The Guardian says...

2005:Blogged, gets a review in the Guardian's online newspaper edition. Tim Worstall's book reprinted my posting on this site of "Operation Clark County".

It's nice to know that my criticism of a bungled attempt to win the 2004 Presidential election for Democratic Senator John Kerry, does not prejudice Guardian reviewer Jane Perrone.

However, I bet someone at The Grauniad is smiling: 2005:Blogged's index contains a misspelling of my name.


Elections around the world in 2006

For democracy nerds everywhere, here's a list of countries where elections are expected to be held at national or State level in 2006. I've included two proposed referenda on the E.U. constitution, although neither are likely at present: the British government has declared the constitution in its present form as not worth putting to the vote and the Czech government won't hold a referendum until everyone else has. There are local elections planned in other countries amnd I'm sure I've missed a few anyway, but then Wikipedia missed out Angola and Israel when I looked.

Angola (possible)
Czech Republic (Referendum EU constitution)
Ukraine (Parliament)
U.K. (Referendum on EU constitution)
U.S.A. (House of Representatives, Senate and gubernatorial elections)

Updates as I get them.

Wikipedia (see above) now shows the Israeli election, but not the Angolan. Also we both missed the Palestinian Authority legislative elections in January 2006.

The fact that the Palestinian Authority's own website doesn't have any details on the election timetable does not help. From the Australian parliament's website comes the following: "President Abbas has announced that it will be held on January 25 2006".


Israeli election date no later than March 28

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has asked President Moshe Katsav to dissolve the Knesset (Israel's unicameral or single-chamber parliament). Mr Sharon has also announced that he is leaving Israel's right-wing Likud party to form a new political movement aimed at the political centre of Israeli politics. Meanwhile, President Katsav has proposed a date of "no later" than March 28 2006 for elections.

The Knesset can vote to set a different date for the election, and my instant gut feeling is that it might not suit either Likud or Labour to go along with a snap election as both parties will have recently changed leaders and both may be wary of giving Mr Sharon the benefit of a short election campaign. (I wouldn't in their shoes, but then I'm not hired by any of the parties to do their campaign strategy, so what do they know!)

The fractious nature of Israel's proportional representation system makes such Mr Sharon's move difficult to predict. Small and often extreme political parties tend to hold disproportionate bargaining power in the formation of a coalition government. Mr Sharon appears to be calculating that he is better off outside Likud and offering to support either of the main two parties (Labour being the left-wing party), in exchange for a moderate position towards the Palestinian Authority.

In America or in the U.K., such a move would be a simple case of political suicide. However, with a proportional representation system, it's in the hands of the party horsetraders... after the next election.

Angola may hold general election in 2006

The Angolan government has publicly stated in the past 24 hours that it aspires to organising a general election during 2006.

However, the tone of Edeltrudes Costa (the Deputy Minister of Territory Administration) speaking to a press gathering yesterday was more hopeful than confident.

Finland's presidential election January 2006

The first round of voting for the presidential election in Finland is scheduled for 15 January 2006. The date is chosen as being the third Sunday in January.

The system is identical to that used in France and the State of Louisiana in the U.S.A. - if a candidate fails to win a majority of the votes cast, there is a run-off between the top two candidates. The run-off - if required - will take place on 29 January 2006.