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Sunday, July 2, 2006
Earle and Delay: the Musical
By The Permanent Guest Blogger: Steven L. @ 10:00 am

The Austin Statesman recently posted a story that has not garnered much media attention outside the city:

Election ad indictment thrown out

A state district judge dealt a crippling blow Thursday to the nearly four-year prosecution of the Texas Association of Business, throwing out a felony indictment against the state’s largest business organization.

* * *

Lynch called the prosecutors’ argument “innovative” but concluded that state law does not cover it.

This prosecution was brought by Ronnie Earle and was based on corporate money that was alleged to have violated state election law. Tom Delay was not involved in this one, but the same arguments against Earle’s “innovative” use of the law is at issue in both cases.

The judge came down hard on Mr. Earle as overreaching, which cannot hurt the feelings of Delay’s attorneys. I am still quite willing to believe that Delay has done something wrong (going on gut alone), but I also believe that if he did, it won’t be shown in the Earle case against him, which appears to be losing strength and credibility the longer it goes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The New (?) Kids on the Block (Colombian Election Version)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:26 pm

Ok, it may well be that of regular readers only myself and Matthew Shugart will find the following of interest, but here it goes (it’s analysis I am going to do anyway, so I might as well get a blog post out of it).

As noted yesterday, the Colombian elections have seen new (or semi-new) parties have substantial success. In the Senate a new party, the Partido Social de Unidad Nacional, (a.k.a., el Partido de la U), captured twenty seats in the Senate based on preliminary results, which is the most of any party in the 102 seat chamber. A new, but not brand new party, Cambio Radical, captured 15, just two less than the traditional Liberal Party and three less than the traditional Conservative Party. A question thenb arises: who are the candidates in these parties?

Note: I am basing these numbers off of this list at El Tiempo, which is not consistent with another such list. The former list conforms to Bulletin #48 from the Civil Registry.

A preliminary way to address this question is to look at the winners in question and see if there are any patterns. First, it is clear, as I thought was the case when I saw the names, that La U is made up primarily of existing politicos who have switched labels-and there is quite a bit of that with CR, although in the case of La U, there are a large number of Liberals who have switched, while with CR, it appears a consolidation of smaller parties has taken place.

My preliminary results show the break-down of the winners as follows:

  • 5 are Senators for the Liberal Party from the 2002-2006 term.
  • 4 are Senators for other misc small parties from 2002-2006.
  • 1 is a Senator for Cambio Radical in 2002-2006.
  • 1 is a Representative (i.e.,m member of the Chamber of Representatives) from the PL.
  • 1 is a Representative for Cambio Radical
  • 3 are Reps for misc small parties.
  • 3 are new to electoral politics
  • 2 need clarification, but were both members of congress prior to 2002, at least one was probably a PL member (but due to the inability to confirm a common name, I am unsure at this point).

For Cambio Radical:

  • 3 are incumbent senators from misc small parties for the 2002-2006 term,
  • 3 are former senators from previous terms (one 1991-1994 and two from 1998-2002).
  • 4 are incumbent members of the Chamber for the 2002-2006 term from misc small parties.
  • 1 is an incumbent member of the Chamber from the PL.
  • 1 is a former governor whose party affiliation that I have not identified.
  • 2 are former mayors whose party affiliation that I have not identified.
  • 1 new to electoral politics.

Of interest, also, in the average age of the winners* by list:

  • La U: 45.2
  • CR: 47.9
  • PL: 52.1
  • PC: 53.3

It is interesting that the two traditional, mainline parties are older, on average, than the two newer parties.

*I am currently missing the ages of two members of the PL list and two from La U’s list, and 1 each from CR and the PC.

Filed under: Colombia, 2006 Congressional Elections | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Fruits and Votes linked with Colombia House result, compared to the Senate
Pros and Cons linked with Teh incredible shrinking story, since it was a right wing, pro-American sweep, I first heard of it on a blog.
Colombian Congress Graphic
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:12 pm


Source: EL HERALDO

Filed under: Colombia, 2006 Congressional Elections | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Monday, March 13, 2006
Uribe Wins Big in Colombian Senate Elections
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:20 am

Via El Tiempo we find that with 88% of the vote counted, the coalition of parties openly supporting President Uribe (the Partido de la U, the Conservatives, Cambio Radical and a number of smaller parties) have won 70 seats in total.

This also marks the first time in Colombian history that neither the Conservative Party nor the Liberal Party has gotten the most votes in a Senate election. La U has earned at this point 1,529,896 votes for 20 seats, with the Conservatives coming in second at this point with 1,405,911 votes for 18 seats. The Liberals, once thought to be a near-permanent majority party, is third with 1,371,403 votes and 17 seats.

There are a number of significant results here, not the least of which being the resuscitation of the Conservatives, which looked near extinction in the 1990s, and the diminution of the Liberals. Further, a number of new, or revamped anyway, parties, have won election and the radical fragmentation of the party system that had been manifesting in recent Senate elections, especially in 2002, has been revered in large measure (I suspect I will post more on that shortly).

I would argue that this change in the system have been brought about by the general evolution of the party system brought about by the 1991 constitution, the effects of Uribe himself on national politics, and the recent electoral reforms.

There can be no doubt that the Liberals were the party that had most benefited from the personal-list PR system that approximated an SNTV (single nontransferable vote) system in Colombia, and further that mismanagement of that system by smaller parties that had led to the great difficulty in new parties achieving s solid foothold in the electoral system.

(As an utter side note: does anyone else find it ironic that a party that is committed to the status quo (i.e., Uribe) is called “Cambio Radical”-i.e., “Radical Change”?)

The BBC notes that turnout was historically low for this election:

But the abstention rate among Colombians reached a record 66%, and 15% of the cast ballots were deemed invalid.

This was blamed on fears of violence that proved largely unfounded, increasing public apathy, and confusion over recent changes in the electoral system.

The number is not, however, a substantial deviation from the long-term participation patterns in such elections in Colombia. If there is a single factor to blame for the diminution, I suspect it is the change in the electoral rules, as based on what I have read to this point, the election-related violence was not especially different this cycle.

Much more, I suspect, on these elections later.

Filed under: Global Politics, Latin America, Elections, Colombia, 2006 Congressional Elections | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here


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