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Election Results From the Rest of the World

• November 06, 2012 • 10:04 AM

The U.S. isn’t the only country experiencing election fever right now.

What, you think the U.S. is the only place voting?

NICARAGUA: With 91 percent of the vote counted, Nicaragua’s Sandinista Front won an overwhelming 76 percent Sunday, in a key vote focused on mayoral offices across the Central American nation. That gives the party of Reagan-era figure Daniel Ortega control of a whopping 134 of 156 city halls that were in play, according to wire reports.

Ortega

The US State Department, among others, declared the result fishy. Notably, the race for mayor of Managua went to a Sandinista candidate with an overwhelming 83 percent of the vote. Nicaragua Dispatch, an English-language website that covers the country, reported claims by international election observers that 20 percent of Nicaraguans who came to the polls had been turned away because their names did not appear on voter registration lists.

UKRAINE:  Before last week’s vote, incumbent Viktor Yanukovych had famously thrown his main opponent in jail. His (probably badly-translated) Party of Regions won a plurality at 30 percent last week, but lost nearly 5 percent of its support from the last election. A recount is under consideration after reports of fraud, and words like “post-election chaos” are showing up in most other reports. Here’s a primer from the fabulous obsessives at World Elections:

Yanukovych is not particularly popular and not a lot of voters are enamored by his government’s record. However, the government went into the election with a well-oiled machine which had managed to sideline its top rival by throwing her in jail, and which could manipulate public opinion through a tight control of most media sources.

She’s in jail; he’s in office.

Tons of irregularities (vote buying, intimidation and so forth) were committed during the campaign, by both sides but largely by the government’s supporters. Few Ukrainians trusted these elections to be free and fair, and the OSCE observers came out of these elections quite unimpressed. They noted a general decline or reversal in democracy in Ukraine, and criticized the abusive use (and abuse) of administrative resources, the lack of transparency, the imbalance in media coverage and the excessive role of money in the election.

The vote was likely largely fair, but there is some evidence of tampering (in the PR’s favour) with the results in very closely fought races in single-member districts. This criticism notwithstanding, however, the President’s party has secured a strong majority in the Parliament. With the support all 44 independents, it already has a narrow majority.

LITHUANIA: Though the election happened in mid-October, the vote-counting only ended in Vilnius before the weekend — and the ruling coalition lost. Two left-leaning parties, Labor and the Social Democrats, have struck a deal with the right wing Order and Justice party, allowing the country to form a new government that says it wants to raise taxes on the tiny state’s top earners and raise the minimum wage. That’s according to this BBC report.

CUBA: Regional legislative elections happened Sunday. Who won? No one has any idea. Joventud Rebelde had a nice summary of the action:

Almost a million Cubans in a total of 13 provinces, 136 municipalities, including the Isle of Youth, in 3210 constituency polling stations, took part this Sunday in a new round of popular democracy.

Citizens with full legal capacity to exercise their right to vote went [to] the polls again to elect delegates to the 1160 municipal assemblies of People’s Power.

Some of the voting seems to have been rescheduled. The whole thing has a bit of a Monty Python vibe:

After the National Electoral Commission (NEC) informed the nation that the second round, scheduled for October 28, was postponed for this Sunday, November 4, and there would be elections throughout the country, except in the province of Holguin, to be performed the next day 11 -, and in eastern Santiago de Cuba, where the date would be decided –there was much work for the electoral authorities at all levels, but particularly, those who work in the municipalities, districts and school booths, so that nothing would impede the sovereign exercise of the nearly 960,000 voters who voted again yesterday.

Some problems required modification of the electoral rules, so that someone could win. Apparently too few voted for the list provided by the nomination process:

…None of the candidates proposed by the people in their nomination assemblies, won more than 50 per cent of the valid votes cast, last October 21. So, it was vital to take into account that one of the candidates whose names were written on the ballot should be marked, for those who they considered has the human capacity, and is able and willing enough to represent them as their delegate to the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power for a period of two years.

Don’t worry, they’ll take care of it:

This time a delegate who receives the most votes from their neighbours in each constituency will be elected and, if a new tie happens, a third round will be convened within ten days.

Ahn Cheol Soo

KOREA: South Koreans are in the thick of a fascinating presidential campaign that will end early next month. The November surprise came in the past day, when the two main opposition candidates decided to join forces to defeat the incumbent. Here’s a good summary from BusinessWeek. Storify has a look at the insurgent candidate, doctor Ahn Cheol Soo, here.

Commenting on the race, the voice of rival North Korea, the Korean Central News Agency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, managed to overlook all that. Pitched at the KCNA of DPRK’s usual, Wagnerian register, Pyongyang accused the U.S. of an attempt to “quench the will of the South Koreans” (they meant quash, right?):

The puppet conservative forces, with nobody to rely on in south Korea, have made desperate efforts to extend the conservative regime at any cost, backed by their master U.S. by staking their fate on it. This fully reveals the true colors of the group of traitors as the despicable pro-U.S. sycophants and the master hand of confrontation who cannot live even a day without their master U.S.

The south Koreans should enhance vigilance against the moves of the U.S. to interfere in the “election” aimed at extending the pro-U.S. conservative regime, and resolutely check and frustrate them.

That could be read as a North Korean endorsement of one of today’s U.S. election candidates, too. Hard to tell which.

Marc Herman

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