009_Global13_InBox

Global 13

Inbox Kuwait United States early and mail-in ballots, with more than Kuwaitis went to the poll- Under the keen eyes 32 million people, across 34 states and ing stations for the second of an international au- the District of Columbia, voting either time in 2012 on 1 Decem- dience, the incumbent by mail or in person before polls opened ber, after a series of col- Barack Obama won on Election Day. lapsed assemblies due to conflict between the the United States election of 6 Novem- elected parliament and the hand-picked cabinet ber with 50.9 percent of the vote, taking dominated by the emir’s family. The lead-up 26 states and the District of Columbia Burkina Faso to the election saw mass protests, particularly for a total of 332 electoral votes. After President Blaise Com- among the young, backed by the opposition an intensely contested race, Republican paoré’s Congress in objection to new polling rules. In October, candidate Mitt Romney won 47.3 per- for Democracy and the number of votes per citizen was cut from cent of the vote and 24 states, accounting Progress (CPD) was four to one by the ruling emir. The opposition for 206 electoral votes. Gary Johnson of re-elected in Burkina Faso’s December protest that the new system will prevent their the Libertarian Party took 1 percent of elections with 70 out of 127 parliamen- candidates taking a majority, skewing the vote the vote, while the Green representative tary seats. The parliamentary elections saw towards pro-government candidates. Activists Jill Stein took 0.4 percent. The Demo- Compaoré’s allies winning a further 27 continue to call for broader reform, including crats retained control of the Senate after seats, giving the leader a strong majority in greater accountability and a reversal of the ban elections to 33 of the 100 seats, with a the house. The CPD’s main rivals, the Un- on political parties. On election day, opposition majority of 55 (including two independ- ion for Progress and Change (UPC) party, figures refused to stand. The widespread boy- ents caucusing with them) against the led by Zepherin Diabre, won 19 seats, and cott saw a record low turnout of 39.7 percent. Republican’s 45. The House of Repre- the Alliance for Democracy and Federation- The country was asked to choose between 302 sentatives remains under Republican African Democratic Rally won 18. Turnout candidates, of which 14 were women. Kuwaiti control, with a majority 243 of the 435 was 45.6 percent and observers reported women received the right to vote in 2005, al- seats against the 201 held by the Demo- a largely free and fair election. There has though the last parliament contained no wom- crats, and much of the House remaining been some controversy, however, regarding en. The boycott resulted in all seats taken by unchanged. The results see the continu- votes in the country’s most densely popu- pro-government candidates, with over half of ation of a divided US government, with lated region, Kadiogo province, where the them new to the 50-seat National Assembly. a Democratic president and Democratic announcement of the results was delayed. The results provoked rising tensions, with control of the Senate conflicting with the The UPC has criticised the results saying activists reporting clashes between men and Republican House of Representatives. that votes were missing from some polling security forces in tribal areas outside Kuwait Preliminary figures indicate that fewer stations and were too numerous at others. City centre. December 3 saw the emir accept voters turned out than during the last Changes to the Burkina Faso constitution in the resignation of the government of Prime election of 2008. The most significant 2000 mean that a president may only serve Minister Sheikh Jabir Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad drop in voters was seen in the East Coast two five-year terms in office. For Com- Al-Sabah. However, on 5 December, the emir states, still recovering from the devastat- paoré, who has held the presidency since reappointed the prime minister and asked him ing effects of Hurricane Sandy. Howev- 1987, this rule came into force at the end of to form a new government. er, the election did see a high number of his 2000–2005 term. Another election – a new future for Sierra Leone? Elections in the West African state of Si- The SLPP, however, threatened to boy- had been received before voting began. erra Leone passed off relatively peace- cott parliament and local councils if its There were no clear differences be- fully on 17 November 2012. Nine of the allegations of electoral malpractice were tween the policies of the two main par- ten registered political parties nominated not addressed. It alleged that ballot boxes ties. The APC promised to focus on the candidates for the presidential election, were stuffed with pre-marked ballots and country’s infrastructure while the SLPP but it was essentially a two-horse contest reported other irregularities. The National pledged to promote rural development. between the governing All People’s Con- Election Commission (NEC) has said it The big challenge for the re-elected gov- gress (APC) and the Sierra Leone Peo- found no evidence of “over voting”. In ernment is addressing the needs of the 70 ple’s Party (SLPP). the run-up to the election, there were spo- percent of the population under 35 and The voting followed traditional patterns radic clashes in Freetown between APC unemployed. Failure to do so could cause with the two main parties winning sup- and SLPP supporters. A number of SLPP trouble for the future. With diamonds, port in their traditional strongholds: APC supporters were arrested in the eastern iron ore and an abundance of fertile land, in the north and west, and the SLPP in the town of Kenema because police feared Sierra Leone is blessed with natural re- south and east. The result in the capital, riots. The SLPP is demanding the release sources. However, it needs good govern- Freetown, turned out to be the deciding of its supporters and wants all charges ance and international support to lift it out factor. President Ernest Koroma of the against them to be dropped. of its position as one of the poorest coun- APC was re-elected with almost 59 per- On the day of the election the mood tries in the world. cent of the votes cast. His opponent, Ju- was generally good-humoured and eager lius Maada Bio, won 40 percent. There voters began queuing before polls opened Rita Payne is President of the had been fears of a run-off, however the at 7am. Polling officials worked late into Commonwealth Journalists Association APC emerged with a clear lead. the night to make sure all the materials global first quarter 2013 www.global-briefing.org l9


Global 13
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