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Malaysia: the ruling coalition strikes back – Commons Library Standard Note

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Malaysia: the ruling coalition strikes back – Commons Library Standard Note
Source: House of Commons Library

In May 2013 elections, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, led by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, won a majority of seats in parliament despite gaining only 47% of the vote. The opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR), led by Anwar Ibrahim, gained 51% of the vote but extreme variations in the size of parliamentary constituencies across Malaysia meant that it was unable to translate that into electoral victory.

The outcome represented a further erosion of the BN’s once impregnable political ascendancy in Malaysia. Prime Minister Najib had sought to win back enough urban Malays and Chinese-origin voters by invoking “One Malaysia” and introducing a cautious range of political reforms. He did just enough, although the opposition challenged the probity of the result.

With his leadership under significant threat within UMNO, the dominant Malay party within the BN, since the 2013 elections Najib has launched a campaign of harassment of the political opposition and focused anew on affirmative action for Malays. Longstanding sodomy charges have been revived against Anwar Ibrahim – he is currently appealing against a five-year jail sentence but if unsuccessful his political career could well be over – and he could soon also be charged with sedition. Many wonder if the PR will hold together if he is removed from the scene.

At the same time, Najib has sought to preserve his international reputation as a reformer, focusing primarily on economic liberalisation measures. But a closer look suggests that his reforming credentials are currently somewhat threadbare.

Hat tip: GP

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Scottish Independence Referendum 2014: Analysis of results

October 6, 2014 Comments off

Scottish Independence Referendum 2014: Analysis of results (PDF)
Source: House of Commons Library

In the Scottish Independence Referendum held on the 18th September 2014, the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ was answered ‘No’ by a margin of 10.6 percentage points.

+ 2,001,926 electors (55.3%) voted
+ 1,617,989 electors (44.7%) voted ‘Yes’.

This Research Paper presents information on the votes cast and the electorate in each referendum counting area and on opinion polls in the lead-up to the referendum.

Hat tip: GP

Universal suffrage to elect the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 2017: a legal primer – Commons Library Standard Note

October 3, 2014 Comments off

Universal suffrage to elect the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 2017: a legal primer – Commons Library Standard Note
Source: House of Commons Library
On 31 August 2014 the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) decided that the next Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region should be directly elected in 2017 by universal suffrage. However, the candidates (expected to be two or three in total) will still have to be approved in advance by a nominating committee, whose composition and method of formation will remain unchanged from that of the 1200-person strong ‘Election Committee’ which elected the current Chief Executive in 2012. Critics argue that this nominating committee will have an in-built ‘pro-Beijing’ bias.

This decision has triggered a wave of protest in Hong Kong, led by a movement called Occupy Central, in which students are playing a major part. This short briefing summarises the legal context of recent events in Hong Kong, including the UK’s own obligations.

Hat tip: GP

Japanese quake: nuclear power

April 11, 2011 Comments off

Japanese quake: nuclear power (PDF)
Source: House of Commons Library

This note sets out official information from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the nuclear power plants in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami, 11 March 2011, with comments about what is happening and why.

It includes information up to the IAEA bulletin 8:15 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) 6 April. Further bulletins will be published on the IAEA website, as necessary.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) which runs the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants issues technical press notices about the current state of each of the reactors on the site.

The Health Protection Agency, the official body charged with advising the UK government about the effects of radiation in humans, has information on its webpage dedicated to the Japanese nuclear power problem. It advises that there is no health risk to people living in the UK from the release of radioactive material from the Japanese nuclear power plant.

UK — Transport Policy in 2011: a new direction?

March 8, 2011 Comments off

Transport Policy in 2011: a new direction? (PDF)
Source: House of Commons Library Research Papers

This paper outlines the changes made to transport policy by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government and looks at some of the long term transport challenges the government is likely to face over the course of this Parliament.

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