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By Robert A. Vella

Canada’s general election today will determine whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stays in power, and polling indicates an extremely tight race between Liberals and Conservatives.  Switzerland’s parliamentary elections reaped big gains for pro-environment Greens, although the far-right anti-immigrant Swiss People’s Party still held onto the largest number of seats.  The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected another gerrymandering case, this one in Michigan;  and, official secrecy over foreign hacking into states’ voting systems continue to be a serious concern ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Canada

From:  Canada vote too close to call as Trudeau hopes to cling on

Canadians vote in a general election Monday with polling predicting a minority government as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party risks losing its majority or even being kicked out of office.

The Liberals and the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, could be set for a near dead heat with pundits calling it one of the nation’s closest elections ever.

But neither of the two parties that have led Canada since Confederation in 1867 is forecast to win enough support to secure an absolute majority of seats in parliament.

Switzerland

From:  Greens Surge in Swiss Election as Climate Change Worries Come to the Fore

The SVP, which won a record number of seats in 2015 amid Europe’s refugee crisis, slipped 3.6 points to 25.8% while the Greens’ share surged 5.9 points to 13.0% of the vote for the lower house, according to a gfs.bern projection for broadcaster SRF.

The smaller, more centrist Green Liberal Party (GLP) advanced to 7.9%, bringing the two parties’ combined strength to nearly 21% should they overcome policy differences and decide to join forces.

Together they gained 26 seats in the 200-seat lower house, potentially putting them in line to take one of the seats in the seven-seat cabinet, the Federal Council.

Changing just one member of the cabinet would be a political sensation. The Greens have never had a seat in the federal government.

The center-left Social Democrats remained second on 16.6% and the center-right Liberals (FDP) third at 15.3%, but the Greens leapfrogged the centrist Christian Democrats (CVP), which has one seat on the Federal Council.

From:  Swiss financiers face Green backlash after election

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland’s Greens took aim at the country’s financial services sector after parliamentary election gains which shifted the balance of political power to the left.

[…]

Switzerland’s Greens gained a record 17 seats to hold 28 in the 200-seat lower house, putting them in fourth place.

The more centrist and pro-business Green Liberal Party added nine seats to control 16, leaving the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) weakened but still parliament’s biggest force.

United States

From:  Supreme Court tosses challenge to Republican-drawn Michigan electoral maps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a challenge to Republican-drawn electoral districts in Michigan that Democrats said were illegally configured to dilute their voting power, an action taken in the aftermath of major rulings by the justices in June prohibiting federal courts from hearing such claims.

The Supreme Court’s action voided an order in April by a three-judge panel to rework 34 districts in the state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives whose boundaries were crafted purely to advantage Republicans, a practice known as partisan gerrymandering.

The justices had put the panel’s decision on hold before they issued their rulings in the two major gerrymandering cases from Maryland and North Carolina. In a blow to election reformers, the justices found that federal courts have no role to play in reining in electoral map manipulation by politicians aimed at entrenching one party in power.

The Supreme Court on Oct. 7 threw out a similar case from Ohio in which a lower court had invalidated 16 Republican-drawn U.S. House districts that Democrats had said were drawn to unlawfully diminish their political clout.

From:  Public, election officials may be kept in the dark on hacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — If the FBI discovers that foreign hackers have infiltrated the networks of your county election office, you may not find out about it until after voting is over. And your governor and other state officials may be kept in the dark, too.

There’s no federal law compelling state and local governments to share information when an electoral system is hacked. And a federal policy keeps details secret by shielding the identity of all cyber victims regardless of whether election systems are involved.

[…]

The secrecy surrounding foreign hacks is not a hypothetical issue. The public still doesn’t know which Florida counties were breached by Russian agents in the 2016 election. Rick Scott, Florida’s governor in 2016 and now a U.S. senator, was not told at the time and didn’t learn most of the details until this year.

[…]

Meanwhile, experts worry the White House hasn’t highlighted the threat as President Donald Trump argues it’s OK for foreign countries to provide damaging information on his political rivals, a matter now the subject of an impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats.

7 thoughts on “Monday Focus: Elections in Canada, Switzerland, and concerns in the U.S.

  1. I get more news on your site about what is happening in Europe than from my daily newspaper which seems to concentrate on photos of the large Royal family and celebrity antics. Newspapers have abandoned news and become comics,

    Liked by 2 people

      • I think newspapers are underestimating the intelligence of people who read newspapers (which they would prefer to be filled with news) Page after page of endless Royals fashion parading their women and endless photoshoots of babies and infants starting school just makes you think – what use are they? When I was growing up the only time a Royal made the newspaper was when they were carrying out some diplomatic function, overseas ambassador, opening a museum. Have people forgotten so soon how useless an aristocrat class are?

        Liked by 1 person

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