democracy

Even before Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote had taken place, the United States —headed by a president who lost the popular vote in an electoral system that systematically disenfranchises millions of poor and non-white voters — rejected the elections as “neither free nor fair”.

The Lima Group, a coalition of 13 right-wing Latin American countries plus Canada, also refused to recognise the results. Among its members are:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections on May 20, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced that night.

With 92.6 percent of the votes counted, Maduro had 5.8 million votes, while his closest rival, former governor Henri Falcón getting 1.8 million votes, said CNE President Tibisay Lucena who added that in total, 8.6 million Venezuelans voted, out of an electoral registry of 20.5 million people.

Malaysia’s May 9 general elections caused a shock upset, with the Barisan Nasional (BN) losing control of the government for the first time since independence in 1957. This was a historic win for the opposition against the corrupt, authoritarian ruling party.

Concerns over the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut of the Hindu nationalist BJP government continuing in power into the indefinite future were partially allayed by the December elections in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. 

Modi was Gujarat’s longest ruling chief minister and used his “Gujarat model” as the vehicle of his rise to power. This model was based on large-scale handouts of land, public assets and subsidies to corporate houses in return for media hype and enthusiastic endorsement by an increasingly shrill, intolerant and hectoring corporate media.

Trade unions across the globe mobilised on April 23 to demand the immediate release from prison of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In April, NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge launched a Greens Manifesto in which he sets out a political vision that he says is in tune with the party’s founding four key platform points. Green Left Weekly’s Pip Hinman caught up with Shoebridge on April 18 to ask about the thinking behind the document.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision to call an early general election on June 24 — a year and a half before it was due — is a sign of weakness and desperation, according to opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Lezgin Botan.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are losing popular support because of their anti-democratic and pro-war domestic and regional policies and because the economy is a mess. The official unemployment rate is nearly 11% and one in five young people are without work.

Hundreds of popular organisations and social movements from across Latin America and the Caribbean met at the Summit of the Peoples in Lima, Peru, over April 10-14.

The summit is a regular parallel to the official Summit of the Americas, which brings together governments from the entire Western Hemisphere.

Venezuela officially boycotted the governmental summit following Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s controversial banning by Peru’s government. This, however, did not dissuade a colourful and multifaceted Venezuelan delegation from attending the parallel summit.

The most recent survey conducted by Vox Populi for Brazil’s Unified Workers’ Union (CUT) found 59% of the Brazilian population consider former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva to be a political prisoner. Lula, as he is popularly known, complied with an arrest warrant against him earlier this month few days following a Supreme Court ruling against his appeal earlier this month.

The campaign to save the iconic Powerhouse Museum in inner-city Ultimo from being sold off to private developers and moved to a flood-prone site in Parramatta has received a sizeable boost by a motion passed by the NSW Legislative Council that will force the NSW Coalition government to release the "business case" for their plan within two weeks.

Greens MP Jamie Parker successfully moved the motion on April 12, with the support of Labor, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Animal Justice and a maverick Liberal member, former fair-trading minister Matthew Mason-Cox.

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