Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.
The New Zealand election will occur on October 14. The 120 MPs are elected by proportional representation with a 5% threshold that is waived if a party wins one of the 72 single-member seats; these single-member seats include seven seats for electors on the Māori roll.
The 48 “list” seats are used to ensure proportionality; parties that win many single-member seats win few list seats. Electors have two votes: one for their electorate and one for their party, and it is the party vote that matters most. There can be more than 120 MPs (an “overhang”) if a party wins more single-member seats than their total entitlement given their party vote.
Current polls give the two main right-wing parties (National and ACT) high 40s support, and they are well ahead of the two main left-wing parties (Labour and the Greens), who have high 30s to low 40s. Three recent polls have the populist NZ First above the 5% threshold needed to win seats, while the Māori party is expected to win seats even if below the threshold by winning Māori-roll electorates.
A National and ACT government is the most likely outcome, but the right may need support from NZ First. Support for Labour has dropped recently, with the July 24 resignation of Labour MP Kiri Allan as Justice Minister after being arrested for careless driving and resisting police unhelpful.
Far-right candidate tops vote in Argentine primary
Legislative and presidential elections will be held in Argentina on October 22, with a November 19 presidential runoff if no candidate wins at least 45%, or at least 40% and is at least 10% ahead of their nearest opponent. Primary elections to choose the parties’ candidates occurred on August 13. As voting is compulsory, the overall vote shares for the parties are seen as good guides to the outcome of the October vote.
Far-right candidate Javier Milei’s party topped the primary poll with 30.0%, followed by the conservative Together for Change with 28.3% and the centre-left incumbent Union for the Homeland with 27.3%. Milei is an admirer of Donald Trump and has called climate change a “socialist lie”.
Argentina has been suffering from over 100% inflation. If these results were repeated in October, the centre-left candidate would finish third, and the runoff would be between two right-wingers. Even if the centre-left candidate makes the runoff, it’s likely a right-winger will win.
UK by-election to come in SNP-held seat
Former Scottish National Party MP Margaret Ferrier broke COVID rules in 2020 and was suspended from parliament for 30 days. An MP can be recalled if suspended for at least ten days. It takes at least 10% of registered voters in a seat for a successful recall. The recall petition closed on July 31, with 14.7% signing it, so Ferrier was recalled.
Ferrier won’t contest the resulting by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West. As parliament is in recess until September, the by-election won’t be before October 5. In 2019, the SNP defeated Labour in Rutherglen by 44.2-34.5 with 15.0% Conservatives and 5.2% Liberal Democrats.
Briefly: US, Spain, Ecuador and Guatemala
Despite his indictments, Trump remains way ahead in the Republican national presidential primary polls. The primaries will begin in early 2024, and a general election rematch between Trump and Joe Biden in November 2024 remains very likely. I covered the US elections for The Conversation in June, and little has changed since.
There’s still no resolution to the July 23 Spanish election, in which the two main right-wing parties (People’s and Vox) won 170 of the 350 seats and the two main left-wing parties (Socialists and Sumar) won 152. With the right short of the 176 needed for a majority, mostly left-wing regionalist hold the balance of power. The Junts party (seven seats) is seen as the kingmaker.
At Sunday’s Ecuadorian presidential first round election, the left-wing González (with 33.6%) and the son of a tycoon, Noboa (with 23.4%) advanced to the October 15 runoff. This election was called early by the current conservative president to avoid impeachment, and the winner will only serve 1.5 years before a regular election in early 2025.
An anti-corruption campaigner won Sunday’s Guatemalan presidential election by more than 20 points over his runoff opponent.