Saturday, October 09, 2004

A big weekend ahead electorally

This weekend, three elections will be taking place. The Afghanistan Presidential Election, the Australian Federal Election and the New Zealand local government elections.

After a steady diet of doom and gloom about Afghanistan made by the same people that predicted it was a quagmire just before Mazar-e-Sharif fell, the elections will be a welcome bit of good news that they can't ignore. Everybody reckons Karzai will win so I won't make a prediction about that.

The Australian Federal Election is a little more interesting. As a New Zealander, I'm naturally lethargic about who wins in Australia. If it were up to me, I would root for Howard solely on the basis that Mark Latham made a silly promise to bring the troops in Iraq home by Christmas. Even if he really disagreed about going to war, he could have followed Helen Clark's lead and keep troops there on the grounds that they are needed without electoral condemnation. If he had done so, I believe Mark could have defused national security as an election issue. But then again, during the last election Labour agreed with the Coalition on an acute political issue (the Tampa refugees) and still got stomped. Because of that, I think Labour decided to fight about the issue rather than die on their knees. My prediction (although it's just based on the latest polls and nothing else) is that Howard will remain in power.

As for who will win what in the Local Government elections, I have no idea save that Gary Moore will be Mayor of Christchurch.