Year in Review - March 2013

Dec. 20, 2013, 10:22 p.m.

Switzerland (March 3, 2013): Swiss voters went to the polls in March for the first of four annual nationwide referendums. On March 3, voters were asked three questions. The first was related to approving a federal order on family planning, requiring the federal government to work with local governments to improve the provision of day care and promoting work-life balance. This amendment passed with 54.33 percent of voters in favor. The second question asked of voters was whether they approved an amendment to a federal law on limiting the amount of land available for development. This referendum passed as well, with 62.89 percent of voters voting in favor. Finally, voters voted on a citizen’s initiative “against rip-off salaries,” which would ban advance and severance packages, ban coportate proxy, and require the articles of associate to include bonus schemes and pay plans for directors and executive officers, among other requirements. This initiative passed as well, with 67.94 percent of Swiss voters voting in favor. These referendums were notable in that for the first time in history, Swiss voters abroad were able to vote online in 11 cantons following a law change by the Federal Council in December 2012.

Thailand (March 3, 2013): Voters in Bangkok voted on March 3, 2013, to elect the mayor of the city. In total, 25 candidates contested the election; however, the main candidates in the election were Mayor SUKHUMBHAND Paribatra and PONGSAPAT Pongcharoen. Mayor SUKHUMBHAND of the Democrat Party / พรรคประชาธิปัตย์ won re-election with 47.75 percent of the vote, despite facing low approval ratings ahead of the election. Bangkok has long been an electoral stronghold for the Democrat Party.

Kenya (March 4, 2013): General elections were held in Kenya on March 4, 2013. Prior to the election, parties teamed up to create electoral coalitions. The three main coalitions were the Jubilee Coaltion, who nominated Uhuru KENYATTA as their presidential candidate, the Coalition for the Resortation of Democracy (CORD), who nominated Prime Minister Raila ODINGA as their presidential candidate, and the Amani Coalition, who nominated Musalia MUDAVADI. In the presidential election, KENYATTA won the most votes, receiving 50.51 percent, which narrowly allowed him to avoid a run-off election against ODINGA, who won 43.70 percent of the vote. In the House of Assembly elections, Jubilee once again gained the most votes, winning 167 seats in the assembly, with CORD winning 141. In the Senate, Jubilee won 30 seats, and CORD 28.

Micronesia (March 5, 2013): Congressional elections were held in the Federated States of Micronesia on March 5, 2013. At stake in the election were 10 seats, for which 21 candidates ran. In Micronesia, all candidates run as non-partisans. In the election, 9 of the incumbent candidates won re-election, with only Roger MORI from the Northern Namoneas district losing re-election.

Malta (March 9, 2013): Elections to the Maltese House of Representatives / Il-Kamra Tad-Deputati were held on March 9, 2013. Voting is conducted by proportional representation using single transferable votes, with possibility of add-on seats to ensure that the results are representative of the nationwide first-preference votes. For the first time in 15 years, the Nationalist Party / Partit Nazzjonalista of Prime Minister Lawrence GONZI lost control of the House of Representatives, winning 43.63 percent of the vote and 30 seats. The Labor Party / Partit Laburista, led by Joseph MUSCAT, won the election with 55.20 percent of the vote, and 39 seats in the House of Representatives.

Falkland Islands (March 10-11, 2013): Over the course of two days, voters in the Falkland Islands voted in a referendum which asked residents, “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” Tensions over the status of the islands had grown in recent years, in light of the thirtieth anniversary of the Falklands War and the decision of the Falklands government to start oil exploration in the territorial waters. Residents of the Falkland Islands overwhelmingly voted in favor of the referendum, with 99.80 percent of voters approving of the referendum. Indeed, only three voters voted against the proposal in the election, with a turnout of 92 percent.

Greenland (March 12, 2013): Elections to the Parliament of Greenland / Kalaallit Nunaanni Inatsisartut were held on March 12, 2013. The campaign centered around the topic of the country’s mineral wealth, with the ruling Community of the People / Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party advancing a proposal that would allow foreign workers to enter Greenland to work in the mining industry. In the election, the Forward Party / Siumet, led by Aleqa HAMMOND won the most seats, having gained 43.22 percent of the vote, and 14 seats. The IA finished second with 34.73 percent of the vote, and 11 seats. Three other parties won 2 seats each. Following the election, HAMMOND became Greenland’s first female Prime Minister, and has led a coalition government of Siumet, and two of these smaller parties, the Inuit Party / Partii Inuit and Solidarity / Atassut.

Zimbabwe (March 16, 2013): Voters in Zimbabwe voted on approval of a new constitution. The new constitution would enact term limits on the President, prevent the President from vetoing legislation passed by Parliament, create a peace and reconciliation commission, and legally allow dual citizenship. If passed, President Robert MUGABE said elections would follow. The new constitution received overwhelming support, with 94.49 percent of Zimbabweans voting in favor. Following the referendum, general elections were scheduled for July 31, 2013.




comments powered by Disqus