era of dynasties in the USA

If Hillary Clinton will be elected and assuming that she serves one term, out of 32 years (1989 – 2021) for 24 years US politics will be led by 2 families.

I just wonder, are these the only 2 families in the USA which can offer winning candidates for the President’s post? And, if so, what makes them so special and unique? Or simply because not every family could feel confident enough about their capabilities to raise billions of US dollars for running their election campaigns?

Maybe some of the hints are hidden in this new book written by the ex-Financial Times reporter?


EU elections 2014: how to get the voters to the polling stations?

Upcoming EU elections (from 22- 25 May) have renewed public debate about the low voter turnout and thus crisis of democracy in Europe. UK voters, particularly in case of EU elections, have always been quite passive: in 1999 only 23% of the eligible voters voted, whilst in 2004 and 2009 it rose to 38% and 34% respectively. Politicians and campaigners are worried that  this year the trend of decreasing activity will continue and various initiatives are planned to encourage people to take part in these elections.

Besides a very complex voting system which includes registration long time before elections, my simple question is: how on Earth one can expect a great voter turnout if the elections are organized on Thursday? I would find it close to impossible to get the time off, go to a polling station and give my vote. Moreover, there are so many people who do hourly-paid work which would mean that they would incur loss in income if they chose to vote instead of working. With the exception of Latvia (voting on Sunday, 25 May), Czech republic and Slovakia (voting on 23 and/or 24 May) and Ireland (voting on Friday 23 May), the rest of the EU countries organize the elections on Saturday, 24 May (check for reference here). Why UK wants to stand out and organize elections on Thursday? what is the rationale? Is there a logical reason of not doing it over the weekend?

In 2009 in Latvia voters’ turnout was about 56%. What if there is a direct correlation between the election day and voters’ turnout?

dark clouds above Latvia’s head?

As a subscriber of weekly AKE Risk Updates which highlight the most important security and political risk developments worldwide from the previous week this morning i found a section on Latvia being included in this update (as far as i am aware, for the first time ever) due to the Parliament election results.

Though in principle there should not be anything wrong with having a centre-left party as a winner in elections, it is clear that in case of Latvia this fact means so much more in terms of country’s already fragile sovereignty and independence.

Democracy: racing or representing?

I notice that i am mentioning Mr Cameron in my blog recently very often, and this article wont be different, but his views, ideas just cant keep my mouth shut.

on 5 May there will be a referendum on voting system for the UK parliament where the current system – first-past-the-vote will be challenged by the proportional voting system. There is a wide front of supporters on both sides. Cameron and Tories absolutely reject the proposed changes claiming that these would be ‘bad for democracy’.

And this is where i cant disagree with him more. I think, exactly the opposite is the case – the current system is unrepresentative and therefore undemocratic. If a party with most votes  (for example 35%) can get majority of seats (more than 50%), system gives disproportionately large share of power in respect to other parties. Moreover, in UK case, except the last elections which are extraordinary because of the created coalition government, most of the times the party which gained most of the votes, got full control over the government and, though having an impact of shadow government (opposition), could implement its policies while representing often just 1/3 of the electorate. So, how democratic it is that 2/3 of the electorate are not represented by the government?

I think, the most important thing which we need to understand is that democracy is not about racing and about winning. It is about representation. Society may have different groups, communities with different approaches to governance, political and social life and they all have full rights to be represented in the parliament and government (with a condition that a certain minimum of support has been gained; in some countries there would be a 5% margin of electoral votes which should be gained).

Coalitions are difficult and slower in terms of actions taken and decisions made, but this is the only way how the decisions can be made taking into account the interests of different political groups. Parties, representing different social, political, economical views should be able to negotiate with others and reach agreement rather than enjoy full power ignoring other views. Also, by giving a party full control over the government it complicates the issue about ‘checks and balances’ and political accountability in general.

i truly cant wait to see what will be the results.