Weekly round up Sunday 19 February

You want dirty politics? Try Harvard's board elections! These guys could teach the Borgias a thing or two.

John McCain should beat Hillary Clinton for the U.S. presidency in 2008... if he doesn't get destroyed by us bloggers who are mad at his inept and anti-free speech campaign reforms.... if the conservatives don't get him like in 2000... and if his health holds out. He's trying to fix the second problem right now.

Ghastly though! French sociologists find that a French conservative revolution is underway! Pauvre Monsieur Chirac.

New Democratic Republic Congo (recently called "Zaire") constitution approved.

Israeli acting-prime minister calls the Palestinian Authority "de facto terrorists." I call it electioneering.

OK. Now I believe Rick Santorum has a chance of re-election in Pennsylvania (U.S. Senate, this coming November).

Four presidential candidates for Belarus next month.

This could be a campaign not only against free speech, which last time I looked was guaranteed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It also is an attempt to interfere in the democratic process, seeing as gambling sites are essential tools for predicting the outcome of elections (I guess the soon-to-be-losers want to keep the spread betters from showing them up). Oh, and it violates the World Trade Organization's rules. China in U.S.A. out?

Silvio Berlusconi hopes to turn the Italian general election into a plebiscite for or against him (according to Le Monde, so they could be wrong).

Failed coup d'état attempt in the Philippines. Of course with presidents winning elections with sometimes less than a quarter of the vote, never mind the electorate, it's actually quite healthy that they don't have more of them.

Endless speculation (ok it just feels that way) about the 2008 U.S. presidential elections. Here and here.

Tokelau says "No" to independence. With only 1,500 people, I imagine that simple things like the cost of having an embassy in New Zealand would have been difficult to manage. Initial report here.

French talk of "primaries" for the 2007 presidential election in France.

Britain's Conservative Party (having sent people to help out John Kerry at the last U.S. presidential election, and having been refused access to George W. Bush last time their leader visited the U.S.A.) wants to mend the rift. Copying social-democratic policies shouldn't work, should it?

Democratic murmurs in Lebanon resume. More here.

Shenanigans in Palestine. First Fatah cancels an election (five years ago). Then they hold an election without even posting the fact on their own government website. Now they change the constitution with outgoing members of the assembly, because they lost. No wonder Hamas looks good!
Meanwhile, jostling to make friends with a former pariah. I wonder what the Hamas definition of a "pragmatist" is?

Nepal's Maoist prove that however nasty my write-up of them last week, they can always make themselves appear more intolerant and wicked. Nepal's king, meanwhile seems determined to play the conciliatory Louis XVI role to the letter. I would not want to be a royal bodyguard!
Royal despotism: political activists killed. Maoist rule: half the population killed or starve. Looks like self-defence to me.

Earth to planet moonbat.

Kadima remains ahead in Israel's election race, despite Ariel Sharon's coma. I can only say this does not bode well for Israel's future.

Cape Verde held elections last week for their president. Report here. Incomplete returns here. Further report here.

Ibrahim Jaafari to stay as Iraq's Prime Minister.

The New York writes: "Why we're rubbish! We can't even link to a roll-call for the Samuel Alito confirmation votes in the Senate." No comment!

In Haiti, it looks as if foreign governments have decided that the second round vote is unnecessary, an extraordinary intervention without precedent.
Coverage here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In Japan, the rules of succession for the Emperor restricting eligibility to males is being maintained (for now) as the government says it will wait and see what the latest imperial family pregnancy produces.

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