Forget the political parties that are contesting Japan’s parliamentary election this weekend. The real choice for Japanese voters as they cast ballots is between cynicism and indifference. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has called a snap election less than halfway through the parliament’s term – but not because his parliamentary majority is at risk and voters need to give him and his party a new mandate. Just the opposite: Abe has called an election to exploit a disorganized opposition and protect his own back. This is breath-taking opportunism.
Economic good sense and reforms as opposed to ill-fated nationalism and historical revision. In a nutshell, this is what Japan’s current and most probably also future government should be able to provide the Japanese electorate with after Japan’s Lower House elections on December 14.
Abenomics is at a crisis point. The economy slipped back into recession in Q3, prompting a delay to the second planned consumption tax hike and a snap election. The Bank of Japan meanwhile has also reacted to weak growth by expanding its monetary easing programme. The latter decision may avoid a return to deflation but unless the ‘third arrow’ of Abenomics – structural reform – is activated, Japan’s relative economic decline is set to continue.
Despite expectations that this year’s general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were held on October 12, might bring change, especially due to a series of violent demonstrations and protests in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in February, 54 percent of the electorate of the country largely voted for the political parties structured on ethno-national lines.
With parliamentary elections scheduled for this Sunday, Tunisia – a small country unused to extensive English-language media coverage – is receiving a rare burst of press. This week's stories on the country have tended to reiterate two dominant narratives: (1) Tunisia is a country riven by a core ideological conflict between secularists and Islamists, and (2) disproportionate numbers of young men have left Tunisia to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, making Salafi jihadism a central focus of coverage on the country.
The Ennahda’s electoral meeting in Douar Hichar on October 12 2014 in the suburbs of Tunis opened with a prayer swiftly followed by the audience singing the national anthem.
Today, Wednesday 25 June, Libyans go to the polls for the second time since Gaddafi’s fall in 2011. The atmosphere surrounding the polls is not one of enthusiasm and participation. Libya is slowly but steadily slipping into a period of protracted violence, if not a full blown civil war. Elections were seen by many as a panacea but they may turn out to be a missed opportunity if no meaningful reconciliation is started and if a low turnout affects legitimacy.
The political developments in Libya are heavily influenced by numerous armed groups. As this will remain unchanged after the upcoming elections it is useful to assess their capabilities, political affiliation, alliances and future intentions.