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.
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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.
Andreas Johansson, Dissenting Democrats Nation and Democracy in the Republic of Moldova, Stockholm 2012, Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations 62, 263 pages
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.
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.
In the short term it seems reasonable to assume that Putin wants to win the presidential elections in early March by an absolute majority in the first round. The election campaign will be a first pointer to where Russia is heading.
This Sunday, on December 4, parliamentary elections are held in Russia as the first step in the country’s electoral cycle that will end with the presidential elections in early March 2012.