If you are sick of US political primary season, perhaps looking around the world might cheer you up. (More)
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Belgium went without an elected government for a record 589 days. Two opposing factions were unable to forge a compromise and build a coalition government. The previous record was held by Iraq.
The temporary government did not make big decisions regarding budget (though money still flowed as before), the national debt, foreign policy and defense, leading some to worry that a debt crisis could occur and affect all of Europe. It didn’t happen.
They did have a big national party once things got resolved.
The Spanish were supposed to crave a different sort of politics: a more diverse parliament, new parties and new faces who would be keener to share power in the absence of crushing majorities. And Spain got what it wanted. After December’s election there are now four middle-sized political forces, two of them new to parliament, together with a number of smaller groups. The perfect environment for practising the art of compromise, one might say.
Except no party, new or old, seems willing to compromise. The country has been without a government for two months and, short of an eleventh-hour agreement – which is still possible – it is set for a few more months of what many see as a state of paralysis.
Spain had a budget before the elections in December so bills are being paid. The independence of Catalonia is one key sticking point and the other is the “new politics” which many expected to lead to compromise but some of the new leaders won’t even shake hands.
Bosnia, with 3 Presidents, 13 Prime Ministers and no decent government may just take the cake. The U.S. brokered peace agreement may be partly to blame. They also have 180 ministers and over 700 members of parliament.
Naturally, the Federation and Republika Srpska each created its own privatization agency, but for once the result was identical: the systematic transfer of assets into the hands of war-profiteers and politicians, as well as their families, friends and cronies. Too often, the new owners had no interest in restarting industrial production. Instead, they sold the machinery when possible, disposed of the rest as scrap metal and put up the land for either rent or sale. Entire industries were turned into housing or commercial estates, hotels, and malls.
There are more dysfunctional countries covered here just in case you need more misery to feel better about our politics. A “more prefect union” is a hard thing to achieve.
So, things in the U.S. could be worse. Just in case you want to plan ahead to escape to Canada in case Trump becomes President, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia has a web site for you:
Rob Calabrese, a radio host in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, has set up a website called “Cape Breton If Donald Trump Wins” that pitches the island as a new home for anyone seeking refuge.
“Hi Americans! Donald Trump may become the President of your country!” a welcome message on the website reads. “If that happens, and you decide to get the hell out of there, might I suggest moving to Cape Breton Island!”
Be aware, however that Canadians are no longer allowed to compete on Jeopardy. Canadian data privacy laws seem to be the glitch.