Posted on 16 May 2012 by Luke.Middup
Since Greece’s deeply inconclusive parliamentary elections last week, there has been a rather half-hearted effort to try and form some kind of coalition government. But it seems inevitable that Greeks will return to the polls some time in June. This leaves two rather important questions to be answered: what happens in the meantime, and who are Greeks likely to vote for in this seemingly inevitable second set of elections?
(c) ΠΑΣΟΚ Continue reading “Greece: elections but no government” »
Posted on 23 April 2012 by Iram Ramzan
Earlier this week, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told a news conference that the $3.2 billion lending program for Egypt “will not be sufficient, and everybody knows that, so it will require other donors, other participants to also come to the table to help Egypt”.
Continue reading “Saudi financial package to Egypt exposes influence of the Kingdom” »
Christine Lagarde (c) World Economic Forum
Posted on 07 February 2012 by Peeping Tom
By David Bender
Google are suggesting on their Google+ page that trends in search volumes can be predictive of election results. They produced this infographic to show how trends in searches and polling matched up in the four Republican Nomination elections so far. In fairness to Google, they do pose it as a question, rather than as an assertion, but also in fairness to the world of statistics, the answer is definitely ‘no’.
If you look at headline results, the Google results have three correct predictions to one incorrect in their column, whilst polls have the same record. Indeed, if you look at the relative positions of each candidate, for every error in a prediction made solely with Google data, there was an equivalent error in predictions made using polls. From this we might conclude that Google search trends are a use predictor, no? Continue reading “Can Google predict elections?” »
Posted on 10 December 2011 by Peeping Tom
As we approach the anniversary of the beginning of unrest in Tunisia, the time is right to ask whether the Arab Spring as a movement has been successful. It is of course much too early to affirm or deny this conclusively, but one year on shouldn’t we at least be able to grope our way towards a definition of what would constitute success? Let’s try with the three following categories, which – even if they don’t allow us to measure success absolutely – will at least help to gauge progress.
1) ‘Democracy’ and legitimacy
Elections are underway in Egypt and have already been held in Tunisia and Morocco. Moderate and slightly less moderate Islamist parties have triumphed, in some cases due largely to their oppression under former regimes. While it is not yet clear how tolerant the winners will be towards those of other religions (or of no religion), or how successfully they will engage with the outside world in coming to terms with some of the big issues faced by the region, we cannot pick the winners in free elections (as we learned with Hamas in Gaza).
Meanwhile it is open to doubt in some cases whether there is an effective opposition waiting in the wings at all, particularly in Syria. One of the things keeping Assad in power is surely the region’s lack of confidence in the rebels’ political wing (though this impression is improving). Continue reading “Three measures of success for the Arab Spring” »
Posted on 02 December 2011 by Peeping Tom
As the world waits for the results of Egypt’s first democratic election, this article looks at the best we can hope for and the worst we can fear from these elections.
The best case scenario
In order for this scenario to come to pass, there are several prerequisites: first, the Army in the shape of the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) would have to accept the legitimacy of the result, as would the protest movement currently reoccupying Tahir Square.
Also, there would have to be no widespread allegations of fraud or vote rigging. Should these prerequisites be fulfilled then the best case scenario would be that the Freedom and Justice party associated with Muslim Brotherhood will come first in the poll, but will not secure an overwhelming majority.
Continue reading “The best and worse case scenarios for Egypt” »
Posted on 28 November 2011 by Peeping Tom
Tensions are running high in the heart of Africa. As the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) goes to the polls today, the international community is waiting with baited breath amidst reports of election-fueled violence, intimidation, and rigged results.
Unfortunately, this is a common narrative for Africa. The world has seen it all before, none so vividly than in Zimbabwe and Kenya. By all intense and purposes, though, the Congo is the epitome of a ‘failed state’.
It ranked forth in Foreign Policy Magazine’s Failed States Index this year, only behind Somalia, Chad and Sudan (as it was back in June) whilst the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hails is as the least developed nation in the world.
Continue reading “DRC: Enough is enough” »