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Global

Inbox Colombia Presidential elections went to a second round in May after no candidate secured more than 50 per cent in the first round of voting. Initially Óscar Iván Zuluaga of the right-wing Democratic Centre came in first place with 31.1 per cent of the votes, while incumbent Juan Manuel Santos of the centre-right Social Party of National Unity fell just short with 27.3 per cent. Other candidates included Marta Lucía Ramírez of the centre-right Conservative Party with 16.5 per cent, Clara López Obregón of the left-wing Alternative Democratic Pole with 16.2 per cent and Enrique Peñalosa of the Green Alliance with 8.8 per cent. In the presidential run-off held in June incumbent Santos secured a second term in office, with 53.1 per cent of the votes, leaving Zuluaga behinds with 46.9 per cent. Voter turnout was 47.9 per cent. Ukraine Presidential elections held in May saw success for billionaire and chocolate tycoon Petro Poroshenko. There are high hopes for Poroshenko, who aims to resolve the conflicts that have gripped the country throughout 2014. The independent candidate secured a landslide victory with 54.7 per cent of the votes. Yuliya Tymoshenko of the centreright All-Ukrainian Union ‘Fatherland’ came second with just 12.9 per cent, while Oleh Lyashko of the left-wing Radical Party secured 8.32 per cent. Voter turnout was 50 per cent. Poroshenko will take the seat of former President Viktor Yanukovych, who lost the presidency in February when he was ousted following anti-government protests. The subsequent revolt prompted the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the rise of several pro-Russian Indecision in the Middle East Several recent elections in the Middle East this year have seen unusual results due to constitutional complications and electoral irregularities. Libya seemed doomed to be without a legitimate parliament as failed elections were held on three separate occasions during May and June. A fourth and final round of elections in June eventually saw the successful election of the Libyan parliament. However, while Libya has emerged from the fog of electoral confusion, other countries have not been so lucky. Presidential elections in Afghanistan in June were plagued by widespread allegations of electoral fraud, resulting in the country being left without an elected president for several months. Both the independent Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah of the National Coalition of Afghanistan accused one another manipulating results. Following months of audits of the elections by the Afghani Supreme Court, the presidential contenders finally reached an arrangement at the beginning of August to accept the outcome of an official election recount. As part of the agreement, a new position of chief executive has been created, which will function similarly to that of a prime minister and will be filled by the second place candidate. At the time of writing there was no official date as to when a result would be released. Heading west, a series of failed elections have left Lebanon without a legitimate Michel Sleiman © UN Photo/Mark Garten president since May when former President Michel Sleiman’s term officially expired. The powers of the presidency have fallen to the cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam for now. Lebanon’s elections were initially held in April, with Lebanese MPs placing votes for presidential candidates. However, voting went to a second round after no candidate achieved a two-thirds majority as outlined in the Lebanese constitution. Samir Geagea of the Lebanese Forces Party received 38 per cent of the vote, while Henri Helou of the Progressive Socialist Party received 13 per cent. A second round of elections was held in May; however, the constitution also stated that a two-thirds quorum of MPs must be met in order for a new president to be elected. This, and subsequent rounds, all failed to achieve this quota due to nationwide boycotts of the elections. At the time of writing an 12th round of voting was scheduled for 23 September. Malawi Highly contested presidential elections took place in Malawi in May, bringing success for Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party, the younger brother of former President Bingu Wa Mutharika, who died in office in 2012. The elections were considered to be fraudulent by incumbent President Joyce Banda of the People’s Party, who, having fallen behind in the voting, ordered the annulment of the polls after insisting that she could not inflict the election results on the Malawian people. Despite Banda’s attempt to discredit the elections, Mutharika was sworn in as the new President on 31 May. The elections were also criticised as not credible by the governance body Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, and through an analysis by media group Nation Publication Limited. The Malawi Electoral Commission acknowledged that there were discrepancies, with 58 polling stations across the country registering a turnout of over 100 per cent. Election results saw Mutharika secure 36.4 per cent of the votes, while Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party came second with 27.8 per cent. Incumbent Banda came in third with just 20.2 per cent of the votes. Voter turnout was estimated at 90 per cent. Belgium Elio Di Rupo resigned as Prime Minister of Belgium in May, following parliamentary elections in which the centre-right New Flemish Alliance came out on top. Di Rupo handed in his resignation to King Philip the day after the elections, with the monarch asking the government to continue in a caretaker capacity. It is expected that Bart De Wever, leader of the New Flemish Alliance, will put together a governing coalition. Results of the elections saw the New Flemish Alliance securing 20.3 per cent of the votes and 34 of the 150 seats in the Belgian parliament. Di Rupo’s centre-left Socialist Party received just 11.7 per cent of the votes, holding on to 25 seats, and the centre-right Christian Democratic and Flemish received 11.7 per cent and 18 seats. Other parties in the Belgian parliament include the centre-right Reformist Movement with 18 seats, the centre-right Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats with 14, the centre-left Socialist Party Different with 12, the centre-left Humanist Democratic Centre with nine, Groen with six, Ecolo with six, the right-wing Flemish Interest with three and the far-left Workers’ Party of Belgium with two. www.global global four th quar ter 2014 -br ief ing.org l 11


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