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Global_17

Inbox ELECTION WATCH Key polls around the world Ethiopia In October, an early election in Ethiopia saw the appointment of Dr Mulatu Teshome Wirtu as President, via acclamation by the Ethiopian parliament. Mulatu Teshome, the current Ethiopian Ambassador to Turkey, will stand as President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the next six years. He replaces Girma Wolde-Giorgis who stood as President for 12 years. After taking his oath of offi ce, the new President said that he felt “honoured to be the fourth President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia” and vowed to fulfi l “the country’s development strategies”. Azerbaijan In Azerbaijan’s October presidential elections, incumbent Ilham Aliyev of the centreright New Azerbaijan Party enjoyed a landslide victory with 84.6 per cent of the vote. Camil Hasanli came a distant second with 5.53 per cent and Iqbal Agazade came third with 2.4 per cent. Voter turnout was 75.2 per cent. The elections were criticised by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), following widespread allegations of electoral fraud. OSCE spokespeople identifi ed political arrests, voter intimidation and unfair media coverage as just a few of the issues that affected the credibility of the election. Ballot box stuffi ng was also recorded at more than 30 locations. The Central Election Commission smartphone application also announced results in favour of incumbent Aliyev a day before the voting took place, leading to allegations that his victory was predetermined. Aliyev himself was so confi dent that he would secure a victory that he did not run a campaign. Georgia Georgian voters went to the polls in October for the presidential elections, which resulted – for the fi rst time in Georgian history – in a president being replaced through the ballot box, as opposed to a revolt. According to the constitution, incumbent Mikheil Saakashvili was forbidden to run for a third term in offi ce. Giorgi Margvelashvili emerged as a clear winner with 62 per cent of the vote. Margvelashvili belongs to current Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream party, and previously stood as Minister of Education and Science in Georgia. He replaces President Saakashvili from the centre-right United National Movement. Saakashvili’s controversial presidency prompted parliament to pass constitutional reforms to move towards a more parliamentary system, which will go into effect when Margvelashvili takes offi ce. David Bakradze of the United National Movement received 21.7 per cent of the vote, while Nino Burjanadze fi nished third in the election with 10.18 per cent. Turnout for the election was 46.9 per cent. A week after the presidential elections had taken place, outgoing Prime Minister Ivanishvili announced that Irakli Garibashvili would take his place as Prime Minister of Georgia. Luxembourg In October, early parliamentary elections were held in Luxembourg following the withdrawal of the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) from the ruling coalition. The decision to withdraw followed allegations of wiretapping by the secret services, which saw Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe’s longest-serving leader, resign. In the parliamentary elections, the centre-right Georgia ushers in full democracy 23 years after independence Since gaining independence from the former USSR in 1991, Georgia has been marred by years of governmental corruption, political unrest and nationwide protests. In 1991, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, leader of the National-Liberation movement, became the fi rst democratically elected President of the newly independent Republic of Georgia. Just a year later, Gamsakhurdia’s rule was brought to a sudden end when a coup followed allegations of dictatorial policies and human rights abuses by the hands of the state. At this point, Eduard Shevardnadze, the Soviet Union’s Foreign Minister under Mikhail Gorbachev, stepped in as Chairman of the Georgian state council and, later, as President. In 2000, Shevardnadze secured a second term in an election that was rife with claims of vote rigging. Outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili In 2003, highly controversial presidential elections sparked fury amongst Georgians. The country was overcome by mass demonstrations, eventually leading to the declaration of a state of national emergency. In November 2003, following a meeting with opposition leaders Mikheil Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania, the President announced his resignation. Saakashvili was later sworn in as President. Once in power, Saakashvili made attempts to strengthen ties with the USA and led the country into the pro-democracy Rose Revolution. But over the years Georgians began to view the Saakashvili government as increasingly authoritarian and in 2012 Saakashvili’s party was defeated in parliamentary elections. Saakashvili himself hung on as President in the short term. Now, 23 years after independence and following a decade of controversial rule under Mikheil Saakashvili, his second and fi nal term has come to an end and Georgians have made history by electing a new President – Giorgi Margvelashvili – without forcibly ousting his predecessor. © UN Photo/Marco Castro 14 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2014 global


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