Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, September 20, 2018

It's not over until all the ballots have been counted

Which action is most unlikely? Counting votes that were not cast or the Communist Party demanding a fair election? (Are my Cold War biases showing?)

Russian communist hunger strike over 'rigged' far east vote
An opposition candidate has gone on hunger strike in the far east of Russia after suddenly losing a key regional election that he was poised to win.

With more than 95% of votes counted in the Primorye region, the communist Andrei Ishchenko had a five-point lead. But during the night his pro-Putin rival Andrei Tarasenko overtook him.

Protest in Vladivostok
On Facebook Mr Ishchenko urged his supporters to protest in Vladivostok, saying "our votes are being stolen".

The communists are taking legal action.

Mr Ishchenko said the party's legal service was preparing formal protests over the results in several districts: Artyom, Ussuriysk, Nakhodka, and Sovietskiy, which is in Vladivostok.

"We won't go away until we see fair election results!" he said.

Russia's best-known opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, also called for a mass protest in Vladivostok…

In a tweet, fair elections campaign group Golos reported that Mr Tarasenko, the current acting governor, had suddenly surged ahead when more than 99% of votes had been counted in Primorye.

The vote was a second-round runoff, because no candidate had passed the 50% threshold in the first round…

Communist officials accused the commission there of falsifying ballot papers and delaying issuing the results.

They said the party's observers in the building had refused to leave, at which point firefighters turned up, saying they had to evacuate people because of a suspected fire on the third floor.

BBC Russian reports that similar "emergencies" happened at some other vote-counting centres.

Police cordoned off the election commission building in Ussuriysk. Politicians were then refused entry.

Communist observers declared a hunger strike in the commission building in Artyom, after officials refused to release the results there.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Not just in the Carolinas and Hong Kong

Are the limits on government capabilities in NIgeria imposed by politics? economics? cleavages?

Nigeria floods kill more than 100
More than 100 people have died in floods after Nigeria's two major rivers burst their banks, authorities say.
Flooding in Nigeria
The National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) says heavy rains caused the Niger River and Benue River to overflow.

It has resulted in a series of floods across the country over two weeks, with rural areas most vulnerable.

The government is urging residents along waterways to relocate to safe places.

Thousands of people have been displaced and vast swathes of farmlands have been destroyed by the floods in central and southern Nigeria, says the BBC's Is'haq Khalid in the capital, Abuja.

Niger State
Worst hit is Niger State, where more than 40 people have died, Nema director Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja told the BBC.

Eleven other states have been affected…

Nigerian authorities are considering declaring a state of emergency, saying more floods could hit in the coming days and weeks as heavy rains continue.

Nigeria faces flooding almost every year.

Analysts blame recurring flood disasters on lack of proper town planning, blocked waterways and poor drainage systems.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Required national service in Nigeria

Doing a year's worth of "national service" in Nigeria opens many doors for ambitious university graduates.

Kemi Adeosun: Nigeria minister resigns over forged certificate
Nigeria's finance minister has resigned over allegations she used a forged certificate to avoid the country's mandatory one-year youth service scheme.

Kemi Adeosun, who lived in the UK until she was 34, said she had been told she was exempt because she was over 30.

The former investment banker said she was issued with a certificate that she thought was genuine.

But an internal investigation showed that it was forged.

Ms Adeosun's resignation follows months of speculation in local media about whether her National Youth Service Corps certificate was genuine.

The dual Nigerian and British national did not initially comment on the claims, leading to criticism from her opponents.

However in a statement, she said she felt bound to resign after the investigation result became known.

"This has come as a shock to me and I believe that in line with this administration's focus on integrity, I must do the honourable thing and resign," she said.

Ms Adeosun was appointed as finance minister by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. Her main policy was a bid to improve tax collection and crack down on mismanagement by government agencies…

Nigerian university students have to do a year of national service upon graduation as a way of ensuring that graduates contributed to Nigeria's development.

Corp members are posted to states outside their state of origin to encourage national unity.

Nigerian graduates are not eligible for government work or many private jobs until they have completed the mandatory year of service.

National Youth Service Corps (Abuja)

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 17, 2018

Changing a subculture

Changing the subculture of Mexican police is governance. Is it politics?

As Violence Soared in Mexico, This Town Bucked the Trend
In Mexico the police, often poorly paid and poorly trained, are frequently mistrusted or feared. The population sees them not only as incapable of tackling the country’s chronic violence, but also as often being its cause — at best, complicit in routine infractions like demanding bribes at traffic stops, and at worst, co-opted by criminal gangs…

[C]ommunity meeting[s are] part of an effort by Bernardo León, a professor and writer turned police commander, to transform Morelia’s police officers into a qualified force that is welcomed by local residents. Three years into the effort, the program has shown results…

In 2017, the deadliest year in Mexico in decades, the number of deaths also went up in Michoacán. But in Morelia, the state’s capital, the number of homicide victims decreased 18 percent…

[E]xperts argue that Morelia’s experiment with community policing should be part of a broader national security strategy.

The program has made the force more “solid and resilient,” said Rodrigo Canales, a professor at the Yale School of Management who is leading a study on police forces in Mexico along with the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness…

A local police force like Morelia’s “can’t really solve the cartel situation,” said Mr. León, who was appointed to the position in 2015. “What we can do is deal with the issues that regular folks face every day.”

To do so, he recruited psychologists, lawyers and social workers and trained them to mediate neighborhood and domestic conflict. He also inaugurated victims’ centers that offer medical and psychological assistance…

To tackle bureaucratic delays, he introduced new civil courts for misdemeanors. There, citizens charged with noncriminal offenses can pay fines and receive sentences that include performing community service or attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

But perhaps most significant, Mr. León offered citizens the possibility of filing their criminal complaints on the spot to the responding officer instead of having to go in person to the local prosecutor…

Overhauling the police force was an important part of the equation — and that included improving the conditions under which they worked. Mr. León tapped a special federal fund to increase the size of the force to 614 officers, up from 120, and to offer them benefits like retirement funds, scholarships for children and food stamps.

He also spent $2 million on better-quality uniforms that increased officers’ pride in their appearance. Other actions, like buying patrol cars, were subsidized by federal funds set aside for tourist areas and high-crime cities…

Though experts recognize the model’s effects, some argue that part of Morelia’s recent success cannot be reproduced, as it is in part explained by the military’s role in shielding the city from powerful drug gangs, which have been mostly confined to rural areas…

Mr. León will step down this coming week when a new mayor takes office. It is unclear whether his program will be kept in place. This kind of turnover is common and remains one of Mexico’s biggest problems in establishing a consistent security policy…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 07, 2018

Excuse me

My calendar doesn't coincide with school calendars. So I am off to meditate in the high mountains for a few days. I wish you all well from Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

If you are looking for a topical article, use the search box. Some of the older articles might not be accurate anymore, but you or your students can edit them to correct them, (Post your corrections as comments.)

When I've had enough of thin, smoky air and high altitudes, I'll return and find more articles to share.


Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

Labels:

Thursday, September 06, 2018

All is not well in Buhari's party

Not everyone in the All Progressives Congress (APC) agrees that a direct primary is the best way to choose their presidential candidate. Buhari is likely to win such a primary, but not everyone likes that prospect.

APC Adopts Direct Primary For Presidential Ticket
31 August 2018

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has chosen the modus operandus for the emergence of its presidential candidate following its adoption of direct election for the presidential primary poll. The party, which arrived at this decision during its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting…

5 September 2018

Defection: Six APC Governors, Others to Join Us Soon - PDP
Nigeria's main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has concluded discussions with six governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and 27 of its members in the National Assembly to defect to the PDP.

PDP spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the planned defectors have secured the mandates of their constituents to make the move ahead of the 2019 general elections.

If the claims by the PDP turns out to be true, it will be another major setback for the ruling APC after it lost three governors to the PDP between July and August…

APC Governors Defy Party, Opt for Indirect Primaries
6 September 2018

One after the other, state chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday announced their decision not to comply with the directive of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC)…

But as the time of going to press, the chapters in Nasarawa, Plateau, Ogun, Borno, Kogi, Ondo, Kebbi, Bauchi and Kaduna had all indicated preference for the 'direct' opposite…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Labels: , , , ,

Is economics political? Are politics economic?

Watch for how the government and politicians react to this crisis.

How would you react if the money in your pocket and in your bank account suddenly would buy only half of what it could have bought yesterday? Who would you blame?

Iran’s Currency Crashes. Shortages and Fears Rise.
Iran’s rial fell to a record low on Wednesday, part of a staggering drop in the currency’s value since the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal only four months ago…

Iranians line up to exchange currencies
Signs of the currency chaos can be seen everywhere in Tehran: Worried residents lined up outside beleaguered money changers, travel agents offered vacation prices only in hard currency, and diapers disappeared from store shelves…

There was no immediate acknowledgement of the drop on state media.

Iran’s economy has faced troubled times in the past, whether from the shah’s overspending on military arms in the 1970s or the Western sanctions that came after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and United States Embassy takeover. Drastic fluctuations in oil prices have also taken a toll.

This time, however, feels different. The currency has crashed along with hope many felt following the 2015 nuclear deal…

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, called the American moves economic “sabotage” this past weekend, and mentioned the diaper shortage. Some 70 percent of material for disposal diapers is imported. As the rial falls, it makes purchasing the material from abroad more expensive.

“Imagine that in Tehran or other major cities, baby diapers suddenly become scarce. This is happening, this is real, this is not make-believe. Baby diapers!” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to a transcript on his official website. “This makes people angry. On the other side, the enemy wants people to be angry with the government and system. This is one of their ways.”

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







Labels: , ,

The "emperor" isn't far away


One version of the old Chinese proverb is "Heaven is high and the emperor is far away." President Xi seems to fear that he is too far away.

China cracks down on bureaucracy ‘paralysed by fear’.
Officials can lose their jobs or be expelled from the party for failing to apply policies under new rules, as Beijing takes aim at bureaucratic inertia.

After a relentless anti-corruption crusade spooked many officials into inaction, China’s ruling Communist Party is doubling down on efforts to rid the country’s vast bureaucracy of its inertia.

Updated party rules released this week state that failing to implement policies from the top is now officially a breach of discipline that can see cadres lose their jobs or even be expelled from the party.

Those who refuse to implement policy directives from the party’s Central Committee, who run their own agenda, or “are not resolute enough, cut corners or make accommodations” in applying them, will be subject to punishment under the new rules, which took effect on August 18.

It comes after the cabinet earlier this month announced a series of “targeted inspections” in a bid to ensure central government policies are being properly implemented at the local level – especially on priority issues such as reducing poverty, tackling pollution, promoting innovation and revitalising the rural economy…

[D]espite the long-touted efficiency of the authoritarian regime, central government policies have often met resistance at the local level when they go against the interests of authorities.

That situation has been exacerbated in recent years by President Xi Jinping’s sweeping crackdown on corruption, which has snared more than 1.5 million cadres – including some from the highest ranks of the party and the military.

Apprehensive about drawing unnecessary attention or suspicion to themselves, many local officials have instead kept their heads down, sitting on projects and business deals…

Premier Li Keqiang, for one, has repeatedly scolded procrastinating officials for being slack and lazy in implementing Beijing’s policy directives. In 2015, 249 officials were punished for laziness, evidenced by their failure to spend government funds, delays to projects and idle land earmarked for development, Xinhua reported at the time…

Having become the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, Xi is under increasing pressure to deliver on a series of reforms he has promised, ranging from more sustainable, innovation-driven economic growth and a cleaner environment to better public services such as health care and social welfare – all of which could not be achieved without commitment from local officials…

Under the revised party discipline rules, officials who fail to take action on development policies to do with innovation, coordination, the environment, openness and sharing will be given a heavier punishment.

The regulations also target bureaucratic conduct, such as paying lip service to a policy, or holding meetings and issuing documents that do not translate into action.

Apart from cracking down on inaction, the new rules also prohibit party members from speaking out against central party policies or decisions, and they must not spread “political rumours or damage the party’s unity”. “Two-faced” officials who comply in public but secretly oppose the party’s central leadership will also be punished…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

UK-Nigeria agreements

The British PM and the Nigerian President agree on cooperative programs.

Theresa May signs security partnership with Nigeria's president
Theresa May has signed a security pact with Nigeria’s president aimed at helping the country combat the militant group Boko Haram through better military training and anti-terrorist propaganda techniques developed in the UK.
PM May and President Buhari

The British prime minister’s agreement with Muhammadu Buhari was announced at a summit between the pair in Abuja…

Billed as the UK’s first security and defence partnership with Nigeria, the pact was the centrepiece of the second day of May’s three-day trip to Africa…

The UK will provide training to the Nigerian military to help it contend with improvised explosive devices used by Boko Haram, and has offered to help train full army units, as opposed to individual soldiers, before they are deployed in the country’s north-east, where the Islamist militant group has its base.

It also hopes to cut the flow of new recruits by working with local communities “to push out counter-narratives” to Boko Haram, drawing on the UK’s experience of “countering terrorist propaganda at home”, according to the pact announcement. An additional £13m will be spent on an education programme for the 100,000 children living in the conflict zone.

May told Buhari the UK wanted to support Nigeria’s stability and said it was important their joint work on security was undertaken in line with international standards on human rights. The prime minister added that she endorsed the country’s efforts to combat illegal migration and modern slavery.

The British prime minister then travelled to Lagos, where she… switched tack to promote Britain’s expertise in financial services while seeking to emphasise future trade possibilities, in a week when she had called for the UK to become the leading G7 investor in Africa by 2020…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Labels: ,