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Global issue 20

Inbox Electi on watch Key polls around the world Vanuatu Baldwin Lonsdale has begun his term as President of Vanuatu after seven rounds of indirect election. He replaces Philip Boedoro, the house speaker who had assumed the role of acting President after Iolu Abil’s fiveyear term ended on 2 September. Vanuatu’s president is appointed by an electoral college consisting of local governors and members of parliament, and requires a two-thirds majority. Disputes between Prime Minister Joe Natuman’s government and the opposition divided votes between 13 candidates. The early rounds were lead by Barak Sopé, Sethy Regenvanu and Lino Bulekuli, before Lonsdale emerged as the favourite. Lonsdale has been a civil servant and Anglican priest, and as President vacates the office of secretarygeneral of Torba province. He was finally elected and sworn in on 22 September. Sweden The general election held in September saw the Social Democratic Party gain a majority with 113 of 349 seats (31 per cent). Stefan Löfven became Prime Minister after forming a minority coalition with the Green Party (25 seats, 6.9 per cent), replacing the Alliance for Sweden coalition that had governed for two consecutive terms. The Alliance consisted of the Moderate Party (winning 23.3 per cent and second place), the Liberal People’s Party (5.4 per cent), the Centre Party (6.1 per cent) and the Christian Democrats (5.6 per cent). With 12.9 per cent, the right-wing, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats doubled their support, taking third place. Voter turnout was 85.8 per cent. Fiji The September 2014 elections were the first in Fiji since the military coup in 2006. Elections had been repeatedly delayed, resulting in strong international condemnation, in particular from New Zealand. The leader of the coup, and variously interim President and Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, stood for the Fiji First Party and garnered 59.2 per cent of the vote, or a total of 32 seats. This gave Fiji First a comfortable majority, well ahead of the Social Democratic Liberal Party and the National Federation Party, which achieved 28.2 and 5.5 per cent respectively. Voter turnout was 83.9 per cent. International observers reported the results as largely credible, though Amnesty International criticised the intimidation of journalists and censorship of the press. Latvia No clear winner emerged from the parliamentary elections held in Latvia in early October. The Social Democratic ‘Harmony’ Party, which has led coalitions since 2005, saw its support shrink five points to 23 per cent and 24 seats. This is likely to be due to the party’s close ties with, Vladimir Putin’s government in Moscow. Harmony, led by Nils Usakovs, retained the largest portion of the public vote, but no one coalition partner could help it cross the 51-seat majority threshold. The Union Party became its strongest rival with 21 per cent, followed by the Union of Greens and Farmers, which netted 19.5 per cent. The latter two parties formed a coalition and Laimdota Straujuma – leader of Unity – assumed her second term as Prime Minister on 5 November. Total turnout was 58.8 per cent. Brazil Incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT) was narrowly returned to office in a second round run-off held in Brazil on 26 October, following the general election on 5 October. With 51.6 per cent of the vote, she defeated Aécio Neves of the Social Democratic Party (PSDB), who garnered 48.4 per cent on a voter turnout of 78.9 per cent. In the concurrent elections for the National Congress, the Rousseff-led coalition, dubbed With the Strength of the People, took 304 of 513 seats (55.7 per cent) in the lower house, with its closest competitor, the coalition Change Brazil, far behind with 128 seats (25.5 per cent). In the Senate, the former coalition won 15 of the elected seats, bringing its total to 53 seats, with Change Brazil winning nine, for a total of 19 seats. The Brazilian Socialist Party and the United for Brazil coalition, led by Marina Silva, took third place with 11.2 per cent, totalling 56 seats. Bolivia With 61 per cent of the vote, Evo Morales and his Movement Towards Socialism party won an easy majority in Bolivia’s general election held on 12 October. This marks only a slight decrease in popularity for Morales’ third term in office, with a loss of four seats, bringing the party down to 84 seats in the chamber and down one to 25 in the senate. The Democratic Unity Party and the Christian Democratic Party came in second and third place with 24.5 and 9.1 per cent, respectively. The Movement Without Fear and the Green Party of Bolivia each won one seat in the lower house. Turnout was 89 per cent. This was Bolivia’s first election supervised by the Plurinational Electoral Organ, established under the 2009 constitution. The single-term limit on the presidency was also removed, allowing Morales to stand again. Japan Shinzō Abe was returned as Prime Minister of Japan on 24 December after emerging as a clear winner among the House of Representatives with 328 votes to Katsuya Okada’s 73. In parliamentary elections, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party secured a large majority with 291 of 475 seats. The other arm of the ruling coalition, Komeito, secured 35 seats, while Okada’s Democratic Party of Japan secured just 73. Voter turnout was 53 per cent. Bosnia and Herzegovina The presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided along ethnic lines, with one Serb representative, one Bosniak and one Croat. The presidential elections in October returned all three incumbents to office. Bakir Izetbegović of the Party for Democratic Action got 32.9 per cent of votes, followed by Fahrudin Radončić (Union for a Better Future of BiH – 26.8 per cent) and Emir Suljagić (Democratic Front) 15.2 per cent. Voter turnout was 56.5 per cent. The Party of Democratic Action also won a majority in the elections for the House of Representatives, with 18.7 per cent, ahead of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (15.6 per cent) and the Serb Democratic Party (13 per cent). 8 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2015 global


Global issue 20
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