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Elections, Elections, Elections

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#1221 BansheeOne


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Posted 22 December 2019 - 0519 AM

Date 22.12.2019


Croatians head to presidential polls in tight race


Around 3.8 million voters can pick among 11 candidates, but only three are at the forefront. The government has been criticized for setting the date three days before Christmas, when many people are travelling.


Croatians cast their votes on Sunday in the country's presidential election, which sees a tight race between conservative Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the Social Democrat Zoran Milanovic and the folk-singer turned right-wing politician, Miroslav Skoro.


Political analysts have predicted that none of the candidates can win an outright majority as Grabar-Kitarovic and Milanovic are all polling close to one another and that a runoff vote will be held on January 5 between the two.


Incumbent Grabar-Kitarovic, who has been president since 2015 and is running for a second term, is backed by the country's governing conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). The center-right party has led the country for most of the time since independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and is seeking to maintain their power before Croatia assumes the European Union's (EU) presidency for the first time. 


The presidential post is primarily ceremonial. The new president is expected to represent Croatia abroad and command its army. 


However, keeping the presidency is crucial for the HDZ as the government is on course to assume the EU presidency on January 1.




The candidates


Grabar-Kitarovic's HDZ has been tipped to win 28.3% of the votes, SPD's Milanovic has been tipped to win 26.6% and Skoro, the popular independent singer who had defected from the HDZ as a lawmaker in 2008, was tipped to come in third with 20.7% of the vote.


Grabar-Kitarovic had started off stronger than the other 10 candidates, but her popularity dropped after a number of gaffes during her presidential campaign.


The 51-year-old is struggling to maintain her grip on hard-liners shifting their support to Skoro. In her reelection bid, Grabar-Kitarovic played on an emotive symbol of the 1990s independence war.


She staged her final campaign rally on Friday in the eastern town of Vukovar, a town which witnessed bloody conflict with Serbian forces and became emblematic of Croatian suffering during the Yugoslav Wars.


Grabar-Kitarovic told crowds those who fought and died in the war "don't regret being killed since Croatia is (now) here".


Meanwhile, 57-year-old Skoro appealed to nationalist voters by vowing to deploy troops at the country's borders to prevent migrants entering as well as pardon a convicted war criminal.


Social Democrat Milanovic, who was Prime Minister from 2011 to 2016, had pledged to make Croatia a "normal" country with an independent judiciary and tolerance and respect for minorities.


Croatia remains one of the poorest economies in the EU, and corruption is believed to be widespread. The government has been criticized for setting the voting date in the lead-up to Christmas, a time when many people in the country travel abroad.




Date 22.12.2019


Afghanistan's Ghani wins contested presidential election: preliminary results


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani won a majority in September elections, according to preliminary results. The delayed outcome of the vote has cast a shadow over US-Taliban peace talks.


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appears to have won a second term, according to preliminary results announced by the country's election commission on Sunday, three months after a contested election tainted by allegations of fraud and low turnout.


Results for the September 28 presidential poll have been repeatedly delayed and the saga was set to continue with Ghani's main challenger announcing he would challenge the outcome.


Hawa Alam Nuristani, head of the Independent Election Commission, said at a press conference that Ghani secured 50.6% of the vote compared to Abdullah Abdullah with 39.52%.


Abdullah, who serves as the country's chief executive in a fragile national unity government, has repeatedly accused the vote of being marked by fraud and technical difficulties.


"We would like to make it clear once again to our people, supporters, the election commission and our international allies that our team will not accept the result of this fraudulent vote unless our legitimate demands are addressed," his office said in a statement.


The challenge could delay final results by several weeks.


If the results hold, Ghani would win a second term without a runoff.


The current unity government between Ghani and Abdullah was put in place with the mediation of the United States after Afghanistan's controversial 2014 presidential election. No results were announced from that election and the two leading contenders, Ghani and Abdullah, agreed to share power.


The election commission's announcement on Sunday comes as the government in Kabul has been sidelined in direct talks between the United States and Taliban.


Washington seeks to withdraw its troops and end a costly 18-year war that has yielded few results.


The Taliban, who control around half the country, have refused to negotiate with Kabul and implement a ceasefire as demanded by the government.



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#1222 Rick



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Posted 23 December 2019 - 0535 AM



Our European members take on this? I don't follow foreign affairs so I don't have a dog in this fight.

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#1223 Ssnake


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Posted 23 December 2019 - 1806 PM

Hard to argue with the facts in the article, and their interpretation doesn't sound completely outlandish either.

The headline might fall into clickbait territory, not the least because English doesn't seem to have a word for "sorta-kinda left socialist but still opposed to commie-left socialism" (which, I think, has been debated a couple of times here on TN). FEX, the WIlly Brandt mentioned in the article was definitely left and also charismatic etc., but still very much a democrat. I have not the slightest doubt that he ever had a hidden agenda to turn Germany into a communist hell hole (not even with the best intentions). And that's the essence of social democrats. So I consider it clickbait, simply because only the hard left openly advocates socialism in the classic sense with dispossessions of the rich, socializing banks, etc.


Now, the way I see it the fundamental problem is that the hard left has taken over most of the social democrat parties in Europe under the idea that is your agenda reflects identity politics of a few hundred minorites, you will somehow win a majority. In practice this has resulted in incosistent positions that are best illustrated with the meme of the superhero who wants to save the world and has two buttons to push, both reflecting policy goals advocated by the left but inherently contradictory (e.g. "Support traditional muslim culture values" vs. "Total liberation of all women").


Willy Brandt might not have rejected the idea of transgender bathrooms but he would have assessed that you don't win votes with it even if you're fighting for equality, and therefore wouldn't have made it a major element of a political campaign. He may have been an internationalist, but that didn't stop him from being a patriot when it mattered. He was probably the leftmost chancellor that Germany ever had, and Bismarck is probably still spinning at around 10,000 rpm in his grave because of this, but he was centrist enough to win about 40% of all voters, and he was more pragmatic than he was a hard ideologue.

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#1224 lucklucky



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Posted 23 December 2019 - 2206 PM

I think it mistakes so named socialist parties with socialism. What happens is that socialism changed to a revolutionary socialism that wants to destroy the society via immigration - replace the people - and changing reality by changing word meaning and societal symbology.


There have been a change in the Left to the safe space of academia and media instead of hardcore business and trades where things have to work because that is a physical world not soft world where words can sway reality away  The safe zone they designed for themselves is a sort of priesthood where they judge society without costs for themselves. They manage by preaching repeatedly, by changing meaning as convenient.  The problem is that safe space while protecting them from consequences -a journalist is seldom punished by saying wrong or an academic for teaching wrong - also makes them less in contact with society at large . Since they run away from reality they are often surprised.



Unfortunately we are also seeing the breeding of a paradox: the extremist centrist , for example the current head of UE and the full decarbonization of economy. That is right there extremist thinking.



On another plan Portuguese Socialist Prime Minister just said that having Government deficit and increasing debt is not a leftist thing...

Rewriting history that 5-6 years ago any fight against deficit by the center-right was considered by the socialists dominated media pretty much a crime against humanity and that last socialist PM got more than 12% Gov deficit and put the country into IMF hands. So if the media priesthood allows they can easily pivot to be a caring government that says deficits are criminal, and the wise responsible government that refuses to increase debt.


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#1225 BansheeOne


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Posted 02 January 2020 - 0325 AM

Following up on Austria:


Date 01.01.2020


Austria: Greens enter government for first time, join Kurz's conservatives


Austria's conservatives and Greens have announced a deal to form a government after weeks of talks. Deemed an "experiment" by local press, it is the Greens' first foray into the Austrian government.


The conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), led by Sebastian Kurz, and the Greens reached a deal to form a coalition government, the two parties announced late Wednesday. 


The "experiment," as the daily Kurier put it, will mark the first time the left-wing environmentalist Green party has been in government. The new coalition of widely disparate parties is likely to be significantly different from the previous government, which took a hard line on immigration.


"We have succeeded to unite the best of both worlds," said Kurz on Wednesday. "It is possible to protect the climate and borders."


Greens leader Werner Kogler said the two parties had managed to "build bridges" to form a government for "the future of Austria."


A coalition between the 33-year-old Kurz's ÖVP and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) collapsed in May after 17 months amid a corruption scandal involving then-leader of the FPÖ and vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.


The so-called "Ibiza-gate" scandal — involving a video showing Strache offering favors to a fake Russian investor — triggered elections in September, in which disgruntled voters fled from the FPÖ and handed 37.5% of the votes to the ÖVP.


The Greens captured 13.9%, a record high for the environmentalists, as the environment and climate change replaced immigration as a top issue for voters.


Kurz: 'Excellent result'


According to Austrian media, the Greens will get a super Environment Ministry that also composes infrastructure, traffic, energy and technology. They will also control the Justice Ministry and Social Affairs Ministry. Greens chief Werner Kogler will become vice-chancellor. A Green party congress must approve the deal, but they are expected to do so on Saturday.


The ÖVP will hold all the other ministries, including those of Defense, Interior and Finance. Kurz will remain chancellor, making him the world's youngest leader.


Alexander Schallenberg, an independent politician, will remain as foreign minister.


Kurz described the deal as an "excellent result" for both parties.


Both parties are expected to try to balance compromises with maintaining key principles and campaign promises when they present the joint government program on Thursday. Kurz takes a tough line on immigration and is pro-business, while the Greens advocate multiculturalism and climate protection.





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#1226 BansheeOne


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Posted 03 January 2020 - 0333 AM

And the Spanish also seem about to finally, sorta, kinda, form a government after the last election.


January 2, 2020 / 8:04 PM / Updated 12 hours ago


Catalan separatists to break Spain's political deadlock
MADRID (Reuters) - A Catalan separatist party said on Thursday it would abstain during the Spanish parliament’s upcoming vote to confirm Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez as prime minister, potentially ending the prolonged national political deadlock.

Spain was without proper government for most of 2019 after two inconclusive elections and Sanchez’s Socialist Party needs the pro-independence Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) to at least abstain to secure his confirmation in office.


The investiture vote is due between Jan. 4 and 7.


The ERC said it would refrain from voting after the Socialists committed to an open dialogue on secessionists’ wishes for Catalonia, which would then be submitted to a citizens’ vote in the wealthy northern region.


At a news conference, ERC official Pere Aragones also said his party told the leader of Catalonia’s regional government it would push for a new independence referendum in conversations with central government.


Spain has struggled to maintain stable governments since 2015 when a slew of smaller parties sprung up in the wake of the financial crisis, leading to four elections in as many years.


To avoid forcing Spaniards to return to the polls, Sanchez has been scrambling to drum up support for a proposed coalition with left-wing party Unidas Podemos.


Sanchez and Podemos´s leader Pablo Iglesias said on Monday that their coalition, if confirmed, would push for tax hikes and a rollback of a labour reform by a previous conservative government.


The most recent election in November left the two parties with a combined 155 seats, short of a majority in Spain’s 350-member lower house, and thrusting ERC and its 13 representatives into the role of kingmaker.


Sanchez’s Socialist Party confirmed it had reached an agreement with the ERC for a dialogue over Catalonia, but did not mention their potential abstention at the investiture vote.


Spain’s constitution prohibits regions from breaking away and the Catalan independence drive in recent years, which included a banned referendum in 2017, has caused the country’s worst political furore in decades.



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#1227 BansheeOne


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Posted 04 January 2020 - 0343 AM

And there goes Bolivia again.


January 4, 2020 / 1:18 AM / Updated 7 hours ago


Bolivia's electoral court sets election rerun for May 3

LA PAZ (Reuters) - A rerun of Bolivia’s election has been set for Sunday May 3, the president of the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal said on Friday.


Salvador Romero said both presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on the same day.


“When we announce the electoral calendar over the next few days, together with the formal call for the election, all the deadlines that both political organizations and citizens must meet will be specified,” he told reporters in La Paz.


The vote will be held almost seven months after the results of elections that handed a fourth term to Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales but were then discredited.


An audit of last October’s election found serious irregularities, prompting Morales’ resignation and clashes between protesters and security forces that resulted in more than 30 deaths.


Morales, who had been in power for nearly 14 years, resigned following the election dispute and fled to Mexico, and later Argentina. He later said he had been toppled in a coup.


In an interview with Reuters last week, he ruled out standing as a candidate for his Movement for Socialism (MAS) coalition in the next election, but said that he would return to Bolivia by next Christmas.


He has identified Luis Arce Catacora, his former economy minister, and Andronico Rodriguez, a coca farmer union boss, as potential MAS presidential candidates.


Prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Morales on charges of sedition, terrorism and terrorist financing. The allegations have been pushed by the government of interim President Jeanine Anez, a former senator and political opponent of Morales.



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#1228 BansheeOne


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Posted Today, 05:33 AM

Peru Congress vote: Election follows September dissolution

5 hours ago


Peruvians will go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new Congress after the previous one was dissolved by President Martín Vizcarra.


Mr Vizcarra took the drastic step in September, arguing that lawmakers were obstructing his anti-corruption agenda.


Polls suggest that half of the voters are undecided, making the election for the 130-seat chamber unpredictable.


Twenty-one parties are running and polls suggest centrist politicians could win a majority.


Fragmentation ahead?


The right-wing Popular Force, which was the dominant party in the last Congress, is expected to lose seats but to still emerge with a sizeable number of lawmakers.


The party is led by Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori. Mr Fujimori was found guilty of human rights abuses and corruption.


Ms Fujimori is awaiting trial on charges of corruption, which she denies.


Under Peru's electoral laws, parties need to achieve at least 5% of the popular vote or seven elected legislators to gain representation. The high number of undecided voters could result in a fragmented assembly.


President Vizcarra had made the fight against corruption his main priority when he took power in March 2018 after then-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned over a vote-buying scandal. When parties, including the Popular Force, blocked his efforts, he dissolved Congress.


His tough anti-corruption stance endeared him to Peruvians tired of the endless scandals that have tainted not only Mr Kuczynski but also the three previous Peruvian presidents.


Voting is mandatory in Peru, Latin America's fifth-largest economy, and some 25 million people are eligible to vote. The new Congress will finish the current legislative term, which ends in July 2021.


Earlier this month, the constitutional court said President Vizcarra, a centrist politician, had not exceeded his powers when he dissolved the chamber.


Opposition lawmakers had denounced the dissolution of Congress as a coup but the heads of the armed forces and the police backed the president. Supporters of Mr Vizcarra turned out to show their approval of the move.



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