V.I. Green Party Challenges (Video)

Starting a political party is no simple thing. But the local Virgin Islands Green Party is trying to emerge from this election as a political party and not a political body. What’s the difference? News2’s Erica Bivens spoke with the V.I. Green Party’s Executive Director and has this story.

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Minority rule plan urged for Iceland

The Irish Times

DEREK SCALLY in Berlin

The Left-Green party – now the most popular party in Iceland, say
polls – has been buoyed by an
anti-capitalist feeling. The party has
called for a renegotiation of
the two-year $10 billion International
Monetary Fund aid package.

Iceland’s president has called on the centre-left Social Democratic Alliance (SDA), junior partner in the government that collapsed on Monday, to form a new minority administration with opposition parties.

President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said yesterday he had asked SDA leader Ingibjorg Gisladottir, foreign minister under outgoing prime minister Geir Haarde, to put together an administration to keep the country running until early elections in May. The government fell after months of public protest over the country’s economic meltdown, sparked by the collapse of the debt-burdened banking system in October.

Mr Haarde’s Independence Party, in office since 1991, will be excluded from the new administration after refusing to back Ms Gisladottir as prime minister.

Considering the severity of the economic challenges Iceland faces, he favoured a minority government formed within a few days rather than a five-party national unity government formed after weeks of talks.

To prevent the country’s economic crisis turning into a political crisis, Ms Gisladottir vowed yesterday she would work quickly to form a minority coalition with the opposition Left-Green party. “We have taken the baton – the government should be operational before the weekend,” she said.

A former mayor of Reykjavik, Ms Gisladottir had just returned to work after treatment for a benign brain tumour and, on Monday, appeared to rule herself out for the top job when she said she was taking two months’ leave. Yesterday she proposed social affairs minister Johanna Sigurdardottir as a potential prime minister.

The Left-Green party – now the most popular party in Iceland, say polls – has been buoyed by an anti-capitalist feeling. The party has called for a renegotiation of the two-year $10 billion International Monetary Fund aid package.

But analysts suggest Left-Green leader Steingrimur Sigfusson is unlikely to challenge the IMF plan in office. “I think this government will be very careful not to rock the boat too much,” said Prof Gunnar Haraldsson, economist at the University of Iceland. “They will just be trying to calm the waters and prepare the elections rather than making any drastic policy moves. If they drop the IMF plan, it would be very difficult for Icelanders to adopt a new one.”

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Tony Juniper selected as Green Party General Election candidate for Cambridge

[From Rupert's Read]

Radiohead star Thom Yorke backs Juniper to be “a great Green Party MP”

The Green Party today announces that Tony Juniper, recent Director of Friends of the Earth, has been selected as General Election candidate for Cambridge. There will be a press launch at the Cambridge Corn Exchange, starting at 11.30am Wednesday 21st January (please see below for further details).

Tony Juniper has lived in the city for 20 years and has campaigned on green issues for more than 25 years. As Campaigns Director and later Director of Friends of the Earth he led many successful initiatives on a wide range of issues from wildlife protection to organic food and from recycling to fuel poverty. He stepped down from leading Friends of the Earth in July 2008 following the success of the Big Ask campaign which led to the world’s first national legislation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions – the 2008 Climate Change Act.

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Victory for third parties / A more level field

[From Press of Atlantic City]New Jersey’s Conservative Party, Green Party and Libertarian Party may not agree on much – but a year ago, they agreed they were all getting the shaft.New Jersey law does not treat them the same way it treats the dominant Democratic and Republican parties. So this coalition of “third parties,” along with the New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center, filed suit against the state – and last week, all sides agreed to a settlement that brings a little more democracy to New Jersey.
Right now, in the midst of campaigns for every seat in the Legislature, many New Jersey voters probably are coming to the uncomfortable conclusion that there isn’t enough difference between the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate. The settlement of this lawsuit, and the accompanying Superior Court order, should make things a little more interesting the next time around.
Mercer County Superior Court Judge Neil H. Shuster’s order recognizes the Greens, Libertarians, and Conservatives as political parties for campaign-finance purposes. That determination allows the alternative parties to set up statewide political committees that can raise money at the same level as the Democrats and Republicans and make unlimited contributions to their respective candidates. (Of course, here in the land of faux campaign “reform,” those levels are currently set way too high – but the playing field should at least be equal for all parties.)
Formerly, these third parties were treated like political action committees rather than political parties. That meant they had stricter, lower limits on the size of the political contributions they could accept and the amounts they could give to candidates.
Shuster’s order also requires the state Division of Elections to create a new party-declaration form that includes the New Jersey Conservative Party (the Green and Libertarian parties were already on the form). The judge also ordered that a list of parties on the state voter-registration form be deleted.New Jersey still has the most restrictive definition of “political party” in the country – a definition established in 1920 by (you guessed it) the Democratic and Republican parties.
The settlement of this suit and Shuster’s order, which was based on a 2001 Appellate Division ruling that took the first step toward modifying New Jersey’s rules, inject a needed measure of fairness into the electoral process.
At the very least, the Conservative, Green and Libertarian parties – along with future political parties perhaps not yet even contemplated – should have the ability to raise as much money (and generate as much campaign mischief) as the Democrats and the Republicans.

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