Tsipras Handed Another Defeat in Greek Local Elections

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Greece’s New Democracy (ND) conservative opposition party won big in local elections on Sunday, capturing 11 out of 13 regions according to the provisional results. The New Democracy party continued the trend it set in the EE elections last weekend where it won 33% of the vote, almost 10 percentage points more than the ruling Syriza party. Following the EU election, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledged the heavy defeat of his party and the writing on the wall. He called for snap national elections and the probable date will be 7 July.

The Syriza party was not expected to be as soundly beaten in either the EU contest, or the two rounds of local elections held recently. After announcing the snap elections last week, Tsipras said he believed this past weekend’s local elections in Greece would be a vote of confidence on his government’s policies and actions. The fact that yesterday brought on another wave of conservative victories indicates the Greek political landscape is in flux again. Tsipras had been expected to become the first Greek prime minister to finish out a full term in three decades. By all indicators right now, it doesn’t appear that he will.

 

Sunday 24 July, 2018 Update: Erdogan Wins

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared victory in Turkey’s presidential election. The Anadolu Agency reports that 95.5% of votes have been counted, and Erdogan has a 52.72% share of the national vote. If accurate, this means Erdogan will avoid a one-on-one runoff election with opposition candidate Muharrem Ince. Erdogan’s victory expands the grip on power he currently has on Turkey, however, this was by no means an easy victory. Political opposition in Turkey has been revitalized to a degree, and this is something Erdogan will have to contend with in the coming months and years. Fortunately for him, the People’s Alliance, a coalition made up of Erdogan’s own Justice and Development Party (AKP) party, and the more conservative MHP party appears to have secured majority in parliament, giving him plenty of allies for any future political battles.

This election was unique in that it marked the first time Turkish voters have cast ballots for president, and parliament in a snap election. Erdogan had called for early elections in an attempt to neutralize opposition presidential candidates in the first round of the election, and obtain a parliamentary majority. At the moment it would appear that he has achieved both objectives, as well as ensuring that he will reap the benefits of enhanced presidential powers that the 2017 referendum are to give the winner of Turkey’s next presidential election. Erdogan had supported the referendum, and invested a large amount of political capital to ensure it passed.

So, what happens next? Erdogan has grandiose plans for Turkey, some of which make his neighbors uncomfortable. After the election results are officially certified, we will examine just what Erdogan’s victory means for Turkey, its neighbors, NATO, and the world.

 

Wednesday 19 April, 2017: May Moving Forward With Snap Election

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is leaving nothing to chance when it comes to laying the foundation for the final stage of the negotiations that will lead to Great Britain’s complete exit from the European Union. On Tuesday, she shocked her supporters and opponents alike by calling for a general election to take place on 8 June of this year. The House of Commons approved the election on Wednesday. May’s goal is to increase the majority for Conservatives in Parliament and allow her to negotiate from a position of strength in talks with the EU over the Brexit process, which are scheduled to begin later in June.  The latest round of polls show Conservatives out in front of Labor, the main opposition party, by upwards of 20 points. May’s party is expected to make considerable gains in the June elections and significantly widen the gap between her party and Labor. Right now, Labor’s leader Jeremy Corbyn is fighting for his political life. He appears to have more popularity and appeal with the British public than he does with his own MPs. The snap election will prove if that is the case. In all likelihood, Corbyn will be forced to resign from his position if Labor performs badly in June.

 

For Prime Minister May, the snap election is a bold move at the right time. Conservatives are primed to increase their majority during the next general election. However, that power can be put to better use right now with the Brexit negotiations underway. May will need every tool she can muster come the final negotiations. A clear-cut majority in Parliament assures her a strong negotiating position. The EU will not find it easy to undermine her or force acceptance of particularly distasteful terms given that after the 8 June election May will not have to worry about facing the electorate for quite some time.