Milos Zeman, a former prime minister and one-time leader of the left-leaning Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), won the country’s first-ever direct presidential election. Zeman defeated Karel Schwarzenberg, the foreign minister in the current center-right government and the candidate of TOP 09, in a second-round contest held in late January.
Although the PRI regained the presidency at elections held in July 2012, the party fell short of winning a majority in either legislative chamber. In addition, its members are far from united in their support for reforms that the new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, claims will deliver average annual real GDP growth of 6 percent.
Although I am uncertain how the majority of Americans view this Washington sequestration soap opera, many small business owners are disgusted. Sequestration is just another example of mismanagement in a long line of examples. This is no way to run a superpower.
Government is not a business. It has different goals and objectives. Small business owners realize that managing government is unlike managing a business, and running the world’s most important power is a difficult and daunting challenge.
Italian voters' rejection of the austerity program carried out by the technocrat administration may deliver one of several options: a Grand Coalition catering to all political tastes, a minority center-left administration or a bridging of the Bersani-Berlusconi divide. In any case, a feisty and unstable marriage in Rome is expected, whether or not fresh elections are required.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney got himself into a lot of trouble last year by making disparaging remarks about the so-called “47 percent” of Americans who rely on the government for their needs. Actually, that number is much higher, and without a lot of those government programs, you may as well move the country to Botswana or someplace like that, which also doesn’t have indoor plumbing.
In early November, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag presented the government’s blueprint for a new constitutional order to the Parliament. It includes proposals to transfer responsibility for appointing Cabinet members from the prime minister to the president, and to eliminate the power of the Parliament to influence personnel decisions by means of votes of no-confidence and censure motions.
In late 2012, the center-left government led by President François Hollande was dealt a major blow to its economic policy credibility. The constitutional council ruled that a 75 percent income tax rate imposed on individuals earning more than $1.3 million annually was not consistent with the French ideal of equality before the law. The very high tax rate on the super-rich was, from the start, suspect in terms of its practical value. But for Hollande, it was a centerpiece of a campaign platform that attracted support from voters eager to punish the bankers and investors that many blame for France’s current economic woes.
The Honduran government appears to be headed for another political crisis that is in some respects dismayingly similar to the events that led to the forced ouster of President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, an episode from which the country has yet to fully recover. This time, however, it is not the Congress and the Supreme Court teaming up to take down the president, but rather the president and the Congress joining forces to neuter the Supreme Court.
As expected, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has been chosen to head the new group of leaders that will rule China for the next 10 years. At a CCP congress held in November, Xi was named as both party leader and chairman of the Central Military Commission, and he will replace Hu Jintao as national president in March 2013. Li Keqiang will take over as prime minister, replacing Wen Jiabao.
It seems to me that most Americans clearly understand why we, as a people and a country, are exceptional. It appears those on the left, including our President, have much trouble accepting this. In fact, they apologize to the world for it. And yet it is our most enduring characteristic.
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