A leading political party in Haiti announced on Tuesday that it was pulling out of next month’s legislative elections, saying it was the primary victim of violence during the first round of voting in August. It was not immediately clear whether the pullout would disrupt the second-round runoff on Oct. 25, when Haitians are also due to cast ballots for a new president. But the move was seen as another setback for stability in the impoverished Caribbean country, long rocked by political turmoil. The Vérité (Truth) Party, which announced its boycott of the upcoming poll, is widely seen as a leading political threat to President Michel Martelly’s Haitian Tet Kale (Bald Headed) Party, which takes its name from Martelly’s trademark shaved scalp.
After a nearly four years of delays, legislative elections will take place Sunday in Haiti, but voters hardly seem to care. Portraits of candidates and posters in their parties` colors have finally invaded the public space. But, in front of an electrical pole plastered with photos of various candidates for Haiti`s Senate and Chamber of Deputies, Luckson is completely indifferent. “Him I know, but he won`t do anything for me. Her, I`ve never seen her face before,” the shoeshiner says while surveying the posters that now adorn his corner. For a brief moment, the nearby vendors and their clients discuss the candidates and argue about the backgrounds of these would-be parliamentarians. They all agree on one point: they will not vote Sunday “because there`s no point.”
Political parties in El Salvador formally wrapped up their campaigns Wednesday ahead of local and legislative elections schedule for March 1, 2015. The close of the campaign period gives three days for the population to decide their vote without the influence of the publicity campaigns of the parties. Electors in Latin America’s smallest country will head to the polls to elect mayors as well as representatives to the country’s Legislative Assembly.
Ukraine on Sunday will hold its first legislative elections since clashes erupted last April between government forces and pro-Russia separatists, who will boycott the vote in the eastern provinces they hold. Kiev has said the boycott in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk will not affect the legitimacy of the process. Before the conflict started, around 6.5 million people lived in the region, around 15 percent of the total population. An estimated one million people have fled the area and sought refuge in neighboring Russia or other Ukrainian regions because of the fighting. “Here, there will be no elections,” said Andrei Purguin, deputy Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Donetsk and Lugansk are scheduled to choose their own parliaments and leaders in a separate election scheduled for November 2. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stressed the importance of full transparency in the October 26 elections in areas controlled by Kiev in the two rebel regions.
Mauritania’s ruling party is leading in local and legislative elections while a once-outlawed Islamist party looked poised to become the main opposition, preliminary results showed on Tuesday. The legislative vote, which was boycotted by 10 other parties, are the first since an army putsch catapulted Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to power in 2008. Abdel Aziz won a presidential election in 2009 and is now a Western ally in fighting al Qaeda in the poor and frequently unstable Sahel region of West Africa. Mauritania, a country of 3.2 million people, has reserves of iron ore, copper and gold and is seeking to encourage exploration in its offshore oil and gas sector.
Only a few months ago, no one would have expected that 2013 would turn out to be an election “super-year” for the Czech Republic. The first-ever presidential elections took place in January, while legislative elections were originally scheduled for the spring of 2014. But then the political scandal broke involving Prime Minister Petr Necas. The whole cabinet was forced to resign, and as it was replaced by the technocratic government of Jiri Rusnok (a man loyal to president Milos Zeman), it started to become clear that the country was heading towards a period of unusual political instability. The new cabinet failed to win a confidence vote and MPs eventually voted to dissolve the parliament, triggering early elections. Two main issues stand out in the forthcoming elections – the emergence of three to four new parties likely to win seats in the parliament, and the ambiguous role of President Milos Zeman.
Mauritania’s main opposition parties announced a boycott of November’s legislative election on Friday after talks with the government over preparations for the vote collapsed without agreement. The Coordination of the Democratic Opposition (COD) said after three days of talks with the government that 10 of its 11 member parties had decided to boycott the vote. The talks were the first between the two sides in over four years. President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz seized power in a 2008 coup in the Islamic republic, which straddles black and Arab Africa on the continent’s west coast.
Iraq’s Kurdish region goes to the polls on Saturday, grappling with a swathe of disputes with the central government while fellow Kurds fight bloody battles across the border in Syria. The legislative election also comes amid questions over the future of the Kurdish nation, spread across historically hostile countries that have more recently either shown a willingness to discuss Kurdish demands, or have suffered instability, allowing Kurds to carve out their own territory. The September 21 vote is the first to be held in Kurdistan, a three-province autonomous region in north Iraq, in more than four years. It will see three main parties jostle for position in the Kurdish parliament, with long-term implications both domestically and farther afield. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of regional president Massud Barzani is widely expected to garner the largest number of seats.
The small West African nation of Togo held legislative elections on Thursday, nine months after they were originally scheduled. Although the vote was calm, opposition leaders expressed concern about a number of procedural problems. Togo has been ruled by the same family for more than four decades. Eyadema Gnassingbe came to power in 1967, and his son, Faure Gnassingbe, followed suit when Eyadema died in 2005, winning a flawed and violent election that year and a more credible re-election in 2010. When the last legislative elections were held in 2007, the ruling party claimed 60 percent of the seats. But there have been signs in recent years that frustration with the party is mounting, with notably large scale protests against government policies and alleged abuses by the security forces.
Pierre Warga is among the majority of Togo’s 6 million citizens who have spent their entire lives ruled by the Gnassingbe family. Eyadema Gnassingbe was in power for 38 years before dying of a heart attack in 2005. His son Faure Gnassingbe was then installed by the military before winning a highly flawed and violent election later that year, and a re-election in 2010. The small West African country goes to the polls Thursday for legislative elections that will test whether recent signs of discontent might legitimately threaten Gnassingbe’s hold on power. Some experts say there may be, for the first time, vulnerabilities in a country that has seen an increasingly daring public outcry against entrenched poverty, high youth unemployment and controversial crackdowns by the security forces.
Hong Kong voters cast ballots in legislative elections Sunday that will help determine the eventual shape of the full democracy that Beijing has promised the former British colony. The amount of support voters give to pro-democracy and pro-Beijing camps will indicate the level of desire for political reform in Hong Kong. Beijing has pledged to allow Hong Kong’s residents to choose their leader by 2017 and all lawmakers by 2020, but no road map has been laid out. Lawmakers elected in Sunday’s polls will help shape the arrangements for those future elections.
A coalition backing new Senegalese President Macky Sall was poised to win majority seats in parliament, according to provisional results reported by local media on Sunday after legislative elections in the west African country. Early counts reported by Senegal’s APS news agency showed that Sall’s Alliance for the Republic party (APR) and the Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition were leading in several constituencies across the country. Results on APS’s website showed that the leading coalition had won the vote in several major districts including Thies, Kaolack, St. Louis and the capital Dakar. Complete provisional results are expected by Tuesday.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall is seeking to win a parliamentary majority in a July 1 election to push ahead with plans to combat corruption and cut government spending. Sall, 51, leads the Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition that’s running for the National Assembly’s 150 seats. The main challengers are the Parti Democratique Senegalaise, headed by ex-President Abdoulaye Wade, and the Bokk Gis Gis coalition led by the current head of the parliament’s upper house, Pape Diop. The president needs control of parliament to help implement changes, such as audits of government departments, that he’s made since defeating 86-year-old Wade in a March presidential election, said Abdou Fall, a Senegal analyst at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa.
Iran is due to hold run-off votes on May 4 for the 65 remaining parliament seats not decided in the first round of legislative elections in March. Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Solat Mortazavi said 135 candidates will compete for the remaining 65 parliamentary seats in the parliament run-off elections. Mortazavi, who also heads the country’s Election Headquarters, added that the elections will be held in the Iranian capital of Tehran as well as 18 other provinces. He also said Tehran will experience more intense competition as out of its 30 candidates, only five have succeeded in winning the majority of vote in the first round of the elections.
El Salvador’s political parties prepare on Friday the closing of their campaigns when there are just eight days to the municipal and legislative elections on Sunday 11. The first party to announce their activities was the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which will hold this weekend a caravan that will travel throughout the country. Previously, the general secretary of the FMLN, Medardo Gonzalez said the party is working to expand the number of its deputies in the Legislative Assembly, in which it has 35 seats of 84.
With hearings on redistricting scheduled for next week and deadlines for April primaries pending, a panel of federal judges told lawyers Friday afternoon to redouble their efforts to reach a quick settlement on interim political maps for the state’s congressional and legislative elections. That’s not the first time they’ve told the lawyers to talk, but negotiations stalled this week when the state and some plaintiffs reached an agreement that several other plaintiffs didn’t like. In their order this afternoon, the judges said that proposal is still very much alive. They said they want to set an April primary. And they want negotiations to resume “with all due effort” before the hearings that begin next Tuesday.
After an election marred by missing ballots and violence, officials extended voting to a second day Tuesday in an attempt to prevent further unrest in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest nation. Country experts had urged the government to postpone Monday’s presidential and legislative elections, arguing that a delayed vote was better than a botched one.
Congo is in a race against the clock, though, because the five-year term of President Joseph Kabila expires next week, and the country could face more unrest if he is seen as staying past his constitutional mandate. The vote is only the second since the end of Congo’s last war, and the first to be organized by the government instead of the international community. The election was supposed to mark another step toward peace, but if the results are not accepted by the population, especially the country’s fractured opposition, analysts fear it could drag Congo back into conflict.
State Legislative elections in Virginia have come to bear a certain resemblance to what passed for voting in the old Soviet Union. There, candidates, unopposed and endorsed by the Communist Party, routinely ran up victories with 99 percent of the vote, although voters had the theoretical right to cast a “no” ballot. In Virginia’s elections this month, the competition wasn’t much tougher.
As we reported on the eve of the elections, just 27 of the 100 contests for Virginia’s House of Delegates featured a Democrat and a Republican. That was bad enough. In the election, the winner trounced the loser by a margin of about 10 percentage points or more in all but five races statewide. In other words, 95 percent of the state’s House races were either uncontested or blowouts.
With Islamist on the doorstep to power in Tunisia, it is now Morocco’s turn to go to the polls in elections that despite the low turnout expected, will likely bring religion closer to government. But unlike votes in Tunisia and Egypt, which served as climatic final acts in revolutions that surprised the world, the November 25 polling day in Morocco is likely to be a subdued affair.
Last summer, spurred into action as autocrats fell across the Arab world, the king of Morocco Mohammed VI hastily called a referendum asking Moroccans to decide on a new political system that would see the monarch ceding prerogatives. In the July vote, more than 98 percent of Moroccans approved the political reforms and a call for early legislative elections quickly followed.
Editorials: Is Rick Perry Right That the Seventeenth Amendment Was a Mistake? | Vikram David Amar/Verdict.Justia
Among the many provocative things Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has said is that the American people “mistakenly empowered the federal government during a fit of populist rage in the early twentieth century . . . by changing the way senators are elected (the Seventeenth Amendment).”
In this column, we analyze why the Seventeenth Amendment—providing for direct election of U.S. Senators—came about, and whether it would be a good and/or workable idea, as Perry suggests, to repeal it.
The Original Constitution and the Provision for State Legislative Election of Senators
Most historians and legal commentators agree on the basic story of Senate election methods. In 1787, the Framers and ratifiers of the original Constitution chose legislative election largely to safeguard the existence and interests of the state governments.