Elections

A fortnight out from Brazil’s October 5 national elections, the big news is the significant surge in support for Marina Silva, with some polls predicting the former Workers’ Party (PT) government minister and environmental activist could end up winning the presidential race. Incumbent president and PT candidate Dilma Rousseff maintains a narrow lead over Silva, but the election will almost certainly go to a second round run-off on October 26.
Laila Harre, the leader of the newly formed Internet Party, told a September 16 stop-work meeting in west Auckland organised by the FIRST and Unite unions, that state spying was not due to concerns about terrorism, but to target people who “organise for change”.
John Minto is a veteran New Zealand activist who became known as a leader of a powerful anti-apartheid campaign in the 1970s. More recently, he was part of organising some of the largest pro-Palestine demonstrations ever in New Zealand.
About 200 activists from France’s Left Front gathered in Paris on Saturday 6 to discuss the group’s future. The Left Front has been in limbo for the past few months after disagreements about strategy led to a weak performance in the European and local council elections in May. The meeting took place at a time of controversy in French politics. Socialist Party (PS) President Francois Hollande had sacked the cabinet and appointed a new one — for the second time since the start of the year — and the far-right National Front (FN) topped the presidential polls for the first time.
In Scotland, a remarkable popular movement, the campaign for independence, is heading towards it decisive test. On September 18, a referendum is being held on whether the country will remain part of the “United Kingdom”. To better understand the surge in pro-independence sentiment over the last weeks of the campaign, Green Left Weekly's European correspondent Dick Nichols spoke with Alister Black, editor of the Scottish independent Marxist review Frontline.
Since the two-party political establishment in the Spanish state ― the People’s Party (PP) of prime minister Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) ― got less than 50% in the May 25 European elections, its nightmares have been getting scarier. The spectre disturbing their sleep is Podemos, the political expression of the indignado movement that in May 2011 exploded against austerity and corruption and for “real democracy”.
Forty thousand people marched against the federal government and its budget in over 30 locations on the weekend of August 30-31. This was smaller than the three similar mobilisations in March, May and July, but shows there is still a strong community sentiment against the budget. All campaigns have ups and downs — no grassroots movement ever grows continually upwards. The smaller numbers reflect the fact that the initial raw anger against the budget has passed. To maintain a campaign in this context, people need to have confidence that their efforts can bear fruit.
Jobbik, a far-right ultra-nationalist racist party established in 2007, made significant electoral gains in the Hungarian elections, garnering just over 20% of the national vote in the April poll. Under Hungary’s system of proportional representation, this result (up 5% from last showing) makes Jobbik Hungary’s second-strongest party. This assures it a significant agenda-setting presence in an already right-wing dominated parliament.
The Party of the European Left is a continent-wide amalgamation of far-left, radical and socialist political parties and groups. It includes the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece, Die Linke in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Left Front in France and many others.
Joko Widodo, or “Jokowi” as he is popularly known, was confirmed by Indonesia’s electoral commission on July 22 as the winner of the presidential elections. Jokowi defeated, sacked Suharto-era general Prabowo Subianto, by 57% to 43% of the nearly 130 million direct votes cast on July 9. Prabowo has sought to challenge the result. However, supporters of Jokowi, whose campaign aroused enthusiasm among ordinary people hoping for change from elite-dominated politics, are intent on defending what they see as a chance for significantly more democratic reform.
Data Brainanta is one of quite a few Indonesian socialists who have been supporting the successful presidential bid of Joko Widodo, or “Jokowi” as he is popularly known. So he was happy when Indonesia's electoral commission (KPU) finally confirmed on July 22 that Jokowi had defeated his sole contender, the sacked former Suharto-era general Prabowo Subianto, by 57% to 43% of the nearly 130 million direct votes cast on July 9.
Marta Harnecker, a veteran Chilean-born author and politcal analyst who as an advisor to the government of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez between 2004-11, spoke to Jose P. Gurrero about the new left-wing government in El Salvador.