They Keep Going and Going...

As of late there have been numerous elections or votes that haven't ended quickly. Here are some updates on their statuses.

Minnesota U.S. Senate Race
Republican Norm Coleman challenged the election results in court when the recount total landed in Democrat Al Franken's favor, by 225 votes. On Friday the panel of justices hearing the case ruled against Coleman's request to open and count some absentee ballots that he maintains should have been tallied. He had broken the types of rejected ballots into 19 categories. The judges tossed out the validity of 12 of those categories. But the battle continues. More here.

California Proposition 8
On November 5, 2008 a writ petition was filed with the California Supreme Court. The petition seeks to invalidate Proposition 8. The California constitution states that rights cannot be taken away from minority groups through the process of simple majority elections. The court will begin hearing arguments on March 5, 2009. For more information about the writ petition, and the plethora of groups and companies that support overturning Prop 8, click here.

This past week Israel held elections for Prime Minister and parliament. Kadima, the centrist party led by Tzipi Livni that is interested in negotiating peace with Palestine, picked up 28 seats. Likud, a right-wing party led by Benjamin Netanyahu that is opposed to peace negotiations, picked up 27. Overall, right-wing parties picked up more seats than centrists or left-wing parties. This means that the probability that Netanyahu will be Prime Minister is high. Already his party is negotiating with others in an effort to form a coalition. However, some right-wing groups have said that they are not interested in joining Likud. Livni is also hard at work building her own coalition. A definitive result is not expected for weeks. The outcome of these elections will most likely have a profound effect on U.S. policy in the Middle East. Keep up-to-date here.

On Wednesday Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic (MFD) party was sworn in as Prime Minister. Last year elections between incumbent head of government, Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai, turned sour. Tsvangirai was ahead in the first round of elections, but subseqent rounds, widely thought to be rigged, went in Mugabe's favor. In September a power sharing deal was discussed, but not implemented until now. Mugabe is still president and maintains control over the armed forces. Tsvangirai is taking office amid desperate times in Zimbabwe. A cholera epidemic has killed over 3,000 people in the past year and inflation has left many with no way to secure their basic needs. Already there is evidence of frissures between the two parties. More here.

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