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Analysis and Comment (40)

Represent: Frank Bainimarama at the United Nations. Represent: Frank Bainimarama at the United Nations. EPA/Mary Altaffer

How Fijian dictator Bainimarama finally earned his mandate

Close your eyes and think of Fiji, and you’ll probably picture a luxurious South Pacific idyll set against a backdrop of honeymoon couples frolicking on white beaches and azure seas, being served by smiling…
Stefan Löfven has a lot to think about after Sunday’s election. Stefan Löfven has a lot to think about after Sunday’s election. Glenn Ljunggren

Explainer: where next for Sweden after election scramble?

Sweden’s Social Democratic Party has won the most votes, but it can hardly be seen as the winner in an election where it barely increased its vote share while the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats more…
There’s a long-term shift underway in Australia that all politicians should be watching. There’s a long-term shift underway in Australia that all politicians should be watching. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Indigenous Australia’s rapid rise is shifting money and votes

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North-East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
The Kurdish politician, Selahattin Demirtas, has run a great campaign. The Kurdish politician, Selahattin Demirtas, has run a great campaign. Sedat Suna/EPA

How Turkey’s Kurds can leverage third place in election

The prospect of the first direct presidential election in Turkey’s history – and the candidacy of pro-Kurdish Selahattin Demirtaş has generated much excitement among the country’s Kurds. Though Demirta…
Erdoğan, İhsanoğlu and Demirtaş contend for the Turkish presidency. Erdoğan, İhsanoğlu and Demirtaş contend for the Turkish presidency. How Hwee Young/EPA, EPA/STR, EPA/Sedat Suna

What you need to know about Turkey’s presidential elections

Turkey awaits a fateful election on August 10. The electorate will be heading back to the polls to elect, for the first time in the country’s Republican history, the president by popular vote. If no candidate…
A big win for Erdogan doesn’t bode well for Turkish democracy. A big win for Erdogan doesn’t bode well for Turkish democracy. Sedat Suna/EPA

Turkish elections mark a crucial moment for the country’s democratic future

Turkey’s presidential elections mark a crucial moment for the country, not only because it is the first time that a president will be elected directly by the people, but the future of the country’s political…
This campaigning business…d'you ever wonder what it’s all about? This campaigning business…d'you ever wonder what it’s all about? Stefan Rousseau/PA

Newark by-election reminds us how crucial local campaigns are

With the political fallout from the local and European elections fresh in the memory, the electoral circus has moved on to Newark. At stake is the seat vacated by MP Patrick Mercer, who resigned over a…
In a continuing dispute over the annulled 2013 election, the voters of the Maldives are demanding to be heard. In a continuing dispute over the annulled 2013 election, the voters of the Maldives are demanding to be heard. Dying Regime

Voting in Asia: not meaningless charades, but public wants more

Is it possible to opine about “the state of democracy in Asia”? Although some studies credibly do so, such a task seems challenging to say the least. This is due to the region’s proverbial diversity. And…
Is Jakarta governor Joko Widodo the next Indonesian president? Is Jakarta governor Joko Widodo the next Indonesian president? EPA/Bagus Indahono

Corruption, religion and leadership: India and Indonesia at the polls

Between April and July this year, the world’s first and third largest democracies, India and Indonesia, will go to the polls. Opinion polls tell us that both countries will almost certainly see a change…
He who laughs last … He who laughs last … Lewis Whyld/PA

New forecast shows Tories holding firm for 2015 election

If a week is a long time in politics, as Harold Wilson famously claimed, then it would seem like a hopeless task to try to predict now what might happen at the general election of May 2015. But we know…
With so many choices ‘below the line’ how are voters confident they’ve ranked candidates correctly? With so many choices ‘below the line’ how are voters confident they’ve ranked candidates correctly? AAP/Dean Lewins

Humans struggle with decisions – why make elections so difficult?

It’s been a crazy year for decision making. Not only did we have an election, we now have the threat of a double dissolution if the Federal Senate keeps knocking back bills from the House of Representatives…
Surly: Zuma’s presidency has been marked by scandal and mismanagement. Surly: Zuma’s presidency has been marked by scandal and mismanagement. WEF

Zuma is just the face of South Africa’s democratic malaise

South Africa is mourning the death of Nelson Mandela, a founding father like no other. His legacy includes a still-lauded constitution, four peaceful, free and fair democratic elections (five if 2014 follows…
A sore sight for young eyes? A sore sight for young eyes? EEPaul

Young Britons should vote early, and vote often

Australia goes to the polls this weekend to choose between two unpopular candidates: the incumbent, Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd has a net approval rating of -9 (representing approval rating minus disapproval…
Western Australian National leader Brendon Grylls speaks at a press conference in Perth on September 14 2008. Western Australian National leader Brendon Grylls speaks at a press conference in Perth on September 14 2008. Nicolas Perpitch/AAP

Brendon Grylls risks all in battle for the Pilbara

Arguably the most intriguing electoral contest in the Western Australian state election on March 9 is the Pilbara. The leader of the Western Australian Nationals, Brendon Grylls – architect of the multi-billion…
Japanese voters are set to cast their votes next week – but will anything change? Japanese voters are set to cast their votes next week – but will anything change? EPA/Franck Robichon

Economic gloom and political chaos: Japan’s election to bring more uncertainty

It used to be said that Japan had a first-rate economy with third-rate politics. Ahead of the hastily announced general election later this month, it’s clear that the second half of this saying is still…
ALP candidate Jennifer Kanis (pictured) has won a narrow victory over favoured Greens candidate Cathy Oke. ALP candidate Jennifer Kanis (pictured) has won a narrow victory over favoured Greens candidate Cathy Oke. AAP/David Crosling

ALP claims victory in Melbourne, is it time to make nice with the Greens?

The outcome of the Melbourne by-election, in which Labor has claimed a narrow victory, reflected a disappointing performance from the Greens. At the 2010 state election Labor’s victory was dependent on…
Leader of the CNRT and outgoing Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, has decided to form a coalition with the PD and Frente-Mudanca parties. Leader of the CNRT and outgoing Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, has decided to form a coalition with the PD and Frente-Mudanca parties. AAP

Falling short of a majority, Gusmao set to form coalition government in Timor Leste

Hopes and fears of an alliance between Timor-Leste’s two major political parties, CNRT (National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction) and FRETILIN (Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor…
Alexis Tsipras will lead Syriza to the polls on June 17. Alexis Tsipras will lead Syriza to the polls on June 17. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Greek elections: the heart of contradiction

To free the age from its captivity, To create a brand new world, The discordant, tangled days Must be linked, as with a flute. –Osip Mandelstam, The Age (1923) There is an air of impending disaster in…
Jose Maria Vasconcelos (or Taur Matan Ruak) is the new president of East Timor, but will he do more for the women in his country? Jose Maria Vasconcelos (or Taur Matan Ruak) is the new president of East Timor, but will he do more for the women in his country? AAP/Antonio Dasiparu

East Timor: new President, same problems for women

The recent election of José Maria de Vasconcelos, or Taur Matan Ruak as he is known, to the Presidency of Timor-Leste is not good news for women in that country. Adding yet another member of the male military…
Aceh’s provincial elections will test democratic progress. Aceh’s provincial elections will test democratic progress. AAP/Hotli Simanjutak

Votes not violence: rebuilding post-disaster Aceh

The massive but largely benign earthquake off the coast of Sumatra on Wednesday left millions in Aceh reliving the nightmare that engulfed them on Boxing Day 2004. On that day, a similarly large earthquake…
Tomorrow’s Burmese elections will likely finally see Aung San Suu Kyi get into parliament. Tomorrow’s Burmese elections will likely finally see Aung San Suu Kyi get into parliament. AAP Image/Angela Brkic

Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s small steps towards change

Only two years after general elections in 2010, the world will be watching Burma’s by-elections to be held tomorrow. Although the results cannot change the overall political balance of power with only…
After vote rigging in Russia’s elections, Putin’s authority has been called into question. After vote rigging in Russia’s elections, Putin’s authority has been called into question. EPA/Alexey Nikolsky/Ria Novosti/Government Press Service Pool

Is Putin’s leadership legitimate? A closer look at Russia’s elections

The Russian presidential elections, held on 4 March, gave a solid electoral win to the President-elect Vladimir Putin. But much of the Western press saw it as a tainted victory. With allegations of election…
Mitt Romney’s team hopes that his rivals will turn on each other in the next few weeks. Mitt Romney’s team hopes that his rivals will turn on each other in the next few weeks. AAP

Romney’s divide and conquer strategy hinges on healthy competition

In the aftermath of the New Hampshire Republican primary, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has gone a long way towards securing the nomination. To be sure, he faces continued challenges from an…
Egypt takes its first steps towards democracy but it’s not in the way many were hoping for. Egypt takes its first steps towards democracy but it’s not in the way many were hoping for. EPA/Amel Pain

The rise of Islamist parties in Egypt’s elections

After the overthrowing of dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has had its first round of parliamentary elections, with two parties dominating the vote – the moderate Muslim Brotherhood and the religious conservative…
President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s close association with ruling party United Russia could be problematic. President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s close association with ruling party United Russia could be problematic. EPA/EKaterina Shtukina/Ria Novosti/Kremlin Pool Mandatory Credit

Russian Elections 2011: United Russia to hold on to power but could be slipping

This weekend nation-wide elections will select 450 deputies to the lower house of the Russian bicameral parliament, the State Duma. Although a win is likely for the ruling party, United Russia, lead by…
Current Prime Minister John Key is set to have an easy victory at today’s election. Current Prime Minister John Key is set to have an easy victory at today’s election. AAP/NZN Image/SNPA, David Rowland

John Key on brink of historic victory in New Zealand elections

New Zealand goes to the polls today to elect both a government and conduct a referendum on the nation’s electoral system. It will cap off fifteen tumultuous months in the country. Christchurch has endured…
Don’t dismiss Bob Katter’s Australia Party. It’s going places. Don’t dismiss Bob Katter’s Australia Party. It’s going places. AAP/Tracy Nearmy

Don’t write off the Mad Katter’s Tea Party

It would be foolish for anyone to underestimate Bob Katter’s Australia Party. Its brand of socially conservative views blended with economic and trade protectionism are not “far right” but rather proven…
The first free elections borne from the Arab Spring were held in Tunisia. Over 90% of registered adults voted. The first free elections borne from the Arab Spring were held in Tunisia. Over 90% of registered adults voted. EPA/Zacarias Garcia

Tunisian hope and Greek despair: A week in the life of democracy

It has been a tumultuous week in the life and times of democracy in the Mediterranean. Seven days punctuated by joyous hope and its ugly opposite, sullen despair. The promising news came from Tunisia…
Unhappy with politics in this country? You’re not the only one. Unhappy with politics in this country? You’re not the only one. AAP/Alan Porritt

Gilliard Government marked down in ‘could do better’ democracy report

Australians are more dissatisfied with the way democracy works now than they were after the Rudd government was elected, a poll has found. According to the ANU poll of 2001 people, there has been a 13…
Saudi women are still segregated from men in many walks of life, but next year they will get the right to vote. Saudi women are still segregated from men in many walks of life, but next year they will get the right to vote. AFP/Fayez Nureldine

Vote now on a socially inclusive Saudi Arabia as women get to cast their ballot

While Saudi women celebrate their hard-earned right to vote in next year’s Municipal Council elections, the frenzy of international media interest highlights just how mysterious this country remains. Women…
French President Nicolas Sarkozy should be worried about the upcoming elections. French President Nicolas Sarkozy should be worried about the upcoming elections. EPA/Yoan Valat

France 2012: Sarkozy’s tough road ahead

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has a tight fight on his hands. He’ll be taking on the Socialist Party’s Francois Hollande in the elections next year. And he could struggle to get a second term. Four…
The ballot paper was an Australian innovation. The ballot paper was an Australian innovation. AAP

The secret life of the election

One hundred and fifty years ago, the South Australian House of Assembly handed down the report of its first committee into the running of elections. Its main purpose was to find the causes of two troubling…
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey wants the Opposition’s policies privately costed. Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey wants the Opposition’s policies privately costed. AAP

Costing the promises: what is a Parliamentary Budget Office?

Federal parliament has begun debating the merits of a new independent unit which would cost election promises and policies for all parliamentarians. But one of the more controversial aspects of the Gillard…

Research Briefs (3)

Voters take candidates on face value

In modern politics, a candidate’s image is everything, linguistic anthropologists researching US presidential campaigns have…