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Transitions: France, India, Iraq, Jordan, Madagascar

France: Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy reshuffled the French Cabinet on November 14, 2010, to prepare for the 2012 Presidential Elections. He added more conservatives to the Cabinet, and 31 members were appointed. Some significant changes included the re-appointment of Prime Minister François Fillon; the appointment of Alain Juppé, former Prime Minister under Pres. Jacques Chirac, as Minister of Defense; and former Defense Minister Michèle Al- liot-Marie, who was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, replacing Bernard Kouchner. Both M Juppé and Mme Alliot-Marie were appointed Minister of State in conjunction with their new posts. Xavier Bertrand replaced Eric Woerth as Minister of Labor. Michel Mercier was appointed Minister of Justice, while Minister of Economy Christine Lagarde, Minister of Budget François Baroin, and Minister of Interior Brice Hortefeux all maintained their posts in the reshuffle.  

India: Indian Minister of Telecommunications A. Raja resigned on November 14, 2010, following accusations by the opposition, led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members, of corruption. Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal on November 15, 2010, was appointed Minister of Telecommunications in addition to his current portfolio. Mr Raja’s resignation followed the resignations of Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan, and Congress Parliamentary Party Secretary Suresh Kalmadi, who both stepped down over separate corruption allegations on November 9, 2010. Mr Kalmadi resigned after corruption charges relating to the preparations of the Commonwealth Games; he had been Chairman of the Games’ organizing body. 

Iraq: Following an eight-month political deadlock, Iraqi leaders agreed on a power-sharing deal on November 11, 2010, after the Kurdish Alliance [consisting of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)], which took 43 seats in parliamentary elections on March 4, 2010, agreed to join the coalition led by incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Coalition to that point had consisted of the Al-Sadr Movement (43 seats), Prime Minister al-Maliki’s Da’wa Party (89 seats). The coalition agreement allowed Prime Minister al-Maliki and the new Shi’a-Kurdish Alliance to breach the 163- seat threshold required in the 325-member Majlis Watani in order to form a new government. The Majlis Watani re-elected Pres. Jalal Talabani, a Kurd. Prime Minister al-Maliki would have 30 days to assemble a new Cabinet, however the stability of his new government was already tested during his re-election process at which two thirds of al-Iraqiya, the opposition coalition, led by Aywad Allawi and backed by Iraqi Sunnis who took 91 seats in parliamentary elections, walked out in protest as they had believed that they did not have equal representation in the new Government. The agreement made on November 11, 2010, also gave a member of the al-Iraqiya List the position of Speaker of the Parliament. 

Jordan: Snap parliamentary elections were held in Jordan on November 9, 2010, for the 120-seat Majlis Al-Nuwaab after King Abdullah II on November 24, 2009, dissolved parliament halfway through its four-year term. The Islamic Action Front (IAF) boycotted the vote as it said that the new voting system changed by the new legislation favored pro-Government candidates. Legislation passed in May 2010 not only increased the total number of seats in Parliament and set aside a quota for women, but also reduced seats from urban areas and increased representation from tribal areas, where tribal supporters of the monarchy were the strongest. The final results showed that the Majlis Al-Nuwaab would be dominated by pro-Government loyalists, due to the boycott by the IAF. According to final results, 20 former Cabinet ministers and around 80 first-time parliamentarians were elected, mostly consisting of pro-government supporters. Even though the IAF boycotted the election, one IAF candidate, Ahmed Qudah, went against the boycott and ran as an independent and won a seat in Parliament. 

Madagascar: Madagascar Army Col. Charles Andrianasoavina and 20 other top-ranking officers, operating from a military base near the main international airport at Antananarivo, on November 17, 2010, claimed that they had taken control of Madagascar. Col. Andrianasoavina had been involved in the military coup d’état that brought Pres. Andry Rajoelina into power in March 2009. 
At the time, a referendum to amend the constitution was being held across the country. The referendum was intended to solidify the first stage of parliamentary elections in March 2011 and presidential elections in May 2011, as well as legitimize Pres. Rajoelina and his High Authority Transition (HAT) Government. The proposed constitution would lower the eligibility age to run for President from 40 to 35 years, allowing for 36-year-old Pres. Rajoelina to contest the 2011 election. It also proposed to allow for the HAT Government’s tenure to be extended indefinitely. The amended constitution would also keep former Pres. Ravalomanana, who has been exiled to South Africa, from participating in the proposed May 2011 presidential poll due to a clause that stated that all presidential candidates must have lived in Madagascar for at least six months prior to elections. All three main opposition parties against Pres. Rajoelina boycotted the vote.  

(c) 2010 International Strategic Studies Association, www.StrategicStudies.org

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