Benjamin Netanyahu looks set to win re-election on January 22nd. National opinion polls show that Likud and its electoral partnership with the nationalist party Yisrael Beiteinu are in a strong position, and it looks likely they will be able to combine with other right wing parties to form an overall majority. On Tuesday, the Israeli prime minister visited a controversial settlement in the West Bank and reinforced his support for expanding Israeli settlements:
“We remain loyal to our homeland will continue to protect our citizens, develop our country and build in our land.”
Netanyahu’s support for continuing growth of illegal Israeli settlements on occupied land will further infuriate world opinion.
An election should be held in Pakistan within 90 days of the 16 March 2013, when the Pakistan Party’s People will complete its term in government. It is the first time in Pakistani history that a civilian government will have fulfilled a full term. The elections will take place during what is being called “an extremely volatile period” in Pakistani history. The international community, and especially the US, will scrutinise this nuclear-armed nation’s election year. There are serious worries that the election could be met with violence and instability. This means there is a chance that elections may be delayed, and an interim government would rule the country – the worry here is that democracy would be postponed and it is unclear for how long. However, calls to delay the election have been met by resistance from political leaders like prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. If the election goes ahead it will see the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, the Pakistan Muslim League and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf vie to be the largest party in parliament.
The country that has best weathered the turmoil in the Eurozone crisis is holding a federal election this year. With approval ratings that David Cameron could only dream of, Angela Merkel’s government is viewed as doing “a rather good” job by a staggering 62% of people. Furthermore, Angela Merkel is preferred to her rival Peer Steinbruck by 54 to 36 per cent. Steinbruck’s campaign has seen a number of gaffes. One example of his unforced errors is his call for the chancellor to be paid more, whilst already being in trouble with the press for having made $1.65 million during three years of lecturing. It is highly probable that Germany’s first female chancellor will remain in place.
Silvio Berlusconi, is once again attempting to become prime minister of Italy. Berlusconi has strengthened his bid by forming an electoral pact between his People of Liberty party and the Northern league. This will mean the vote in northern areas like Lombardy will not be divided against their main rival, the centre-left Democratic Party. The spectre of Silvio has done enough to spook European financial markets. However, political scientist Roberto D’Alimonte has said, that based on polling in key Senate regions, it looks like the Democratic Party will win the election. They will govern by themselves or in coalition with prime minister Mario Monti’s more centrist party.
The ruling Labor Party aims to win a third term in power. However, prime minister Julia Gillard faces an uphill struggle. A poll last month showed the Labor Party at 32% compared to 46% for the Liberal-National coalition. Gillard is still preferred as prime minister over her rival Tony Abbott, but this hasn’t stopped polls pointing towards her downfall. Although Gillard has seen her recognition grow in the rest of the world after a rousing speech against misogyny, her government is deeply unpopular.