The latest edition of World Report will begin with a historical tribute to Queen Elizabeth II before discussing important electoral news from the United Kingdom, Kenya, Chile, and Sweden. To read Split Ticket’s August publication, click here.
This week’s biggest worldwide news came from the United Kingdom, where Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday at the age of 96. She had reigned for 70 years and seven months at the time of her passing, making her the second-longest reigning sovereign in history.
Though she was only 26 when she succeeded her father in 1952, Elizabeth quickly proved to be a staid and proprietary arbiter for the UK as it entered a new era of postcolonialism. Along with her late husband Prince Philip, the departed queen worked for decades to maintain the reputation of the monarchy as a force for good.
For citizens of the Commonwealth, her death also erases one of the last human connections to the remnants of the Victorian Era. How so? Elizabeth presided over fifteen Prime Ministers during her tenure. The first, Winston Churchill, was a clear product of the 19th century who adapted to the challenges posed by two devastating world wars. The last, Liz Truss, was born over a century after the first.
Many of the queen’s relatives and associates also enjoyed long lives. Her grandmother, Mary of Teck, lived to be 85. Perhaps more impressively, Elizabeth’s mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, passed at 101. In death, the queen has been succeeded by her eldest son Charles. The regnal name Charles III was announced yesterday afternoon.
With Elizabeth’s passing dominating the news cycle, the recent start to Prime Minister Liz Truss’s tenure has been swept under the proverbial rug. On September 5th, the Conservative Party leadership race to replace the outgoing Boris Johnson unceremoniously concluded.
Split Ticket correctly predicted a Truss victory over Rishi Sunak, though her 57-43% margin was narrower than what many pundits had expected based on previous leadership election results. Formerly Foreign Secretary, Truss met with the queen on September 6th to officially enter office as Prime Minister. She has quickly been catapulted into the spotlight as a result of Elizabeth’s death and had previously indicated her opposition to calling an early general election.
In Kenya, election-related violence has led to injury and displacement for thousands of residents over the years. Deputy President William Ruto’s initially-contested victory in the country’s August presidential contest heightened those historical tensions even further. Ruto had run a populist campaign against Raila Odinga, a former rival of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta who later became his ally.
The main factions in the most recent election were the United Democratic Alliance (Ruto) and the One Kenya Coalition (Odinga). Ruto stressed the importance of so-called “hustlers” against the elite “dynasty” class exemplified by Odinga and President Kenyatta. His 51-49% win was certified by the Kenyan Supreme Court earlier on September 5th, ending speculation that the election results could be revoked.
On September 4th, Chileans voted to resoundingly reject a new constitution that had been supported by President Gabriel Boric. Most observers clarify that while the Chilean public wants to change its Pinochet-era constitution, the most recent replacement proposal was too progressive to stomach. Boric, who has watched his approval ratings decline rapidly in the months since his inauguration, will now have to preside over his government’s return to the drawing board to craft a less controversial document.
Sweden will elect its Riksdag on September 11th, marking the first general election since 2018. The Social Democrats currently preside over a minority government with the Greens, led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. In recent weeks, the opinion polling average has shown the Social Democrats at roughly 29% – a popular vote figure that would slightly-exceed the party’s baseline from four years ago. When it comes to opposition, surveys suggest that the Moderates have actually been overtaken by the ascendant Sweden Democrats. Andersson’s position should ultimately be sustained.
With important contests on the horizon in Germany, Israel, Brazil, Italy, and Austria, Split Ticket plans on publishing new editions of World Report on a near-weekly basis. The next piece will briefly touch on the Swedish election results while providing a primary focus on Italy and Brazil.