majority but Modi's BJP don't on their own without the rest of the NDA. That means a much bigger role for coalition partners, who are now needed for government but who haven't always been Modi fans. The two key ones are the Telugu Desam Party from Andhra Pradesh and the Janata Dal (United) party whose base is in Bihar and the Northeast. The JD-U allied with the BJP in the 1990s, broke the alliance in 2013-14 to work against Modi, returned to the NDA in 2017, left in 2022 and returned in January of this year. The TDP likewise haven't always been firmly in the NDA's fold, allying with Congress in the 2018 Telangana elections though they've leaned more to the BJP's side of the fence.

There's also the possibility that Modi will try to attract other parts of Congress' INDIA alliance over to pad his majority: the smaller and regional parties of Indian politics seem quite willing to switch around which major party they work with, and now some of them have an exceptional opportunity to gain concessions from national government. That might mean more pork-barrelling, though it does also mean that things like constitutional amendments are out of the question. Modi's grand rhetoric of aiming for 400 seats looks very silly now, and it's nice to see that his spittingly nationalist campaign didn't actually deliver the goods he'd hoped.
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Jubal

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Re: World Politics and Elections 2024
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2024, 11:58:12 PM »
And so the European Elections happened. Far too much to run through but my own takeaways: the far right did well, the greens and liberals did badly, but in both cases not as disastrously as might have been expected earlier in the year. The liberal Renew were, despite a harsh loss of seats, actually not turfed out from their position as the third party, which had been repeatedly floated as a likely scenario. That wouldn't even have happened if the AfD hadn't been kicked out of the group (an action that may have repercussions in terms of leading to the far right being even more splintered at a European level). The results basically make a continuation of the standard grand coalition (Conservatives-Social Democrats-Liberals, possibly with Greens) almost inevitable: the liberals and left won't work with the nationalists and the conservatives really don't have a good way to bring even the marginally-less-wingnut ECR nationalists into the fold.

There were also parliamentary elections in Belgium, where the Flemish far right had been expecting to become the largest single party and rather planning on it, but were actually held in second place by the centre-right who will almost certainly lead the next government. Prime Minister De Croo's left-liberal coalition has clearly lost, with the centre-right Reform Movement and centrist Les Engagés doing very well at the expense of the Socialists, the liberals and especially the Greens in Wallonia, so I'd guess the new govt to be much more right-leaning.

You could get the slenderest of majorities for a centre-right-leaning coalition as follows:
N-Va (Flemish Nationalist-Conservatives) 24
Reform Movement (Walloon Conservatives) 20
CD&V (Flemish Christian Democrat Conservatives) 11
Les Engagés  (Walloon Centrists) 14
Open VLD (Flemish Centre-Liberals) 7

Though the Open VLD may want to sit out after a bruising election and having led the last government, and getting them, LE, or anyone to their left in would require some serious concessions from N-Va.

Finally, in France President Macron has decided people just weren't voting enough this year and has called parliamentary elections in what I presume is a "put up or shut up" attempt to the far right, who now have an exceptionally good shot at building a strong parliamentary faction if not a government. I guess maybe he's trying to let them into parliamentary majority on the grounds that at the presidential election they'll then have an incumbency disadvantage? Not sure.
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