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Global 13

Inbox ELECTION WATCH Key polls around the world Vanuatu ing to the traditional polling stations if president since 2008, was chosen as the Hopes that elections in they wished. The contrasting politics of new leader of China’s Communist Party. October 2012 would socialist Chávez and right-wing Capriles, He will take over offi cially as president bring parliamentary leader of the Justice First party, engen- in the spring of 2013, although has al- stability to Vanuatu dered strong feelings on both sides, and ready taken up the position of General after years of MPs changing parties and the authorities were cautious after vio- Secretary. A new 205-strong Central allegiances look set to be disappointed as lence erupted at a campaign rally in the Council was selected of which only ten October’s elections brought in a fractured week preceding the election and at a vot- are women, three fewer than in the last parliament. The accuracy of the electoral ing rehearsal in September. Chávez was Central Council. The inner circles of roll was called into question as many con- due to be sworn in for his new term on 10 government, the Politburo, consisting of sidered the 192,000 people registered too January 2013, but renewed health com- some 25 members and the most exclusive high a number, taking into account Van- plications relating to his ongoing cancer group, the Standing Committee, will be uatu’s adult population, which was esti- treatment puts his leadership in jeopardy. Xi Jinping’s closest advisers. The deci- mated at approximately 160,000 in 2011. He has recommended Vice President sion-making process is shrouded in mys- Turnout on some islands was as high as 88 Nicolás Maduro as his successor should tery as political jostling takes place in se- percent, particularly impressive since it is new leadership be necessary. cret. The results are only known when the often the only time that people from out- newly elected leaders emerge on to the lying islands travel to more central poll- stage in an order that indicates their posi- ing stations. The lowest turnout was in the South Korea tion. Whereas Xi Jinping had long been main towns of Port Vila and Luganville, Presidential elections tipped as the new general secretary and where only half of those registered on the in South Korea on 19 president, there was uncertainty about the roll actually voted. The Union of Moderate December saw the future of the armed forces’ leadership. It Parties (UMP), which received 12 percent election of the coun- was announced, however, that the incom- of votes, won fi ve seats, the Vanua’aku try’s fi rst female leader, Park Geun-hye. ing president would also take over from Party (VP) won eight seats with 11.3 per- Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Hu Jintao as head of the army, to become, cent of votes, and the People’s Progressive Party won 48 percent of the vote, narrowly at 59 years old, the youngest person to Party (PPP) won 8 percent of votes. The losing to Park’s Saenuri Party, which won hold this position for over 30 years. fragmented nature of Vanuatu’s political 51.6 percent of the vote. The highest turn- spectrum meant that 33 of the remaining out in 15 years of 75.8 percent refl ected a 52 parliamentary seats were shared out deep division among South Korea’s elec- Japan between 13 parties. Sato Kilman of the torate who were polarised over two main Parliamentary elec- PPP was elected as prime minister by the issues: memories of Park’s father, Park tions in Japan, which Vanuatu parliament three weeks after his Chung-hee, who headed a harsh regime saw a turnout of 59.3 party narrowly won the popular election during the 18 years until his assassination percent, ushered in the and survived a no confi dence vote in De- in 1979; and divided opinions about the Liberal-Democrat Party with 28 percent cember by 27 to 23. He leads an uneasy candidates’ capability to deal with North of the vote, gaining 294 of 480 seats. The coalition. Korean relations. In a New Year address, Restoration Party won 20.5 percent of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stated vote and 54 seats; the outgoing Demo- his desire for an end to tensions between cratic Party of Japan around 15.5 percent Venezuela the two countries with the eventual aim and 57 seats; and the New Komeito Party Hugo Chávez, leader of reunifi cation. These peaceful overtures around 12 percent of the vote and 31 seats. of the left-wing United have been cynically received by South Ko- The incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Socialist Party of Ven- rea and international observers as similar has already held the post once before – ezuela, was returned statements in the past have resulted in lit- between 2006 and 2007 – but was forced to power in what will be his fourth term tle change. to leave offi ce due to ill health. His Liber- in offi ce as president of Venezuela. The al-Democrat Party is no stranger to power 58-year-old veteran of politics fought off either, having led the country for much his younger rival Henrique Capriles, 40, China of the post-war period up to 2009. The in a tightly contested election with 55.3 At the close of China’s accession of the right-wing, pro-nuclear percent and 44.1 percent of the vote re- outgoing President Hu Liberal-Democrat Party to offi ce came as spectively. Turnout was high at 80.7 per- Jintao’s ten years in a surprise to some observers in the wake cent, which was bolstered by votes from offi ce, 2,200 delegates of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. around 100,000 Venezuelans registered met in November for a week-long con- Commentators have observed that this around the world. Voters were encour- gress to select the country’s new lead- unexpected result may be due to a lack of aged to use social media instead of go- ers. Xi Jinping, who has served as vice cohesion among anti-nuclear voters. 8 lwww.global-briefing.org first quarter 2013global


Global 13
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