election

John Paul Rathbone

Such is the power of incumbency, that over the past decade no Latin American president who has run for re-election has lost. Juan Manuel Santos, re-elected Colombia’s president on Sunday, has just re-confirmed that trend, although it was close. (An aside:Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who are also aiming for re-election this year, will be relieved.)

The clinchers for Santos, who won with 51 per cent of the vote in a presidential run-off against Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who took 45 per cent, were threefold. All of them have implications for Santos’ next term. Read more

Michael Steen

(Getty)

For campaign issues that Germany’s political elite had all but agreed to shy away from, the eurozone debt crisis in general and Greece in particular are proving remarkably capable of generating unscripted campaign trail surprises. Read more

Michael Steen

(Getty)

There is now less than a month to go before Germany’s general election. The summer holidays are mostly over. Children are either back at school, or due to return on Monday, in 12 of Germany’s 16 Bundesländer. And that means the so-called “hot phase” of the campaign is getting under way and the main parties are releasing their election TV ads.

Here is a quick round-up of some of the more notable ads hitting the airwaves ahead of the September 22 electionRead more

Michael Steen

(Getty Images)

The mark of a truly skilled politician is to make any possible source of weakness or fallibility look exogenous. Angela Merkel can do it with her eyes closed.

Faced with hard questions about what her government knew and when about US surveillance operations that may have harvested the private data of millions of Germans, the chancellor walked into her last press conference before the parliamentary summer break and managed to sound solicitous about getting to the bottom of the issue – which, of course, had nothing to do with her.

No matter that the opposition Social Democratic party are doing their best to turn widespread public concern about mass surveillance into questions about Ms Merkel’s leadership ahead of the September 22 general election. No matter the accusations that Germany’s own spooks were actively colluding with the US National Security Agency. And no matter that, thus far, the US appears to have done next to nothing to soothe German nerves.

 Read more

Kenyan police officers outside a polling station in Nairobi (Getty)

Foreign election observers have yet to pronounce on the overall credibility of Kenya’s tense elections. But there are already strong indications that they will go along with almost any outcome if it means preserving the Kenyan peace.

“Monday was a great day for Kenyan democracy. They undertook a lot of things to ensure things went in a smooth way,” Alojz Peterle, head of the European Union observer team, said on Friday.

His stance was in marked contrast to his predecessor’s proclamations on fraud at Kenya’s last elections in 2007, which reinforced Raila Odinga’s claims to have been robbed of the presidency.  Read more

John Paul Rathbone

Mexico’s three month presidential campaign ended officially on Wednesday. The vote is on Sunday, with results expected by midnight, local time. JP Rathbone gives us his insights on the possible outcomes.  Read more

Tony Barber

It was as if a magician’s wand had waved away the crisis. Shortly after
midnight, central Athens erupted in joy. Car horns blared and strangers
embraced in the darkness. Over the past 24 months of debt-driven
disaster, I’ve never seen Greeks so happy.

At the Euro 2012 football tournament, Greece had just defied the odds and
beaten Russia 1-0 in Warsaw’s national stadium. Amazingly, they’ve made
it to the quarter-finals and the nation is celebrating. Read more

AP Photo/Patrick Kovarik, Pool

AP Photo/Patrick Kovarik, Pool

By Tony Barber in Paris

The temperature of France’s presidential election debate shot up on Thursday night when Nicolas Sarkozy snapped at François Hollande that he was “a little slanderer”. Up to that point, Sarkozy had contented himself with the rather more tame accusation that Hollande was telling lies. But “a little slanderer” – that stood out.

Otherwise, the really striking feature of the debate, I thought, was how little the two candidates had to say about international affairs. Read more