Sunday, November 22, 2015

Trends in Recent Elections in Major Foreign States

           I had posted a few years ago that I had observed a rightward trend in elections in major states around the world over the last several years.  There have since been exceptions in France, Chile and, most recently, Canada.  In the meantime, the center-right gained a governing majority in the Parliament of the United Kingdom (see my post from May of this year, Conservatives Win the Majority in the British Parliamentary Elections,  and, most recently, the right was victorious in Poland

Today, the center-right won the presidential election in Argentina, ending twelve years of leftist rule.  Argentina’s significant fiscal and economic troubles were a major factor.  The victory for the conservative candidate ends a leftward trend in elections Latin America, especially in South America, where every Latin state, except Colombia and Paraguay, is ruled by center-left to far-left parties.   

In the European Union states that have been at the center of the debt crisis, the left has made gains over the last two years in being able to govern, but not by gaining a majority of parliamentary seats and thus having to partner with the right in coalitions.  Greek voters had given a plurality that was far short of a majority to a leftist party that was only able to form a government in coalition with a rightwing party.  After the leftist Greek Government gave in to European demands for austerity and various reforms, some on the far-left of that party resigned from it, which left its successor Government somewhat less leftist; it has continued its austerity policies, with the support of the center-right opposition.  As I have posted over the last few years, Italy has shifted from a center-right Government to a Government led by a center-left party that had won a plurality, but it only can govern in coalition with a center-right party.  As a result, the Italian Government has cut taxes and adopted various other fiscal and economic reforms, some of which have also been supported by the main center-right opposition party.  Voters in the Portuguese parliamentary elections gave a plurality a few weeks ago to the ruling center-right party that had continued austerity policies, but the party was unable to form a majority through a coalition; the minority Government was short-lived.  The anti-austerity left may soon take power, but only by promising to continue Portugal’s debt obligations.

            I had posted in June in my post, Islamists Lose their Majority in the Turkish Parliamentary Elections, that in the Turkish parliamentary elections, secular parties polled more votes than the ruling moderately-Islamist party, but they were unable to form a government, leaving the ruling party to continue to govern. 

            Turkey has been an example I have posted about of the trend toward authoritarianism in representative states, which is most noticeable in Russia and certain other former Soviet Republics and Communist states, as well as in Latin America, led by Venezuela, whose Socialist dictatorship has encouraged the election of leftists in Latin America and is responsible for the leftward trend I mentioned above.  As in Latin America, various elected leaders and other dictators in Africa have attempted to have constitutions amended in order to remain in power beyond their term limits.  Meanwhile, Thailand has yet to schedule elections and return to representative government after the military seized power after a lengthy impasse between the sharply-divided political parties that made it ungovernable and unstable. 

In contrast, as I have posted, Ukraine and Tunisia (see my post from October of 2014, Elections in Ukraine and Tunisia Restore Liberty,  and from January of 2015, Foreign Updates: Cuba, Ukraine, Tunisia and France, have transitioned to representative government, as has Burma (see my post from earlier this month), where the latest news about the Burmese parliamentary elections is that the democratic opposition won a majority of seats and will be able to name the President.  Meanwhile, Nepal has adopted a constitution that guarantees liberty and representative government (see my post from September of this year, Foreign Digest: Serbia, Nepal and Russia,  

In short, while the rightward trend in elections in major states may not be as noticeable as before, conservative candidates and parties remain competitive generally, even where they are in opposition, and have been able at least to join in coalition governments, while leftist candidates and parties usually have difficulty winning majorities of the vote where they are not currently in power or in being able to govern on their own.  It is hoped that the results of the Argentine presidential elections are a harbinger of a reversal of the leftward trend in Latin America.  Although Latin America has been an example of the rise of authoritarianism by leftist democratically-elected governments, there have been some significant gains by parties around the world that support freedom and representative government.  May they inspire the return to liberty in those leftist or Islamist states where elected leaders have gradually denied their people more and more freedoms.  

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