Friday, 26 November 2010

Haiti elections to go ahead.

Despite the cholera crisis news agencies are reporting that the elections in Haiti will go ahead on Sunday 28th November.
Here are some starting points for tracing information on conditions in the region.
Amnesty International has several years of human rights reports on its website.
Another good source for this type of materials is Human Rights Watch
and the International crisis Group
More specific commentary on the background to the elections can be found on the
UN peacekeeping mission website.
NDI has information on civic education programmes. Scroll down the left hand side of the page to find links to documents and reports.
The Carter Centre has had involvement in health and democracy programmes in the past. Reports from coverage of earlier elections are on the website.
The OAS has sent observers to cover the 2010 events. Reports will be posted on the website. At the moment it currently contains press releases on aid programmes.

Finally an excelelnt news site covering the elections is which is supported by USAID and the German Embassy. It has stories, polls and interviews (in French)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Moldova forthcoming elections- why are they taking place?

Early elections have been set for Moldova next week. According to the BBC faces it is the third election in two years 'after members of parliament in one of Europe's poorest states failed twice to pick a president'.
The Central Election Commission has official information on the dates and process (in Russian or Moldovian)This includes a separate voter information site
However One of the best sites for tracing the latest news stories, discuss and lists of candidates is maintained by ADEPT which has lots of English language coverage.
Also with regional intelligence , although accss to most stories requires a subscription is Transitions onlineIt links to a number of local organisations covering the election. These include:
Civic Coalition for Free and Fair ElectionsCivic Initiative for a Clean Parliament
Sources of English language monitoring include the OSCE which has sent an observation mission. The website also has reports from previous elections which can help you assess the development of democracy.
Finally links to the local news services and political party sites can be found on Erik Herron's detailed guide to politics in East Central Europe and Eurasia

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Burma were the 2010 elections fair?

Following on from the previous posting- here are some recomended resources for news coverage and analysis of the 2010 elections.

Irrawaddy - well regarded news service with up to date stories and coverage.Also provided are electoral laws, interviews and quotes.

PBS reported on Media censorship during the elections. Its article contains useful links to related reports on Media freedom in the region.

Burma Election 2010 website pulls together reports from ethnic media and reporters inside Burma. Highlights include reports from individual electoral districts, and election bulletins

Mizzima is amnnother well regarded news network which features work from journalists in exile. The site includes online interviews.

Alternative Asean Network on Burma is a human rights organisation. Its website has special election coverage. This includes electoral laws, statements and reports on the state of democracy.

Radio Free Asia is an American backed organisation. Its blog has recent postings on censorship and the state of democracy in Burma.

AsiaPortal is maintained by over 20 universities and research bodies who are members of the Nordic NIAS Council and NIAS/NIAS LINC. It aims to provide researchers and students with free access to topical news, articles and research reports about Asian nations. It also offers links to the latest Asian studies research from Nordic Universities (based in Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden). Its site includes some blogs about Burma

Finally the Democratic voice of Burma, a non profit media freedom body, also has excellent coverage of the hujman rights situation during the elections. Its election map has results and mappings of alleged violence and other incidents.

Burma: could an election ever be fair?

According to Barack Obama the recent elections in Burma were 'anything but fair'
Here are some useful resources for tracing facts about why he said this. They focus on the human rights situation in Burma. later today I will post on other news sources which you may find useful.

The Fund for Peace ranks Burma in 16th place on its 2010 Failed States Index.
Freedom House - Freedom of the Press report 2010 states that the press in Burma is not free
Its Freedom of the World Report also assesses the general state of democracy in Burma as unfree.
As does the Reporters without Frontiers Press Freedom Index 2010
Many leading international human rights organisations have reports covering the state of democracy in Burma. For example see the
International Crisis Group
Human Rights Watch
and Amnesty International
The United Nations has had a special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burma. Read the reports and comments online
Also useful is the Red Cross which has news and reports on prisoners detained in Burma
Finally a wealth of links on all aspects of Burma can be easily located on the Online Burma/Myanmar library . This is part of the WWW virtual Library and has excellent coverage of blogs and organisations. It also indexes individual key documents. These include items relating to the 2010 elections

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

How fair were the mid-term elections? What role did money play?

What role did money play in the elections? Does money equal votes?
The US Federal Election Commission has official returns and maps of campaign spending which you can check

campaigns for greater democracy. Check its website forn a good campaign spending map. There are also research reports on redistricting and constitutional issues relating to voter enfranchisement in the USA.

Other sources of clear information on money and politics in the USA include campaign and citizen watchdog groups. Some key examples are
Open Secrets.
Find the most expensive races as well as data and reports on individual candidates. Most data has been prepared by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Sunlight Foundation has also created a number of databases relating to transparency. Take a look at the Following the money blog
Political parties (find out what parties they are attending)and many more specialist datasources.

Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights - Elections run by the OSCE - monitors elections worldwide. This section covers its observations about the USA from 2004 onwards A small mission has been deployed to observe the 2010 mid-term elections. Its observations and reports will be posted online.

Mid-term elections: understanding the votes

AS the votes come in the BBC is giving live updates from its website
also offering live updates are a number of other news services including the Guardian.
Live video streams are being offered from major news services via this website
But how does this compare with past election trends? You can look at past results on the Clerk of the House website.Trace trends back to 1920!
For more in depth studies on voting trends see the National Election Commission website this has links to a number of key election surveys. These include Election administration surveys which give a sense of numbers of registered and unregister voters and the efficiency of the voting mechanism.
For further detailed official information on the voting system- try checking the Federal Election Commission websiteThis has a section of questions on the operation of the Electoral College
It also includes links to all the individual state electoral offices which are the official sources of information.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Who was the most joked about politician in the US mid-term elections?

According to research by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon joked about Obama a total of 309 times compared to Sarah Palin, at 137.
On a more serious note you can read their research on media coverage of the elections on the CPMA website. This has an Obama Watch website which has been monitoring coverage since the start of Obama's presidency.

Other sources of discussion about the role of the media during the campaigns include:

The Wesleyan Media Project which is a collaboration among Professors Erika Franklin Fowler (Wesleyan University), Michael M. Franz (Bowdoin College) and Travis N. Ridout (Washington State University).It is tracking political advertising in elections.

Media week- designed for the profession it has also been considering campaign advertising, among other topics.

The Columbia Journalism review has a team following the campaigns. Read their insights online from the website.

The Pew Research Center for Excellence in Journalism has a weekly news coverage index.

In a related site, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Presshas a regular news interest index which maps popular topics. According to last week's review the American public are more interested in the economy, than the elections!

Mediagazer - is aggregating key topics in the media and is particularly good at highlighting the use of social media. There are currently some good links to stories about Twitter, web 2.0 and the elections.

The National Journal has also been discussing the use of social media during the campaigns. View a view video discussion on their website

Finally if you were really looking for jokes about the elections. See the Onion's quick guide

Did he blow it? (Obama in the Mid-term elections)

According to Sarah Palin, Barack Obama has lost ground in the US mid-term elections. You can view this prediction (and many others via the RealClear Politics website) but what are other political commentators saying?
Here are a few recommended blogs for following the debate.
One of the most well read American blogs is the Huffington Post which of course has extensive coverage. This includes videos and links to news stories and polls. Some of which are serious others not so!
Real Clear Politics also aggregates key blogs. Scroll down the page for transcripts of key political speeches and round ups of blog postings.
The Caucus Blog maintained by the New York Times
Daily Dish
Blog maintained by Andrew Sullivan. Very well regarded for its wide and entertaining discussion. Generally regarded as supporting Obama, the blog also has coverage of camoaign finance and daily round ups of news stories.
Talking Points Memo Commentary on political events from a politically left perspective, by Joshua Micah Marshall. Also includes political gossip and scandal.
The Corner is a blog from National Review staff. Their website also has a special battle 2010 section which has postings from the campaign trails.
National Journal staff are also discussing the elections on their blog.
In the UK Manchester University hosts the Obama expert media group. Their website isnt blogging the elctions. However it does include information on ongoing research about his presidency.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Is Obama struggling in the mid-term elections?

According to the Guardian Barack Obama is down but not out. but what do the other newspapers and polls say?
If you need basic facts on what the Mid-Term elections are and their significance. A good starting point is the BBC guide to the basics.

Other major news stories which have special features on the elections include:
the Guardian which has alive mid-terms blog and an interactive map of the key races.
The BBC website also makes use of a number of interactive features including maps, interviews with voters and more. Take a look at this graph which maps presidential popularity ratings and seats in mid term elections.

Of Course many American news services have extensive coverage. Good examples include:
the Washington Post which has maps of the political landscape, news stories and blogs.
The New York Times has excellent news coverage. An added feature is the tracking of Twitter
The CNN election center has a more popular approach with basic facts on the races for the American electorate. However, its polling center gives easy access to the most recent polls
C-SPAN Videos - gives great access to online videos of congressional debates.
NPR public radio likewise gives free access to debates and discussion about the elections but this time from radio. It has also launched a new political blog Its all Politics.

In addition to these news resources there are also a number of specialist poll sites which are worth monitoring as they contain detailed voting intention updates. Find out what the following have predicted!
Rasmussen reports.
Gallup Polls
Finally Angus Reid has done itsa usual good job of summarising and rounding up a selection of the most recent polls.