United Kingdom: Labour leadership voting rights dispute goes to appeal court | The Guardian

Labour’s ruling body is challenging a high court decision allowing new party members to vote in the forthcoming leadership election. The decision was an apparent boost to Jeremy Corbyn in his battle to remain as Labour leader, because most new members are expected to support him in the contest against his rival, Owen Smith. Party officials are going to the court of appeal on Thursday in an attempt to reinstate a block imposed by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on 130,000 recruits getting the vote. The NEC decided that full members would not be able to vote if they had not had at least six months’ continuous membership up to 12 July.

United Kingdom: Labour leadership: Party to appeal against voting rights ruling | BBC

Labour is challenging a High Court ruling giving recent members a vote in its leadership contest, with the appeal hearing expected on Thursday.
The party lost a legal challenge to its rules banning anyone who joined as a member after 12 January from taking part unless they paid an extra £25.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour’s appeal was “disappointing”. The party said it would defend the right of its governing NEC “to uphold the rule book”. The court’s decision, handed down on Monday, could add between 126,592 and 150,000 people to the list of those eligible to vote in the contest – according to different estimates. The ruling is thought likely to benefit leader Jeremy Corbyn over challenger Owen Smith, who earlier branded Mr Corbyn “useless” and said he had “fractured” the Labour Party.

United Kingdom: Labour signs up more than 180,000 supporters to vote in leadership contest | The Guardian

The Labour party has signed up more than 180,000 new registered supporters in 48 hours to vote in the party leadership election despite the new £25 fee imposed by the party’s national executive. The huge number of registered supporters comes despite the NEC ruling the fee should be more than eight times higher than 2015, when it cost just £3. Around 105,000 registered supporters voted in 2015, though thousands more were excluded by the party’s vetting procedures. This time 183,541 supporters signed up in a two-day window, which last year was several weeks. This means the party will have raised £4,588,525 in two days. Labour party headquarters had hoped to avoid the administration burden of vetting hundreds of thousands of new members and supporters, but will have a month to do so before ballot papers are sent out in late August. Last year, the party had just two days after the deadline closed to check supporters were not members of other parties.

United Kingdom: Labour executive rules Jeremy Corbyn must be on leadership ballot | The Guardian

Jeremy Corbyn was jubilant after the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) decided his name should automatically appear on the ballot paper in the leadership contest triggered by Angela Eagle. In a crunch meeting at Labour’s Westminster headquarters that began at 2pm on Tuesday and continued into the evening, NEC members, including Corbyn himself, voted 18-14 in a secret ballot that he was not subject to the rule that forces candidates to show they have the backing of 20% of the party’s MPs and MEPs. However, in a separate decision taken after Corbyn had left the room, the NEC ruled that only those who have been members for more than six months will be allowed to vote – while new supporters will be given two days to sign up as registered supporters to vote in the race, but only if they are willing to pay £25 – far higher than the £3 fee many Corbyn backers paid in the contest last year.

United Kingdom: Labour leadership: Harman vows to weed out all ‘cheats’ | BBC

Harriet Harman has said 3,000 alleged “cheats” have so far been excluded from voting in the Labour leadership contest, with more expected. The acting Labour leader said: “It is not funny or clever for people from other parties to try to cheat their way into our system.” And only people who supported the “aims and values” of the Labour Party would be allowed to take part. She was speaking after a meeting with the four leadership contenders. She said the verification process was “robust” and would go on until the “very last minute”.

United Kingdom: Jeremy Corbyn’s rivals to demand Labour reversal on stronger checks against infiltration | Telegraph

Jeremy Corbyn’s rivals will today demand that Labour reverses a decision not to weed out “infiltrators” with extra checks amid fears they could skew the result of the leadership contest. In a showdown meeting in Stevenage, Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader, will be told to use election canvass returns to double-check the allegiance of new joiners. Failure to do so could trigger a slew of legal challenges from donors who funded campaigns in good faith or councillors who have been infuriated Tory infiltration, they will warn.

Editorials: Labour’s election process: a case for politics, not the law | The Guardian

It is reasonable for the Labour party to exclude people who oppose its values and aims from the contest to elect a new leader. Conservatives infiltrating the process are committing not mischief but fraud and should be duly ashamed. Hovever, the numbers involved in that kind of chicanery are in all likelihood very small and the controversy around Labour’s vetting process for newly registered “supporters” involves a different phenomenon. Several would-be electors have been excluded on the basis of evidence – some compelling, some flimsy – that they have supported rivals on the left: Greens and fringe socialist groups. Labour is entitled to question these people’s loyalty. Endorsing a different party hardly implies stalwart support. Yet many of those who are being weeded out – or “purged” as they see it – in “Operation Icepick” see themselves as refugees of the anti-Blair left, alienated by the party under recent leaders, seeking a right of return as acolytes of Jeremy Corbyn. This is more a conceptual challenge to Labour than a technical one. The passionate Corbynites who may not have supported Labour in recent years claim nonetheless to be the authentic supporters of the party’s “aims and values” – more so even than the apparatchiks who would seek to exclude them. They challenge the authority of the machine to decide who is entitled to vote in the contest and, in so doing, say they are honouring the spirit of the new rules that offered them a vote at the bargain price of three pounds.

United Kingdom: Labour seeks legal advice over leadership election infiltration fears | The Guardian

Labour is seeking legal advice to ensure its leadership election is being conducted according to party rules, amid fears that the contest is being infiltrated by people who oppose the party. A spokesperson for acting leader Harriet Harman confirmed that the party had called in lawyers to ensure that the process would not be open to challenge, but denied that there were any plans to halt or suspend the process. Under new rules anyone can vote if they pay £3 to register as a supporter, which prompted concerns that the system was being gamed by people who support other parties. About 400,000 people have become eligible to vote in the contest since the general election, swelling the electorate to 600,000 A spokeswoman for Harman denied that legal advice had been sought as a result of the worries over “entryism” from the left and right. “The party’s focus is on making sure that the rules are fully complied with, as we said last week we have taken legal advice to make sure that the rules are being complied with and that all due diligence as possible was being done,” she said.

United Kingdom: Andy Burnham calls for urgent meeting over concerns that ‘large scale’ Tory infiltration could lead to legal challenge | The Independent

Andy Burnham has called for an emergency meeting over concerns of “large scale” infiltration of Conservative supporters in the Labour leadership race. His team has written to Labour HQ demanding a meeting be held early next week between all four campaigns, claiming that the evidence of ‘entryism’ from supporters of other parties in the leadership election…

United Kingdom: Tory party member says he voted for Jeremy Corbyn … three times | The Guardian

The founder of a Twitter campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in order to damage the party’s future chances of gaining power claims to have received three ballot papers to vote in the election, despite being a member of the Conservative party. But a Labour party source said it had only sent one ballot paper to his address and that the Electoral Reform Service, which is managing the voting, would not allow one individual to vote three times. Andrew Wylie, who uses the pen name Charlie Mortimer, said he registered as a supporter of the Labour party using his first name, his middle name and his wife’s name, using the same email address and mobile phone number on all three applications. Wylie claims to have received three separate ballot papers and to have sent them all off, voting for Corbyn in first place, with no second preference. “I’m hoping Jeremy will just walk it in the first round,” he said.

Fiji: Labour Party calls for Electoral commission resignation | Islands Business

Fiji’s Labour Party remains unconvinced about the Electoral Commission’s independence calling for their resignation if they are not able to carry out their duties independently. Labour Party president Lavinia Padarath said the commission appear “to be accepting objectionable provisions of the Electoral Decree that could undermine the conduct of free and fair elections. This is totally unacceptable,” Padarath said. “The commission should be left alone to act independently. If it is not allowed to do so, then the proper course for its members would be to resign because it is now a question of their integrity and credibility.”

Europe: A Clash between National and European in the European Elections | EU Inside

For the first time in the EU, you will hear, we have a broad choice. We can vote for a specific candidate for the post of the European Commission president, not only for members of the European Parliament. The candidates of the biggest political families in Europe were selected in the American style – some more democratically (via primaries), others via the ordinary party procedure. Whatever the manner, they are already touring European cities and capitals competing for our vote. They even call their campaign with the same term as in the US – campaign trail. The culmination will be on May 15th when the five candidates will appear together in a debate which will be broadcast live within the Eurovision network and online. To sum up, European democracy in action. There is no doubt that it is more than exciting that, finally, the EU will come to us instead of us constantly going to the EU. The European political parties will fight for our vote, they will present us their ideas, plans, visions about the future of the Union not from the distant Brussels, but they will come in our capitals and cities. They will try to balance between nationalists, austerians, spenders, Germans, Greeks, the north and the south, the east and the west, between Euro-Atlanticists and pro-Russian forces. But there is a problem. In these elections, for the first time, the clash between the national and European political interest will be especially strong because the national parties make calculations of their own for these elections, while the candidates at EU level threaten to mess them up. And this is especially evident in the fact that there are two parallel elections for the post of European Commission president going on. One is the democratic one that I mentioned above and the other is the well known behind-the-scenes way in which the highest European posts are always bargained.

Norway: Prime minister runs out of road in election race | Financial Times

It seemed a perfectly-timed stunt from Jens Stoltenberg. The Norwegian prime minister, lagging behind opposition parties ahead of parliamentary elections next month, pretended to be a taxi driver around Oslo, demonstrating his charm to ordinary voters. But then things started to go wrong. It transpired some of his passengers had been paid to make the journey while the whole thing had been dreamt up by Try Advertising, the governing Labour party’s ad agency. Worst of all, one of his passengers complained his bad driving had worsened her back problems. As Mr Stoltenberg said: “I think the country and Norwegian taxi passengers are best served if I am the prime minister and not a taxi driver.”

Voting Blogs: 2013 Israeli Pre-Election Report | The Monkey Cage

The coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, headed by the Likud party, was sworn in on 31 March 2009, following the 10 February elections. The 18th Knesset, Israel’s parliament, was comprised of a dozen parties (exactly the same as the previous Knesset). Surprisingly, Likud did not win the largest number of seats; it came in second closely after Kadima, which won one more seat. However, Likud was able to form a majority coalition government with five other parties: Likud (27); Israel Our Home (15); Labour (13); Shas (11), United Torah Judaism (5); and The Jewish Home (3), for a total of 74 of the 120 seats in the Israeli parliament. The numerous coalition partners were quite generously rewarded in the formation of the Netanyahu government, which was one of the largest cabinets in Israel’s history. Between ministers and deputy ministers, almost one-third of the legislature held executive positions. This is a main reason why the coalition government survived almost four full years.

Lithuania: Lithuania election: Austerity key in second-round vote | BBC

Lithuanians are voting in the second round of national elections, with budget cuts and joining the euro seen as key issues. Polls opened at 07:00 (05:00 GMT), with half the seats being contested. Two centre left parties, the Labour Party and the Social Democrats, finished first and second in the first round on 14 October. PM Andrius Kubilius’ governing conservatives, unpopular for cutting pensions and public wages, came third. Having won 34 seats in the first round, Labour and the Social Democrats hope to win enough of the 67 seats available on Sunday to allow them to form a coalition government.

Lithuania: Lithuanians poised to vote out conservatives | European Voice

For the first time since regaining independence in 1991, Lithuanians have the opportunity to re-elect the same government formed at elections four years earlier. Yet they are almost certain to reject this chance of political continuity.  Frustrated with dismal living standards and a poignant sense of dysfunctional social justice, voters in the Baltic nation are poised to send packing the conservative-led coalition and return opposition centre-leftists and populists to the helm. Such a scenario could, in turn, postpone tentative plans to introduce the euro and affect preparations for Lithuania’s presidency of the European Union’s Council of Ministers in the second half of 2013. Polls indicate that either the Social Democrats, who reigned over Lithuanian politics for more than six years before getting the boot in 2008.

Netherlands: Dutch Election Suspense | Presseurop

Rupture or continuity? The Dutch go to the polls on Sept. 12 for early elections marked by the crisis. Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte seems well ahead, but on the left there’s tough competition to come up with an alternative. For the Dutch press this close vote risks prolonging the political crisis. The general election campaign of 12 September is still coming up with surprises. According to a survey published on September 3, the VVD party of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte (Liberal) is still in the lead, expected to pick up 35 of the 150 seats in the National Assembly. Its main rival, though, seems to be not the rising star of the Socialist Party led by Emile Roemer (radical left), which had set the tone of the debate over the summer, but the Labour Party (PvdA) under Diederik Samsom.

Netherlands: Dutch set to defy austerity as left takes poll lead | EUobserver.com

The left-wing Socialist party is expected to seize the largest gains in September’s Dutch elections, threatening to deprive German Chancellor Angela Merkel of one of her closest allies in response to the eurozone debt crisis. With Dutch voters set to go to the polls on 12 September 12, opinion polls indicated that the Socialist party, which has never formed part of a government, is running marginally ahead of caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal party (VVD). According to a survey released on Wednesday (22 August) by opinion pollsters TNS-Nipo, both parties are projected to win 34 seats in the 150 member Parliament, with the centre-left Labour party (PvdA) expected to poll in third place with 21 seats. A poll of polls compiled this week by the University of Leiden pegs the Socialist and VVD parties at 35 and 33 seats respectively.

United Kingdom: Galloway Beats Labour in U.K. Parliament Election Upset | Businessweek

George Galloway, who was expelled from the U.K. Labour Party under Prime Minister Tony Blair over his opposition to the Iraq War, was unexpectedly re-elected to the House of Commons in a special election in northern England. Galloway, running for the Respect Party, took 56 percent of the vote in yesterday’s election in the Bradford West district. He beat Labour, the main opposition party in the Commons, which previously held the seat, into second place. Labour’s candidate, Imran Hussain, took 25 percent. Jackie Whiteley of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives came third with 8.4 percent. Bradford West had the third highest proportion of Muslim residents of any electoral district at the time of the 2001 census, at 37.6 percent. Galloway, who was expelled from Labour in 2003, took Bethnal Green and Bow in east London, the second most Muslim constituency, from the party on an anti-war ticket in 2005. He failed to win a seat in the Commons in 2010.

Lesotho: 9 more parties deregistered in Lesotho | Public Eye Daily

The Independent Electoral Commission this week deregistered nine more political parties ahead of the general election, which reports suggest could take place in May this year. This makes it a total 12 parties the Commission has struck-off its roll in a space of one month for failing to comply with the country’s electoral laws, following the deregistration of the Christian Democratic Party, Lesotho Labour Party and United Democratic Party in December 2011.

Jamaica: 150 candidates nominated for December 29 election | JamaicaObserver.com

The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) will today indicate whether the final count of candidates for the upcoming General Election who were appointed during yesterday’s Nomination Day exercise remains at the 150 announced initially. Shortly after the close of Nomination Day activities yesterday, the EOJ signalled that a total 150 candidates were nominated to contest the General Election scheduled for December 29. But speaking with the Observer yesterday, Director of Elections Orette Fisher said a final count would be done today.

“I want to point out, however, and it is very important, that the count we have given is very preliminary because I cannot give a final count until the nomination forms come in from all the constituencies and we are able to go through them,” the director of elections said.

Saint Lucia: Labour Party regains power | Trinidad Express Newspaper

The St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) came storming back into government in Monday’s general election, five years after it was swept aside by the United Workers Party (UWP). SLP Leader Dr Kenny Anthony told St Lucians that the “days ahead will be hard, it will be difficult” and that the right message would be sent by not declaring a public holiday as has been the tradition over the years to celebrate the victory.

“I am afraid there will be no holiday (Tuesday), we will get to work immediately. There is a hard job ahead of all of us and it is important for the sake of this country that we take the right step from now,” he added. Preliminary results show that the SLP secured a majority of the 17 seats, and could be victorious in as many as 11 constituencies given that some of the results were being contested by both parties.

New Zealand: Key to Assemble Coalition After Victory in New Zealand Election | Businessweek

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key began forming a government after his National party gained its best election result in 60 years, giving him the mandate to sell state assets in an effort to eliminate a budget deficit.

Key met with senior ministers today and plans talks tomorrow with the ACT and United Future parties, which helped him command a majority in the last parliament and have pledged to back him again. With 60 seats in the 121-member parliament, Key will be able to govern with support from the two parties, which both have one seat.