Egypt’s parliament is accelerating the process of passing constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in office well beyond the end of his current term in 2022. Lawmakers will decide Wednesday on whether to send the amendments to the legislative committee, a vote that was initially scheduled for Feb. 17, parliament spokesman Ahmed Saad el-Din said late Sunday. The legislative committee will have 60 days to discuss the amendments before a final vote. If approved, the amendments would be put to a national referendum. The move to extend presidential terms comes amid concerns that Egypt is slipping back into authoritarianism eight years after a pro-democracy uprising ended Hosni Mubarak’s nearly three-decade rule.Full Article: Egypt accelerates efforts to extend el-Sissi's rule | World | lancasteronline.com.
Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, has set May 17 as the referendum date for a controversial constitutional reform, according to a presidential decree signed on Sunday March 18. The election could allow President Nkurunziza, 54, who has been in office since 2005, to remain in power until 2034. The decree specifies that the reform will be adopted if the proportion of favorable votes is 50% plus one vote, and that parties or individuals wishing to participate in the campaign for or against this reform must register with the Independent National Electoral Commission ( CENI) between March 23 and April 6.Full Article: Burundi's controversial referendum set for May 17 | Africanews.
Rwandans voted overwhelmingly to support changes to the constitution that would allow President Paul Kagame to extend his term in office, possibly until 2034, provisional results showed on Saturday. Kagame, 58, would be able to run again in 2017 after his second term ends. He has been president since 2000 but effectively in control since his rebel force marched into Kigali in 1994 to end a genocide. “The electoral commission declares in public that 98.3 percent of voting Rwandans accepted the constitution as amended in 2015,” National Electoral Commission chairman Kalisa Mbanda told a news conference after Friday’s vote. Mbanda rejected a statement issued on Friday by the local European Union delegation that there was no independent monitoring in place during the vote.Full Article: Rwandans approve extension of presidential term limits | Reuters.
The National Assembly passed a constitutional amendment Thursday to lift Ecuador’s presidential term limits as violent street protests escalated against what many demonstrators deemed a power grab by President Rafael Correa. Part of a package of amendments, the measure will permit the leftist Correa to run for the office indefinitely beginning in 2021. His current term ends in 2017 and he has said he does not intend to run at that time. Analysts have called Correa’s decision a shrewd political move considering Ecuador’s current economic woes.Full Article: News from The Associated Press.
Is eight years enough? For Hialeah Sen. Rene Garcia, a Republican, and West Palm Beach Rep. Mark Pafford, a Democrat, the answer is “no” — if Floridians want to diminish the influence of special interests in the Legislature. Rep. Mark Pafford, shown speaking to reporters during the 2015 AP Florida Legislative Planning Session in October, is a sponsor of a bill that would extend term limits to 12 years from 8.
Republican Sen. Rene Garcia of Hialeah, right, is a sponsor of a bill that would extend term limits to 12 years from 8. Rep. Mark Pafford, shown speaking to reporters during the 2015 AP Florida Legislative Planning Session in October, is a sponsor of a bill that would extend term limits to 12 years from 8. “We are a representative democracy and we should be making sure that it is the elected officials who move agendas forward, and not the lobbyists,” said Garcia, who was elected to the Senate unopposed in 2010 and 2012 after serving eight years in the House.
Hate when politicians from the far left and far right fight over extreme proposals with little incentive to compromise? Then, Issue 1 is for you, a long list of proponents say. If voters approve the ballot initiative this November, Ohio could become a nationwide leader on how to draw lines for state lawmakers’ districts, said Michael Li, an elections expert at New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice. The much-maligned process of allowing lawmakers draw Rorschach test-like districts to ensure a win for their party could end — or at least become less egregious — with this first-of-its-kind proposal, he said. “People are really watching Ohio very closely,” Li said.Full Article: Are Ohio voters about to fix politics?.
Last May, I shared in an extraordinary moment. I had the privilege, together with many leaders from across Africa, of bearing witness to the first peaceful, democratic transition of power between two parties in Nigeria. I traveled to Lagos earlier this year to emphasize that for the United States, Nigeria is an increasingly important strategic partner with a critical role to play in the security and prosperity of the region. I also said that it was imperative that these elections set a new standard for democracy across the continent. There is no question that this is a decisive moment for democracy in Africa. Later this month, four countries – Guinea, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, and the Central African Republic – are scheduled to hold presidential elections, and soon after we hope to see elections in Burkina Faso. People across Africa must seize this opportunity to make their voices heard; and leaders across the continent must listen. The challenges are real. For decades, poverty, famine, war, and authoritarian leadership have held back an era of African prosperity and stability. These and other challenges should not be underestimated, but neither should we ignore the gains that are being made.Full Article: Africa - 'Decisive Moment for Democracy' - allAfrica.com.
Congo Republic’s government announced on Tuesday it would hold a referendum this month on constitutional change, in a move that could allow veteran President Denis Sassou Nguesso to extend his decades-long rule. The 71-year-old former military commander has ruled Congo Republic, an oil producer, for all but five years since 1979. He won his previous terms in disputed elections in 2002 and 2009. While Sassou Nguesso has not officially declared his candidacy for the June 2016 presidential election, he is widely expected to seek a third term. The constitution of 2002 limits the number of terms to two and excludes candidates over 70.Full Article: Congo to hold referendum on third presidential term | Reuters.
The government of the Republic of Congo has called a referendum October 25 on a proposed constitutional amendment to allow President Denis Sassou Nguesso to run for a third term. The proposed amendment, announced Monday after a cabinet meeting, also would abolish an upper age limit of 70 for presidential candidates. President Sassou Nguesso is 72 and is barred by the current constitution from seeking another term. Last month, the president announced he was planning the referendum, a move that brought thousands of people out to demonstrate in the capital, Brazzaville.Full Article: Congo's President Calls for Vote on Ending Third Term Limit.
Last-ditch talks between Burundi’s government and opposition aimed at resolving a major political crisis over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial re-election bid appear to be headed for failure, sources close to the negotiations said. The closed-door talks, mediated by regional power Uganda, began earlier in the day but quickly descended into an acrimonious exchange with no sign of any consensus on how to end months of turmoil in the central African nation.Full Article: Burundi rivals fail to end tensions days before election - Yahoo News.
Despite widespread international condemnation, bitter opposition within his own country and the threat of violent revolt, President Pierre Nkurunziza struck a defiant tone at a campaign rally Friday on a mountaintop near where government forces recently battled rebels. “The attempt of armed groups to destabilize the country did not last as long as the morning dew,” he said in his speech in Cibitoke, a province in the northwest near the border with Rwanda, citing the governing party’s victory in parliamentary elections as proof of widespread support, though the opposition boycotted the vote. “The people in all the provinces, all the counties, all the hills and all the fields, went to vote,” he said. “You have done well. And now tell each other what is ahead and that you will have to do even more.”Full Article: Burundi President Presses On in Disputed Re-election Effort - The New York Times.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni arrived in Burundi on Tuesday for crisis talks, as President Pierre Nkurunziza readied for a third term bid in polls next week following months of violence. Museveni, appointed mediator last week by the five-nation East African Community (EAC), arrived by road via Rwanda to push stalled talks between Nkurunziza’s ruling CNDD-FDD party and opposition groups. The veteran Ugandan leader, who first flew to Rwanda for meetings there before entering Burundi escorted by Ugandan armoured vehicles, said in a statement he would “establish a dialogue among warring political factions.” But with the presidential elections now scheduled for July 21, Museveni has been left with only a few days to succeed.Full Article: Ugandan president in Burundi for crisis election talks - Yahoo News.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza swore in two new members of the National Independent Electoral Commission, a month before he seeks a third term. Annonciate Niyonkuru was appointed vice president of the electoral body, while Alice Nijimbere will become a commissioner for finance, according to a statement published on the president’s website. They replace Spes Caritas Ndironkeye and Illuminata Ndabahagamye, who resigned earlier this month, according to the statement.Full Article: Burundi President Swears In Electoral Officials Before Vote - Bloomberg Business.
The African Union has called for a postponement of Burundi’s July 15 presidential election, saying a new date should be decided through negotiations between the government and opposition. Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the African Union commission, said the proposed date is based on information the AU gathered through consultation with all stakeholders, including a report from leaders of the East African community. The election date, originally June 26, was changed by presidential decree following an electoral commission proposal. Violent protests in Burundi have taken place since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term, a move the president’s critics say would violate a two-term limit in the constitution. Nkurunziza’s supporters argue he is eligible to run again because he was appointed by lawmakers to his first term in office, and not elected by a popular vote.Full Article: AU Calls for Further Postponement of Burundi Election - Gbooza.com.
Burundi’s electoral body has delayed planned local and parliamentary elections in response to an appeal from African leaders, the head of the election body said on Wednesday, after more than a month of protests against the president’s bid for a third term. President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third mandate has plunged the nation into its worst crisis since an ethnically charged civil war ended in 2005. The protesters say his move violates the constitution, which sets a two-term limit. The almost daily protests erupted on April 26 and activists say more than 30 people have been killed so far, making the timetable that envisages a parliamentary vote on Friday and a June 26 presidential poll appear increasingly untenable.Full Article: Burundi says has delayed elections amid prolonged protests | Reuters.
Editorials: Two Supreme Court cases threaten to unravel California election reforms | Contra Costa Times
For more than two decades, Californians have struggled to reform the state’s electoral process, to make it less partisan and public officials more responsive. After fits and starts beginning in 1990, state voters approved an independent redistricting commission, open primaries and term limits that now allow state legislators to serve up to 12 years. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court could significantly undermine the reform effort with its review of two redistricting cases, one out of Arizona, the other out of Texas, and both with profound implications for California and the nation.Full Article: Contra Costa Times editorial: Two Supreme Court cases threaten to unravel California election reforms - San Jose Mercury News.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek re-election for a third term in office after receiving backing from the country’s Constitutional Court, as an opposition leader called for a delay in the vote. Protests over Nkurunziza’s plan to extend his decade-long rule continued on Wednesday in the capital, Bujumbura. The demonstrations erupted on April 26 after the ruling party nominated him to run in June elections, which opponents say violates a two-term limit stipulated in peace accords that ended a 12-year civil war in 2005. The Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that the 51-year-old leader is eligible to run.Full Article: Burundi Leader Vows to Seek Re-Election Amid Calls to Delay Vote - Bloomberg Business.
On the March 3 Los Angeles ballot are proposed Charter Amendments 1 and 2, which would cancel the city’s elections in 2019 and instead let city officials elected in March 2015 stay in office until December 2020. NBC4 News says moving city elections out from the shadows was “an effort to clean up corruption at City Hall.” Now politicians want to undo that reform and put our city elections in Junes (and for the small fraction of city elections with runoffs, Novembers) of even-numbered years. Why? They say it’s because we can call it increased turnout if voters pulled in by marquee contests end up marking city choices at the bottom of a long ballot. As if mindless, “what the hell, I’m here anyway” turnout is the hallmark of good democracy. And it’s hard to credit the leader of the effort, Councilman Herb Wesson, with sincere concern about turnout in city elections, since he’ll be termed out after getting re-elected next week.Full Article: L.A., you’re being played by politicians: Guest commentary.
Annual efforts to change the way Virginia draws election districts, and to do away the state’s unique prohibition against governor’s running for re-election, moved forward Tuesday at the Capitol. They won bipartisan support in lopsided Senate committee votes, but continue to face an uphill climb that has toppled similar measures for years. Legislative leaders from both chambers didn’t give any of these measures high chances for success. “I would be surprised if we would move too far along,” said Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. “Tommy” Norment, R-James City. Several redistricting bills moved forward, though. They differ in details, but each seeks to move Virginia away from the partisan process that allows the legislature to draw its own maps. Some rely on appointed commissions. At least one would have legislative staffers draw maps for General Assembly approval, similar to a method used in Iowa.Full Article: Redistricting reform, two-term-governor bills advance in Virginia - Daily Press.