A week before elections the head of the Armenian Central Election Committee announced that the Armenian parliamentary election would be monitored by over 30 000 observers, both foreign and domestic. The elections in Armenia 2012 were far from revolutionary, but perhaps it was a sign of a gradual evolution of Armenian democracy towards normality. The election results have not yet being challenged and parliament is better representing the political forces in the country and the party system is more consolidated.
Self-restraint will be the key test of Fico’s second government. Fico has periodically demonstrated an ability to take the long view, but Slovakia’s first single-party parliamentary majority will produce strong temptations to opt for short-term institutional gains for himself and financial gains for his supporters. If Fico can resist those temptations, he may secure for himself a long future in politics and a place in Slovakia’s history. If he cannot, then in 2016 he may again find himself on the losing end of electoral calculations.
There can be no doubt that Russia has again surprised Western commentators; there had been a good consensus that there would not be major political opposition in Russia,that civil society is weak and there were no alternatives around. Now we have to develop a much more sophisticated analysis. In this article I will concentrate on two issues: legitimacy and interests.
The author has been following the protest against Putin through Facebook and a number of internet portals and claims that "even through the distance that any media technology always creates, one could not help feeling deeply affected by the joyous festivities during the protest events – tens of thousands strong manifestations, marches, flash mobs, and car rallies". "The idea that a political change must precede an economic discussion prevails. In the absence of a social program, the carnival feature of the protest movement becomes the uniting principle pulling together people who otherwise would have never ever acted together.".
Next Sunday, on March 4, presidential elections are held in Russia. The likely winner of the elections, Vladimir Putin, has been known already for five months but during these five months Russian political climate has changed significantly.
On February 18, Latvia held a referendum on amendments to the Constitution (Satversme) that would make Russian a second official language. Discussions about this referendum have been very emotional. The sensitivity of the question resulted in the second-highest turnout of voters (71.12% ) for a referendum, just slightly lower than in the 2003 referendum on joining the European Union (71.49%). The proposal was rejected, so Russian did not become the second official language of Latvia and therefore an EU language.
Sauli Niinistö, a former finance minister and speaker of the parliament from the conservative National Coalition party received 62,7 per cent of the votes, a result which came as no surprise. Sauli Niinistö has throughout the entire presidential campaign been clear on how the role of the new president is to be played. Since the president has a direct mandate from the people he is entitled to engage also in other policy domains than those prescribed in the Finnish constitution.
When the voters go to the polls for the second round of the Finnish presidential election on Sunday February 5, the ultimate winner will be destined for a significantly weakened presidential office. The role of the future president was of the main issues during the first round of electoral campaign and will be further debated during the upcoming week between the two finalists.
The first round of the Finnish presidential elections last Sunday both fulfilled expectations and offered surprising results. Sauli Niinistö, the candidate of the National Coalition party, was as expected given the greatest number of votes. The competition about the second ticket to the presidential final turned out to be a much more exciting and a close race than expected.
On 4 December, Slovenian citizens went to the polls to elect their representatives in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, after the President of the Republic, Danilo Türk, had signed an order dissolving the Assembly on 21 October 2011. The Republic’s first snap elections were called after a vote of no confidence on 20 September had brought down the left-wing government led by Borut Pahor (Social Democrats). Here the author notes that several long-term implications may arise from the election results and post-festum reactions.