Issue 35

 


Senegal elections set for 25 February 2007

Abdoulaye Wade

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade announced on 13 April 2006 that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on 25 February 2007. President Wade changed Senegal's constitution in 2001 so that the terms of future presidents would be limited to a maximum of two five-year terms. President Wade is the last President to serve a seven-year term after its expiry in 2007.

This contrasts to the undemocratic rhetoric of Libyan dictator Kadhafi, who addressed the Senegalese Parliament on 5 April and urged African parliaments to amend their constitutions in order to remove presidential term limits and allow Presidents to stand for life.

 


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Yabloko brings in environmental party

Grigori Yavlinsky

On Sunday 16 April, the congress of the Green Russia environmental party took the decision to merge with and thus become a faction of the liberal-democratic party Yabloko (LI Member). Yabloko leader Grigori Yavlinsky, who had previously told the Green Russia congress that he was very interested in cooperating with the ecologists, has welcomed this decision, promising his support. Yavlinsky proposed that both parties should draft an environmental program dealing in particular with the following issues: control over nuclear fuel transportation, the privatisation of water and natural resources, nuclear facility safety and urban environment.

 


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Liberal inroads in Italian elections

Valerio Zanone

In the recent Italian national elections, held on 9-10 April 2006, Italian Liberals supported the winning centre-left coalition of Romano Prodi. A small yet significant Liberal presence was guaranteed through the candidature of Valerio Zanone, former Minister of Defense and former Mayor of Torino (and successor to Giovanni Malagodi as leader of the late Partito Liberale Italiano) within the Margherita Party of Romano Prodi and Francesco Rutelli.

Zanone ran for the Senate and was elected in a constituency from the region of Lombardia (capital Milan). Furthermore, two other Liberals were elected to the Senate, Ms Cinzia Dato and Mr Natale D'Amico, both former Members of Parliament.

 


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New leader at the helm of the Democratic Party of Japan

Ichiro Ozawa

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has made a fresh start under new chief Ichiro Ozawa, known for his 'iron fist' leadership. Ozawa left the current governing Liberal Democratic Party in 1993 to start the Liberal Party (former LI Observer Member), which has since merged with the DPJ, the party he now leads. His first priority is to revitalise the party, which has lost public trust following the fiasco over a fake email, used by a DPJ parliamentarian, which pointed to an alleged corruption scandal within Koizumi's ruling party.

The administration of Koizumi has been pushing structural reform, prompting disputes as to whether the widely reported widening economic gap in Japanese society stems from this reform agenda. Criticising Koizumi's reform agenda, Ozawa says it lacks a vision for a new Japan and has created a wide economic divide in a 'survival of the fittest' society.

To breathe life into the party, Ozawa vows to restore 'party unity' and to clarify differences with the LDP in policymaking and Parliament debate. In a departure from his predecessor Seiji Maehara, Ozawa aims to initiate DPJ legislation rather than merely making counterproposals to an LDP-sponsored legislative agenda.

 


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Presidential competition within Kenyan Liberal Democratic Party

Raila Odinga

Raila Odinga MP has been joined by Kalonzo Musyoka MP, a fellow Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) member, as a potential candidate for next year's presidential elections in Kenya. In recent weeks, allies of Musyoka have formed a new party so that he has an alternative base from which to run as a presidential candidate, if not chosen by the LDP. Odinga has been increasingly perceived as moving closer to the LDP leadership, which would strengthen his nomination chances. Odinga has denied, however, that the creation of a new party to support Musyoka is indicative of a rift within the LDP.

 


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Liberals support Kosovo's independence

Kosovo

Kosovo should be granted independence so that it can move away from the uncertainty and legal limbo in which it is confined. Independence accompanied with guarantees for the protection of minority rights will enable Kosovo to tackle important issues such as improving education and employment and move forwards on the path to European integration. This was the outcome of the pan Liberal Democrat conference that took place on Saturday 8th April to discuss the future status of Kosovo.

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