November 5- Donald Tusk is sworn in as Prime Minister of Poland, replacing one half of the Kaczynski brothers. Tusk is the leader of the moderate "Civic Platform" party, and pledged to course a moderate agenda. The first thing he did was put forth the moderate proposal to pull Polish pull troops out of Iraq, but keep them in Afghanistan.
Both Mr. Enkhbold and Mr. Bayer are members of what used to be known as the Mongolian Communist Party. Their gang ruled the country from 1912 to the fall of Communism in the mid-1990's. But the party, survived, moderating itself into the modern "People's Revolutionary Party" which accepts democracy and the existence of a free-market economy. After an absence during the 90's, they were voted back into power in 2000.
Eager to regain legitimacy, President Faure called presidential elections, which he then won. He then began to talk to the opposition parties about holding a free and fair parliamentary election. In order to ensure these were conducted under unbiased eyes, he then picked an opposition politician named Yawovi Agboyibo to be his prime minister for the duration of the election.
The General announced that parliamentary elections would be held in January, and in anticipation he appointed Muhammadmian Soomro the chairman of the Pakistani Senate to be his new, caretaker prime minister (or as they call the office in that country, "grand vizier") for the duration of the election period.
I am learning that this "appoint a special PM to supervise elections" is actually quite a common practice in third-world countries, where the public generally believes that incumbent politicians are too crooked to be trusted. Mr. Soomoro is a well-respected and independent guy, so let's hope he brings some much-needed legitimacy to Pakistani democracy.
November 28- Almazbek Atambayev, who we remember was appointed prime minister of the vowel-less republic of Kyrgyzstan last March, resigned today. The Associated Press says this was done in anticipation of the country's December elections.
Kyrgyzstan is ruled by a strong president who has become fairly unpopular recently. So he appointed Atambayev to be his PM. Atambayev is the leader of the opposition party, so this was supposed to show that the President is a great guy who unites everyone. But now the election is around the corner, so both men need to stop pretending to like each other.
John Howard, the lovable four-term Prime Minister of Australia was booted from office last week. He'd been in power since 1996. That was probably too long, because the Australians had grown tired of him.
Howard was a strong conservative, and was something of a godfather figure to conservative politicians in other countries, especially Canada and the United States. He loudly and unapologetically opposed things that were quite unfashionable to oppose, such as same-sex marriage, immigration, and the Kyoto Accord, while simultaneously embracing things that were supposed to be unpopular, such as the Iraq War, George W. Bush, and the British Monarchy. And he was enormously successful, defying a great deal of conventional wisdom in the process.
But the new conventional wisdom was that Howard was a fool to run for a fifth term in office, and this time, the pundits were right.
The fellow who beat Howard is Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd. Unlike Howard, Rudd was never a professional politician, and has in fact came quite late to electoral politics. For most of his adult life he was a bureaucrat of some sort, working behind the scenes in the foreign office, the state of Queensland, and then the national Labor Party.
Rudd will be the first left-wing PM in over a decade. Australia is a pretty conservative country overall. Since the war they've had about 40 years of rule by the conservative party (which is oddly actually called the "Liberal Party") compared to only 20 from the Labourites.