When Barack Obama and Xi Jinping meet at the Annenberg Estate two weeks from now, the focus will be on how the American and Chinese presidents (pictured during a meeting in February 2012) can build a personal relationship able to bridge the many differences between the world’s two largest economies.
That may be a challenge. Politicians in both nations often struggle to hide their mutual dislike. Just now, Chinese netizens are working themselves up over Joe Biden’s dissing of their country in a recent speech. Continue reading »
For a country where consumers are often hard-pressed to find staples like milk or toilet paper, Venezuela certainly has no shortage of scandals. After last month’s accusations of electoral fraud and a saloon-style brawl in congress, now Mario Silva, a TV talk show host, rabble-rouser and the best journalist in Venezuela – according to the late president, Hugo Chávez – has fallen into the fray.
In an extraordinary hour-long recording of what opposition politicians say is a conversation between Silva and a top Cuban intelligence official, the chavista broadcaster delivers a laundry list of backbiting and corruption at the highest levels of chavismo. Venezuelans are wondering what will come next. Continue reading »
Elections in the Philippines are said to be decided by three Gs: guns, gold and goons. In a few cases, luck must be added into the equation.
When two candidates for mayor of San Teodoro, a small town in central Philippines, each got exactly the same number of votes (3,236) in a poll this week, election officials decided to break the tie by tossing a coin. Continue reading »
In an election marred by allegations of poll-rigging and vote-buying, Bulgaria’s former ruling GERB party came out on top. But it is far from clear who will form the government once the dust settles. Two possible scenarios are a coalition between GERB and ultranationalists that would cause disquiet in Europe, or a return to power of two opposition parties still regarded with suspicion by many Bulgarians. Continue reading »
Millions of Filipinos headed for voting booths on Monday to choose candidates for 18,054 local and national government posts in a generally peaceful election that polling groups and analysts say will likely tighten president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s grip on the legislature.
Aides to Aquino (pictured) say having allies and supporters in both houses of Congress is critical for a continuation of the president’s anti-corruption and anti-poverty reforms as he enters the second half of his single six-year term that ends in the middle of 2016. Continue reading »
As Jeremy Grant writes in Friday’s FT, Malaysia’s election this weekend is likely to be the closest in the country’s history. The ruling Barison Nasional party, which has dominated Malaysian politics since independence in 1957, faces the first real challenge to its power and while prime minister Najib Razak says he is confident of winning a two-thirds majority, the outcome is far too close to call. More Malaysians than ever before seem ready for change. Are they likely to get it? Continue reading »
Waiting for Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, to call a much-anticipated general election is getting to be painful.
First it was to have been called at the beginning of the month. This would have meant polling in the last week of March, a convenient time since schools are out and classrooms are often used as polling stations in Malaysia. Continue reading »
Xi Jinping, China’s incoming head of state, is set to deploy a new force as he seeks to develop Chinese soft power: his wife, Peng Liyuan, a folk singer famous in China, as Kathrin Hille reports for the FT, for her fiery performances of patriotic songs.
Well, see for yourselves. Here she is in 2011, helping to celebrate the 90th birthday of the founding of the Communist Party of China. More after the break.
From London’s Boris Johnson to New York’s Michael Bloomberg, city governors and mayors around the world have proven their roles are as much about power politics and money as they are about getting stuff done.
In Thailand, last week’s hard-fought election for Bangkok’s governor was a battle fought on promises of change – most of which cannot be delivered, say analysts. But what really lay behind the fight was the struggle for power in Thailand between the two main political parties. All the votes are in, but it’s not over yet. Continue reading »
A caretaker government in Sofia will do its utmost to steady the tiller before May’s snap elections, following several weeks of street protests that toppled the previous administration and plunged Bulgaria into political uncertainty. But what happens after the poll is anybody’s guess. Many in Sofia’s political elite seem reluctant to grasp the poisoned chalice of leadership and their capacity to satisfy the demands of a restive and inchoate popular movement is limited.
On Wednesday, President Rosen Plevneliev ended weeks of speculation by naming Marin Raykov, Bulgaria’s ambassador to France, as caretaker prime minister until the May 12 elections. Continue reading »
A failure of electronic vote counting systems has delayed the announcement of preliminary results for the Kenyan presidential elections and caused a sharp drop in the value of the shilling.
The Kenyan currency had strengthened over the past week and remained steady during the election. But in the face of uncertainty over the outcome of the vote on Wednesday it fell 1.5 per cent against the US dollar, reaching 86.75 by the end of the day. Continue reading »
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