Tuesday, March 1, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

To follow up on a post from a few weeks back:  German defence minister Guttenberg resigns.

A 39-year-old aristocrat popular with the electorate, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of the chancellor’s Christian Democrats.

He came under pressure after a Bremen University law professor began reviewing his 2024 thesis with the aid of the internet.

Reports emerged of a passage from a newspaper article that featured word for word, and then of a paragraph from the US embassy website being used without attribution.

Analysts then estimated that more than half the 475-page thesis had long sections lifted from other people’s work.


The plagiarism scandal led to him being nicknamed Baron Cut-and-Paste, Zu Copyberg and Zu Googleberg by the German media.

So yes, students, plagiarism can have real world consequences.

Tuesday, December 14, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi survived a vote of no confidence in the Italian parliament:

Mr Berlusconi, 74, is halfway through a five-year term but his position has been weakened by a series of scandals largely involving his relationships with women.


in the final vote, two opposition deputies switched sides and he won the vote by 314 votes to 311.

Scuffles broke out in the lower house after opposition MP Katia Polidori voted in favour of Mr Berlusconi, and voting was briefly suspended.

He won a vote in the Senate by a more comfortable margin.

Via the BBC.

Thursday, November 18, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Earlier this year I noted (see, for example, here) that the UK was on the path toward replacing their first past the post electoral system (i.e., the same one we have here in the US).  Matthew Shugart notes that the bill to hold a referendum has now passed the final hurdle, i.e., the possibility of delay by the House of Lords and the election is now slated for next May.

The vote is whether or not to scrap the current system, which is one of single members districts with plurality winners (hence, “first past the post,” or the candidate with the most votes wins) to the alternative vote (also called the instant run-off vote or IRV which would require an absolute majority, rather than a plurality, to win).  Under the AV system votes rank the candidate in order of preference.  If no candidate received an absolute majority of first place votes then the votes from the lowest vote receiving candidate are redistributed based on second, third, and so forth preferences (hence functioning as a run-off).  This process is repeated until a candidate has received an absolute majority of the vote (a more detailed explanation here). 

Sunday, October 17, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declare multiculturalism in Germany to be a “failure.” Proof that anti-immigration activists in the United States are correct, right?

From me @ OTB:  Germany and the Lessons of Immigration Policy.

Our incredible deals of 1z0-520 and free 1Y1-A19 tutorials make your success certain for the final HP0-J51 exam and you can get testking 70-516 dumps & ccia dumps.

Filed under: Europe,OTB,immigration | Comments Off|
Wednesday, September 22, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Women dominate new Swiss cabinet

The election of Simonetta Sommaruga, 50, a Social Democrat, is a historic step in a country where women only got to vote on a national level in 1971.

Ms Sommaruga becomes the fourth female in the seven-member Federal Council.

For the record, this is not the first such female-majority cabinet in Europe:

Although it is highly unusual in Europe for women to hold a majority in a country’s cabinet, it is not unique. The Spanish cabinet unveiled by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero after his re-election in 2024 included more women than men.

Finland, Norway and the Cape Verde Islands also have female majorities, according to the Inter Parliamentary Union.

Filed under: Europe | Comments Off|
Sunday, September 12, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Turkey backs constitutional changes

With nearly all votes in the referendum counted, about 58% had voted "Yes" to amending the constitution.


In all, the reform package includes 26 amendments to the 1982 constitution, many of them backed by the EU.

Civilian courts will have the power to try military personnel for crimes against the state, while sacked military officers will have the right to appeal against their dismissal.

Gender equality will be strengthened, and discrimination against children, the old and disabled banned.

Workers will be allowed to join more than one union and the ban on politically motivated strikes will be removed.

In parliament, elected lawmakers will be able to stay on if their party is disbanded by the court.

The first thing that struck me was an institutional/elections issue:  voters were presented with a package of 26 amendments for which they could only vote yes or no en masse, which confounds the question of exactly what voters were voting for or against.

The second thing that is striking is that while the governing party in Turkey has its basis in political Islam, these are all liberalizing reforms that moves Turkey closer to the west, not the other way around.  This should be underscored for so many who argue things like the ridiculous “Turkey is lost to the West” assertions that were bubbling up a a year or so ago.  Second, they should also underscore that democracy and Islam can function side-by-side.

The Hurriyet Daily News reports:  Turkey says ‘yes’ in referendum, hands AKP major triumph

The overall turnout in the referendum was around 77 percent, an indication that the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP’s, call to boycott the vote was influential.

The amendments will change the structure of two crucial judicial institutions, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges, or HSYK, while also making reforms – such as strengthening the rights of women and children – that are likely to help Turkey in its negotiation process with the European Union.

The European bloc, which Turkey seeks to join, openly supported the amendments.

The paper also has the following:  What will the constitutional changes mean for Turkey?

Filed under: Europe,elections | Comments Off|
Monday, July 5, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Matthew Shugart notes two outcomes of contests I had, at one point, meant to blog about, but never got around to doing so:

Filed under: Europe,elections | Comments Off|
Thursday, July 1, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

On the one, there appears to be a relaxing of Turkey-Israel tensions.  On the other, there may be some new tensions within the Israeli government.

From me at OTB:  Informal Talks Between the Turks and Israelis (and Some Cabinet Trouble in Israel?)

Filed under: Europe,Israel,OTB,World Politics | Comments Off|
Tuesday, June 29, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Things have been busy and blogging light, although here a few short posts from the last two days from me over at OTB:

Filed under: Europe,Israel,OTB,Sports,US Politics | Comments Off|
Wednesday, June 23, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

What with the start of summer school and whatnot, I haven’t written much the last couple of days.

Two OTB posts:

Filed under: Courts,Europe,Latin America,OTB,Sports,immigration | Comments Off|
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