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Cliffhanger election boosts Germany’s liberals

Charles RichardsonJan 21, 2013

Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats went down to defeat in a cliffhanger state election in Germany yesterday. But it's not all bad news for them, since a liberal revival is a good omen for their national prospects.

Austria votes to keep conscription

Charles RichardsonJan 21, 20132 Comments

Austrians voted yesterday to retain military conscription, in a victory for the centre-right ahead of this year's general election. But that's very much going against the trend in Europe. It's also something of a reversal of the usual position.

Guns, debt and hostages: tough times for Obama in Congress

Charles RichardsonJan 18, 20132 Comments

Obama already had trouble with Congress over debt and spending; now he's added guns as well. It's worth looking at the different dynamics involved.

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Parties, elections and political ideas across the globe from an Australian perspective

Torture goes to the movies

Charles RichardsonJan 17, 20132 Comments

A film about the hunt for bin Laden puts torture in the spotlight. Will America face up to what Bush and Cheney did?

One person’s discrimination, another person’s freedom

Charles RichardsonJan 16, 20133 Comments

Christians claiming relief from discrimination won one case out of four at the European Court of Human Rights. But in Australia, the issue is their right to discriminate against others.

Queensland comes in first for electoral imbalance

Charles RichardsonJan 15, 20133 Comments

A study by the Queensland Greens throws an interesting light on last year's state election by comparing it with the proportionality of other state and provincial elections around the world.

So, what’s Mali, and should we care?

Charles RichardsonJan 15, 20136 Comments

Mali isn't Iraq. It isn't even Afghanistan. But whether that's enough to promise success for François Hollande, only time will tell.

Czechs give direct election a try

Charles RichardsonJan 15, 2013

The Czech Republic has held its first direct election for the presidency, to replace the idiosyncratic Václav Klaus. It shows a party system in some disarray.

Is Obama a realist?

Charles RichardsonJan 11, 2013

Chuck Hagel's nomination brings back into focus the old debate between realists and idealists over American foreign policy.

Could the Coalition steal Labor’s clothes on optional preferences?

Charles RichardsonJan 10, 2013

Change in electoral law is generally driven by perceived political interest, not by principle. Shifts to more democratic outcomes happen when a major party thinks that they will work to its advantage.