Brexit, Argentina and elsewhere

Does Labour have any chance of winning the likely upcoming UK election? Yes. Also: the left wins in Argentina, plus Israeli and US election updates. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Update Wednesday morning: With Labour finally backing an election, the Commons overwhelmingly passed on Tuesday a bill setting the election for Thursday, December 12.  An amendment to hold the election on December 9 was rejected by 315 votes to 295.  The bill now goes to the House of Lords, where it is expected to pass quickly.  The Commons will be dissolved next Wednesday.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

On Monday, despite some objections from French President Emmanuel Macron, the European Union agreed to a Brexit extension until January 31. However, Labour still does not appear to want an election, and so Monday’s vote on whether to hold an election will not achieve the two-thirds majority required.

However, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party (SNP) will assist by voting for a bill setting a December 9 election date. Legislation only requires a simple majority to pass. The government is likely to support this bill if they cannot win Monday’s vote. Commentator Stephen Bush wrote that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is likely to pass eventually if parliament continues sitting, and so it makes sense for Remainers to vote for an election in the hope that the Conservatives will be defeated.

The Conservatives currently have a double digit lead over Labour in the polls. This partly reflects the greater unity of the Leave vote, with Labour and the Lib Dems both opposed to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and no-deal, but the Lib Dems appealing to pure Remainers. The Conservatives received a further boost after agreeing the deal with the EU. Voting with the Conservatives to hold an election could damage the Lib Dems with Remain voters.

As we all know, Leave won the 2016 Brexit referendum by 51.9% to 48.1%. The trouble since then has stemmed from Leave being undefined. But had there been a clear proposal for Leave at that referendum, it would probably have lost – see the Australian 1999 Republic referendum. There would have been people who wanted to Leave in principle, but not with that particular deal.

Now that there is a clear Brexit proposal, it will be attacked during an election campaign by both Labour and Nigel Farage’s Brexit party. And there is plenty about the deal to attack from a left perspective.

Bush wrote that the proposed deal would mean a hard Brexit. If the UK leaves under this deal, a no-deal Brexit could occur in December 2020 once the transition period ends. If the Conservatives win the next election, there will probably either be a high-divergence Brexit, or a no-deal Brexit by December 2020.

The more Labour can turn the election into a referendum on Johnson’s deal, the greater their chance of winning.

Left wins Argentine presidential election

At the October 27 Argentine election, the centre-left candidate, Alberto Fernández, defeated the conservative incumbent president, Mauricio Macri, by a 48.0% to 40.5% margin. 45% or more was needed to avoid a runoff. Polls had predicted a Fernández win by almost 20 points. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was a controversial left-wing president from 2007 to 2015, returns as vice president.

Left-wing parties have performed well in recent national elections in Portugal, Canada, Argentina, Switzerland and Bolivia (see below). Does this mean the general trend to the right globally can or will be halted?

Election updates: Israel, the US, Switzerland and Bolivia

Right-wing Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a government, and returned the mandate on October 21. On October 23, the Israeli president nominated the left-leaning Blue & White leader Benny Gantz to attempt to form a government, and he has four weeks from that date. Expectations are that Gantz will also fail, and that elections will be required for the third time in a year.

Most US states hold their elections concurrently with federal elections, but there are a few state elections on November 5. Virginia and New Jersey will hold legislative elections, while Kentucky and Mississippi hold gubernatorial elections. Given presidential leans of these states, I expect Democrats to hold New Jersey and gain Virginia’s legislature, but Republicans to hold Kentucky and Mississippi.

On my personal website, I wrote about the Greens’ surge at the October 20 Swiss election, where a unique system of executive government is used. Also covered: the left-wing Bolivian president was re-elected for a fourth successive term, the far-right dominates Hungarian local elections despite a setback in Budapest, and the far-right surges in German and Italian October 27 state elections.

Call of the board: regional Queensland

A deep dive into the darkest corner of Labor’s federal election failure.

Welcome to the latest instalment of Call of the Board, which probes into every seat result from the May federal election region by region. Earlier instalments covered Sydney, here and here; regional New South Wales; Melbourne; regional Victoria and south-east Queensland. Today we look at the electorates of Queensland outside of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

The posts dealing with the big cities have featured colour-coded seat maps and the results of a model estimating how the results would have looked if determined by demographic factors alone. Unfortunately, colour-coding doesn’t get you very far when zooming out to vast and unevenly populated regional terrain, and the model hasn’t proved to be much use in producing plausible results for regional seats, in which elusive factors of local political culture appear to loom large. However, I can at least offer for purposes of comparison Labor two-party estimates derived from the Senate results, potentially offering a pointer to how much candidate factors affected the lower house results.

Seat by seat alphabetically:

Capricornia (LNP 12.4%; 11.7% swing to LNP): Labor held this Rockhampton region seat for all but one term from 1977 to 2013, but history may record that it has now reached a tipping point akin to those that have excluded the party from former regional strongholds including Kennedy (Labor-held for all but two terms from federation to 1966, but only once thereafter), Grey in South Australia (Labor-held for all but one term from 1943 to 1993, but never again since) and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia (Labor-held for all but three terms from 1922 until Graeme Campbell quit the party in 1995, and now divided between the safely conservative seats of O’Connor and Durack). The 11.7% swing to Michelle Landry, who has held the seat since 2013, was the biggest in the country, shading the 11.2% swing to the beloved George Christensen in Dawson. Landry’s primary vote was actually little changed, reflecting the entry of One Nation, who accounted for most of Labor’s 14.3% collapse. The rest came from a halving of the Katter’s Australian Party vote from 7.1% to 3.7% and the absence of Family First.

Dawson (LNP 14.6%; 11.2% swing to LNP): Dawson behaved almost identically in swing terms to its southern neighbour, Capricornia, as voters showed themselves to be a great deal more concerned about Adani and its symbolism than George Christensen’s enthusiasm for life in the Philippines. As in Capricornia, the LNP primary vote was little changed from 2016, but the arrival of One Nation soaked up 13.1% which neatly matched Labor’s 12.5% decline. Katter’s Australian Party held up better here than in Capricornia, their 6.3% being only slightly down on 2016.

Flynn (LNP 8.7%; 7.6% swing to LNP): Labor narrowly won this Gladstone-based seat on its creation at their 2007 high-water mark and sliced the margin back to 1.0% in 2016, but hopes of going one better this time fell foul of the party’s region-wide disaster. The swing in this case was fairly typical of those suffered by Labor outside the immediate range of proposed Adani mine, though in this case One Nation were not a new feature, their 19.6% being slightly higher than their 2016 result. The seat was a bit unusual in that Labor’s score on the two-party Senate estimate was 2.8% stronger than their House result.

Groom (LNP 20.5%; 5.2% swing to LNP): The 5.2% swing to John McVeigh was a bit below the regional Queensland par, despite him being a sophomore of sorts – although he may have arrived in 2016 with a ready-made personal vote due to his background as a state member. Nonetheless, it was sufficient to catapult the seat from fifteenth to second on the national ranking of seats by Coalition-versus-Labor margin, reflecting the narrowing of margins in many blue-ribbon city seats. The 2016 result was remarkable in that Family First polled 10.0% in the absence of right-wing minor party competition – this time the newly arrived One Nation polled 13.1% in their absence. The LNP primary vote was little changed and Labor was down 3.5%, the rest of the swing bespeaking a more right-wing minor party preference pool.

Herbert (LNP GAIN 8.4%; 8.4% swing to LNP): Labor’s most marginal seat pre-election, following Labor member Cathy O’Toole’s 37 vote win in 2016, the Townsville seat of Herbert was one of five seats across the country and two in Queensland that were gained by the Coalition (balanced to an extent by Labor’s gains in Gilmore and, with help from redistribution, Corangamite and Dunkley). While the swing was lower than in the Adani epicentre electorates of Dawson and Capricornia immediately to the south, it was sufficient to produce the most decisive result the seat has seen since 1954. O’Toole’s primary vote was down 5.0% to 25.5%, while LNP victor Phillip Thompson added 1.6% to the party’s 2016 result to score 37.1%. High-profile Palmer candidate Greg Dowling did relatively well in polling 5.7%, and One Nation were down from 13.5% to 11.1%.

Hinkler (LNP 14.5%; 6.1% swing to LNP): Keith Pitt, who has held this Bundaberg-based seat since 2013, picked up a swing well in line with the regional Queensland norm. He was up 2.2% on the primary vote, while Labor was down 3.8%; One Nation fell from 19.2% to 14.8%, mostly due to an expansion in the field from seven candidates to ten, including three independents, none of whom did particularly well individually.

Kennedy (KAP 13.3% versus LNP; 2.3% swing to KAP): Bob Katter had a near death experience at the 2013 election, at which time he was presumably tarred with the minority government brush despite being the only cross-bencher who backed the Coalition after the inconclusive 2010 result. However, he’s roared back to dominance since, picking up successive two-party swings of 8.9% and 2.3%, and primary vote swings of 10.5% and 2.6%. On the latter count at least, he’s been assisted by the fact that One Nation have declined to challenge him. In Coalition-versus-Labor terms, the seat participated in the regional Queensland trend in swinging 7.8% against Labor.

Leichhardt (LNP 4.2%; 0.2% swing to LNP): The negligible swing in favour of LNP veteran Warren Entsch was an exception to the regional Queensland rule, and was generally attributed to the centrality of tourism to the economy of Cairns, giving the region a very different outlook on issues like Adani. The result was generally status quo in all respects, but the seat had the distinction of being one of only three in the state where the Labor primary vote very slightly increased, along with Ryan and Fairfax. With Entsch’s primary vote down slightly, the two-party swing, such as it was, came down to an improved flow of preferences.

Maranoa (LNP 22.5% versus One Nation; 6.6% swing to LNP): For the second election in a row, Maranoa emerged with the distinction of being the only seat in the country where One Nation made the final preference count. One Nation and Labor were down on the primary vote by 3.2% and 2.7% respectively; at the last preference exclusion, One Nation led Labor 21.3% to 19.0%, compared with 23.6% to 22.9% in 2016. The other story here was the strong sophomore showing for David Littleproud, who was up 6.8% on the primary vote and by similar amounts on two-party preferred against both One Nation and Labor. The 25.4% margin versus Labor is now by some distance the biggest in the country, compared with the electorate’s ninth ranking on this score in 2016. Equally impressive for Littleproud is the distinction between his 25.4% margin and the 20.4% recorded by the two-party Senate measure.

Wide Bay (LNP 13.1%; 5.0% swing to LNP): Llew O’Brien may also have enjoyed a sophomore effect after succeeding Warren Truss in 2016, as his primary vote was up 3.2% while One Nation fell from 15.6% to 10.8%. However, the Labor primary vote held up unusually well, and the two-party swing was at the lower end of the regional Queensland scale.

Wright (LNP 14.6%; 5.0% swing to LNP): So far as the major parties were concerned, the result here was typical of regional Queensland, with LNP member Scott Buchholz up 3.1% on the primary vote and Labor down 4.0%. Independent Innes Larkin, who appears to have made his name locally campaigning against coal seam gas, scored a respectable 5.3%, which presumably helps explains the drop in the One Nation vote from 21.8% to 14.0%.

Leave means leave

Mounting suggestions that the disappointment of Labor’s election defeat could prompt an end-of-year rush for the parliamentary exit.

By-election watch:

• In her column in The Australian yesterday ($), Niki Savva wrote that unspecified Labor MPs were convinced Mike Kelly would “be gone by Christmas and that his resignation could be the trigger for others such as Mark Dreyfus and Brendan O’Connor”. This raises the prospect of by-elections for, respectively, the famously marginal south-eastern New South Wales seat of Eden-Monaro (Labor margin 0.8%), the Melbourne bayside seat of Isaacs (6.4%) and the western Melbourne Labor stronghold of Gorton (15.4%). Savva also canvasses the prospect, noted here last week, of Eden-Monaro being contested for the Nationals by state party leader John Barilaro, who holds the corresponding seat of Monaro and is said to hanker for the federal leadership.

• A move to federal politics, successful or otherwise, by John Barilaro would also require a state by-election in Monaro. Labor held the seat from 2003 to 2011, and Barilaro eked out only modest wins in 2011 and 2015, before a 9.1% swing blew the margin out to 11.6% in March. That could just be the beginning of things on New South Wales by-election front – as Andrew Clennell of The Australian ($) reported yesterday, John Sidoti’s difficulties at the Independent Commission Against Corruption are likely to result in a vacancy in the safe Liberal seat of Drummoyne (margin 15.0%), and there are suggestions Labor MP Nick Lalich “might want to retire early” from his safe seat of Cabramatta (margin 25.5% against Liberal, 12.9% against independent Dai Le). There were also said to be rumours an unspecified Liberal MP was “suffering an illness”.

Latest from the event-packed preliminaries to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters’ inquiry into the federal election:

• A submission from the Australian Electoral Commission has raised the possibility that counting of pre-poll votes might begin before the 6pm close of polls on election day. This would address the growing issue of election night being a two-stage affair in which most of the election day booths are done counting by 9pm, while the larger pre-poll voting centres can be delayed by several hours beyond that.

• A submission from the Liberal Party has called for the number of pre-poll voting centres to be reduced ($), and the pre-polling period to be cut from three weeks to two. Labor’s submission has also noted a three-week period places “significant pressure on political parties’ ability to provide booth workers”.

• GetUp! remains in the sights of the Liberal Party, and indeed much of the conservative end of the news media, with the Liberals aggrieved that the organisation has escaped classification as an associated entity of the ALP, despite it targeting exclusively Coalition members.

• Labor is correspondingly unhappy with the Australian Electoral Commission’s determination that the Liberal election day advertising that has prompted the challenges to the Chisholm and Kooyong results is beyond the reach of the section of the Electoral Act dealing with “misleading or deceptive publications”.

• The Greens want political truth-in-advertising laws adjudicated by an independent body, campaign spending caps and fixed three-year terms.

• A submission from Facebook has sought to address Labor complaints that the service was used to disseminate misinformation about Labor’s plan for a “death tax” by saying “thousands of posts” making such claims were demoted to give them less prominence in their news feeds, thanks to the work of its “third-party fact checkers”. It also claims to have shut down two accounts for spreading fake news, without providing any further detail.

Canadian election results live!

Live commentary on results from the Canadian election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Wednesday 10:16am Back to Brexit, and the government lost a crucial vote on Tuesday that means it is unable to guillotine the Brexit bill through the Commons by Thursday.  The second reading of the Brexit bill passed by 329 votes to 299, with 19 Labour and most independents voting with the Conservatives.  However, the guillotine motion failed by 322 to 308, along similar splits as Saturday’s Letwin amendment.   In both cases, opposition from the ten DUP MPs was critical in swinging these two votes against the government.

A long delay to Brexit is now very likely.  Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will agree to an election once such a delay is in place.  Polls currently give the Conservatives a large lead.

Wednesday 9:56am The final seat result was as below.  The final popular votes were 34.4% Conservatives, 33.1% Liberals, 15.9% NDP, 7.7% Quebec Bloc and 6.5% Greens.  Turnout was 66.0% of eligible voters (down 2.8%).

6:23pm The Liberals lead in the last two undecided seats, and are likely to win 157 of the 338 seats, losing just one net seat in Ontario.  The Conservatives have 121, the Quebec Bloc 32, the NDP 24, the Greens three and one independent.

5:57pm So Canada is likely headed for a Liberal government supported by the more left-wing NDP.

5:55pm Antony Green has an overall summary of vote and seat changes since the 2015 election.  Currently Liberals and NDP have 180 seats combined, easily exceeding the requirement for a majority (170 seats) (post modified).

4:50pm Assuming current figures are near final, here’s how they compare with the CBC Poll Tracker (in brackets)

Libs 156 seats, 33.0% (137, 32.0%)

Con 122, 34.5% (124, 31.6%)

Quebec Bloc 32, 7.9% (39, 7.0%)

NDP 24, 15.9% (35, 18.4%)

Green 3, 6.4% (1, 7.5%)

So the Conservatives exceeded their polling in popular vote terms, beating the Liberals by 1.5% instead of losing by 0.4%.  But they lost the seat count by 34 instead of 13.  Far too many votes wasted in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while the Liberals won Ontario easily.  And probably some tactical voting.

3:28pm It greatly helps to be regionally concentrated if you’re a minor party in a single-member system.  The Quebec Bloc currently have 32 seats on 8.1%, the Greens just three seats on 6.3%.  The Bloc won 33.0% in Quebec, the only province they contested.

3:14pm Not much change in the results.  156 Liberal leads, 121 Conservative, 32 Quebec Bloc, 25 NDP, three Greens, one independent.  Conservatives lead Liberals by 1.3% on popular votes; could also be some tactical voting by left-wing supporters.  If these results hold, Liberals plus NDP will have a majority (170+ seats).  I hope the NDP will push the Liberals to electoral reform.

2:25pm I’m going for a walk on a (rare) sunny day in Melbourne.  See you in 30 minutes.

2:24pm The Conservatives currently have a 0.6% lead over the Liberals in popular votes despite trailing by 35 in seats leading.  It’s possible that there are big vote sinks for the Liberals in the cities still to be counted, or that the Conservative vote was too inefficiently distributed (see Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan).

2:14pm Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, voted for a right-wing government at the June 2018 provincial election, but the Liberals are currently leading in 77 of the 121 seats from that province.  Another example of state elections not correlating strongly with federal results.

2:00pm Maxime Bernier broke away from the Conservatives to form the far-right People’s Party during the last term.  CBC says he’s lost his seat.

1:53pm 152 Liberals, 118 Conservatives, 35 Quebec Bloc, 24 NDP, three Greens seat leads.  Called elected are 82 Liberals, 75 Conservatives, 18 Bloc, three NDP, one Green

1:31pm A big problem for the Conservatives is massive vote wastage in Alberta.  They currently have 72% of the vote there, but there are only 34 seats in that province.

1:22pm 140 Liberals, 107 Conservatives, 30 Bloc, 20 NDP, one Green seat leads.  22 losses for the Liberals, enough to cost them their majority.

1:11pm CBC News calls a Liberal government, probably a minority but we’ll see!

1:09pm 122 Liberals, 95 Conservatives, 21 Bloc, ten NDP, two Greens.  Liberals shown losing 16 seats, enough to cost them their majority (had 184 of 338 in 2015)

1:00pm 93 Liberals, 69 Conservatives, 18 Bloc, nine NDP, one Green

12:53pm 71 Liberals, 44 Conservatives, 12 Bloc, eight NDP, one Green leads

12:51pm 58 Liberals, 40 Conservatives, 12 Quebec Bloc, eight NDP, one Green seat leads.

12:46pm 48 Liberals, 29 Conservatives, eight Quebec Bloc, six NDP and one Green seat leads.

12:03pm Will have lunch now, so I’m back in time for the 12:30pm deluge!

12:02pm In Atlantic Canada, the CBC Poll Tracker had voting intentions of 37.1% Liberals, 26.8% Conservatives, 20.0% NDP and 12.1% Greens.  Results so far are 41.3% Liberals, 29.7% Conservatives, 16.7% NDP and 10.1% Greens.

11:57am One seat in Quebec closed at 10:30am, and that puts the Quebec Bloc on the board (very termporarily).  Seat leads are 26 Liberals, five Conservatives, one NDP and one Green.  Called seats are 17 Liberals, three Conservatives, one NDP

11:45am Greens are on the tally board, leading in one seat.  25 Liberals, six Conservatives, one NDP, one Green.  In 2015, all Atlantic Canada seats went Liberal.

11:35am 24 Liberals, seven Conservative, one NDP leads.  Ten Liberals, two Conservatives, one NDP called elected.

11:27am Antony Green tweets that these provinces are showing a 12% swing from Liberal to Conservative, but the Liberal vote was huge in 2015, and it may not carry to the rest of the country.

11:22am 24 Liberals, six Conservatives, one NDP seat lead, including eight Liberals called elected

11:09am 22 Liberals, six Conservatives, one NDP seat lead, including five Liberals called as elected.

11:03am Now 16 Liberals, nine Conservative and one NDP seat lead.  Polls in most of Canada do not close until 12:30pm, with British Columbia (42 of 338 seats) closing at 1pm.

10:50am Welcome to a live blog of the Canadian election results by Adrian Beaumont.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has up-to-date figures.  Polls closed at 10:30am AEDT in four eastern provinces (32 of 338 seats), and the Liberals have leads in 12 seats, to two for the Conservatives, and one NDP.  These eastern provinces are pro-Liberal compared to Canada overall.

In the latest on Brexit, Commons Speaker John Bercow did not allow the government to bring back its meaningful vote motion after it had been amended on Saturday.  The government will now attempt to ram the Brexit legislation through the Commons by Thursday, but even if it succeeds, and the legislation is not unacceptably amended, the House of Lords is a big problem.

The Lords is far more pro-Remain than the Commons, and does not like to be rushed.  As the Letwin amendment states that approval of the deal is delayed until all legislation passes parliament, it is likely that the government will need to accept at least a short Brexit extension.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition

No change at all on voting intention in the latest Newspoll, which records a mixed bag of movements on the leaders’ personal ratings.

The Australian reports absolutely no change on voting intention in the latest Newspoll, which is now appearing predictably on a three-weekly schedule. The Coalition continues to lead 51-49 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Coalition 42%, Labor 33%, Greens 13% (maintaining a four-year high) and One Nation 6%. Scott Morrison is steady on 47% approval and up two on disapproval to 45%, while Anthony Albanese’s ratings continue to yo-yo, with approval down two to 37% and disapproval up four to 44%. Despite that, Morrison’s lead as preferred minister is now at 47-32, narrowing from 50-31. The field work period was presumably Thursday to Sunday, and the sample presumably between 1600 and 1700. UPDATE: The sample was 1634, consisting of 953 online and 681 automated phone poll surveys, the latter breakdown still being the only concession offered to greater transparency since the election.

Note also below this post Adrian Beaumont’s latest on Brexit and Canada.

Brexit, Canada preview and elsewhere

The Letwin amendment delays approval of a deal Brexit, as Boris Johnson sends three letters to the EU. Also: minority government likely in Monday’s Canadian election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

On October 17, Boris Johnson agreed a Brexit deal with the European Union. On October 19, the Letwin amendment passed the Commons by 322 votes to 306. All current Conservatives voted against this amendment, as did six Labour MPs. But the ten Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs voted in favour, as did many of the expelled Conservatives.

The Letwin amendment withholds approval for the deal until legislation to enact Brexit has passed parliament. If not for the amendment, the deal would likely have passed, as some who voted for the amendment indicated they would support the deal itself; they only voted for Letwin to ensure a no-deal Brexit on October 31 did not occur.

As approval of the deal was delayed, Johnson was required to request a Brexit extension. He sent three letters: an unsigned copy of the letter required by the Benn Act, an explanatory letter from the UK’s EU ambassador and a signed letter from Johnson explaining why he does not want an extension. I do not know what the EU, lawyers and courts will make of these contradictory letters.

No current Conservative MP has spoken against the deal. Unlike Theresa May’s deal, which applied a backstop to the whole UK, Johnson’s deal only applies to Northern Ireland, with the rest of the UK free to change trading arrangements. As commentator Stephen Bush wrote, this freedom appealed to hard Leavers far more than May’s deal.

Johnson reverted to the EU’s original offer, which May had rejected owing to her need for the DUP to form a government. Johnson wants an election, so he doesn’t care about the DUP causing trouble, and was happy to shaft them.

Whether legislation passes parliament, is rejected or unacceptably amended, an election is likely coming soon, as Jeremy Corbyn says he will support an election once a long extension is granted. If the deal is enacted, a transition period until December 2020 will mean no economic consequences until then. Polls suggest a favourable reaction to the Brexit deal has further boosted the Conservatives.

Labour’s best chance to win the next election is to attack the Brexit deal as a sell-out to the right. But one explanation for Labour’s surge before the June 2017 election was that inflation-adjusted wages were down 0.5% in the year to May 2017; they are up 2.0% in the year to August 2019.

Minority government likely in Monday’s Canadian election

The Canadian election will be held Monday, with polls closing Tuesday Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT). Canada uses first-past-the-post. According to the CBC Poll Tracker, voting intentions are 31.7% Liberals (centre-left), 31.4% Conservatives, 18.2% NDP (left-wing), 8.2% Greens and 7.0% Quebec Bloc (left-wing, separatist). Seat expectations are 139 of 338 Liberals, 121 Conservatives, 40 Bloc, 35 NDP and two Greens.

If, as is likely, no party wins a majority (170 seats), the party with the most seats could form a minority government. If the Conservatives won the most seats, they could be ousted by an agreement between the Liberals and other left-wing parties. However, this did not occur after either the 2006 or 2008 elections. Perhaps reform of the electoral system could be a bargain for support.

Canada uses staggered polling times, so that most polls close at the same time. However, the four eastern provinces’ polls close by 10:30am Tuesday AEDT, but they account for just 32 of the 338 seats. Most polls close at 12:30pm AEDT, with polls in British Columbia (42 seats) closing at 1pm. We should have a rough idea of the result by 1:30pm. Canadian media list seats as either “leading” (a candidate leads in the vote count) or “elected” (called for a candidate).

Election updates: Portugal and Argentina

  • With the four overseas Portuguese seats declared for the October 6 election, the Socialists won 108 of 230 seats (up 22) and the conservatives 84 (down 23). All other parties’ seats are as in my previous Portugal
  • There will be an October 27 Argentine presidential election. A candidate needs at least 45% to win without a runoff. In 2015, conservative Mauricio Macri won, ending 12 years of left-wing presidencies. Polls give left-wing candidate Alberto Fernández over 50% and about a 20-point lead over Macri.