• Research Briefing

    London elections 2012

    Elections for the Mayor of London and London Assembly were held on 3 May 2012. The Conservative candidate Boris Johnson was re-elected as Mayor, winning 44% of first preference votes. Labour won 12 of the 25 London Assembly seats to become the largest party in the Assembly.

  • Research Briefing

    Disclosure of tax returns for public officials and holders of public office

    During the campaign for the London mayor in 2012, the two main candidates, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, agreed to release details of their tax returns. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have also suggested that the policy could be extended more widely. This Note looks at the arguments for and against so far, and looks at selected international comparisons.

  • Research Briefing

    Madagascar’s political crisis

    The continuing political crisis in Madagascar began when Andre Rajoelina successfully ousted the incumbent President, Marc Ravalomana, in March 2009 and installed himself instead, albeit formally as a transitional leader pending elections. The international community considers Rajoelina illegitimate. Regional mediation efforts to return Madagascar to 'constitutional rule' led to a peace deal in September 2011, but implementation remains fraught and the danger reamains that the process could collapse.

  • Research Briefing

    The Russian crisis and Putin’s third term

    Recent parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia led to the return of Vladimir Putin as President of Russian Federation from May 2012. There has been a crisis in legitimacy of Putinism and moves to restore faith in the system, but the looming economic problems threaten the system and carrying through genuine reform will be difficult.

  • Research Briefing

    In brief: Burma – the beginning of a new era?

    Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy achieved a stunning victory in recent by-elections, leading some to argue that Burma's democratic transition is no sham after all. This note briefly surveys the debate about what has been achieved so far, what remains to be done and whether the time has come to scrap Western sanctions.

  • Research Briefing

    Polling stations and hours of polling

    Lengthy queues at a number of polling stations at the close of poll at the general election on 6 May 2010 meant that a number of voters were unable to cast their votes. This Note gives details of the legislative provisions and the Electoral Commission’s guidance relating to polling hours, polling stations and the responsibilities of (Acting) Returning Officers. Standard Note as at 21 March 2012.

  • Research Briefing

    Electoral Administration: draft legislation relating to electoral timetables, polling place reviews and the use of emblems on ballot papers

    On 13 July 2011 the Government published draft legislation on three electoral administration provisions for pre-legislative scrutiny. Further draft electoral administration proposals were published on 14 September 2011. The draft legislation forms part of a larger package of measures including draft legislation on individual electoral registration (IER). The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee examined the Government’s proposals for individual electoral registration and the other electoral administration provisions at the same time and published its report on 4 November 2011. The Government published its response to the PCR Committee’s report on 9 February 2012.

  • Research Briefing

    Palestinian elections?

    A date of 4 May has been agreed for Palestinian legislative and presidential elections. Observers are unsure whether they will in fact take place on that date, as much depends on the fraught reconciliation negotiations between Hamas and Fatah.

  • Research Briefing

    In brief: Pakistan’s multiple crises

    This note briefly surveys the current crisis in civil-military relations in Pakistan, which is symbolised by the 'memogate' scandal. With the Supreme Court also hearing a charge of contempt of court against Prime Minister Gilani, the government's position looks precarious. While a military coup is possible, early elections are more likely.

  • Research Briefing

    Initial proposals for new constituency boundaries: Wales

    The number of parliamentary constituencies in Wales will fall from 40 to 30 as part of the current boundary review. Provisional proposals for the new seats were published by the Boundary Commission for Wales on 11 January 2012. This note looks at the extent to which proposed constituencies can be identified with existing seats and which existing constituencies would be most affected by the proposals. The proposals for Wales are also compared with the initial proposals from the Boundary Commissions for England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, published in September and October 2011.