On the final day of his reelection campaign, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that as long as his party stays in power, there will not be an independent Palestinian nation.
“I think anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state, and to evacuate territory, is giving radical Islam a staging ground against the State of Israel,” in a video interview in a last minute bid to win over right-wing voters.
So… is he going to make Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza full citizens of Israel with all the civil rights that come with?
Nope. Instead, he pledged to build more settlements in the West Bank.
“We will continue to build in Jerusalem, we will add thousands of housing units, and in the face of all the [international] pressure, we will persist and continue to develop our eternal capital,” Netanyahu declared.
Millions of Israelisin what is expected to be a pretty close electoral race. The latest opinion polls showed Netanyahu and his Likud party are facing a surprisingly strong challenge by the centre-left Zionist Union electoral alliance, lead by Yitzhak Herzog and former peace negotiator Tzipi Livni.
The only thing standing in Netanyahu’s way (besides many voters’ aversion of his extreme right-wing views) is… ARABS! Netanyahu warned on election day that a large turnout by Arab voters could endanger the country体彩手机在线怎么下载’s political right.
“Right-wing rule is in danger. Arab voters are going to the polls in droves. Left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses,” Netanyahu said in a video message on his Facebook page.
Israeli citizens voting in an Israeli election? Damn those Arabs and their voting rights! What’s next? Demanding equal rights for all human beings in Israeli society!?
After a disastrous night for Democrats, the Republican Party has and increased their grip on the House of Representatives.
Now controlling both chambers of Congress for the first time since 2006, the Republicans saw Senate victories in Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, pulled off an upset in North Carolina, came from behind in Colorado and Iowa, and won for the first time in West Virginia since 1956. The party now controls 52 seats, and is tipped to win at least one more as votes are counted in other states.
To sum up, America will be seeing a lot more of Mitch McConnell, the former Republican Senate minority leader who will now become the Senate majority leader, giving him control over the chamber’s legislative agenda and floor proceedings. But on the plus side, at least we won’t be bombarded with his… until 2016.
As for the gubernatorial races, the Republican Party managed to hold on to the governor’s mansions in Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin, states where the Democrats had hoped to make some inroads. The race in the Sunshine State was especially close, but incumbent Rick Scott, a Republican who initially , managed (barely) to beat challenger and former governor Charlie Crist, a former Republican running as a Democrat – with presumably sweaty balls. Despite his alarmingly low favorability ratings among Floridians, Scott was declared the winner Tuesday night with nearly all votes counted. He held nearly 49 percent of the vote to Crist’s 47 percent.
But while the Democrats crashed and burned, stoners in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. celebrated by burning then crashing after voters approved ballot measures legalizing cannabis. Oregon and Alaska will now join fellow stoner states Colorado and Washington, where voters approved recreational use of pot for adults two years ago.
Meanwhile, Florida rejected a ballot measure that would have permitted the use of medical marijuana. No medical marijuana? How are Floridians supposed to cope with four more years of Rick Scott?!
Americans are and while dozens of governors and congressmen are standing for election, the biggest prize of the 2014 midterms is the control of the Senate.
The Republicans, who already control the House of Representatives, need to gain just six seats to win control of America’s upper chamber for the first time since 2006.
Recent polls indicate a Republican victory as President Obama’s popularity rate has failed to climb much above 40% – but it’s still anyone’s game. In fact, the results could be so close that the longest and most expensive midterm election cycle to date could become even longer and more expensive with multiple runoffs. Runoffs are looking probably in two competitive states – Louisiana and Georgia – and several more races are so close that absentee and provisional ballots may determine the winner.
But Democrats haven’t given up all hope, insisting their ability to rally their supporters ahead of elections could still give them the advantage.
“Grab everybody you know, get them out to vote, don’t stay 体彩手机在线怎么下载, don’t let somebody else choose your future for you,” Obama said during a campaign rally on Sunday.
Still, the administration is mentally preparing itself for the likelihood of GOP control in both the House and Senate. Anticipating a less than friendly Congress (and possibly Senate), Obama and his staff are mapping possible compromises with Republicans on issues like trade, taxes, and infrastructure. White House aides also say the president will continue to use executive authority to further Democratic policy priorities on climate change, immigration, energy, gay rights, and the economy after the election.
Reagan’s prediction: The Republicans will take the House and the Senate and the American government will experience two years of gridlock and obstructionism. So pretty much business as usual…
Spring is finally here – the time when a young man’s fancy turns to … elections.
Over in Afghanistan voters are bidding goodbye to Hamid Karzai and hello to… well no one yet because apparently it will take a whole week to count the ballots. Votes from Afghanistan’s first democratic election are still being tallied after millions of voters braved threats of Taliban violence to cast their votes on Saturday. Some polling places ran out of ballots and some people stayed inside fearing death by Taliban, but about seven million out of 12 million eligible voters made it out, so not bad. Both President Obama and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Afghan officials and voters for the relatively smooth elections (by Afghan standards), but mostly Obama is just happy he won’t have to deal with President Hamid Karzai anymore, who is constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term.
Meanwhile, in India, the nine-phase ballot process began on Monday and the country体彩手机在线怎么下载’s marathon election/logistical nightmare makes the Afghan democratic process look like child’s play. More than 800 million Indians will begin trudging to polling booths on Monday, in an election that will last until May 12 (since the voting days are slowly rolled out state-by-state). Over the course of the month, the Hindu nationalist BJP will take on the incumbent Congress Party in an Indian electoral showdown over the country体彩手机在线怎么下载’s two biggest issues: the economy and corruption.
And then there’s Quebec. Practice France began their provincial elections on Monday, two years after the Parti Quebecois somehow won a minority government in 2012. After a revived debate over Quebec’s independence from Canada, a controversial push for Quebec’s Charter of “Values” (which would ban public employees from wearing religious articles) and a boost in language law policing, the PQ may not be so lucky this time around. PQ Leader Pauline Marois called this election because she believed she could win a majority government but now most pollsters are saying that the Liberals are poised to reclaim the National Assembly. Where did they go wrong? Well, if she had to do it all over again, the PQ Leader says she wouldn’t have spent a full week of the 2014 election campaign talking about separating from the rest of Canada. And the whole Charter of Values/portraying Quebec as a racist backwater probably didn’t help either…
It’s good news and bad news for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The good news: The results of Sunday’s election are in and she won! The bad news: The results of Sunday’s election are in and she fell just short of a majority, which means… COALITION TALKS.
It was a big victory for Merkel, whose conservative bloc scored its best result in 23 years, winning 41.5 percent of the vote. But at the end of the day they were five seats short of a majority in the lower house. And since Merkel’s conservative government didn’t quite make the majority threshold, they will have to form a coalition government with her rivals. Her LEFTIST rivals!
Since Merkel’s partners of choice, the pro-business Free Democrats, won only 4.8 percent of the vote, effectively barring them from obtaining parliamentary seats, a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), who won 25.7% of the vote, is seen as most likely – but it will take some hard bargaining. The Social Democrats are expected to play some good old fashioned hardball this time – demanding high profile cabinet posts and policy changes. Why? Their supporters are getting sick and tired of the party teaming up with Merkel -like they did in both 2005 and 2009. The SPD suffered a big drop in its electoral support in 2009 after their increasingly alienated base grew weary of always looking like the junior partner in Merkel’s coalition.
SPD leader Peer Steinbrueck clashed with Merkel during the lead up to the election, mainly over economic issues. The centre-left party argued for a national minimum wage and higher taxes on the wealthy and criticized Merkel’s economic austerity drive, saying Germany was too hard on its EU partners in southern Europe. Merkel disagrees, arguing that her election victory is proof that Germans are pro-austerity measures and anti-heavily indebted countries (Greece…).
At a news conference following her win Merkel said that “our European policy course will not change”.
So Merkel’s got her work cut out for her… but she’s got some time – several weeks of negotiations are expected before a new government is formed.
On the bright side, at least she’s still able to govern after winning 41.5% of the vote. I know a certain environmentalist who got the boot after winning the popular vote… damn electoral colleges.