Now’s the time to look and look again at what you see, Is that the way it ought to stay?

December 8, 2010 § 3 Comments

I’ve now put up the results to most of the elections in the comments to my last round up article but I’ll briefly canter through them anyway. The exception is the Ivory Coast which I already talked about here (along with details of some elections we missed) and to which there is not much to add except that it is still very tense and, unless there is another side to this story that we are not getting, that Laurent Gbagbo is an evil little wimp who sadly will soon very probably have blood on his hands. I normally don’t cover regional elections so I’m not going to go into Catalonia, but World Elections have a very good piece here. And since I’m listing recent pieces, if any of you are looking for Christmas presents for political nerds, I have written a guide to what I’ve enjoyed reading this year – and might make a good gift – here.

So Egypt. Final results from round two are not expected until Wednesday but we know what is going to happen already. Traditionally Mubarak’s ruling NDP does deals with some of the “softer” opposition parties allowing them to win some seats for the sake of form. However this time round the NDP set out to win every seat. Moreover the banned Muslim Brotherhood normally win a  fair few seats by running candidates as independents – this time the government was much sharper at finding who had links to the MB and disqualifying them. They also seemed to operate an “if in doubt, disqualify” policy.

The result is that on the first round the NDP won 170 seats outright, the liberal Wafd Party 3, independent opposition candidates 3 and the Muslim Brotherhood 0. Violence and intimidation was stepped up to such a level that both Wafd and the surviving Muslim Brotherhood candidates pulled out of the second round of voting, leaving the NDP to fight almost all of the remaining 268 seats uncontested. As a result the NDP are guaranteed a minimum of 97% of the seats in parliament. This is a pyrrhic victory for Mubarak, as it will just result in his many opponents abandoning the democratic process and embracing violent opposition.

Haitian elections were utterly chaotic (largely as a result of the Cholera outbreak) but, touch wood, they were reasonably democratic – and overseas observers don’t want them annulled. However “reasonably” is the operative word here. There is no doubt that there will be a second round runoff and that Mirlande Manigat (the wife of former President Leslie Manigat – who won a military backed election in 1987 on a 10% turnout) will be in it having topped the poll with around 31% of the vote.

What is in doubt is who will be the second candidate. Former crooner Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly (who achieved fame performing concerts naked, wearing dresses, and wearing nappies) was thought to be well in the lead of the government and former president Preval backed candidate: Jude Celestin. However, after many reports of irregularities and attempted rigging in Celestin’s favour, the election commission controversially announced that Celestin had narrowly beaten Martelly 21% to 20% and it would be Celestin in the runoff. Martelly has announced that he is going to appeal and the courts will mull over what to do in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile Celestin’s Unite party look set to win a clear majority in parliament – having won 9 of the 11 seats so far announced.

The Cook Islands had perhaps the most straightforward election. The nationalist Cook Islands party won 15, the centre left Democrats won 8, and one seat – Pukapuka-Nassau- will be run again after returning this, frankly redicolous, result:

CIP Tekii Lazaro 73

DP Tai Ravarua 73

Independent Vai Peua 72

Vai Peura is the former CIP MP who left the CIP and ran in the DP primary and lost and so decided to run as an independent. Since there’s never been a tie before the courts now have to decide whether to order a runoff between the top two or a complete rerun. Never let it be said that one vote never made a difference.

The referendum was passed by 75% of voters, and the Cook Islands parliament will be significantly reduced in size before the next election.

The Madagascan referendum ended up almost becoming an aside to its own story. We eventually found out that the new constitution was approved by 75% of the vote on a 53% turnout. However events were overshadowed when opposition supporters and sections of the army launched something on the day of the poll (depending who you ask it was either a revolution, a coup, a riot or a mutiny in the army). Whatever it was meant to be it didn’t work but they did seize a barracks and the better part of a military base, in which they held out for the better part of a week before being overwhelmed by the Army.

Comaoré won the Burkina Faso election as expected with 80% of the vote on the first round. Turnout was 55%, his supporters had being fearing it would be worse.

The Tongan elections confirmed handover of power to democratic forces. The Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands won 12 of the 17 seats up for election, the other five were taken by independents, enough of whom favour democratic rule to mean that, for the first time ever, monarchist forces do not have a majority for the first time ever  despite the appointment of nine monarchist chiefs to Parliament. The king has announced that he accepts the result and will from now on have a purely ceremonial role.

Chad meanwhile decided there “hadn’t been sufficient time to prepare” for elections, and postponed them until March 2011.

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