Right wing commentary on world politics from a man on a mission to prove that Conservatism transcends national boundaries. Thoughtful comments from people of all political persuasions are welcome and encouraged. Contact the blogger at elephantman.conservaglobe@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

World Elections September/October

I feel like a kid in a candy store. There are a ton of countries holding national elections within the next month or so, and several of them could turn out very well for Conservatives or pro-Democracy forces. All of these elections will decide the top government post (President, Prime Min., etc.) in their respective nations. This post consists of a series of small, color-coded capsules - one for each country, where I will offer brief analysis and opinion. I hope to offer more in-depth coverage of each of these elections when they occur. The countries holding elections in the very near future are:

EGYPT (Sep.. 7th, second round Sep. 17th if needed)
JAPAN (Sep. 11th)
NORWAY (Sep. 12th)
NEW ZEALAND (Sep. 17th)
GERMANY (Sep. 18th)
POLAND (Oct. 9th {first round})
LIBERIA (Oct. 11th )

Due to time constraints I will comment on Egypt, Japan and Norway tonight. I will pick up tomorrow with New Zealand, Germany, and Liberia. I just found out about Poland tonight, and I will have to do research before commenting.

EGYPT
Type of Election: Presidential (President elected independent of Parliament)
Current Government: Hosni Mubarak, ruling as dictator
Contenders: Mubarak is running against nine different opposition candidates.
Analysis: The key issue here is whether Mubarak will try to rig Egypt's first multi-party election in decades. The opposition is already saying that election fraud is being committed, and my guess is that they are right.
Projected Winner: Mubarak
ConservaGlobe's preferred winner: Anyone but Mubarak.

JAPAN
Type of Election: Parliamentary (People elect the parliament, leader of the majority party in Parliament becomes Prime Minister)
Current Government: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), headed by PM Junichiro Koizumi, controls the Diet (Parliament)
Main Parties: LDP (Center-Right), headed by Koizumi; Democratic Party (Leftist/Social Democratic), lead by Katsuya Okada; smattering of smaller parties.
Analysis: This election is essentially a referendum on Koizumi's plan to privatize Japan's postal service. The plan failed in Parliament because about 30 LDP legislators broke ranks and voted against the party line. Koizumi immediately called elections and expelled every legislator who voted against the plan from the LDP. This may sound like overkill to Americans, but you have to consider that Japan's government is Parliamentary, not Presidential. The only way for people to choose their Prime Minister in Japan is to vote a member of his or her party into the parliament. Therefore, people vote based on party platform, not the views of the individual candidate. Hence, legislators must vote the party line in order to be true to their constituents. Koizumi is relatively conservative, he's pro-America, and he's one of the better PMs that Japan has had in a long time. I hope he wins.
Projected Winner: LDP
ConservaGlobe's preferred winner: LDP

NORWAY
Type of Election: Parliamentary (Leader of majority party becomes Prime Minister)
Current Government: Parliament is controlled by a coalition of the Conservative Party, the Christian Democrat Party, and the Liberal Party . The Prime Minister is Kjell Magne Bondevik, a Christian Democrat.
Contenders: Two coalitions: the governing coalition listed above and the opposition "Red-Green" coalition of the Labor Party, the Socialist Left Party, and the Centre Party. However, all parties are running independent of one-another. There is also the Progress Party, which is anti-immigration and ultra-right-wing; and the Coastal Party, whose main issue seems to be support for fisherman and whaling.
Analysis. This is really interesting because there are so many major parties, and the government will probably have to be formed by a coalition of 3 or more parties. Former coalition was able to govern only on the whim of the Progress Party, which held the balance of power. However, the Progress Party has indicated that they will not support the coalition again if Bondevik is the candidate for Prime Minister, insisting on Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg instead. This could turn into a serious mess.
Projected Winner: Red-Green Coalition, with Labor Party leader Jens Stoltenberg as PM.
ConservaGlobe's Preferred Winner: Current governing coalition, without the need for Progress Party support. Undecided on choice for PM.

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