Saturday, February 21, 2009

Latvia's Government Falls

The worldwide financial crisis has claimed Latvia's government. As I discussed in an earlier post, economic challenges could change the election calendar in some post-Soviet states. Latvia's prime minister resigned on Friday, triggering speculation about the possibility of an early election. A new coalition agreement is possible, with several willing partners discussing alternatives. The likelihood of early elections seems low at the moment, but events in Riga over the next couple of weeks will determine if a new agreement is possible.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Early Election in Kyrgyzstan?

Reports suggest that President Kurmanbek Bakiyev will engineer an early presidential election. Bakiyev has already announced his intention to run for office, and the Constitutional Court may move up the planned election date from 2010 to late 2009. Bakiyev used a constitutional referendum and early elections in 2007 to consolidate his support, but (divided) opposition to his rule seems to be increasing. An analysis by Erica Marat in the February 18 edition of the Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Daily Monitor makes several interesting points:
  • The election timetable may be accelerated due to current relations with Russia. The recent decision to accept aid from Russia and end US access to a key airbase near Bishkek could help secure fickle Kremlin support. Moreover, Bakiyev could benefit from the Russian-backed construction of a hydroelectric power station that was a part of the aid package and is scheduled to move forward after 2009.
  • Bakiyev's strategies are similar to those of the ousted Askar Akayev who also used manipulated referendums and elections to his advantage. Unlike Akayev, Bakiyev may have stronger control over security forces, but also faces more challenging economic conditions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another Upcoming Election

In addition to Azerbaijan's referendum and Moldova's parliamentary election, noted in yesterday's post, Lithuania will be holding a presidential election on May 17, 2009. Until this election campaign heats up, I am posting a (somewhat dated) Lithuanian plan to introduce Internet voting that is worth a glance.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Election Season Underway

The preparations for Azerbaijan's upcoming referendum have been relatively uneventful (the only exception is a prominent assassination that is unconnected to the upcoming vote). Azerbaijan's Central Electoral Commission has posted a useful summary of proposed changes to the constitution, including the most notable one: eliminating presidential term limits. The opposition plans to observe the proceedings and may organize protests.

The active campaign period has begun in Moldova, with the CEC beginning party registration. Unlike the CEC in Azerbaijan, Moldova's CEC has not updated its page with information about the 2009 contest. More than two dozen parties are registered with the Ministry of Justice, but it is unlikely that all of these groups will contest seats independently. RFE/RL has posted a brief summary of the issues facing Moldova's voters.

I will follow both votes and post regular updates.