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Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Inbox Guatemala In September’s presidential elections, leader of the National Convergence Front and comic actor Jimmy Morales won 23.8 per cent of votes, while opponents Sandra Torres of National Unity of Hope and Manuel Baldizón of Renewed Democratic Liberty took 19.8 per cent and 19.6 per cent, respectively. Since no candidate received more than 50 per cent of the votes, a run-off took place in October, which Morales won comfortably with 68 per cent of the vote. The elections were held concurrently with those to elect all 158 Congress deputies, all 20 deputies of the Central American Parliament, and mayors and councils for all 338 municipalities in the country. In the run up to the elections there had been calls for Guatemalans to wear mourning clothes as they went to cast their votes as a show of scepticism that the poll would achieve any real political change. Singapore The September general election saw the People’s Action Party (PAP) decisively increase its share of the votes cast, winning 83 of 89 seats with 69.9 per cent of the votes. The Workers’ Party took six seats and 12.5 per cent of the votes. Turnout was 94 per cent. Analysts suggested that PAP’s gain of three additional seats could have been influenced by the recent death of the country’s first Prime Minister, and father of the current PM, Lee Kuan Yew. PAP has won every election since Singapore’s independence in 1965. The 2011 election had seen PAP lose seats, which was attributed, at the time, to public unease about immigration, a housing shortage and problems with public transport. These problems had been largely resolved by the 2015 elections. Canada The October general election saw the Liberals sweep to power, winning 54 per cent of seats and seeing off the incumbent Conservatives. The victory took many by surprise, as the Liberals had come third in the 2011 elections and new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – son of popular former Prime Minister Pierre – had been polling third in the run up to the elections. Trudeau, a young head of government at just 43, has promised action on climate change and a renewed relationship with indigenous people “on a nation by nation basis”. He has been the Liberal leader since 2013, following the resignation of Michael Ignatieff after Uzbekistan elections ‘unfair’ Presidential elections of 29 March culminated in Islam Karimov being re-elected to his third term in office under the current constitution – despite the same document limiting presidents to serving no more than two terms – and his fourth term overall. Karimov, who has been the country’s authoritarian president since 1990, won a landslide victory against Khatamjan Ketmanov of the People’s Democratic Party, Narimon Umarov of the Justice Social Democratic Party and Akmal Saidov of the National Revival Democratic Party, taking 90.39 per cent of the vote. The election has been criticised by Western observers for lack of competition and irregularities, while human rights groups have also condemned it as unfair and unconstitutional. Further, a Human Rights Watch report published in September of last year stated that Karimov had locked the disappointing election result two years earlier. The Liberals won 39.5 per cent of the vote (184 of 338 seats), the Conservative Party 32 per cent (99 seats), the New Democratic Party 19.7 per cent (44), Bloc Québécois 4.7 per cent (ten), the Green Party 3.5 per cent (one). Turnout was 69 per cent. Turkey A November parliamentary election saw Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) remain in power, with just under 50 per cent of votes. The election followed an inconclusive ballot in June, which saw AKP win, but fail to get a decisive majority. This time around, AKP got 317 of 550 seats. Minority groups fear that the Islamic-leaning AKP will do little to unite warring factions, with recent unrest bringing renewed fighting in Kurdish areas. The Republican People’s Party won 25.3 of the vote (134 seats), the Nationalist Movement Party 11.9 per cent (40), and the People’s Democratic Party 10.8 per cent (59). Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remains as President. Turnout was 85.2 per cent. Tanzania October’s presidential elections saw John Magufuli of the Party of the Revolution (CCM) win with 58 per cent of the vote, beating former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa of Chadema, who polled 40 per cent. The result extends the up thousands of critics, with the majority of the prisoners making credible accusations of ill treatment and torture, including electric shocks and being hung from the ankles and feet. The Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights also listed ongoing human rights violations, including child slave labour, forced sterilisation of women, and arbitrary detention and torture. Monitoring missions from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which include the former USSR and China, however, declared the election open and democratic. The result comes on the heels of last autumn’s Karimov family feud, during which the president’s eldest daughter accused her sister of sorcery, claimed her mother was trying to destroy her and accused the head of the Uzbekistan security service, Rustam Inoyatov, of attempting a power grab. run of CCM, with Magufuli, a government minister with a doctorate in chemistry, pitching himself as an anti-corruption stalwart. Lowessa, however, disputed the result, accusing the National Electoral Commission of announcing partial results and asking for Magufuli’s victory to be nullified. Poland In October’s parliamentary elections, Law and Justice won 37.6 per cent of the vote (235 of 460 seats), the Civic Platform 24.1 per cent (138), Kukiz’15 8.8 per cent (42), Modern 7.6 per cent (28), and the Polish People’s Party 5.1 per cent (16). This was the first European election since Norway’s 1993 ballot in which the two largest parties both fielded a female candidate as leader. Beata Szydło is the new Prime Minister. Trinidad and Tobago The September general election was won by the People’s National Movement and its leader, Keith Rowley, was sworn in as Prime Minister on 9 September. The PNM took 23 seats in the House of Representatives (securing 51.7 per cent of the votes cast) and the UNC the remaining 18 seats (39.6 per cent). Turnout was 67 per cent. The Commonwealth observer group present at the election concluded that ‘the poll was inclusive, peaceful and well conducted’. www.global global four th quar ter 2015 -br ief ing.org l 9


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
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