Procesos electorales

Joseph Kabila arrives at a polling station on election day, 30 December. Photo: Getty Images.

The announcement of Felix Tshisekedi as the winner of the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo came as a shock. Many expected the outgoing administration of President Joseph Kabila to install its chosen candidate, Emmanuel Shadary; there is now the fear that Kabila will continue to rule from behind the scenes.

But Kabila was never the African ‘strongman’ of cliché, and Tshisekedi’s putative victory reveals much about a deep-rooted political system and its ability to adapt.

Tshisekedi’s triumph is one of political engineering rather than the ballot box. Accurate polling is extremely difficult in a country like the DRC, where there has been no census since the 1980s, but there is no reason to doubt pre-election polls that showed a different opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, in a commanding lead, nor the claims by the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO) that data from their 40,000 observers does not match the results as announced.…  Seguir leyendo »

A billboard of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s departing president, Joseph Kabila, was burned by supporters of the opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi.CreditCreditHugh Kinsella Cunningham/EPA, via Shutterstock

At 3 a.m. on Jan. 10, bleary-eyed Congolese sat stunned in front on their TVs and radios. The preliminary results of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential elections were announced, and it was not, as many had feared, the anointed successor of President Joseph Kabila. Nor was it the opposition leader Martin Fayulu, whom the respected Catholic Church had projected to win. Instead, it was Felix Tshisekedi — the son of the opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi — who could be seen on Twitter and Facebook streams, hugging his wife and proclaiming victory.

These election results are extraordinary, in two very different ways.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) agent seals a ballot box in front of observers in the Lubumbashi's Mapala district on December 30, 2018, following the close of polls in DR Congo’s presidential, provincial and national elections. CAROLINE THIRION/AFP

The Independent Electoral Commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo will likely declare results of the 30 December elections this week. Already there are worrying signs of divisions among international actors, after a statement by the Catholic Church, which fielded the largest election observation mission, indicating an opposition victory. Failure to respect the electoral result would risk throwing the country into a major political crisis. If there are indications the electoral commission has attempted to manipulate results, international actors, starting with the UN Security Council which plans to meet on Friday, should call for thorough and credible investigation before those results are accepted as definitive.…  Seguir leyendo »

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina flashes the victory symbol after casting her vote in Dhaka on December 30, 2018.

On December 30, Bangladesh’s government was reelected in a landslide. According to the country’s Election Commission, the Awami League (AL)-led ruling coalition won an astounding 288 out of the 300 parliamentary seats up for grabs. The political opposition has understandably alleged massive rigging, rejected the results, and called for new elections.

The disputed election outcome could plunge Bangladeshi politics, already poisoned by bitter and often violently expressed partisanship, into a new and dangerous era.

The opposition has every reason to be furious. For several years, the AL has engaged in a systematic campaign to undercut the opposition, if not dismantle it altogether.…  Seguir leyendo »

Election posters on a street in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Wednesday. After being in power for a decade, the Awami League faces serious anti-incumbent feelings.CreditMunir Uz Zaman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Elections in Bangladesh are never tame. There were boycotts during the last parliamentary election in 2014, and voting-day violence killed some 20 people. The one before that, in December 2008, was notable for having taken place at all: Originally scheduled for January 2007, it was postponed after a military-backed coup and street battles that shut down the country.

This year again, in the lead-up to the next parliamentary election on Sunday, violent skirmishes have broken out between supporters of the two main camps, the incumbent Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (B.N.P.). Fatalities remain lower so far than in the past, but the stakes of this race are no less high: At bottom, this election is a contest between two forms of authoritarianism — only one is more dangerous than the other.…  Seguir leyendo »

Former al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur attends a news conference in Mogadishu, Somalia on 15 August 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

On 19 December, local lawmakers in Somalia’s restive South West state elected Abdiasis Mohammed “Laftagareen” president in a controversial poll that is certain to sow new instability. Laftagareen, former MP and Minister, would not have won without the Federal Government of Somalia’s manipulations. Mogadishu tilted the balance in his favour by arresting his popular Salafi opponent, Mukhtar Robow “Abu Mansur”, a former leader in the Al-Shabaab insurgency, and deploying Ethiopian troops in key towns to suppress dissent at the outcome.

The risks of Mogadishu’s intervention are manifold. By detaining Robow and imposing Laftagareen, the Federal Government is alienating a huge clan constituency: both men belong to the Rahanweyn, one of Somalia’s four main clans, but Robow comes from the biggest and most influential sub-clan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Congreso, de regreso

La impresionante victoria este mes del opositor Congreso Nacional Indio en tres elecciones de asambleas estatales –los “parlamentos” locales que deciden quién gobierna las 29 unidades provinciales federales de la India- es un golpe duro para el gobernante Partido Popular Indio del primer ministro Narendra Modi (BJP por su sigla en inglés). El resultado electoral ha alterado drásticamente la predicción complaciente de los seguidores de Modi de que sería reelegido fácilmente para un segundo mandato de cinco años en las próximas elecciones generales, antes de mayo de 2019.

La derrota de los gobiernos del BJP en los estados hindi de Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan y Chhattisgarh cobra mucha más relevancia porque la región representa un bastión de apoyo para el partido.…  Seguir leyendo »

What We Now Know About Russian Disinformation

The Russian disinformation operations that affected the 2016 United States presidential election are by no means over. Indeed, as two new reports produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee make clear, Russian interference through social media — contrary to the suggestion of many prominent tech executives — is a chronic, widespread and identifiable condition that we must now aggressively manage.

The Senate committee asked two research teams, one of which I led, to investigate the full scope of the recent multiyear Russian operation to influence American opinion executed by a company called the Internet Research Agency. The Senate provided us with data attributed to the agency’s operations given to the Senate by Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), companies whose platforms were manipulated for that purpose.…  Seguir leyendo »

A voter reacts during the initial results of Taiwan’s midterm elections in Kaohsiung on Nov. 24. The local elections are crucial to whether Tsai can win a second term in the 2020 presidential election. (Peter Lin/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Taiwan’s midterm elections got a surprising amount of international coverage this November. President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered heavy losses against the opposition Kuomintang Party (KMT), winning only six of 22 districts — and losing nine districts it previously held. Tsai resigned as DPP chairperson and announced a “major reshuffle” for the party.

Foreign news outlets were quick to suggest the defeat of the traditionally pro-independence DPP at the hands of the more pro-China KMT mirrored the slide in U.S.-China relations. The Washington Post headline, for example, read, “Taiwanese president quits party leadership after pro-China rivals claim ballot landslide,” while a New York Times opinion piece asked “Will Taiwan Be the First Domino to Fall to China?”

While many in the international media peg the DPP’s loss to Taiwan’s changing attitudes toward China, the reality is more complex.…  Seguir leyendo »

Georgia’s Presidential Campaign Damages Its Democratic Credentials

Georgia’s election on 28 November of former French diplomat and Georgian foreign minister Salome Zurabishvili as the region’s first elected female head of state since independence might appear to be a substantial achievement for a country that has been positively cited in its moves towards a more democratic culture.

But the election was marred by physical violence, vote-buying, misuse of state resources and a substantial imbalance in donations between the parties. And the presidency itself is, after constitutional changes, largely ceremonial. The assumption that Georgia continues to move along a trajectory of democratic governance is far from the reality.

Although mostly free, with voters having a genuine choice between a record number of first round participants, the elections were not fair.…  Seguir leyendo »

The stakes in the second round of Georgia’s presidential elections, scheduled for Wednesday, could not be higher — for Georgia and the West. Either Georgia will demonstrate that it has passed the point of being a transitional, post-Soviet democracy and earned its place in the European family, or its image as a modernizing democracy will suffer a major blow, pulling Georgia back into a post-Soviet limbo.

Most important is that this election be peaceful, free and fair, and that both sides must accept the outcome, regardless of who wins. In the first round of the election on Oct. 28, emotions ran high, political debate often turned into ugly personal attacks, and the threat of violence and popular unrest came close to becoming a reality.…  Seguir leyendo »

Albert Lopez, un voluntario de 18 años, puso señales de votación en El Paso, Texas, el día de las elecciones intermedias. Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Un sector progresista recibió con pesimismo los resultados de las elecciones intermedias del 6 de noviembre en Estados Unidos. Pese a que el Partido Demócrata recuperó la mayoría en la Cámara de Representantes, muchos no celebraron.

Las fuerzas progresistas en Estados Unidos argumentan que la mayoría en la Cámara Baja no es suficiente, que la ola azul —el color del Partido Demócrata— que se anticipaba no sucedió, lo que implica que la agenda progresista se congelará al menos otros dos años, con Donald Trump en la presidencia. Otros señalaban que el momentum de la llamada “Resistencia” al presidente estadounidense fue frenado con eficacia por el Partido Republicano, que logró aumentar su mayoría en el Senado y ganó dos gubernaturas clave, Florida y Ohio.…  Seguir leyendo »

An electoral official counts ballots at a polling station in Yaounde, Cameroon, in October. (Nic Bothma/EPA-EFE/REX)

International election observers aim to detect and deter electoral fraud — and build public confidence in the election process. This makes credibility a valuable commodity and explains why international observers take pains to present themselves as objective and impartial actors.

The importance of observer credibility was on display in the wake of Cameroon’s Oct. 7 presidential election. After the election, state-owned Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) broadcast interviews with individuals it described as observers from Transparency International. Despite the fact that many citizens had been too scared to vote, these “observers” declared the election had been “extremely good.”

But Transparency International, a nongovernmental organization that campaigns against corruption, swiftly pointed out it had not, in fact, sent an observation mission to Cameroon.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por qué ganó Trump

No es preciso esperar a los resultados de unas elecciones para compartir que Donald Trump es una desgracia para Estados Unidos y para la idea de libertad, progreso y democracia que este país ha representado desde su nacimiento. Basta con entender los valores elementales que permiten la convivencia entre seres humanos para detestarlo. Pero quienes odian a Trump menos de lo que aprecian el sistema democrático del que ha surgido deberían analizar lo expresado por las urnas antes de continuar con las lamentaciones y afrentas.

EE UU votó el 6 de noviembre después de una campaña en la que uno y otro lado advirtieron de que se trataba de una fecha de enorme trascendencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

El mapa electoral del continente europeo se asemeja cada vez más a un caleidoscopio, con creciente número de colores (partidos) y formas (coaliciones) que varían a medida que lo giramos a través de la geografía europea. Un vistazo a las últimas elecciones nacionales y regionales permite constatar el fin de la hegemonía de los grandes partidos de la posguerra y la creciente fragmentación del panorama político europeo.

Luxemburgo, a pesar de ser un país del tamaño de una gran capital europea, se ha convertido en el paradigma de esta tendencia. En sus elecciones legislativas, los cristianodemócratas pierden dos escaños y los socialistas tres escaños, suben los verdes (más tres escaños), grandes vencedores de esta contienda y la derecha nacionalista de la ARD (más un escaño).…  Seguir leyendo »

Una persona votando en Medina, Dakota del Norte Credit Hilary Swift para The New York Times

Todo el mundo está presentando su análisis posterior a las elecciones del 6 de noviembre, así que, por si sirve de algo, aquí va el mío: a pesar de algunas decepciones amargas y terreno perdido en el Senado, los demócratas obtuvieron una gran victoria. Rompieron el monopolio republicano en el poder federal y eso es algo muy importante para un gobierno que ha caído en actos descarados de corrupción y abuso de poder, con la creencia de que un muro rojo impenetrable siempre lo protegería de tener que rendir cuentas. También lograron victorias importantes a nivel estatal, que tendrán un gran impacto en las elecciones futuras.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les élections parlementaires américaines de mi-mandat ont livré leur verdict, mais pas encore toutes leurs implications concernant la politique étrangère des Etats-Unis. Conquise par les démocrates, la Chambre des représentants n’a qu’une influence partielle en ce domaine. Elle pèse sur les questions budgétaires, et donc sur les dépenses militaires.

Elle peut créer des commissions d’enquête et examinera sans nul doute les accointements particuliers de la famille Trump avec certaines puissances étrangères – la Russie en premier lieu, mais aussi l’Arabie saoudite et d’autres pays du Golfe ; les complaisances qui semblent en avoir découlé ; les possibles connivences électorales avec Moscou ; et le meurtre de Jamal Khashoggi, pour n’en mentionner qu’une poignée.…  Seguir leyendo »

El contundente triunfo del derechista Jair Bolsonaro en las recientes elecciones presidenciales de Brasil, han dejado secuelas incurables en el «progresismo» latinoamericano. El PT o Partido de los Trabajadores, fundado en 1980 por Lula da Silva –hoy preso por corrupto– ha sufrido una derrota estrepitosa. Lo que naciera como una iniciativa de trabajadores y sindicalistas de izquierda, para instaurar el socialismo como base de organización de la sociedad en Brasil, se fue transformando con el tiempo en un nido de corruptos, traficantes de influencias y soñadores de proyectos imposibles. El PT gobernó Brasil ocho años con Lula da Silva y casi seis con Dilma Rousseff, quien fuera destituida por el Senado de su país por 62 votos contra veinte, por maquillar cuentas fiscales y firmar decretos ilegales.…  Seguir leyendo »

Early voting in Norwalk, California. Photo: Getty Images.

Americans are divided – but no longer complacent

Leslie Vinjamuri

The 2018 US midterm elections were a referendum on President Trump and in the aftermath, only one truth is crystal clear. America is divided. Americans have voted against Trump, and Americans have voted for Trump.

This division is likely to infect US politics for the next two years. Some of this division will now be given actual political expression in Congress.  But it will also be played out across America.

Two areas stand out. One is trade. Americans may well experience a deepening trade war and suffer its costs very differently.…  Seguir leyendo »

Como dice Bill Vaughan, “un ciudadano americano cruzará océanos para luchar por la democracia, pero no cruzará la calle para votar en unas elecciones”. En los últimos comicios legislativos de 2014, sólo el 36% de los habilitados se presentó a las urnas. Sin embargo, parece que esta tendencia se ha invertido en los comicios midterm celebrados este martes en Estados Unidos. Los demócratas han contribuido a que la participación haya superado el 40% del electorado.

Las elecciones de mitad de mandato presidencial suelen castigar al partido que lidera el presidente de turno. Sólo en tres ocasiones el partido en el Gobierno no perdió escaños.…  Seguir leyendo »