Update on the Spanish Parliamentary Elections
After nine months of being governed by a caretaker government,
Spain remains without a government,
as the ruling center-right party fell short last week of winning a required
parliamentary vote of confidence. The
third-place business-friendly centrist party agreed to support the
conservatives, in exchange for the latter’s approval of a comprehensive reform
package, but the effort to form Spain’s
first coalition government in its history came up only five seats short. The conservatives had won the most votes in
parliamentary elections in December and gained seats in a second vote in
June. Unless a coalition can be formed,
Spanish voters will have to return to the polls—possibly on Christmas Day, as
the second-place Socialists refuse to form a grand coalition. King Felipe VI is urging the parties to
The Removal of Brazil’s Liberal President
Since late last year, there have been major setbacks to the Latin American socialist revolution inspired by
dictatorial government. As I have been
posting, in addition to being removed from national power in Brazil and
replaced by the center-right, the Left has lost presidential elections in
Argentina and Peru to conservatives, while the center-right opposition won a
supermajority in Venezuela’s congressional elections and Bolivians rejected a
referendum to amend the constitution to allow their leftist leader to serve
another term in office.
The Popular Efforts to Remove Venezuela’s Socialist Dictator
The largest protests against Venezuela’s dictatorship in many years took place last week against the ruling Socialists, with hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans taking to the streets in opposition to the authoritarian government, as Venezuela plunges ever deeper into economic abyss, in addition to their suffering from oppression, corruption and violent crime. The democratic opposition is organizing a presidential recall referendum, which has already obtained enough valid signatures to advance to the next step, as the dictatorship has thwarted democratic reforms approved by the Venezuelan Congress, led by a two-thirds supermajority of the opposition. The dictatorship’s electoral commission has been delaying the vote to run out the clock on eligibility for an election to be held to replace the government when there are more than two years remaining in its term, as would be the case until mid-January. The delays would push the timeline for certifying the results of a referendum and the taking of office of a new government past that point to prevent an interim presidential election and thereby allow the Socialists to continue their authoritarian rule. The size of the street protests is a sign that the presidential recall referendum would likely gain the required number of signatures and the Socialists could lose the referendum.
The Democratic Opposition Gains Seats in the
Hong Kong Legislative
The democratic opposition gained seats in
legislative elections earlier this week. Communist China appoints the city-state’s
ruler and reserves 30 of the 70 local council seats for various constituencies;
it appoints its allies to those seats.
As in the last elections in 2012, the opposition won a majority of the
elective seats, which gives them more than the required one-third to veto
constitutional changes. Pro-democracy
activists, including several leaders of the 2014 uprising I had posted about at
the time against Peking’s interference in Hong Kong’s
elections, won several seats in the city-state’s local elections yesterday on
the promise of greater autonomy or even independence for the Chinese-owned territory.
The other democratic opposition
candidates favor the current arrangement between Peking and Hong Kong, but
violations of it. There was a record
turnout of over two million voters.
The former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, after
promised Hong Kong could maintain its free
market, its representative government and a degree of autonomy. However, the Chinese Communists limited the
city state’s autonomy in 2014 with a law that placed further restrictions on
candidacies for those local council seats that are elective, thereby blocking
some opposition leaders from eligibility for election.