The following arrived from Nathan Allen via e-mail. He had tried to post it as a comment to an earlier thread on Indonesia’s party lists, but was unable to due to the software glitches. I am planting it here in order to offer an update on an important upcoming election.
The rest of what follows is in Nathan’s words, not mine.
Given the fluid situation, descriptions of the Indonesian electoral system tend to become dated after a couple weeks. So this post may have a short shelf-life.
As Wilf Day highlighted, the Court’s decision effectively created an open-list system. To answer Wilf’s question, before the ruling candidates candidates* were awarded seats after the election but based on their list number in the district (that is if all candidates failed to meet the electoral quota). The parties can’t tinker with this after the election. So low numbers were coveted and tended to fetch a high price.
The Court’s ruling has been controversial though. Some within the national electoral authorities (KPU) questioned the the Court’s decision and tried to regulate around it. A major point of controversy has revolved around the representation of women. The KPU has some authority to pass regulation seeking to increase the representation of women in the legislature. They enacted a ‘zipper’ system requiring that parties include 1 woman for every 3 positions it filled. This was an attempt to force parties to rank women in the choice list positions (1, 2, or 3), thereby decreasing the gender imbalance in the legislature.
When the list was made completely open it challenged the KPU’s attempt to engineer the construction of lists to increase women’s representation. There is some expectation that gender bias among voters will mean female candidates will suffer. The KPU has made statements suggesting they will ignore the ruling and they have actively pushed the legislature and executive to weigh in on their side. There are internal divisions within the KPU on whether they are charged with increasing women’s representation in the legislature or just the candidate lists however. My sense is that the momentum is with the Court. A former KPU head who maintains contacts within the organization recently came out in against KPU challenges to the Court’s ruling. And the Court has threatened to press criminal action against the KPU if they do not abide by the ruling.
On the ground things continues as if the system is completely open. Candidates tend to run their own organization and some will tell you that the competition with co-partisans is fierce. Changes to the system have already thrown people for a loop (all those people who paid for choice list positions find the value of their investment significantly decreased). If the KPU tried to mess with the system again there will be tens of thousands of very angry people in so-so list positions who have just spent a bundle of cash on their campaign.
It seems as if the most recent posts (plantings) are allowing comments, but older ones are shut down. I have no idea why this might be happening; rest assured that I have not gone back and shut down the comment form at older posts. In fact, one of the things that really makes this blog “work” is that I have readers who will remember an older dicussion, be aware of something new that is relevant to it, and go back and comment. At the moment, that feature appears unavailable.
I have selectively corrected the comment closure on a few older items that I know have some recurring interest, but obviously I need a universal, not a particularistic, solution.
One solution might be to upgrade the version of Word Press, which is not the latest by any means. But I need a bit more time (and a lot more patience) than I have right now to do that. So, things will be slightly less functional for a bit. I am sorry for that.
In the meantime, and for as long as this post remains available for comments, if an issue comes up that you want to comment on, just let me know here and I will re-open the older post. (Or just post here as if it were an “open thread”; not an institution I normally favor, but can accept under the circumstances.)
And thanks, as always, for reading. And commenting. When you can.
Like Simon, I am quite concerned with what a certain foreign minister has called the “existentialist threat” to Pakistan. In fact, I doubt any country could stand up long in the face of a determined onslaught by existentialists.
I have had two readers write in recent days to tell me they were not allowed to comment and wondering if I had changed things to block comments. Nope. But the blogging software had several things set that appear to inhibit comments. I never changed them, so I am not sure what orchard pest got in there and changed things around.
The problem might be fixed now. Or it might not. Who am I to say? But please try.
Update from Friend of F&V, Steven T.: how about now?
There really is nothing in the world of voting quite like a general election in India. A new Lok Sabha is required to be inaugurated by 2 June, and as of today we now know the dates of the elections.
The Election Commission announced that the polls will be held in five stages between 16 April and 13 May.
Due to the vast administrative complexity and security requirements of Indian elections, they are spread over multiple stages, even though voting is held on just one day in any given district, given India’s first-past-the-post system.
Other items of note: Photo electoral rolls will be used for the first time in 522 out of the 543 constituencies and 499 districts have had boundary adjustments since the last election in 2004.
These are significant because from the 2004 elections until last summer, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance had ruled with the support of the Left bloc, which includes the parties that govern in West Bengal (where the Congress will now seek to displace them from their Lok Sabha seats). The Samajwadi Party, which is one of the major parties (not currently governing) in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, lent the UPA a helping hand by supporting it in a confidence vote last year when the Left withdrew support.
By forging such alliances in India’s FPTP system, parties seek to coordinate their voters behind a common candidate in each district covered by the alliance.
Elections were held today for assemblies in the Spanish regions of Galicia and Euskadi (Basque Country). The following is excerpted from Reuters:
With 98 percent of ballots counted in northwesterly Galicia, [national] Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s party was on course to cede control back to the conservative main opposition party, the Popular Party, after heading a government there for four years.
[...the] PP increased their representation to 39 seats from 37, just enough for a majority in the 75-seat house.
The Socialists, who had governed in coalition with Galician nationalists, slipped to 24 seats from 25.
The Basque picture is a bit more mixed:
With 99.9 percent of ballots tallied, the PNV [Basque Nationalist Party] had the biggest share of the vote, but Zapatero’s party appeared set to increase its share to 25 seats from the 18 it won in 2005.
With the PP set to get 13 seats, a majority coalition in the 75-seat regional Basque assembly between the two main national parties appeared to be a possibility, although they are likely to make uneasy bedfellows.
I do not know Basque politics at all, but the idea of a coalition between the two main national parties–the PP and the PSOE–seems unlikely. This result portends a minority PNV government to me. (Minority governments are routine in Spain; in fact, Zapatero heads one currently in Madird.)
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4