April 1, 2014, 1:05 p.m.
Antigua and Barbuda: About 100 supporters of the opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) protested outside the office of Prime Minister Baldwyn SPENCER demanding that the Prime Minister set a date for parliamentary elections. Parliamentary elections have conventionally taken place in Antigua and Barbuda every five years; 12 March marked exactly five years since the last elections. While Prime Minister SPENCER claims that the delay is due to ongoing legal cases initiated by the opposition regarding constituency boundaries and the voter registry, opposition members claim the Prime Minister is buying time until more of his supporters register to vote.
Iraq: The commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) have rescinded their resignations after consultations with regional and international organizations, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq. All nine members had resigned simultaneously to protest their lack of independence from political interference in a dispute over their interpretation of the requirement that parliamentary candidates be “of good reputation” to run for office.
Turkey: Preliminary results of the local elections on 30 March show a resounding victory for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). According to municipal poll results, the AKP received approximately 45 percent of votes, far more than the leading opposition Republican People’s Party, which only received 29 percent. This result is an improvement for the AKP, which received only 39 percent in the last local elections. Although the elections were for local positions, the campaign issues were largely national in scope, revolving around the current waves of corruption scandals wracking Prime Minister ERDOGAN’s administration and his controversial response to them. Critics of ERDOGAN, emboldened by massive protests last year, have now gathered outside the Supreme Election Council building to protest alleged fraud committed in favor of the AKP in the close Ankara mayoral race. ERDOGAN, for his part, continues to denounce and threaten “the enemy within” Turkey, referring to dissidents supportive of his political rival Fethullah GULEN. Last week, ERDOGAN made the decision to ban Twitter and Youtube to prevent corruption-related leaks from spreading. Many believe that the results of the recent local elections will further encourage ERDOGAN to either run for President in August or seek a fourth term as Prime Minister.
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