Category: 2017 Election Series

Kenya Decides: Kenyatta or Odinga?

In the past two years, the world has experienced multiple elections with unexpected results. Political divisions, public disenchantment, economic weakness, lack of leadership, acute international instability and –of course- terrorist attacks are combining to drive international politics to a populist stance. Following the elections in USA, France, UK and the Netherlands, now it is time to see what Kenya decides.

However, as far as the Kenya elections are concerned, the populist movement is maybe the least of its problems. The election of the 8th of August is the sixth presidential election since the country of more than 45 million people embraced a multiparty democratic system in 1992. Whilst the families of the leading presidential candidates, Kenyatta and Odinga, have been competing powers since the independence of Kenya from Britain in 1963. The existing situation is turbulent. In the second weekend of July nine people were beheaded by suspected Al-Shabaab militants, the Internal Security Minister suddenly died, Odinga was hospitalised with food poisoning, and President Kenyatta appeared to accuse the judiciary of trying to delay general elections. The decisions made on 8th August will have a considerable ripple effect throughout Kenyan society for years to come.

Iranian Election: Succession Primer

In the short, 38-year history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, not a single incumbent president has lost a reelection campaign. Well, of the six presidents that have won an Iranian election and thus presided over the Islamic republic, one was impeached and another assassinated. Ignoring those unlucky two, the slim legacy of the remaining four presidents may gain another to its ranks. On May 19th, Iranians will head to the polls to decide the future direction of a country that stands at a crossroad, with the incumbent president and moderate Hassan Rouhani fighting off a challenge from a ‘Principalist‘ candidate, Ebrahim Raisi . Most recently polled at 42%, Rouhani must achieve at least 50% of the vote, or else he faces a May 26th runoff. Ultimately, the future Iranian president will wield considerable influence in the shaping of foreign policy, the domestic economy, and the succession of the Supreme Leader.

Thoughts on the French Election: Preserving the Le Pen Family Legacy of Losing

With the first round of the French presidential election now complete, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are headed to a runoff vote on Sunday in the next stage of a contentious election cycle. The first round provided unsurprising results, with polls remarkably close to the outcomes seen in April. If such polling remains accurate, especially in light of Macron’s debate performance on Wednesday, the En Marche! candidate may soon take the mantle of the French Presidency by a 60% margin. Regardless, there are a number of important caveats that could spoil Macron’s lead.

It is without a doubt, however, that Le Pen will surely lose the election. The odds are increasingly stacked against her, as various party leaders have recently come out in opposition to her candidacy. Following their concessions in the first round, the Republican candidate Francois Fillon and the Socialist party’s Benoit Hamon both endorsed Macron for the presidency, adding to a support base that already includes the current French President Francois Hollande. The Communist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who earned 19.6% of the first round vote, refused to endorse Macron but nevertheless urged his supporters to vote against Le Pen and her National Front party. Only Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, the leader of the Rise France party who earned 4.7% of the first round vote, has endorsed Le Pen from amongst the ranks of the losing candidates.

A bellwether for Europe? Dutch Parliamentary Elections – 2017

A political storm is brewing in the Netherlands.

With the far-right firebrand, Geert Wilders, level in the polls with incumbent Mark Rutte in the upcoming Dutch parliamentary elections on March 15th, it appears that this storm may bring with it the wind of change that Europe’s political elite fear.

In this second edition of our global election series, we examine how Wilders’ ability to dictate the narrative around the election is having a profound effect on not just Dutch voters, but also on the upcoming elections in Europe and the future of the EU.

An Ideological Revolution?

The French Presidential Elections – 2017

Vote with your head, then vote with your heart. For almost 200 years, this has been the guiding principle behind France’s 2-round election system. If there is no clear majority in the first round of elections, then the two most popular candidates go through to a straight run-off two weeks later. The system was designed to limit the potential for violent swings in political sentiment during elections. A barrier of sorts, to keep the hot-heads and agitators from any real source of power.