Sunday, July 21, 2013

Japanese Quickie

Teddy here with a quick update on politics elsewhere in the world.

In Japan an election was held today for half of the upper house. I've cobbled together this table to explain it:

I hope this mish-mash makes sense. 

It should be noted that the Democrats, Your Party, and Restoration Party share many platform points, but, for various reasons, do not work together terribly well. Not that they work poorly together, but their unity could use some work. 

The government was able to obtain it's majority, but, only with it's coalition partner. There had been some hopes they could win a majority of their own.

Elsewhere in the world, Bhutan held an election, their second election ever, and the opposition scored a surprise victory. Good news for democracy!

The next scheduled election (of a country that has my interest) is Norway in September. Australia could go as early as the end of August however. Polls are stable in all of the countries where elections are coming up so I shall summarize

August 24th - November 30th (date undecided)
Polls show a 2-way neck and neck race that may produce another deadlocked parliament.

September 9th
The right-wing coalition has been ahead for months and their lead is only growing. The Progressives, which are the right-wing party the bomber from a while back belonged to, did rebound in the polls, but only to their previous levels. All the poll drain from the Labour government has gone to the centre-right Conservatives, who have pulled into first place. The right-wing coalition does not have a majority large enough to be able to get into government without the Progressives. This is thus the only real question, if they can win enough seats (about 14 more than currently projected) to be able to sit without them.

September 22nd
Polls have gotten quite a bit tighter. The FDP may be balancing on the threshold, but past experience tells us CDU voters will vote FDP to make sure they get in. Current polls put the CDU and FDP just a few seats short of a majority, and have put them there since mid May. The CDU and FDP form the current government, it should be noted.

September 29th
Frank Stronach, who named his party after himself, is polling at 10% and has been in that area for months. That is what captures my interest in Austria, as the two largest parties, the People's Party (Conservative) and the Socialist Party (Labour) traditionally form a coalition. This usually, but not always, is the end result of elections in Austria. The last time a different coalition was tried - with the nationalist right - it ended with unofficial sanctions for the country. No 2 party alliance, beyond the Conservative-Labour alliance, has been polling in majority territory, and thus, that part of the election is already decided.

Other countries of interest going to the polls next year include the Czech Republic, India, and Portugal.

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