Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts

Monday, November 18, 2019

Bougainville Voting on Independence from Papua New Guinea

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Bougainville island and its surroundings could become the world's next independent country (public domain UN map).
This week, voting will begin in a referendum that could lead to the creation of the world's first widely-accepted new country in almost a decade. Bougainville, a group of islands in the South Pacific, will be voting on independence from Papua New Guinea.

Where did this come from? Is the referendum expected to pass? Will Bougainville really become independent? Read on for all the answers!

Monday, February 18, 2019

"North Macedonia" Name Change Goes Into Effect

Are there two Macedonias? Where is North Macedonia located? Why is North Macedonia called north? Map of Macedonia, including both the recently renamed North Macedonia as per the Prespa Agreement and the Greek provinces of Macedonia.
North Macedonia is "north" because most of historical Macedonia was south of it, in what's now Greece. (Contact us for permission to use this map.)

North Macedonia: New Name Adopted

Last Tuesday, the controversially-named Republic of Macedonia - also known as the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) - officially become the Republic of North Macedonia. The changed entered into force exactly eight months after the country first made a deal with Greece to end their naming and identity dispute.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

New Caledonia Votes NO on Independence

This is a follow-up to Saturday's explainer on New Caledonia's referendum on independence from France. For more on New Caledonia's current status and what would have happened if the vote had passed, see that article.

The islands of New Caledonia, and their location in the South Pacific. Map by NormanEinstein (CC BY-SA; source)
The results are in for yesterday's independence referendum in New Caledonia, and a majority of voters have chosen not to leave France.

However, voter turnout was very high, at about 81%, apparently representing a surge of support for independence: According to preliminary results, the NO vote won by 56% to 44%, a much smaller margin than predicted in any of the opinion polls.

So what happens next? Well, for now New Caledonia will keep its current status as an autonomous region of France (see our pre-referendum explainer for more details on that status). But the islands could still become independent in the coming years.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

New Caledonia Voting on Independence from France

Update: Preliminary results of the referendum are in - check out our follow up article for the details!

The islands of New Caledonia, and their location in the South Pacific. Map by NormanEinstein (CC BY-SA; source)
This Sunday, the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia will vote on whether to declare independence from France. The referendum is the culmination of a 20-year process set in motion by the Nouméa Accord of 1998, the French government agreed to gradually transfer power to the islands' own institutions.

Have some questions? Great - we've got your answers! Read on for a quick summary of what exactly is going on:

Saturday, October 6, 2018

What Happened in the "North Macedonia" Referendum?

Are there two Macedonias? Where is FYROM located? Where is Macedonia in relation to Greece? Map of Macedonia, including both the controversially-named Republic of Macedonian (FYROM) and the Greek provinces of Macedonia.
Besides the controversially-named Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Greece has three Macedonia provinces too. Contact us for permission to use this map.

Referendum in the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

Last Sunday, people in Southeastern Europe's Republic of Macedonia - also known as FYROM, an acronym for "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" - voted on whether to approve a recent deal signed with Greece.

The deal famously includes changing the country's name to "Republic of North Macedonia", though that's not all it's about.

The question on the ballots was:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Catalonia Declares Independence from Spain: What Now?

This report is part of our Referendum 2017 coverage, spotlighting disputed independence votes for Kurdistan in Iraq and Catalonia in Spain, plus less-controversial self-rule referendums in three areas of Italy.

Catalonia and Spain: Map of Catalonia's location within Spain and relative to neighboring countries, including Spanish capital Madrid and Catalan capital Barcelona.
Map by Evan Centanni, based on this map by Mutxamel. License: CC BY-SA
By Evan Centanni

Declaration of Catalan Independence

Catalonia, a self-governed region within Spain, has declared an independent "Catalan Republic" nearly a month after holding a controversial independence vote, despite powerful opposition from the Spanish government.

The declaration was made on Friday, October 27, after the region's parliament - elected legally under the Spanish constitution but now defying it - voted 70-10 in favor of independence. Anti-independence parties boycotted the vote, but 70 votes is enough that the motion would have passed either way, since the body has a total of 135 members.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Referendum 2017: Three Autonomy Votes in Italy Today

This report is part of our Referendum 2017 coverage, spotlighting votes on the political status of Kurdistan in Iraq, Catalonia in Spain, and now three areas of Italy. However, these latest votes are much different from the controversial ones we've covered in the last month...

Update: All three referendums have passed. In Lombardy, 95% of participating voters favored autonomy, but with only 39% turnout; and in Veneto, autonomy won support from 98% of voters with 57% turnout, meeting the minimum 50% turnout requirement. Nearly 99% of participants in Belluno province supported autonomy within the Veneto region, with 52% turning out to vote.

Veneto and Lombardy referendum: Map of Italy showing which regions already have special forms of autonomy, and which regions are voting on whether to request more autonomy in October 2017, which include the cities of Venice and Milan. Also marks Belluno province, which is holding its own referendum on more autonomy from the Veneto region. Colorblind accessible.
Map by Evan Centanni, based on blank map by TUBS and NordNordWest (Wikimedia Commons). License: CC BY-SA

Where are referendums happening?

Referendums are being conducted today in two of Italy's top level "regions" (something in between a province and a US-style state). Both of them are located in the north of the country: Lombardy, which includes the city of Milan, and Veneto, which includes the city of Venice. These two regions are voting on whether to negotiate increased self-rule with the Italian national government through a framework set out in the constitution.

A third referendum is happening in the province of Belluno, part of the Veneto region, on whether to ask for more self-rule from the regional government in Venice. Belluno is a mountainous province at the northern end of the Veneto region, sharing a border with Austria.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Catalonia Referendum: Detailed Results in 5 Maps

This map report is part of our Referendum 2017 coverage, spotlighting controversial independence votes in two of the world's autonomous regions: Kurdistan voted for independence from Iraq last month, and Catalonia tried to vote on leaving Spain on Oct. 1. Now we've mapped out Catalonia's results in detail based on data from the regional government.
 
Catalan referendum 2017 map: Detailed, municipality-level map of results in Catalonia's disputed October 2017 referendum on independence from Spain, showing proportion of YES votes in favor of independence in each municipality. Boundaries of comarques (comarcas) shown. Labels cities of Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida, and Girona. Colorblind accessible.

Controversial Independence Vote

On October 1, Spain's autonomous region of Catalonia tried to hold a referendum on independence from Spain. After Spanish courts ruled the vote illegal, Spanish national police attempted to prevent voting, and the result was that voting was disrupted in many areas and not organized properly in most others. Still, Catalan government data states that some 42% of the region's residents came out to vote anyway, and of those who did, about 90% voted in favor of secession. Though Catalonia's president had promised to declare independence within 48 hours of a YES victory, so far he's delayed doing so.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Updated! Catalonia Referendum Results Maps: How Did Each Region Vote?

Updated! This article's maps and text have been updated with final results released by the Catalan government. See below for more details. We also now have an article with detailed results maps broken down by municipality.

This map report is part of our Referendum 2017 coverage, spotlighting controversial independence votes in two of the world's autonomous regions: Kurdistan voted for independence from Iraq last week, and Catalonia voted to leave Spain this weekend. Now detailed results are available, and we're working on getting them mapped out.

2017 Catalonia independence referendum results map. This map shows support for independence by region (vegueria) in the October 1 Catalan vote on independence from Spain. Colorblind accessible. 2017 Catalonia independence referendum voter turnout map. This map shows voter turnout by region (vegueria) in the October 1 Catalan vote on independence from Spain. Colorblind accessible.
Maps by Evan Centanni, starting from blank map by Vinals and Rwxrwxrwx. License: CC BY-SA

Catalonia Independence Vote (Updated)

Detailed, final results are now available for Catalonia's controversial referendum on independence from Spain. The vote was widely disrupted by the Spanish police after courts ruled it illegal, resulting in massive irregularities that will make it hard for outsiders to accept as a proper democratic referendum. Still, some 43% of eligible Catalan voters reportedly made it out to cast ballots, meaning there's plenty of reported data to look at.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Catalonia Voting on Independence: What Will Happen?

This article is part of our Referendum 2017 coverage, spotlighting controversial independence votes in two of the world's autonomous regions: Kurdistan voted for independence from Iraq this Monday, and Catalonia is about to vote on leaving Spain. 

Update: Check out the bottom of the article for a brief summary of what's actually happened since referendum day!

Catalonia and Spain: Map of Catalonia's location within Spain and relative to neighboring countries, including Spanish capital Madrid and Catalan capital Barcelona.
Map by Evan Centanni, based on this map by Mutxamel. License: CC BY-SA
By Evan Centanni

Catalonia Independence Vote

Catalonia, a self-governed region within Spain, is about to start voting on independence in a referendum that Spanish courts have ruled illegal. So what will happen? No one really knows, but we've taken our best shot at answering six of the big questions...

Referendum 2017: What is Catalonia?

This article is part of our Referendum 2017 coverage, spotlighting controversial independence votes in two of the world's autonomous regions: Kurdistan voted for independence from Iraq this Monday, and Catalonia will vote Sunday on leaving Spain. 

The following article is adapted from one originally published in 2013.

Catalonia and Spain: Map of Catalonia's location within Spain and relative to neighboring countries, including Spanish capital Madrid and Catalan capital Barcelona.
Map by Evan Centanni, based on this map by Mutxamel. License: CC BY-SA
By Omar Alkhalili, with additional reporting by Evan Centanni

Not Independent Yet: So What is Catalonia Now?

Catalonia is one of the "autonomous communities" of Spain (kind of like a state in the US), and also holds the official status of a "nationality" (but not "nation") within the Spanish system of government. Regions of Spain with this status are considered to be something similar to countries within the larger Spanish nation, allowing for their own separateness from Spanish mainstream culture without actually being independent.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kurdistan Votes to Leave Iraq: What Happens Next?

This article is part of our Referendum 2017 coverage, spotlighting controversial independence votes in two of the world's autonomous regions: Kurdistan voted yesterday on independence from Iraq, and Catalonia will vote this Sunday on leaving Spain. 


Map of Iraq and Kurdistan's place within it, published in advance of the 2017 Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum. Includes disputed territories and territorial control as of July 30, 2017. Colorblind accessible.
Residents of Iraqi Kurdistan voted Monday in a controversial referendum on whether to declare independence from Iraq, with preliminary results showing almost 92% in favor of separation. We're still waiting for (hopefully) detailed official results so we can map out how different districts voted. But in the meantime, let's answer some of the big questions:

Will Kurdistan become independent now?

The Kurdistan region's government considers this vote official and "binding", in contrast to an informal 2005 referendum, even though the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad considers it completely illegal. But it was never intended to trigger an automatic declaration of independence.

Instead, Kurdistan leader Masoud Barzani has promised to use a "YES" vote as leverage to negotiate independence with Iraqi government. So far, no date has been set for Kurdistan's declaration of independence, and it could still be years away.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Referendum 2017: Iraqi Kurdistan Map

Two of the world's autonomous regions are about to vote in controversial independence referendums. Iraqi Kurdistan decides on independence from Iraq this Monday, and on October 1 Catalonia plans to vote on leaving Spain. PolGeoNow will be covering these events with a series of articles, but in the meantime we couldn't wait to share our new Iraqi Kurdistan map with you!

Map of Iraq and Kurdistan's place within it, published in advance of the 2017 Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum. Includes disputed territories and territorial control as of July 30, 2017. Colorblind accessible.
Graphic by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic, incorporating base map by Koen Adams of onestopmap.com. All rights reserved.

Iraqi Kurdistan Independence Referendum

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan for short) is just part of the traditional homeland of the Kurds, the Middle East's fourth-largest ethnic group after Arabs, Persians, and Turks.

Many Kurds also live in Turkey, Syria, and Iran. But Iraqi Kurdistan is where they have the most legal rights, governing themselves in what's internationally recognized as an autonomous region within Iraq.

But all's not well in Kurdistan-Iraq relations. Iraqi Kurds suffered through horrific violence and persecution in the 1980s and 90s, and now the region's top politician has staked his reputation on separating Kurdistan from Iraq permanently.

Friday, June 24, 2016

UK Votes to Quit EU: Map of How Britain Voted in the Brexit Referendum

(Subscribers click here to view this article in the members area.)

By Evan Centanni

UK Brexit vote map: Map of election results in Britain's June 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union (EU). Continuous red-to-blue color scheme gives a more honest depiction of the similarities between different election districts. Colorblind accessible.
Map of election results in the UK's "Brexit" referendum. Modified by Evan Centanni from Wikimedia map by Mirrorme22, Nilfanion, TUBS, and Sting (CC BY-SA).
UK Votes to Quit EU
The results are in for yesterday's referendum on UK membership in the European Union, and the winner is "Leave". Brits voted by a margin of 52% to 48% in favor of exiting the European Union, making a "Brexit" (British exit from the EU) more or less guaranteed in the coming years. Britain will become the first member country ever to leave the EU, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar is expected to get pulled out with it.

Learn More: Brexit: 9 Geography Facts You Should Know About the Referendum and Britain's EU Membership

Who Voted to Stay
Voter tendencies varied a lot from place to place. Support for the "Remain" side was strong across Scotland, culturally Irish parts of Northern Ireland, the London area, and a handful of other cities in England (led by Cambridge, Oxford, and Brighton).

By far the greatest show of support for Remain was a win by 96% in Gibraltar - which isn't even in the UK proper, but got to vote because of its unique status as a British external territory that's in the EU.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brexit: 9 Geography Facts You Should Know About the Referendum and Britain's EU Membership

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By Evan Centanni 

The European Union. Click for full map and list of members.
Today the UK is voting on whether to leave the European Union. If you've been paying attention to the news, you've probably heard about the intense debate over whether Brits should vote "Leave" or "Remain". But if you're like me and mainly in this for the geography trivia, here are some fun facts you might not know about the so-called "Brexit":

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On the Ground: Gibraltar and the "Brexit" Referendum

This is the first installment of PolGeoNow's On the Ground, a new series of exclusive photo essays on what political geography looks like in the real world. Whether it's borders, nationalism, or other geopolitical phenomena, we'll bring the on-the-ground situations to your screen in vivid detail.

Update 2016-06-24: Gibraltar on Thursday voted in favor of the UK staying in the European Union, by an incredible margin of  96% to 4%. However, the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, meaning that Gibraltar can expect to get pulled out with it, against the wishes of the Gibraltarians.
 
Photo of the Gibraltar Stronger in Europe campaign office on the British territory's main street. Gibraltar's population is overwhelmingly against a so-called Brexit, or departure of the UK from the European Union.
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Map of Gibraltar and its location in Europe relative to the UK and Spain
Right: Map of Gibraltar by Eric Gaba (source; CC BY-SA)
Left: Gibraltar's location in Europe (based on this Wikimedia Commons map by TUBS; CC BY-SA)
Gibraltar prepares to vote on whether UK should leave European Union
Last month, PolGeoNow's Evan Centanni and Meihsing Kuo visited the small British territory of Gibraltar (pronounced "jih-BRALL-ter"), one month ahead of the UK's referendum on whether to leave or remain in the European Union (EU).

Gibraltar, a tiny peninsula connected to Spain - and claimed by the Spanish government - is the only British overseas territory that's part of the EU. It's also the only external territory whose residents are eligible to vote in the so-called "Brexit" referendum without living in the UK proper. ("Brexit" is an abbreviation for "British exit" from the EU.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What Ever Happened with New Zealand's Flag Referendum?

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The proposed new flag: "Silver Fern (Black, White, and Blue)" by Kyle Lockwood (CC BY 3.0 nz)
Referendum Complete
PolGeoNow readers might remember that New Zealand's vote on whether to change its national flag was scheduled to continue until late March 24. So how did it turn out?

Preliminary results were released on March 24, with detailed final results coming out six days later. The answer: New Zealanders voted "NO" on changing their country's flag to the proposed "Silver Fern" design, by a margin of 57% to 43%.

Visual comparison of the very similar current flags of Australia and New Zealand
Current flags of New Zealand (top) and Australia (bottom)
The result is that New Zealand will keep the same flag it's been using since 1902. Even though this design is confusingly similar to the Australian flag, and even though many New Zealanders liked the idea of a flag change, the government didn't suggest any designs that were popular enough to get a majority of voters behind them.

If you're curious how each part of New Zealand voted, you can see a color-coded summary and map of the results on Wikipedia. Be be aware that the blue just represents regions that voted just over 50% in favor of changing the flag: No area had more than 52% of voters supporting the Silver Fern, and some of the red-coded areas also had almost 50% support for the change.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About New Zealand's Flag Referendum

Current flags of New Zealand (source) and Australia (source) are in the public domain.

Friday, November 20, 2015

New Zealand Voting on New Flag Design

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Updated 2015-12-16: Continue to the bottom of the article for the results of the flag referendum!

Graphic illustrating the five flag designs up for a vote in New Zealand's November-December 2015 flag referendum: Silver Fern (Black and White), Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue), Silver Fern (Black, White, and Blue), Koru (black), and First to the Light (Red Peak)
The five options for a new flag of New Zealand. Clockwise from top left: Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood; Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood; Koru (Black) by Andrew Fyfe; Silver Fern (Black and White) by Alofi Kanter; and Red Peak by Aaron Dustin. More information in article below. License: CC BY 3.0 nz

By Evan Centanni

A New Flag For New Zealand?
For decades, New Zealand has debated whether to change its flag, and now the country is finally putting the matter to a vote. A controversial initiative of Prime Minister John Key, the referendum officially began today, November 20. Over the coming three weeks, New Zealanders will choose their favorite from five contending flag designs. A final vote on whether to adopt the winner or stay with the old flag will happen next March. New Zealand's current flag has been in place since 1902, nearly fifty years before the country became fully independent from the UK. Its top left corner is occupied by the so-called "Union Jack", which is still the flag of the UK today.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Maps of How Scotland's Regions Really Voted

Good geographers know that maps can lie to you. Every map emphasizes some aspects of a place at the expense of others, giving it a lot of power to lead careless readers astray. Maps of Scotland's recent independence referendum are misleading us about the reality, even if not intentionally.

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Map of results in Scotland's September 18, 2014 independence referendum. Voters were polled on whether or not to separate from the UK. Map shows relative proportion of yes and no votes for each of Scotland's council areas, using a gradient rather than contrasting colors for small differences.
Map by Evan Centanni, based on blank map by TUBS and NordNordWest (CC BY-SA)
By Evan Centanni

Misleading Maps
By now you've probably heard the results of Scotland's independence referendum: voters chose "no" by a solid margin of 55% to 45%. Check out our previous article to learn more about what would have happened if Scotland had voted "yes".

Maps like this one from the BBC and this one from Wikipedia have popped up since the results came out, showing how each of Scotland's council areas voted. Most of the country is in red for "no", with a few "yes" areas in green.

But if one area went 51% for "yes", and another 51% for "no", those two areas actually voted almost identically - yet contrasting red/green maps make us feel like they're polar opposites (not to mention that one-in-thirty readers has trouble seeing the difference between red and green).

How the Councils Really Voted
Whether each area's people voted just over or just under 50% in favor isn't actually that important. What matters is how far the balance was tipped in each region. This is not the U.S. presidential election, where the final vote is actually made by delegates obligated to go by the majority in each state. All the votes across Scotland were pooled together to determine the result, so which side of the 50-yard line each area came out on has no effect .

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Scottish Independence Poll: What is Scotland, and What Will Happen if it Votes to Leave the UK?

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Map of Scotland. On September 18, 2014, Scotland will vote on whether to leave the UK and become an independent country.
Map of Scotland by Eric Gaba (source). License: CC BY-SA
By Evan Centanni

Scotland's Independence Vote

On Thursday (September 18), residents of Scotland will vote in a referendum on whether to leave the United Kingdom (UK). But is Scotland a country already? What will happen if voters choose "yes" in the referendum? And what other changes would this bring to Scotland and the UK's political geography? Read on for the answers to these questions and more!

Crash Course: History of Scotland

Scotland is the name of the northern third of Great Britain, the main island of the UK, which is shared with England to the south and Wales to the southwest. It originated as the Kingdom of Alba, an independent Celtic country that was unified around the year 900.

It remained an independent kingdom throughout the Middle Ages, gradually absorbing Anglo-Saxon culture from the south until it came to be ruled by English-speaking monarchs, who called it "Scots" or "Scotland" after the Latin name for the Gaels, the predominant Celtic people of the region.