Israel may be heading to elections for the third (!) time this year: The country and its leaders are so divided that no one party has been able to cobble together a ruling coalition.
The impasse started in April, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party won the most votes but failed to form a government. That’s because Avigdor Lieberman, a former friend of the prime minister, turned against Netanyahu and refused to join his coalition.
In what was then an unprecedented event, elections were called again — for September. The results were … basically the same.
Lieberman, still angry about Netanyahu’s alliance with ultra-Orthodox parties, among other grievances, refused to join a Likud-led government with Netanyahu at the top. So Benny Gantz, the head of Israel’s second-largest party, Blue and White, was next given the chance to form a government. He couldn’t build a strong-enough coalition, either.
Now, for the next three weeks, anyone in Israel’s parliament can try to build a ruling coalition. If that fails, as is expected, the only option left will be a third round of elections.
Voters in Britain chose to leave the European Union (i.e., Brexit) just months before the 2016 U.S. election. But Brexit has not gone smoothly.
Successive prime ministers from the Conservative Party have failed to deliver a Brexit deal that satisfies both the European Union and British policymakers. Amid that mayhem, voters are going back to the polls Dec. 12 — the second election in just over two years.
Pushing for elections was a big gamble for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, head of the Conservative Party: He’s trying to secure a stronger majority in Parliament to push through his Brexit deal.
Hong Kong is three days away from local district elections — a divisive and significant vote, as it’s the first since anti-government demonstrations began six months ago.
“While they will not fundamentally change Hong Kong’s political system, which critics say is stacked against the pro-democracy camp, they are a timely referendum on support for a protest movement that shows little sign of abating,” the Financial Times reported.
Some speculated that the elections would be called off because of the daily unrest, especially as a handful of protesters remain holed up in Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where they’ve been resisting arrest after a police raid and ensuing clashes.
Tensions are high. As protesters continue to demand more political freedoms, at least eight pro-democracy candidates or activists have been attacked or assaulted in the lead-up to the vote, the Financial Times reported. One person even had part of his ear bitten off. Hong Kong’s largest pro-Beijing party, meanwhile, has been urging voters to “kick out the black force,” according to the Associated Press.
At least 30 people are dead in Bolivia since a disputed presidential election Oct. 20 sent the country spiraling. Now, Bolivia’s interim president has proposed holding new elections, though a date has yet to be set.
The unrest kicked off after Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, claimed victory in the October election, which would have ushered in his fourth term. But his right-wing opponents took to the streets and accused him of electoral fraud. After weeks of deadly unrest and clashes between police and demonstrators, on Nov. 10 the Organization of American States released a report that it had found “clear manipulation” in the election.
Hours later, after losing the military’s support, Morales resigned. He decried his ouster as a coup and left for exile in Mexico.
That didn’t end the unrest in the country. Morales supporters oppose the interim government that replaced him. More violence is expected ahead of the new elections.
Voters in Sri Lanka on Sunday elected Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former high-level defense official accused of human rights violations, as their new president. After a tense election, Rajapaksa may struggle to form a government.
“With many executive powers clipped and the opposition in control of a powerful Parliament, the former defense official who inspires respect but also fear may have difficulty assembling a government,” the AP reported Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Rajapaksa made a move to cement his power by appointing older brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president and another controversial figure, as prime minister.
This year’s campaign had centered on security concerns, after attacks claimed by the Islamic State and carried out by local extremists killed more than 260 people on Easter Sunday in April. But remnants of the country’s civil war also were front and center.
“His supporters credit Gotabaya Rajapaksa with helping to end the island nation’s brutal, decades-long civil war in 2009. During the election campaign, he has made national security a focus and promised to keep Sri Lankans safe,” The Post’s Joanna Slater and Hafeel Farisz reported from the capital, Colombo.
“But for others, including the country’s Tamil minority, a Rajapaksa victory is cause for fear,” the report continued. “His tenure as defense secretary was marked by accusations of human rights violations, including the murder and abduction of journalists and political opponents. They expect a crackdown on dissent and a turn toward authoritarian rule. Rajapaksa denies the allegations.”
Amid the global wave of protests, Algeria’s movements for political change haven’t made as many headlines. In April, after weeks of protests, president Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after two decades in power. The protests kicked off in February when the aging and ailing Bouteflika, backed by the military and intelligence services, announced that he would be running for another term.
Now the country’s embattled interim leaders have set Dec. 22 as the date for new elections — but the people aren’t happy with that, either.
“Activists are demanding sweeping reforms before any vote takes place and say Bouteflika-era figures still in power must not use the presidential poll as an opportunity to appoint his successor,” France 24 reported.
Tens of thousands of Algerians have been holding weekly protests of the election.
Afghans voted for a new president on Sept. 28 — but no one knows who won, as the election commission keeps missing the deadline to release the results, citing technical and transparency issues.
“The front-runners, President Ashraf Ghani and chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, said they expect to win and indicated they will not accept defeat because of suspected flaws in the voting process,” The Post’s Susannah George and Sayed Salahuddin reported from Kabul.
“Inconclusive election results marred by fraud in the previous presidential election, in 2014, nearly tore the country apart,” their report continued. “A political crisis was averted only after the United States brokered a power-sharing deal between Ghani and Abdullah.”