Take 5: THE BALLOT SPEAKS

With results for 234 of 272 seats in Pakistan declared,Pakistan Muslim League-N’s chief Nawaz Sharif is set for his third term as prime minister.

Published:May 14, 2013 3:49 am

PAKISTAN

With results for 234 of 272 seats in Pakistan declared,Pakistan Muslim League-N’s chief Nawaz Sharif is set for his third term as prime minister. Record turnout was reported in several cities,despite Taliban’s threats to disrupt voting. 21 people died,including 11 people in a bombing in Karachi. The battle between Sharif and Imran Khan died in the early stages itself,as Sharif took an unassailable lead,leaving the injured cricketer-turned-politician Khan a distant second.

MALAYSIA

The Barisan National Coalition,led by Prime Minister Najib Razak,was reelected for the 13th time in a row on Sunday. This is the same party that has ruled Malaysia since its independence in 1957. Barisan won 133 out of 222 as against 89 for the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat. But the ruling coalition saw the ethnic Chinese voters shift away from it,with Najib complaining about a “Chinese tsunami” breaking over his party. There was a record turnout in what is cited to be the most closely contested general election in Malaysia’s history. Some 80 per cent of registered voters cast ballots.

BULGARIA

Results from Bulgaria’s parliamentary election on Sunday show only a narrow lead for the centre-right Gerb party. Former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov of the Gerb party failed to win the election outright and will now try to form a coalition government. He had resigned in February amid protests over living standards and corruption. Bulgarians turned out in record low numbers to choose a government to replace the one that resigned after angry demonstrations and a crackdown in Sofia this year. The voter turnout was barely 50 per cent,marked by voter apathy and claims of fraud.

PHILIPPINES

THE Philippines went to elections on Monday as corruption-tainted candidates took centre-stage in the nation. The elections,seen as crucial for incumbent President Benigno Aquino,will decide on his reform agenda in the backdrop of an underperforming economy. Aquino swept into power in 2010 on election promises of fighting corruption. For the 18,000 positions up for elections,graft-tainted ex-presidents and politicians charged with murder and child rape are in the fray. Opinion polls have shown that Aquino remains one of the country’s most popular presidents,with his ambitious reforms to tackle corruption.

KENYA

Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as Kenyan president in April,in what was seen as a controversial election. Kenyatta is charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with orchestrating communal violence in the last presidential elections five years ago where 1,200 people were killed. The peaceful transition of power this time has,however,helped build Kenya’s reputation as one of Africa’s most stable democracies. Some analysts say the ICC row may have even given Kenyatta more votes. Besides ambassadors from the US and Europe,China and India also sent senior officials to Kenyatta’s inauguration.

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