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  Mon, May 28, 2007
Ireland update
A follow-up posting on Ireland's May 24 parliamentary election is now available on Global Economy Matters, under Luck of the Irish: PM Bertie Ahern set for a third term in office - or is he?. In addition, Edward Hugh covers the Irish economy under Macroeconomic Adjustment in the Euro Area: The Irish Case.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Elections in Ireland - Elections to Dáil Eireann has nationwide and constituency-level results for last Thursday's general election, aggregated from figures published on RTÉ Election 2007; independent and other party candidates are grouped according to their party affiliation as shown on Mycandidate.ie.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/28/2007 15:37 | permanent link

  Sun, May 27, 2007
Elecciones municipales y autonómicas de 2007 en España
(This posting is also available in English.)

España celebra hoy elecciones locales en todo el país, así como elecciones autonómicas en trece de sus diecisiete comunidades (regiones con gobierno propio); los enlaces a webs con resultados de las elecciones del día de hoy se encuentran disponibles aquí.

En general, los escaños de los concejos municipales se reparten por el método de la media mayor de representación proporcional - la regla D'Hondt - entre aquellas listas presentadas por partidos, federaciones, coaliciones o agrupaciones de electores que obtengan por lo menos el cinco porciento de los votos válidamente emitidos en un municipio, incluyendo los votos en blanco. Al igual que en las elecciones al Congreso de los Diputados, las listas son cerradas y los electores no pueden seleccionar candidatos individuales en o alterar el orden de las mismas.

Los escaños de las trece legislaturas autonómicas - que van desde 33 en La Rioja hasta 120 en Madrid - también se distribuyen entre listas cerradas de acuerdo con la regla D'Hondt, aunque tanto el número de circunscripciones plurinominales como las barreras electorales varían de comunidad en comunidad. Entre las comunidades que votan en el día de hoy, cinco tienen una barrera de tres porciento a nivel de circunscripción (Aragón, Asturias, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla-León y Navarra), mientras que siete imponen una barrera de cinco porciento, también a nivel de circunscripción (Baleares, Cantabria, Extremadura, Madrid, Murcia, La Rioja y la Comunidad Valenciana). En Canarias hay tres barreras alternativas: seis porciento de los votos a nivel de comunidad, o treinta porciento a nivel de circunscripción, o el primer lugar en una circunscripción.

En la mayoría de los casos, las provincias dentro de cada comunidad son las circunscripciones electorales de las legislaturas autonómicas. Cantabria, Madrid, Navarra y La Rioja se componen de una sola provincia y eligen sus asambleas a nivel de comunidad, pero las legislaturas de Asturias y Murcia, que son también comunidades uniprovinciales, se eligen en tres y cinco circunscripciones plurinominales, respectivamente. Entre tanto, Baleares y Canarias utilizan circunscripciones insulares para sus elecciones autonómicas.

Las elecciones locales y autonómicas se celebran cada cuatro años. Sin embargo, en octubre de 2003 hubo una repetición de las elecciones autonómicas en Madrid, toda vez que resultó imposible formar gobierno en la comunidad tras la elección celebrada en mayo de dicho año.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/27/2007 10:19 | permanent link

Spain 2007 municipal and autonomic elections
(Esta entrada está disponible también en español.)

Spain holds local elections today throughout the entire country, as well as autonomic elections in thirteen of its seventeen communities (self-governing regions); links to sites carrying results of today's elections are available here.

Generally speaking, municipal council seats are allocated by the largest average method of proportional representation - the D'Hondt rule - among lists submitted by parties, federations, coalitions or electors' groups (agrupaciones de electores) that obtain at least five percent of the valid vote cast in a municipality, including blank ballots. As in elections to the Congress of Deputies, lists are closed and voters may not choose individual candidates in or alter the order of such lists.

Seats in the thirteen autonomic legislatures - which range from 33 in La Rioja to 120 in Madrid - are also distributed among closed lists according to the D'Hondt rule, although both the number of multi-member constituencies and the electoral thresholds vary from community to community. Among the communities voting today, five have a three percent constituency-level threshold (Aragon, Asturias, Castile-La Mancha, Castile-León and Navarre), while seven impose a five percent threshold, also at the constituency level (the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, Extremadura, Madrid, Murcia, La Rioja and the Valencian Community). In the Canary Islands there are three alternative thresholds: six percent of the community vote, or thirty percent of the constituency vote, or first place in a constituency.

In most cases, the provinces within each community are the autonomic legislatures' electoral constituencies. Cantabria, Madrid, Navarre and La Rioja are composed of single provinces and elect their assemblies on a community-wide basis, but the legislatures of Asturias and Murcia, which are also single-province communities, are elected in three and five multi-member constituencies, respectively. Meanwhile, the Balearic and Canary Islands use island-based constituencies for their autonomic elections.

Local and autonomic elections are held every four years. However, in October 2003 there was a repeat autonomic election in Madrid, as it became impossible to form a government in the community following the election held in May of that year.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/27/2007 10:19 | permanent link

  Thu, May 24, 2007
Presidential and Legislative Elections in France
(Esta entrada está disponible también en español.)

France holds a National Assembly election next June 10 and 17, and Presidential and Legislative Elections in France (previously Presidential Elections in France) now has nationwide and regional-level results of the 2002 legislative election, as well as regional results of the 2002 and 2007 presidential elections, plus additional information about the electoral system used to choose members of the National Assembly.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/24/2007 12:30 | permanent link

Elecciones Presidenciales y Legislativas en Francia
(This posting is also available in English.)

Francia celebra elecciones a la Asamblea Nacional el próximo 10 y 17 de junio, y Elecciones Presidenciales y Legislativas en Francia (anteriormente Elecciones Presidenciales en Francia) cuenta ahora con los resultados a nivel nacional y de región de las elecciones legislativas de 2002, así como los resultados por región de las elecciones presidenciales de 2002 y 2007.

Por otra parte, la versión en inglés de la referida página tiene ahora información adicional sobre el sistema electoral utilizado para escoger a los miembros de la Asamblea Nacional.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/24/2007 12:30 | permanent link

  Mon, May 21, 2007
Federal Elections in Belgium
Elections to the Belgian Chamber of Representatives is now available as Federal Elections in Belgium, with 1995 to 2003 election results for both the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives, and a review of Belgium's electoral system and party politics.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/21/2007 10:44 | permanent link

  Thu, May 17, 2007
Minority SNP government in Scotland, continued uncertainty in Wales
Scotland has now a minority Scottish National Party (SNP) government supported by the Scottish Greens. Yesterday, the Scottish Parliament voted to elect SNP leader Alex Salmond as First Minister by 49 to 46; Conservatives and Liberal Democrat MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) abstained from voting.

Meanwhile, in Wales the Conservatives are holding talks with the nationalist Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) about forming a coalition government along with the Liberal Democrats. In the National Assembly for Wales election held last May 7, Labour remained the largest party but fell short of an absolute majority. It was originally anticipated Labour would form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but Labour leader Rhodri Morgan appears inclined to form a minority government.

If no agreement is reached by the end of the month, it will be necessary to hold another National Assembly election.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/17/2007 09:24 | permanent link

  Mon, May 14, 2007
Elections to the Belgian Chamber of Representatives
Belgium holds a federal parliamentary election next June 10 - less than four weeks from today - and Part I of Elections to the Belgian Chamber of Representatives is now available, with an overview of the country's electoral system, plus the results of the 1995, 1999 and 2003 general elections for the lower house of Belgium's federal legislature.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/14/2007 17:49 | permanent link

  Sat, May 12, 2007
Iceland 2007 Althing election
Iceland 2007 parliamentary election, on Global Economy Matters, covers today's vote in that country.

In addition, Elections to the Icelandic Althing (Parliament) has an overview of the island nation's electoral system.

Update

Iceland newsdaily Morgunblaðið ("The Morning Paper") has detailed 2007 election results here. The presentation is available only in Icelandic, and parties contesting the election are listed according to the following alphabet letters (assigned by the Ministry of Justice):

B - Progressive Party
D - Independence Party
F - Liberal Party
I - Iceland's Movement
S - Alliance
V - Left-Green Movement

2007 election nationwide totals are available in English on both Global Economy Matters and Elections to the Icelandic Althing (Parliament), where constituency-level results are also available. Meanwhile, Edward Hugh covers the economic side of things under Iceland's Economy: Smeltering Away.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/12/2007 14:28 | permanent link

  Wed, May 09, 2007
Puerto Rico's fourth party certified
(Esta entrada está disponible también en español.)

The environmentalist-oriented Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico (PPR) was certified today as the Island's fourth political party, after having collected the nearly hundred thousand petitions required by law for registration.

Historically, Puerto Rican politics have revolved around the status issue - the question of the island's relationship with the United States. Since 1968, two major parties have alternated in power: the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which has sought retention of the existing U.S. Commonwealth status, and the New Progresive Party (PNP), which wants to turn the island into America's 51st state. A small minority - around three to five percent of voters - backs the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), which advocates Puerto Rico's independence from the U.S.

Besides a handful of short-lived local parties, Puerto Rico has not had four islandwide parties since 1983, when a PNP breakaway, the Puerto Rican Renewal Party (PRP) secured its registration. That party, which (like the now registered PPR) did not take sides on the status debate, fared badly in the 1984 general election and disappeared shortly thereafter.

Elections in Puerto Rico has more information on the island's electoral processes, and election results since 1920.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/09/2007 14:32 | permanent link

Certificado el cuarto partido de Puerto Rico
(This posting is also available in English.)

Puertorriqueños por Puerto Rico (PPR), de orientación ambientalista, fue certificado en el día de hoy como el cuarto partido político de la Isla, tras haber recogido las casi cien mil peticiones requeridas por ley para poder inscribirse.

Históricamente, la política en Puerto Rico ha girado en torno al asunto del status - la relación política de la Isla con los Estados Unidos. Desde 1968, dos partidos principales se han alternado en el poder: el Partido Popular Democrático (PPD), que ha procurado la retención del status actual de Estado Libre Asociado de los E.E.U.U., y el Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), que desea convertir a la Isla en el estado No. 51 de la nación americana. Una minoría reducida - entre un tres y un cinco porciento de los votantes - apoya al Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP), que aboga por la independencia de Puerto Rico de los E.E.U.U.

Aparte de un puñado de fugaces partidos locales, Puerto Rico no ha contado con cuatro partidos a nivel Isla desde 1983, cuando una escisión del PNP, el Partido de Renovación Puertorriqueña (PRP) logró inscribirse. Dicho partido, que (al igual que el ahora inscrito PPR) no tomó bando en el debate sobre el status, quedó mal parado en las elecciones generales de 1984 y desapareció al poco tiempo.

Elecciones en Puerto Rico tiene mayor información sobre los procesos electorales de la Isla, y resultados de elecciones a partir de 1920.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/09/2007 14:32 | permanent link

Rejected ballot totals in 2007 Scottish Parliament election
BBC News reports that in last Thursday's elections to the Scottish Parliament, there were 85,644 rejected ballots in the constituency vote, and 56,247 in the regional list vote.

These figures would produce a combined total of 141,891 spoiled votes. However, it must be emphasized that this total would include ballots that were invalid for both the constituency and the regional vote, along with those rejected for one vote but not the other.

In the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, there were 12,753 spoiled papers for the constituency vote, and 12,482 for the regional vote.

The rejected ballot statistics compiled by the BBC also help explain the large gap between constituency and regional valid vote totals. In last Thursday's election, the constituency vote total of 2,016,978 votes was noticeably lower than the regional list total of 2,042,109 votes. However, when invalid ballots are added to these totals, the resulting figures are 2,102,622 constituency votes and 2,098,356 regional votes, which are consistent with past Scottish Parliament election results. Nonetheless, spoiled papers constituted 4.1% of the constituency vote and 2.7% of the regional vote, well above the respective 0.7% and 0.6% registered in the 2003 election.

Link (includes constituency- and regional-level breakdowns):

Rejected votes more than thought

Update

On the basis of figures compiled by the BBC, the breakdown by region of valid votes and spoiled papers in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election would be as follows:


Constituency VoteRegional Vote

RegionValid%Spoiled%Valid%Spoiled%

Central Scotland282,45096.310,8773.7284,51298.44,5981.6
Glasgow198,73492.116,9337.9206,60795.89,0004.2
Highlands and Islands184,80196.66,4783.4185,77397.15,5062.9
Lothians280,72294.815,3995.2287,03996.99,0843.1
Mid Scotland and Fife271,24197.08,4433.0273,08397.66,6112.4
North East Scotland256,46496.69,1283.4260,00697.95,5842.1
South of Scotland275,77996.89,0323.2276,91097.27,9022.8
West of Scotland266,78796.69,3543.4268,17997.17,9622.9

Scotland Total2,016,97895.985,6444.12,042,10997.356,2472.7


According to the BBC, ballot papers for the Glasgow and Lothians regions were redesigned after nominations closed to cope with the high number of parties and independent candidates competing for the list vote - twenty-three in both regions. Apparently, it was feared these would be too many on the ballot to allow electronic counting, so arrows designed to help voters put one cross in each column were scrapped in both regions. Consequently, voters went to the polling booths expecting to see one design of ballot paper and were faced with another - which may explain why the number of spoiled papers in these two regions was much higher than in the rest of Scotland.

Link:

Clue over voter ballot confusion

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/09/2007 08:47 | permanent link

  Tue, May 08, 2007
Northern Ireland's power-sharing government takes office
In a historic day for Northern Ireland, a new power-sharing executive headed by the province's main Protestant and Catholic parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein (SF; We Ourselves), has taken office today, with DUP leader Ian Paisley as first minister and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein as deputy first minister.

DUP and SF consolidated their position as the province's two largest parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly election held last March, eclipsing their more moderate rivals, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), which nonetheless will also take part in the new power-sharing government.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/08/2007 13:53 | permanent link

  Mon, May 07, 2007
Scotland 2007 local election results
The introduction in Scotland of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system of proportional representation (PR) for local elections - previously carried out by plurality voting in single-member wards - has brought significant changes in the makeup of local councils following last Thursday's vote.

In all, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won 363 council seats (doubling its 2003 total of 181 seats), while Labour dropped from 509 to 348 seats (a loss of 161). Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats won 166 seats (nine fewer than in 2003), the Conservatives 143 (a gain of 20) and the Greens eight (having previously held none); other parties and independent candidates captured the remaining 194 seats (for an overall loss of 40). Labour now controls only two of Scotland's thirty-two local councils; three are controlled by independents or others, and in the rest no party has overall control.

In the capital city of Edinburgh, where Labour had secured in 2003 a narrow overall majority of two seats with 27.4% of the vote, the results of the 2007 local election were as follows:

Scottish Liberal Democrats - 42,657 votes (22.0%), 17 seats
Scottish Labour Party - 44,489 votes (22.9%), 15 seats
Scottish National Party - 39,431 votes (20.3%), 12 seats
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party - 42,840 votes (22.1%), 11 seats
Scottish Green Party - 15,959 votes (8.2%), 3 seats
Scottish Socialist Party - 2,077 votes (1.1%), no seats
Solidarity - 1,651 votes (0.9%), no seats
Others - 4,902 votes (2.5%), no seats

Voter turnout in the election stood at 58.3%, significantly up from 51.8% in 2003.

The main beneficiaries of STV in Edinburgh were the Scottish National Party, which won no council seats in 2003 despite having polled 15.6% of the vote, and the Greens, who had not taken part in previous council elections. This time around, the distribution of council seats stood closely in proportion to the parties' electoral following, although the Liberal Democrats won the largest number of seats with slightly fewer votes than Labour or the SNP. Both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives had lower shares of the vote than in 2003 - when they won 26.9% and 24.5%, respectively - but the former gained two seats and the latter lost an equal number of councillors.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the 2007 local election in Glasgow - Scotland's largest city, where Labour had won 71 of 79 council seats in 2003 - was as follows:

Scottish Labour Party - 81,393 votes (43.2%), 45 seats
Scottish National Party - 46,185 votes (24.5%), 22 seats
Scottish Liberal Democrats - 15,324 votes (8.1%), 5 seats
Scottish Green Party - 12,183 votes (6.5%), 5 seats
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party - 14,217 votes (7.5%), 1 seat
Solidarity - 9,083 votes (4.8%), 1 seat
Scottish Socialist Party - 4,385 votes (2.3%), no seats
Others - 5,606 votes (3.0%), no seats

Voter turnout in Glasgow's local poll was 44.4%.

A common misconception about proportional systems in general and STV in particular is that PR prevents a single party from winning an absolute majority of seats in an elective body: that is usually but not always the case, as shown by the outcome of the election in Glasgow, where Labour retained a much-reduced (but nonetheless significant) overall majority. Meanwhile, the SNP secured council representation fairly in proportion to its voting strength (going from 3 to 22 seats), as did the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

Despite polling more votes than the Greens (and nearly as many as the Liberal Democrats), the Conservatives won only one council seat in Glasgow, partly because their relative low poll was evenly distributed - in many cases well below the STV quota (25% in wards with three seats, 20% in four-seat wards) - and in terms of first preferences Tory candidates were usually ranked beyond the number of seats to be filled. By comparison, the Liberal Democrat and Green vote tended to concentrate in a few wards, and all but one of the councillors elected by these two parties were among the top three or four candidates in their respective first preference counts.

Just as important, Conservative candidates polled comparatively few second and successive preference votes - hardly surprising, given that the Tories lie well to the right of the city's political center of gravity, and stand fairly isolated from the rest of the parties. In fact, the single Conservative winner came within five votes of losing to a Green candidate, despite having a substantial first preference lead over the latter.

Only three elected councillors (one Green, one Solidarity and one SNP) had first preference rankings outside the number of seats in their wards. All of them defeated better-placed Labour candidates, in no small measure because in all three instances Labour put more candidates than it could get elected on its share of the vote. Moreover, both the Green and Solidarity candidates in question polled a sizable first preference vote, while the SNP nominee was the beneficiary of a large surplus transfer from a fellow party candidate who had topped the poll in his ward.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/07/2007 14:32 | permanent link

Scotland 2007 local elections: fewer rejected ballots in Edinburgh, Glasgow
The results of last Thursday's local elections in Scotland's two largest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, show that despite the introduction of a new proportional representation electoral system (STV), the number of rejected ballots was much smaller than for the Scottish Parliament election held the same day.

In Edinburgh, there were 2,483 spoiled votes out of 196,489 cast (1.3%), a figure far below the 10,394 invalid ballots in the city's six Scottish Parliament constituencies (one of which also includes part of the East Lothian council area).

In 2003, there were 1,015 rejected papers out of 179,348 votes cast (0.6%) for the local election in Scotland's capital, and 1,375 for the Scottish Parliament constituency vote.

The same phenomenon was in evidence in Glasgow, where rejected ballots made up just 4,505 of 192,881 votes cast in the local election, or 2.3% of the total, whereas in the Scottish Parliament poll there were 16,933 invalid ballots in the constituency vote for the Glasgow electoral region (which extends over the entire city and part of South Lanarkshire) and exactly 9,000 in the regional vote, out of 215,667 votes cast.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/07/2007 01:17 | permanent link

  Sun, May 06, 2007
France 2007 Presidential Runoff Election
Sarko-Ségo, or the 2007 French presidential runoff race, on Global Economy Matters, covers today's second round of voting.

Presidential Elections in France has an overview of the French electoral system, and presidential election results since 1965.

Update

Preliminary results of the 2007 presidential runoff election are now available on my Global Economy Matters posting and in Presidential Elections in France, while Claus Vistesen has an extensive review of the state of the French economy under France - Europe's New Sick Man?.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/06/2007 05:25 | permanent link

  Fri, May 04, 2007
Scotland and Wales 2007 election results
Countrywide and regional results of the 2007 elections in Scotland and Wales are now available in Elections to the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales.

In Scotland, the SNP won a historic victory and became the largest single party by a one-seat margin over Labour, which suffered its first defeat in a Scottish parliamentary election (Westminster or Holyrood) since 1955. However, no two parties command a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament, and right now it is far from clear what kind of government will emerge in that country.

Meanwhile, Labour remained the largest single party in the National Assembly for Wales, but with less than half the seats it will probably need a coalition partner in order to stay in power in the principality.

Voter turnout increased in both countries with respect to the 2003 elections, but in Scotland the vote count was marred by technical difficulties with electronic vote counting systems, and an unusually high number of spoiled ballots. For example, in the Lothians region - which includes the capital city of Edinburgh - the number of rejected ballots shot up from 1,926 to 15,399 for the constituency vote, and from 1,530 to 9,084 for the regional vote. As a result, the Electoral Commission has announced it will undertake a full, independent review of the elections in Scotland.

It is possible - but by no means certain at this juncture - that the drastic increase in the number of rejected ballots in Scotland was the result of voter confusion over the different electoral systems used on election day: AMS for the Scottish Parliament (under which voters cast two votes, one for a single-member constituency candidate and another for a regional party list), and STV for the local councils (which requires voters to rank candidates in order of preference). The single ballot introduced this year for the Scottish Parliament poll may have caused confusion as well: in 1999 and 2003, separate ballots were used for constituency and regional list candidates.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/04/2007 14:26 | permanent link

Scottish local council websites
A list of Scottish local council websites follows; nearly all of these are publishing results of yesterday's Scottish Parliament and local elections (including in some cases electorate and rejected ballot statistics not available on BBC News' Election 2007).


posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/04/2007 09:58 | permanent link

  Thu, May 03, 2007
Elections to the Turkish Grand National Assembly
Turkey's Parliament, the Grand National Assembly, has unanimously approved a proposal to hold an early parliamentary election on July 22, three months ahead of schedule. The results of parliamentary elections held in Turkey from 1983 to 2002, and an overview of the Turkish proportional representation (PR) electoral system are now available in Part I of Elections to the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Turkey's form of PR stands out by its unusually high - and highly controversial - electoral threshold, set at ten percent of the nationwide vote since 1983. In the last parliamentary election, 45.3% of the votes were cast in favor of parties which failed to cross the threshold and obtained no seats in the National Assembly - even if they polled a majority of votes in an electoral constituency. Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled 5-2 in Yumak and Sadak v. Turkey (application no. 10226/03) that Turkey's 10% threshold was not in violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for the right to free elections. The Court noted that "it would be desirable for the threshold complained of to be lowered and/or for corrective counterbalances to be introduced to ensure optimal representation of the various political tendencies," but nonetheless considered it was "important in this area to leave sufficient latitude to the national decision-makers."

A press release issued by the Court (link to the Council of Europe) has a summary of the judgment.

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/03/2007 10:36 | permanent link

  Wed, May 02, 2007
An early parliamentary election in Turkey?
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proposed holding an early parliamentary election next June 24 - four months ahead of schedule - in an attempt to solve an impasse over the election of a new president between his Islamist-oriented government and the country's staunchly secular elite.

Turkey's head of state is chosen by Parliament, and Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which holds a large legislative majority, wanted to elect Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as president. However, the opposition parties accuse Gul of having a hidden Islamist agenda which would threaten the country's strict separation of religion and state - the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey - and boycotted the presidential election last Friday. As a result, the required two-thirds quorum was not attained, and on Tuesday the country's Constitutional Court annulled the election.

Meanwhile, Turkey's army (which regards itself as the "defender of secularism") has expressed it is following with "concern" the presidential vote. In 1960 and 1980 the military overthrew civilian administrations, and in 1971 and 1997 it pressured democratically elected governments out of office. However, the European Union - which has expressed support for an early poll - has warned Turkey's military to stay out of politics.

Prime Minister Erdogan has also proposed that the president be elected instead by popular vote for up to two five-year terms (instead of a single seven-year mandate), and that the legislature - the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) - be chosen every four years, instead of every five.

A review of the system of the proportional representation system used in Turkish parliamentary elections is now available in Part I of Elections to the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Update

Turkey's parliamentary constitutional committee has recommended the general election be held on July 22, 2007, as proposed by the Supreme Election Council (YSK).

posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 05/02/2007 13:34 | permanent link