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No, that's where the debate was held. Because, you know, Orangeyface McRacist obviously is a walking trigger warning for the little delicate flowers to watch their new Messiah trounce him and institute the glorious revolution of... doing the exact same thing Obama did for the past 8 years, which let's face it wasn't much different than the previous 8 years of Chimpy McBushitler.


:blink: Right. Attend an event with Trump and expect him to be not rude and foul-mouthed. Yesssss


And people wonder why I'm militantly apolitical.

When both options are bad and irrelevant to a high degree because the admin machine does as it does anyway. And does not really care who farts in the oval office. My impression at least watching from the outside.

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Hong Kong legislature election, held on September 4th for all 70 seats.


The following is from a big article with lots of images, so I'm not doing the usual quote box that I do with articles. The article is about ballot papers outnumbering voter turnouts at some voting stations.





Serious discrepancies have been uncovered in results from at least five polling stations for this month’s LegCo election, FactWire can reveal.

Using statistical records from political parties and citizens, FactWire compared the voter turnout and the total number of ballot papers in 96 stations, one sixth of the 571 polling stations.

FactWire has repeatedly contacted the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) for official statistics on the issuing of ballot papers, hourly voter turnouts and number of invalid ballot papers. No replies have been received.

A total of 571 ordinary polling stations were open to the public during the Legislative Council election on September 4. When the polls closed, most then operated as counting stations, with staff immediately beginning the count. Ballot papers were delivered from small polling stations to the main counting station in the same district, where they were counted along with other ballot papers.

See also: Hong Kong’s latest elections are proof the Umbrella Movement did not fail

Through contact with political parties and polling agents, and by gathering information at the scene, FactWire reporters obtained records of hourly voter turnout and cumulative voter turnout from 96 polling stations, one sixth of 571 polling stations. This information is marked on a P15 form, accessible on the notice board outside every polling station.

According to the 2016 LegCo General Election Operational Manual, the hourly voter turnout marked on the P15 form should be consistent with the hourly number of ballot papers issued. The total number of ballot papers refers to a sum total of the valid and invalid ballot papers (including tendered, spoilt, unused and unmarked ballot papers) of each candidate. The total voter turnout should equal the total number of ballot papers announced at the end of the counting session.

FactWire found two more polling stations in the same situation as those in Tai Po, Tseung Kwan O and Sham Tseng, where ballot papers were found outnumbering the voter turnout on election day by candidates representatives. Polling staff in these stations only counted the ballot papers for the geographical constituency within the station, and did not collect or count ballot papers from small polling stations.

See also: One small step: Meet Hong Kong’s vote counting agents

The total number of ballot papers was found to have exceeded the voter turnout by 103 and 100 ballot papers at CCC Kei Wai Primary School (Ma Wan) (K1301) and Wan Tau Tong Neighbourhood Community Centre (P1101) respectively.




Along with an excess of 257 ballot papers at Sheung Tak Community Hall (Q2401), 278 at Hong Kong Teachers Association Lee Heng Kwei Secondary School (P1001) and 93 at Sham Tseng Catholic Primary School (K1001), the 5 polling stations had a total of 831 excess ballot papers.

The written numbers of voter turnout on P15 forms in Wan Tau Tong Neighbourhood Community Centre, CCC Kei Wai Primary School (Ma Wan) and Sheung Tak Community Hall were revised after the election closed. The last hourly voter turnout and cumulative voter turnout was crossed out, and new numbers were written on the form. The revised numbers were added with 100, 100 and 300 extra ballot papers respectively.

Two photos of the P15 Form at Wan Tau Tong Neighbourhood Community Centre taken at different hours show a change in total voter turnout. At 12am, it was captured as 4,808, then was found changed to 4,908 at 4am, at the end of the counting session. The new number then became consistent with the sum of 4,849 valid ballot papers and 59 invalid papers as announced by the presiding officer.




In the case of CCC Kei Wai Primary School (Ma Wan), although the voter turnout was revised from 4,379 to 4,479, the total number of valid and invalid ballot papers still outnumbered the voter turnout by 3 votes.

At Sheung Tak Community Hall, there was anger after an extra 300 ballot papers apparently appeared from nowhere. The total voter turnout was amended from 6,001 to 6,301 votes on the P15 form, and the revised result came from counting counterfoils. However, the polling staff counted 6,258 ballot papers (a sum of 6,217 valid and 41 invalid ballot papers), which contradicted the number of 6,301 counterfoils. This means that there were 43 extra counterfoils.




A polling agent at Sheung Tak Community Hall, who gave her name as Miss Law, said the cumulative voter turnout was amended at 4.23am. She quoted the presiding officer at Sheung Tak, who said polling staff repeatedly made mistakes while filling in forms. He explained to Law that it was not until they finished counting the counterfoils did they acquire the finalized results of 6,301 ballot papers.




Law saw messy correction marks on statistical forms. She pointed out that more than 2 hours were taken to prepare the station for the counting of ballot papers, and the station did not reopen until 1.40am.




“The total voter turnout was found to be incorrect anyway. If the accuracy of this number is not that important and can be double-checked during the counting procedure, why wasn’t the polling station open earlier so that the general public could participate in monitoring the process”? Law asked.

Tensions were high at another polling station where ballot papers outnumbered voter turnout, this time by 278 votes. At 5am at the Hong Kong Teachers Association Lee Heng Kwei Secondary School, the presiding officer announced that the site had to be returned to the school by 6am, so the ballot papers would have to be moved to the Tai Po Community Centre (Exhibition Hall) (P0101) and the count would have to begin all over again.




Polling agents objected, saying there were inconsistencies in the number of ballot papers. Witnesses reported seeing polling staff inserting counterfoils and unused ballot papers into black suitcases, wheeling them away from the polling stations, and coming back around half an hour later. Despite reporting their observations and complaints to the presiding officer, they received no response. Other ballot papers were placed on the counting desks unmoved. The presiding officer recounted the ballot papers twice, and both yielded different results from the first outcome.




Legislative Council General Election – Operational Manual for Presiding Officers, Deputy Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers and District Liaison Officers and 2016 Legislative Council General Election – Operational Manual for Polling Officers and Electoral Staff clearly states the procedures of compilation of statistical returns for each geographical constituency and district council (second) functional constituency.

Each time a polling officer receives a pad of new ballot papers at the issuing desk, he/she should enter and cross-check both the serial numbers and the quantity of ballot papers received. At the end of every period, which is 15 minutes of every hour, another polling officer should enter serial numbers for the number of ballot papers left at the end of the period (carried forward to the next hour), and pass the records of all issuing desks to another polling officer for computing the quantity of ballot papers left at the end of each period and the quantity of ballot papers issued to the voters during each hour. Such calculations are necessary to cross-check with the hourly voter turnout.

The assistant presiding officer will then collate statistical records from each issuing desk and calculate the hourly voter turnout. Upon verification by the deputy presiding officer, the assistant presiding officer will fill in the hourly voter turnout for Geographical Constituency (P15 blue form) and district council (second) Functional Constituency (P15 white form).

The statistics at polling stations were provided by Hong Kong Indigenous, Democratic Party, Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre, Civic Party, Labour Party as well as polling agents. Some records were collected by FactWire reporters at the scene.






For the results, basically there are three groups, each made up of a bunch of tiny sub groups. They are Pro-Beijing, Pan-Democrats, and Localists.


Pro-Beijieng: 43 seats ==> 40 seats

Pan-Democrats: 26 seats ==> 23 seats

Localists: 1 seats ==> 6 seat

Non-aligned: 0 seats ==> 1 seat


More details at the wiki:





HONG KONG – Two years after the pro-democracy “Umbrella Revolution” began, Hong Kong is entering uncharted political territory as former protesters prepare to take office, advocating a possible split from China.

The first major elections since the 2014 rallies saw rebel politicians win seats this month as fears grow that Beijing is tightening its grip on the city in a number of areas, from politics to education and the media.

Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 under a semi-autonomous “one country, two systems” deal, which guaranteed its freedoms for 50 years. There are deep concerns that those liberties are under threat.

It was 2014 that shaped this key new group of lawmakers who will now promote self-determination or independence from Beijing inside the legislature when it starts its new term in October.

Wednesday marks two years to the day since the Umbrella Movement protests calling for democratic reform exploded onto the streets. Police fired tear gas on crowds, galvanizing tens of thousands more to join them in what became more than two months of rallies.

Despite huge numbers, the largely peaceful protests failed to win concessions from Beijing.

However, the momentum and consequent disappointment heavily influenced the young protesters who recently won seats in Hong Kong’s lawmaking body, the Legislative Council (Legco).

They say the failure of the protests forced them to turn to a more radical message, which has gained support among voters demanding change.

At least five new legislators support self-determination or independence, which was not on the agenda during the 2014 rallies and is a departure from the traditional stance of the pro-democracy camp.

Former Umbrella Movement student leader Nathan Law is the best-known of the new breed — at 23 he is Legco’s youngest-ever lawmaker.

Law’s new party, Demosisto, founded with fellow Umbrella Movement campaigner Joshua Wong, is calling for self-determination for Hong Kong in frustration at the intransigence of the authorities.

“We are not pushing for independence, but Hong Kongers should be able to choose their own future. Independence is one option,” Law said.

Fellow new lawmaker Eddie Chu, 38, who also participated in the 2014 protests, says it is time to “take back the right” of self-determination, as previous tactics have failed. “From changing the Basic Law,” Hong Kong’s constitution, “to seeking independence — all are acceptable to me,” he said.

Beijing has warned it will not tolerate any talk of independence “inside or outside” the Legco.

The Hong Kong government — criticized as a stooge of Beijing — banned the most vocal independence candidates from running in the polls.

And in a system skewed toward Beijing-friendly groups, the pro-establishment camp still holds 40 seats against the pro-democracy camp’s 30.

But the new lawmakers have said they will not tone down their message.

Observers predict fireworks.

Political analyst Joseph Cheng said the first year of Legco’s new term will be “chaotic and difficult.”

“The pro-independence legislators will use every single relevant issue to articulate their position,” said Cheng.

The pro-establishment camp will unite against any talk of self-determination or independence, while the new breed may also have to take on opposition in their own camp, where the moderate democrats still hold sway, Cheng adds.

Meanwhile, the public will be hoping the fresh crop of lawmakers will push a range of social issues that have stagnated in the deeply divided legislature, including supply of affordable housing in a city where rents are sky-high.

But with fault lines starker than ever, progress will be tough.

Those frustrations may well drive some new lawmakers to campaign on the streets once more if they feel they cannot make headway in Legco, says political analyst Willy Lam.

“They have indicated they will use nonviolent methods, but the possibility of ugly confrontation between these new young Turks and the police cannot be ruled out,” said Lam.



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Maybe some handy info on HK legislature politics.




In Sunday’s Legislative Council election, there are three magic numbers that voters should be aware of: 18, 24 and 36.

Perhaps these are more for the voters who are planning to vote for the pan-democratic camp, the localists, or the ones promoting self-determination or independence for Hong Kong – those who are likely to be the minority in the legislature. But the three numbers also work for all political camps.

What are 18, 24 and 36? They are the number of seats needed for any camp to have a meaningful veto power in the 70-seat LegCo chamber.

Every registered voter can vote in the 35 geographical constituencies. If voters are not registered to any functional constituency for specific occupations, they are automatically also assigned a vote in the five-seat district council (second) constituency – commonly known as “super seats.” In total, there are 35 functional constituency seats.

In the 2012 LegCo election, the pan-democratic camp held 27 seats: 18 in geographical constituencies and nine in functional constituencies. The pro-Beijing camp held 43 seats: 17 in geographical constituencies and 26 in functional constituencies.

Why 18?

Any camp with 18 lawmakers in the geographical constituencies can reject motions, bills and amendments to government bills proposed by fellow lawmakers.

Approval for any of these requires a majority in both the geographical constituencies and the functional constituencies. In other words, a majority in either one can successfully reject the moves.

For instance, efforts to amend LegCo’s rules of procedure to hamper filibustering were doomed to fail after the last election, because the pan-democratic camp held 18 geographical seats, enough to veto changes to the frequency and time that lawmakers were allowed to speak.

When former lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah resigned last year and triggered a by-election in February, making the count of pan-democratic and pro-Beijing camp lawmakers in the geographical constituencies a 17-17 tie, the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu used “defend the key seat” in his campaign, saying that pan-democrats must maintain 18 seats. He ultimately won.

However, 18 lawmakers is not enough to reject bills and motions proposed by the government, which only require a simple majority from the 70 lawmakers.

The notable case is the legislation called for in Article 23 of the Basic Law, or the national security law, which the government can pass with the support of the majority of the pro-Beijing camp at any time.

The controversial legislation failed in 2003 due to public pressure and a resignation from the Executive Council. The government has chosen not to raise the issue again since then.

Why 24?

For some issues, approval from a super-majority of lawmakers – two-thirds or 47 of the 70 – is required.

A notable example is the reform of Hong Kong’s political structure. Last year, a reform package proposed by the government – which stated that Chief Executive candidates must first be vetted by a 1,200-member nomination committee before a popular vote – was rejected by the 27 pan-democratic camp lawmakers and medical sector lawmaker Leung Ka-lau.

Other moves also require a super-majority. According to Article 79 of the Basic Law, if a lawmaker is sentenced by a court to one month of imprisonment or more for a criminal offence committed within or outside Hong Kong, and a motion to relieve him or her of duties is passed by a two-thirds majority vote of the LegCo members present, the lawmaker will lose the seat.

If a lawmaker is censured for misbehaviour or breach of oath by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Legislative Council present, the lawmaker will lose the seat.

Lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung was sentenced to two months of imprisonment in 2012 for a protest. He kept his seat as a motion to relieve him of his duties was rejected by 25 lawmakers.

Another example would be a motion to impeach the Chief Executive. It requires several steps by the LegCo, before ultimately needing support from a two-thirds majority to pass the motion. So 24 lawmakers could prevent it from being passed.

Why 36?

Article 75 of the Basic Law stipulates that: “The quorum for the meeting of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be not less than one half of all its members.”

In other words, 35 lawmakers must be present at a LegCo meeting to prevent a premature adjournment. If any camp has 36 lawmakers they can instantly cut short meetings debating controversial issues simply by not attending.

During the recent debate on the medical council reform bill and the controversial copyright bill – commonly known as “Internet Article 23” due to fears it may curb online freedoms – lawmakers have constantly called for headcounts to stall the debate, as a means to filibuster.

Although the pan-democratic lawmakers have only held 27 seats, during the past four years, 18 meetings were cut short due to inadequate attendance – because some of the 43-strong pro-Beijing camp were not present as well.

Strategic voting?

The geographical constituencies’ existing election system, a special version of party-list proportional representation, gives the advantage to small parties or candidates with marginal support.

For instance, the Neo Democrat’s Gary Fan Kwok-wai won a seat in the nine-seat New Territories East in the 2012 election with the smallest proportion of votes – six per cent of the constituency’s votes, or 28,621 votes.

Every vote counts under the existing system.



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Going back to electoral fraud in the UK election.


The general concern is with a certain minority population where apparently it is not understood that a vote is a personal thing and not to be decided by the head of the household for all eligible members of that household. This in respect mainly of postal votes.


However, the most obvious recent instance is in Tower Hamlets, where the mayor of the borough council was found guilty of electoral fraud in 2015 after elections in 2014.




But no criminal prosecution, because the Met and CPS have no balls.




And the Tory's own personal Sontaran is not amused.



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Spain seems about to break its perfectly good spell of voting inconclusively over and over again.


WORLD NEWS | Sat Oct 1, 2016 | 4:53pm EDT

Spain's Socialist leader quits and opens door to end of deadlock
By Angus Berwick and Carlos Ruano | MADRID
The leader of Spain's Socialists resigned on Saturday after losing a vote triggered by a party revolt, a step which could pave the way for the formation of a new government and end a nine-month political deadlock.
Pedro Sanchez had been in a stand-off with acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's People's Party (PP), frustrating attempts to form a government after two elections left the conservatives with the most votes but shy of a majority.
Members of the bitterly divided Socialist assembly met on Saturday to decide whether to open up a leadership race in October, as proposed by Sanchez, or oust him.
Shouts from the meeting at the party headquarters in the capital Madrid were heard from outside as members argued over what the vote should be. One person stormed out before the end saying the party was "broken" and Sanchez eventually lost by 132 votes to 107 after a tumultuous 10-hour debate.
"Today, following a day of intense debates, a vote was held on whether a party conference should take place on Oct. 23 so that the grassroots could pick their leader ... Unfortunately, I have lost this vote and I have resigned as secretary general of the party," Sanchez told a news conference.
The departure of Sanchez, who became leader in 2014 and has presided over a slump in party support, means the Socialists can now try to find ways to avoid a third election, such as abstaining in a confidence vote to allow Rajoy a second term.
The Socialists will be under interim management until a party conference can choose a new leader. Party insiders say the powerful head of the Andalusia region, Susana Diaz, is the favorite though it is not clear when a new secretary general will be picked.
The interim management will face one of the party's biggest dilemma's since it was founded in 1879: allow a conservative minority government or force a third general election in a year.
Most observers and analysts believe the Socialists will go for the first option, to give them time to regroup and not run the risk of losing more ground in a third election in a year.
"Overall, I believe it is now more likely that Spain will not need a third general election. The mutiny against Pedro Sanchez was at least in part due to his intransigence in refusing to let Rajoy form a minority government despite it being clear that the Socialist leader could offer no credible alternative," said Vincenzo Scarpetta, a political analyst at the Open Europe think tank in London.
"Furthermore, the Socialist Party clearly doesn't look in an ideal state to fight an election campaign. The impression is it might need quite some time to regroup," he said.
If no government is formed before the end of October, a third election will be called in December.
Although Spain's economic recovery has weathered the political impasse so far, there are signs that further uncertainty could slow growth and hamper investment.
For months, Sanchez has refused to change his opposition to enabling a minority government led by Rajoy, who he chastizes as corrupt. In August, Rajoy lost a confidence vote in parliament after the Socialists voted "No".
The Socialists governed Spain from 2004 to 2011 but the new political forces that have emerged since the country's financial crisis have eaten into their support base and Sanchez notched their worst ever national election result in June.



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Some other things precipitated that mutiny against Sánchez, like the very bad results in a couple of regional elections held a couple of weeks ago and his attempt to hold a pretty undemocratic (no census, no transparency) ballot about his continuity at the front of the party.


Of course, he will not renounce his seat at Parliament. To serve his electors!

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Going back to electoral fraud in the UK election.


The general concern is with a certain minority population where apparently it is not understood that a vote is a personal thing and not to be decided by the head of the household for all eligible members of that household. This in respect mainly of postal votes.

This reminds me of something I once saw at Heathrow. Paterfamilias from somewhere in SW Asia, by his looks, was trying to check in his entire family, & was getting very angry that they wouldn't let him. He had all their passports, so what was the problem? He was having great difficulty understanding that passports had to be matched to physically present people, as if his wife & children had some sort of separate existence from him. Those weird westerners, eh?

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They are not individuals, but members of a family first.



The general concern is with a certain minority population where apparently it is not understood that a vote is a personal thing and not to be decided by the head of the household for all eligible members of that household. This in respect mainly of postal votes.

Who says they do not tell their family members what to vote in the cabin? And I doubt many dare to deviate from the command.

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Well, it's an election.


Antonio Guterres to be next UN Secretary General

By Ismaeel Naar
Al Arabiya English
Thursday, 6 October 2016
Antonio Guterres, the former Portuguese prime minister and United Nations refugees chief, has been officially nominted to become the next UN Secretary General after a vote at the security council.
During a surprise show of unity on Wednesday, all 15 ambassadors from the security council emerged from a sixth straw poll to announce that they had agreed on Guterres, who was UN high commissioner for refugees for nearly a decade.
“Today after our sixth straw poll we have a clear favorite and his name is António Guterres,” Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, told a group of eager reporters with his 14 council colleagues standing alongside him.
Guterres, 67, would replace Ban Ki-moon, 72, of South Korea, who will step down at the end of 2016 after serving two terms. For Guterres to be formally recommended to the 193-member General Assembly for election, the Security Council still needs to adopt a resolution behind closed doors. The resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes to pass.
Analysts and former diplomats told Al Arabiya English that it was a combination of several factors that led to Guterres’ as the favorite choice to lead the United Nations, mainly his experience both at the governmental and non-governmental fields.
“His striking combination of having been a head of government in Portugal, which reflects political talents that are extremely important for the job. Secondly, he headed up a multi-lateral agency with widespread praise for his actions, including his repeated engagement in crises by negotiating with other governments and actors to try and find solution [to the global refugee crisis],” Former UN Assistant Secretary General Michael Doyle told Al Arabiya English.



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WORLD NEWS | Mon Oct 10, 2016 | 6:49am EDT

Lithuania readies for new government as ruling party comes third in vote
Lithuania's ruling Social Democrats sank to a distant third place in the first round of national elections, leaving center-right parties in a strong position to form a new coalition government, surprise results showed on Monday.
After a campaign fought largely over Lithuania's sluggish economy, first place went to the center-right Lithuanian Peasants and Greens party with 21.6 percent, 728 votes ahead of the Homeland Union party.
The center-left Social Democrats had been forecast to win Sunday's vote in opinion polls that have been unreliable in the past.
But the party took only 14.4 percent of the vote, paying the price for failing to rejuvenate an economy that has struggled to catch up with the richer countries in Europe, analysts said.
The vote elects half of parliament in the EU member state. Run-offs in voting districts on Oct. 23 will decide the rest.
"The chance of the government continuing is now almost zero", said Kestutis Girnius, associate professor at Institute of International Relations and Political Science in Vilnius.
"The government was seen as ineffective and corrupt. And it played the central role in adapting a new labor code that more than half the voters strongly disapproved of."
Lithuania's outspoken president, Dalia Grybauskaite, has accused the government of failing to push through reforms and is not on speaking terms with the prime minister after alleging corruption in his government earlier this year.
"People said very clearly what they think about the current government and supported responsibility, transparency and changed", said Grybauskaite in a statement on Monday.
The make-up of the next government will depend on the details of negotiations, with a coalition of the Lithuanian Peasants and Greens party, the Homeland Union party and its smaller ally, the Liberal Movement party, seen as one likely combination.
The Lithuanian Peasants and Greens party, an also-ran in the past elections, attracted large numbers of protest votes, say analysts, while the center-left Homeland Union was ejected from power in the previous national election after implementing unpopular austerity measures.
"After the run-offs, Lithuania will get a new government ... we will be in the new coalition," Homeland Union leader Gabrielius Landsbergis told reporters.
The Social Democrats garnered 18.4 percent of the popular vote in the last vote in 2012, then ended up as the biggest party in parliament after the run-off stage.




I think the bold was meant to say "center-right".

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Best-named UN Secretary General was Boutrous Boutrous Ghali because when I say his name it's Boutrous Boutrous-Oh-my-golly. (emphatic exaggeration on the oh-my-golly)




ISTR making fun of Ban ki-moon's name too, I just can't recall wot it was....


And then there was Kofi Annan who sure was no flat white....



Edited by Corinthian
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WORLD NEWS | Thu Oct 13, 2016 | 10:43am EDT

United Nations appoints Portugal's Guterres as next U.N. chief
The 193-member United Nations General Assembly appointed former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres on Thursday as the ninth secretary-general of the world body for five years from Jan. 1, 2017.
Guterres, 67, will replace Ban Ki-moon, 72, of South Korea. Ban will step down at the end of 2016 after serving two terms.
Guterres was prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.



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Democracy in CDU of Nürtingen nears levels of bestest Korea:


Thaddäus Kunzmann wurde mit 42 von 41 möglichen Stimmen einstimmig wiedergewählt.


(Thaddäus Kunzman has been reelected with 42 of possible 41 votes unanimously.)

102,4 Prozent für Kunzmann (Nürtinger Zeitung) Edited by Panzermann
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  • 2 weeks later...

World News | Sun Oct 23, 2016 | 11:29am EDT


Spain's Socialists clear way for minority conservative government

By Inmaculada Sanz | MADRID


Spain's conservative leader Mariano Rajoy was on course to secure a second term in power for his People's Party (PP) on Sunday after his Socialist rivals agreed to abstain in a looming confidence vote, ending 10 months of political deadlock.


Spain has been stuck in political limbo following national elections in December and June which left no single party with a majority, paralyzing institutions and threatening to derail an economic recovery.


With a third ballot on the cards the center-left Socialists, traditional opponents of the PP, ceded ground on Sunday in an extraordinary, internal party meeting to choose between a third general election or allowing Rajoy to govern.


Senior party members voted by 139 to 96 in favor of abstaining in a parliamentary confidence vote to be held this week.


Rajoy's minority government will have to contend with a hostile, deeply fragmented parliament over the next four years, opening up a fresh source of political instability for Spain.


His prime task will be to keep on track an economic rebound after years of recession, while cutting costs to meet stringent deficit targets.


December's election broke the stable two-party system that has ruled Spain since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in the 1970s, and a re-run in June delivered a similar result as new parties grabbed millions of votes in the wake of a deep recession.


Rajoy's PP beat the Socialists in both elections, followed by the upstart Podemos ("We Can") and Ciudadanos ("Ciudadanos") parties, which together secured close to a third of parliamentary seats.


To govern, Rajoy needed sufficient support or an abstention by his rivals in a confidence vote. That two-stage ballot will now take place this week, with the second vote due on Saturday or Sunday.


The Socialists had blocked Rajoy's reelection under their former leader Pedro Sanchez, a stance that would have forced Spain into its third election in a year.


Sanchez was forced to resign earlier this month by his party, who feared the Socialists would suffer an electoral bloodbath if they triggered a fresh poll.


Defending the vote, Socialist interim party head Javier Fernandez said the result was the least bad of the two options.


"We went to win the elections, but since that didn't happen, we need that there is a government to act as the opposition," he said.





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Actually, it seems that Sanchez was deposed in a palace coup once became know, inside PSOE at least, that he had prepared a coalition with the Bolivarian Podemos, and the Catalan Separatist ERC.


Susana Diaz, the chief of Andalusian PSOE saw that as bad for the future of the party, which is true.


Problem is, that minority govt we are going to have is going to be very weak.

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Also, round two of the Lithuanian elections.


Date 24.10.2016


Lithuanian election brings major shake-up

The centrist Peasant and Green's Union, which had one seat in parliament, has picked up enough seats to become Lithuania's largest party. Voters were frustrated with the economy and an exodus of people abroad.
Lithuanians dissatisfied with a sluggish economy and exodus of people voted for change in a second round of parliamentary elections on Sunday, making a small centrist agrarian party the biggest in parliament.
The Peasant and Green's Union (LGPU) won 54 seats in the 141-member Seimas, the country's unicameral parliament, according to results published by the Lithuanian election commission. The conservative Homeland Union secured 30 seats, while the ruling Social Democrats won just 17 seats. The remaining seats were split between a number of smaller parties.
In play in Sunday's second round vote were 68 seats. A first round of voting on October 9 delivered 20 seats to the Homeland Union, 19 seats to LGPU and 13 seats to the ruling Social Democrats.
Led by 46-year-old millionaire farmer Ramunas Karbauskis (above photo, left), the LGPU rode to victory on promises of creating a government of technocrats to improve the economy and stop the outflow of citizens to other countries in Europe.
The results are a major blow to the Social Democrats, who have become increasingly unpopular due to corruption and their role in adopting a new labor code that makes it easier to hire and fire employees.
Coalition talks
The election results mean LGPU will be tasked with forming the next government, although it was unclear with which parties it would seek to form a coalition.
"We are not ruling out any possibilities, even a broad coalition if we agree on the major challenge: how to stop citizens fleeing Lithuania," Karbauskis, the party's chairman, told reporters.
"I don't know an area where the current government policy does not need to be changed," Karbauskis said. "Except in foreign policy, where we need to have a continuation," he added, referring to Lithuania's EU and NATO membership.
Karbauskis has ruled out becoming prime minister. That position is slated for Saulius Skvernelis (above photo, right), a former national police chief popular for fighting corruption.
"We will forge a rational coalition government and we'll chose people who want to bring about changes," Skvernelis said on national television as the results came in.
He said the party would reach out to Homeland Union and the Social Democrats of outgoing Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevcius for coalition talks.
"We'll bring transparent and responsible policies," he said.
Voters concerned over economy
While possible Russian aggression in the Baltics has been a top NATO concern, the main issue in the election was the economy and corruption.
Since Lithuania joined the EU in 2004, the population has dropped to 2.9 million from 3.3 million as people leave the country to work in Western Europe.
The average wage in Lithuania is a little over 600 euros ($670) per month after tax, one of the lowest levels among EU members. Voters were also unhappy over the sharp increase in prices since Lithuania adopted the euro at the beginning of 2015, as pensions and wages remained stagnant.



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The Panama Papers having shaken up Iceland's politics the Píratar party might even get into government in the upcoming premature elections:


New poll puts Pirates back on course to win Iceland elections



Icelands Pirate Party may be about to make history as the worlds first pirate movement to win national general elections.

A new opinion poll conducted by the Social Science Research Institute of the University of Iceland for Icelandic daily Morgunblaðið indicates that over one in five voters will be voting Pirate a week tomorrow.

MORE: Politics in Iceland: A beginners guide

The data is from 14-19 October and puts the Pirate Party in first place with 22.6%, a point and a half ahead of the centre-right Independence Party (currently in power). These figures would give each party fifteen MPs in Icelands 63-seat national parliament (Alþingi).


The top two parties have already either implicitly or explicitly ruled out working together in a coalition.

MORE: Is Iceland heading for post-election deadlock?

MORE: Icelands Pirates: A generational thing?

Icelands Pirate Party already made history back in 2013 when they received 5.1% of the vote and returned three MPs - Iceland is currently the only country in the world where the Pirate movement has elected MPs sitting in a national legislature.

Next weeks election look set to blow even this impressive record out of the water, with the Pirates potentially winning outright, increasing their number of MPs five-fold, and commanding a strong mandate to form a government.





Arrrrr! Prrrrepare for boarrrrding! Aye aye!

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The opposition party (Democratic Party) loses in both by-elections in Tokyo and Fukuoka.




With Sunday’s double victory in Tokyo and Fukuoka by-elections, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might be feeling relieved — but not exactly over the moon.

At the very least, the commanding victories by two Liberal Democratic Party-affiliated candidates in the Lower House races provided him with a perfect excuse to claim that his Abenomics economic policy mix, as well as his ongoing push for Diet approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, received a strong public endorsement.

“We will continue to do our utmost to revitalize the economy to live up to the mandate given us by the voters in the by-elections,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday.

But experts said the seemingly encouraging outcome of the polls will do little to embolden Abe into calling a snap election — a step seen as vital to further cementing his power base.

The LDP victory, they say, was undermined by record low voter turnouts and — in Tokyo’s case particularly — spurred less by genuine support for Abe’s national policies than by the enormous popularity of charismatic Gov. Yuriko Koike.

The LDP’s Masaru Wakasa, 59, who had the strong backing of Koike, won in the Tokyo No. 10 district, garnering 75,755 votes — far more than his Democratic Party-endorsed rival Yosuke Suzuki, who received 47,141 votes.

Jiro Hatoyama, son of late internal affairs minister Kunio Hatoyama, secured his father’s Fukuoka No. 6 district by racking up 106,531 votes, trouncing the DP-endorsed runner-up, Fumiko Arai, who received 40,020 votes.

Although Hatoyama ran as an independent, the LDP endorsed him minutes after his victory was reported.

Voter turnout for the Tokyo race was a record low 34.85 percent, while Fukuoka saw just 45.46 percent cast a ballots.

Observers say the tepid turnout in Tokyo reflected voter cynicism over the peculiar direction the by-election took as it progressed.

Throughout the campaign, Koike went all-out to support Wakasa — one of her staunchest allies — even going so far as to declare herself his “chief cheerleader.”

The result, according to political science professor Norihiko Narita of Surugadai University in Saitama Prefecture, was that the election’s aspect as a showdown between Abe’s ruling coalition and the opposition bloc largely escaped public attention.

“Instead, it became a vote on Koike’s metropolitan policy,” Narita said. “Those who were interested in showing their support for Koike may have bothered to go vote, but those who weren’t probably had a hard time coming up with a reason why they should.”

In Fukuoka, the odds were stacked in favor of heir apparent Hatoyama from the get-go — a strong electoral advantage in a country that continues to vote for hereditary politicians.

All things considered, then, “it’s not really that the LDP won the race, but rather that it didn’t lose it,” Narita said.

“It didn’t accelerate Abe’s plan to call a snap election,” he added. “But at the same time, it certainly put no brakes on it. So for now, Abe will likely pursue the initial plan he had in mind” in regards to dissolving the Lower House.

Instead, it may have been Koike who was the biggest winner.

Having her ally keep the Tokyo No. 10 district seat, which she held before becoming governor, allows for a potentially easy return to national politics after the end of her time as governor — a possible prelude to any bid to become Japan’s first female prime minister, Narita said.

In further testament to her popularity, Koike revealed Sunday night that about 4,000 people had applied for her soon-to-be-launched private “political school,” adding even more fuel to speculation that she may form a new political party.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the by-elections was widely seen as boding ill for DP President Renho.

Experts say the double defeat will likely add to simmering skepticism within the party over her leadership abilities, putting her in a tighter spot as she continues to grapple with criticism over her dual nationality flap.

Renho, who during her campaign last month for party president had touted her ability to give the DP a striking image makeover, was “chosen as leader not because she is reliable and experienced as a politician, but because she is popular with the public and many hoped she would help the party win elections,” said Katsuyuki Yakushiji, a political science professor at Toyo University.

Yakushiji described Renho as a virtual “puppet” of DP secretary-general and former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, her mentor.

Now that Renho has failed to help DP candidates win, “a big question mark hangs over her raison d’etre as party president,” Yakushiji said.

Renho’s political shortcomings appeared most evident in the way she handled the DP’s electoral tie-up with other opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, in promoting Suzuki and Arai.

While urging the JCP to withdraw its own candidates, the DP declined the far-left party’s endorsement of the two — an apparent bid to distance itself from communists and avoid antagonizing conservative voters.

“The JCP stands by the position that opposition parties can only defeat the Abe administration by waging an ‘all-out’ tie-up that is based on mutual trust and respect,” high-ranking JCP executive Akira Koike tweeted after Sunday’s election. “I believe we need to reflect thoroughly on whether we managed to do that during our campaign this time.”

Toyo University’s Yakushiji said that after the electoral drubbing the DP is in desperate need of introspection.

“The DP should do some thorough soul-searching and take politics more seriously,” he said. “It shouldn’t just go for popularity. Fail to do so, and the LDP will be unstoppable.”



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