Three wins for democracy

I’m back home after six and a half weeks of travel in the northern hemisphere, and for once there’s good news to share. Three elections in the last week have produced strong results in favor of candidates who represented, in the circumstances, the strongest commitment to democracy.

The first was last Tuesday in East Timor, where former president José Ramos-Horta was returned to the top job, beating incumbent Francisco Guterres in a landslide with 62.1% of the vote in the second round. We’ll have a look at that tomorrow, and at why it matters both politically and constitutionally.

The second was on Sunday in Slovenia, a country that tends to slip under the radar but has consistently interesting elections. Its rather Trumpist prime minister, Janez Janša, was comprehensively defeated by the centre-left Freedom Movement, which will govern in coalition with the Social Democrats. We’ll look at the details on Thursday, and consider the implications for central Europe.

And the big one, of course, also on Sunday, was in France (see my preview here), where centrist incumbent Emmanuel Macron was re-elected with a bigger-than-expected majority, winning 58.5% of the second round vote. On Friday we’ll consider what that means and look ahead to the June legislative election that will determine the character of Macron’s second term.

Then next week we can move on to some other topics, including some reflections on Covid-era travel.

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