Ukraine will on Oct. 25 conduct the most procedurally complicated local elections it has ever seen. Voters can only hope the polls are not also the most chaotic and corrupt ever seen. The complex, multi-system voting procedure will inevitably cause problems with vote counts and distribution of seats, and will likely further reduce the trust of voters in election results, experts have told the Kyiv Post. “Even we don’t totally understand the logic of this law,” said Andriy Mahera, deputy head of Central Election Commission, adding the new election system is already causing some head scratching.
United Kingdom: Left-wing and right-wing parties unite in call for a fairer voting system | The Independent
Parties from across Britain’s political spectrum have called for reform of Britain’s electoral system in the wake of a highly disproportionate election result that ignored the preferences of a large chunk voters. Ukip, the Green Party, and the Liberal Democrats all won 12 per cent, 8 per cent and 4 per cent of votes respectively in Thursday’s election – but none ended up with much more than 1 per cent of the seats. “We have a deeply unfair electoral system,” Green Party leader Natalie Bennett told the BBC.
United Kingdom: Liberal Democrats call for more proportional parliamentary voting on English laws | The Guardian
A radical change to the voting system at Westminster, entailing parliamentary bills being passed in a more proportional way, should be introduced to resolve the row over English-only laws, the Liberal Democrats will say on Friday. In a Guardian article, the Lib Dem minister David Laws calls on the Tories to follow the example of the Labour party in setting aside “narrow partisan interest” to resolve the matter. The intervention by Laws comes as a fresh coalition row flared up after Nick Clegg accused Theresa May of making “false and outrageous” slurs against his party. She had claimed the Lib Dems were putting children’s lives at risk by blocking surveillance legislation, known by critics as the snooper’s charter.
Winning a third term is a remarkable achievement for any political party. New Zealand’s centre-right National Party did so on September 20th, carried to victory, as expected, by its popular leader and the country’s current prime minister, John Key (pictured). But securing an increased majority over its first and second terms, as National did on Saturday, is astounding: it raked in 48.1% of the vote. Based on figures from election night, the party will also have enough members to form a government without the need for supporting parties—the first time this has happened since the introduction of the mixed-member proportional voting system in 1996. And even if special votes (yet to be counted) mean that National will not have an absolute majority of 61 in the 121-seat unicameral house, Mr Key is unconcerned: support from the United Future Party, the ACT Party and the Maori Party, which have all supported National Party-led governments in the last two terms, would give the National Party a comfortable majority.
New Zealand: Key wins third term with outright majority in New Zealand’s ‘dirty tricks’ election | Telegraph
New Zealand’s ruling National party secured a third term in government in the election on Saturday, winning an outright majority on a platform to continue strong economic growth. Prime Minister John Key’s centre-right party received 48.1 per cent of the vote, giving it 62 of 121 parliamentary seats and improving its performance on the previous vote in 2011. The 53-year-old former foreign exchange dealer triumphed despite allegations of dirty political tactics involving government ministers, and claims that a government spy agency had planned mass secret domestic surveillance. Investigative journalist and liberal activist Nicky Hager had previously published a book called “Dirty Politics,” which exposed the extent of the National Party’s links with a conservative blogger.
The European parliament could become a squabbling ground for “loonies and lobbyists”, observers warned after a German court on Wednesday ruled against a voting threshold at European elections. The president of the federal court, Andreas Vosskuhle, ruled on Wednesday that the 3% entry hurdle violated the constitution and had stopped parties from getting a fair hearing. The ruling will come into effect immediately and apply to the European elections in May, where Germany will elect 96 MEPs for the next parliamentary term – the highest number of seats of all member states. Sixteen out of 29 EU countries, including Britain, have no threshold quotas for European elections, but the issue is an unusually politically loaded one in Germany: a 5% hurdle was introduced for the national parliament in 1949 with a view to making the raucous parliamentary squabbles of the Weimar Republic a thing of the past.
A myriad small German parties, including the neo-Nazi NPD, could enter the European Parliament following a ruling by the Constitutional Court on Wednesday (26 February) to abolish the minimum threshold for the vote. The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe says the threshold discriminates against small parties. The verdict, approved with 5 out of the 8 votes in the judging panel, says fringe parties are being discriminated against with the current three-percent threshold. The Karlsruhe-based court already in 2011 ruled that a five-percent threshold in place for the 2009 EU elections was unconstitutional. Following that ruling, Germany’s parliament lowered the threshold to three percent, arguing that smaller parties could hamper the work of the European Parliament. The law was challenged again – this time by a coalition of 19 fringe parties, including the neo-Nazi NPD and the German Pirate Party. The judges agreed with the plaintiffs.
A series of changes aimed at tightening the GOP presidential primary calendar sailed through a vote at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, giving the party new tools to control its nomination process. The new 2016 rules will make it much harder for states to cut in line in the nomination process and will help Republicans avoid a repeat of a drawn out, bloody primary many believe damaged Mitt Romney’s chances in 2012 of defeating President Obama. After a contentious Thursday hearing on some rules changes, few members joined Virginia Committeeman Morton Blackwell in objecting to the final package — the landslide vote was 153 in favor, with 9 opposing. “I’m really proud of you for this debate,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said following the vote, to a standing ovation from the committee. “This is a historic day for our party, and I thank you all for what you’ve done. … We will all have a much better process in 2016.”
On February 24th and 25th Italian parliamentary elections will be held. The electoral system in place is referred to in Italy as the “Calderoli law”, approved in 2005 and already used in the 2006 and 2008. Both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are elected with a proportional system with a majority premium. The two systems however are not identical. For the Chamber of Deputies it is a majority-assuring system. The party or coalition of parties that gets a plurality of the votes at the national level is guaranteed 54% of the seats (340) regardless of its percentage of votes [JT: Unless it gets more than 54% of the vote – which won’t happen in this election – but in that case it would get the correct proportion. It is only a bonus, never a penalty.] In the case of coalitions the votes of all its parties are counted for determining who gets the majority bonus. The remaining seats are allocated proportionally among the losers which meet the conditions for gaining representation. For parties running alone the threshold for getting seats is 4%. For parties running in coalition the threshold is 2%, provided their coalition gets at least 10% of the votes. For each coalition with more than 10% the largest party below the 2% threshold is entitled to receive seats. Party lists are closed.
The Election Commission (EC) has proposed to make a provision for ‘one candidate one constituency’ in the next elections. A draft proposal prepared by the Commission to carry out an amendment to the CA Member Elections Act- 2064 BS has proposed this provision.The draft has been already submitted to the government, said the Commission. According to information provided by Commission’s Joint Secretary Madhu Regmi, prior to this, one candidate could file the candidacy from more than one constituency. Similarly, as per the amendment proposal, the political party should garner three percent of the total votes to attain a seat under the proportional system.