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Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Inbox Election watch Key polls around the world Sri Lanka Sri Lanka’s presidential elections were held in January – two years ahead of schedule. The incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the United People’s Freedom Alliance called for the rescheduling in pursuit of a third term in office and, in a generally unforeseen turn of events, was defeated by Maithripala Sirisena, the former Minister of Health in Rajapaksa’s government and general secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), as well as the common candidate of the opposing United National Partyled coalition and the SLFP. Sirisena won 51.3 per cent of the vote and Rajapaksa 47.6 per cent, with a turnout of 81.5 per cent. Sirisena was sworn in on 9 January, with Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, and control of the government was peacefully transferred to Sirisena. A special investigation into allegations of an attempted coup by Rajapaksa was carried out, but Rajapaksa’s spokesperson, the army and the police have since denied these. In the parliamentary elections that followed in August, the United National Party won 106 of 225 seats, the United People’s Freedom Alliance 95, the Tamil National Alliance 16 and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna six. Greece In January’s parliamentary elections, Greece lost patience with its traditional mainstream parties and elected Syriza, a coalition of radical leftists that pledged to roll back austerity, renegotiate the country’s colossal debt and tear up the bail-out agreements that they said had created a humanitarian crisis. The Coalition of the Radical Left took 36.3 per cent of the votes (149 of 300 seats) and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Prime Minister. New Democracy got 27.8 per cent (76), far right party Golden Dawn 6.3 per cent (17), The River six per cent (17), the Communist Party 5.5 per cent (15), the Independent Greeks 4.7 per cent (13) and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement 4.7 per cent (13). Turnout was 63.9 per cent. Seven months later, Tsipras announced that he was stepping down, having lost his majority, paving the way for snap elections in September. Vassiliki Thanou was named head of a caretaker government and sworn in as Prime Minister. But the 20 September election saw Syriza returned to power, albeit without an overall majority and with slightly fewer MPs than in January, getting just over 35 per cent of seats (145). Opposition party New Democracy took 28 per cent (76), Golden Dawn seven per cent (18), Democratic Coalition six per cent (17), the Communist Party six per cent (15), The River four per cent (11), Independent Greeks four per cent (ten) and Union of Centrists nine (three). Syriza will again renew its coalition with the Independent Greeks. Turnout was low at 57 per cent. Zambia President Michael Sata died on 28 October 2014 and Vice- President Guy Scott took office as Acting President. The consequent presidential election, held on 20 January 2015, was won by the Patriotic Front’s candidate, Edgar Lungu (with 48.8 per cent of votes). President Lungu was sworn in on 25 January to serve the rest of President Sata’s term until the next presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in 2016. Turnout was low at 32.4 per cent. St Kitts and Nevis In the February general election, the centre-left Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) was denied a fifth consecutive term of office by Team Unity, an alliance of the Concerned Citizens’ Movement (CCM), the People’s Action Movement (PAM) and the recently established People’s Labour Party (PLP), led by Timothy Harris of the PLP. Team Unity won seven seats (PAM four, CCM two and PLP one), SKNLP three and NRP one. Turnout was around 72 per cent and Harris was sworn in as Prime Minister on 18 February. Italy Constitutional Court Judge Sergio Mattarella was elected President in a fourth round of elections following the resignation of incumbent President Giorgio Napolitano, who had set a national record by remaining in office for eight and a half years. In accordance with the Italian Constitution, only members of parliament and regional delegates are entitled to vote. Mattarella, an independent candidate, won 665 votes to Five Star Movement’s Ferdinando Imposimato’s 127, the Socialist Party’s Vittorio Feltri’s 46 and independent Stefano Rodotà’s 17, while 105 votes were left blank and 13 deemed invalid. The four rounds were completed within two days. Lesotho A general election was held in February to elect all 120 seats of the parliament’s lower house, the National Assembly, more than two years ahead of schedule, as a consequence of the Southern African Development Community’s mediation efforts following the 2014 political crisis, which resulted in parliament being dissolved by King Letsie III on the advice of the incumbent Prime Minister Tom Thabane. In the election, Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC) won 47 seats, Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) 46, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 12 and the Basotho National Party seven. Neither DC nor ABC won a majority of the 120 seats in parliament and, after negotiations, on 4 March 2015 the DC announced that it would form a coalition government with the LCD and five other smaller parties. Lesotho’s army was confined to the barracks on the election day. Voter turnout was 48 per cent. For more on politics in Lesotho, see ‘In Focus Lesotho’ pages 14-21. Andorra In parliamentary elections, the Democrats for Andorra won 37 per cent of the vote – 15 of 28 seats on the General Council, which acts as Andorra’s parliament. The Liberals of Andorra got 27.7 per cent (eight seats), the alliance of the Social Democratic Party of Andorra, Greens, and Citizens’ Initiative 23.5 per cent (three), and Social Democracy and Progress 11.7 per cent (two). Turnout at the March election was 65.6 per cent. Incumbent Antoni Martí Petit was re-elected Head four 6 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2015 global


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
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