Displaying items by tag: Election
After nearly two decades, the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) has signed an agreement to withdraw its 15,000 peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The foreign minister and MONUSCO's head finalised the deal, marking the end of a collaboration that struggled to bring lasting peace to eastern Congo, a region plagued by a long-standing conflict involving numerous armed groups, some backed by neighbouring countries. With upcoming elections in December, the conflict has taken centre stage, prompting the incumbent president Félix Tshisekedi, to call for the UN peacekeepers' accelerated withdrawal; the government has cited ‘unsatisfactory results’ to justify this request. Tensions between the UN mission and the local population have often flared, resulting in deadly protests. The exact timing of the withdrawal has not yet been agreed.
Votes are being counted in the presidential run-off election between incumbent George Weah and ex-vice president Joseph Boakai. The election, held peacefully on 14 November, saw more than 2.4 million voters choosing between Weah, 57, seeking a second term, and Boakai, 78. Weah, formerly a famous footballer (World Player of the Year in 1996), is popular among young people but must defend his record in office, while Boakai is an old hand who has worked in both the public and private sectors. At the time of writing results showed Boakai in the lead with 50.6% of the votes, but the final result is still uncertain. The first-round vote in October was close, with Weah leading Boakai by only 7,126 votes: in 2017 he had defeated him easily. The elections are the first since the UN ended its peacekeeping mission, created after more than 250,000 people died in two civil wars between 1989 and 2003. ECOWAS, which monitored the election, highlighted the peaceful conduct but expressed concerns about premature victory claims and potential post-election violence.
Opinion polls are showing an increasingly tight race between Peronist economy minister Sergio Massa and radical libertarian Javier Milei ahead of a runoff ballot for president on 19 November. The two candidates offer polarised visions for the embattled Latin American country, the region's third largest economy, a major supplier of grains, beef and lithium, but also the largest debtor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). One recent survey showed Massa ahead with 42.4% of the likely vote against Milei on 39.7%, his lead more than cut in half versus the previous poll in late October. He is still seen as the candidate to beat, but Milei has gained ground, winning the backing of conservative Patricia Bullrich, who finished third in the first-round vote, and her powerful ally, former President Mauricio Macri. Significantly, with some 18% of those polled remaining unsure, the outcome is hard to call.
Left-leaning Luisa González and centrist Daniel Noboa have faced each other in the last debate before the run-off election on 15 October. The debate gave both candidates a platform to address long-simmering issues in the country. The economy remains Ecuador’s Achilles heel: at the end of 2022, debt alone accounted for 57 percent of the GDP. The other major issue facing the candidates is crime. Ecuador, once one of the most peaceful countries in Latin America, is now on track to become the third-most violent country in the region. In August, that violence spilled over with the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio in Quito. Since then, candidates have been wearing bullet-proof vests. Noboa is ahead in the polls, but many Ecuadorians have not yet made up their minds about who to vote for.
Giorgia Meloni, the favourite to become Italy’s next prime minister, has a passion for fantasy author Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. She regards the legends of the rings of power as much more than fantasy. They inspire her worldview and politics. When she was elected to cabinet in 2008 she vowed not to be corrupted by the ‘ring of power’. Later she posed for a magazine profile next to a statue of Gandalf, Tolkien’s bearded wizard. The hobbits’ attachment to their pristine Shire has been regarded as a rallying call for nationalism and rejection of modernism by generations of post-fascist youths. Although Meloni resents being linked to Italy's fascist past, her Brothers of Italy party embraces a slogan adopted by the fascists – ‘God, fatherland and family’. See also
President Bolsonaro has delivered fiery speeches to tens of thousands of supporters at rallies ahead of a divisive election on 2 October when opinion polls suggest he will be defeated. Bolsonaro has repeatedly attacked Supreme Court justices, alleging (without any evidence) that Brazil’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to widespread fraud. Legal experts have rejected that allegation, and critics accuse him of sowing doubt ahead of the election to dispute the results, as was done by Donald Trump, whom Bolsonaro has emulated. ‘Bolsonaro, activate the military to depose the Supreme Court,’ said one banner carried by Suely Ferreira who said, ‘Our country is being ruined by the high court’s dictatorship. We love our president. Everyone I know supports him. He will win. There’s no way he could lose.’ The president’s attacks on the voting system have stirred calls for a military coup from some more radical backers, fuelling concerns that the nation could see election-related violence.
On 1 November Israelis will vote again. Defections, inability to pass legislation, and disagreements with an Arab-Israeli coalition have caused another government to collapse. Pray for a government that will heal the divisions of the pro-Netanyahu vs anti-Netanyahu camps. 1 November is All Saints Day. Pray for only righteous people to be voted into office. Pray for God to work in the hearts of Israelis now, so that they vote in line with His will. Pray for the upcoming high holiday season to show Israelis that they already have a King. Lord, speak to Israel's politicians to do all they can to heal relationships and to humble themselves before each other in respect and love. Lord, please clear out the dross from Israel's political scene and raise up people whom You see as righteous to lead Israel at this time. Expose unrighteousness and prevent political alliances that are not of You. See also
Over 24 people were killed and 3,000 displaced this month as the nation battled a surge of election violence in the runup to choosing the next prime minister: either incumbent James Marape or the PM who preceded him, Peter O’Neill. Mr Marape promises to make Papua New Guinea ‘the richest black Christian nation on earth’, while Mr O’Neill’s campaign centres on healthcare, education and job creation. The government funds church programmes that provide health and education services through the Church-State Partnership Programme. Pray for peace to come to the island and for an end to politically-motivated violence. Pray for Christianity to take deep root on the island without being diluted and mixed with traditional and animist beliefs. Pray for God to help His Church overcome the attacks from those who practise sorcery and witchcraft. Pray that people would gain a true understanding of what it means to follow Christ.
The attorney general has been advised that it would be lawful to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the post-Brexit arrangement which requires some checks on goods between Britain and NI. This angers both Unionists and the EU. There has been no power-sharing executive for several months after the DUP withdrew in protest against the protocol. In the recent election Sinn Féin, whose goal is for NI to become one country with the Republic of Ireland, won the most seats and needs to form a government. It cannot take up the office unless the DUP nominates a deputy first minister. The DUP's leader said his party would respect the election result, but changes needed to be made to the protocol. Boris Johnson has said the most important treaty is the Good Friday Agreement, which established a cross-community power-sharing government to end decades of violence.
Scott Morrison's government is criticised for its inaction on climate change. When Australia - long considered a climate policy laggard – holds an election on 21 May, the outcome could be significant for the planet's future. Still reliant on coal for most electricity, it is one of the dirtiest countries per capita, making up over 1% of global emissions with only 0.3% of the world's population. It is also a massive supplier of fossil fuels globally; when that is factored in, it accounts for 3.6% of the world's emissions. Australia is most at risk from climate change, having recently suffered severe drought, historic bushfires, successive years of record-breaking floods, and six mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef. It is racing towards a future full of similar disasters. Climate policy played a role in toppling three prime ministers in a decade. Most voters want tougher climate action, but some coal towns in swing constituencies are key to winning elections.