International ballot news
SEOUL, South Korea: On August 24, residents in Seoul South Korea voted on their first referendum, whether to allow free school lunches to all students or just those who are of poor economic backgrounds. This measure was defeated, meaning that free lunches will be given to all students, because it did not reach the 33 percent participation rate that was needed. As a result, the Mayor of Seoul resigned a few days after the vote, having pledged before hand to do so if the measure was defeated. The Mayor was a member of the conservative political party and saw the free lunch program as a type of welfare that was unnecessary. All previous referendums held in the country also failed to received the 33 percent participation rate.
A constitutional referendum was held in Liberia on August 23, with a week passing since the vote no clear results has been issued but preliminary results show the referendum being approved. Amid claims of invalid votes and ballot errors, the Liberian government is still trying to sort out the results. The referendum had sought to make amendments to the national constitution, changes included increasing the retirement age of Judges to 75, shortening the time a presidential candidate must live in the country, changing the date of national elections to November and lastly needing just a simple majority to elect the President.
RABAT, Morocco: On July 1, Moroccan citizens will head to the polls to vote on a package of constitutional reforms. On the heels of local demonstrations in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, citizens staged demonstrations in late February and early March. The current King of the country, Mohamed VI, took the signs and initiated a committee which set forth proposed reforms to the national constitution. Proposed reforms include created a constitutional monarchy and having an elected parliament, civic and social equality for women, official recognition of the Berber language and making the prime minister the head of the government. Some critics see these reforms as not going far enough, but others note that it is a significant first step into more democratic reforms. International leaders and Moroccan political parties all support the proposed reforms.
ZURICH, Switzerland: A vote on Sunday, November 29 decided the fate of the building of minarets onto Islamic mosques in the country. This controversial decision came after much heated debate between the current government and the group pushing the ban. This vote has raised tensions not only in Switzerland but all over the European continent as they are not sure of the consequences Arab countries will have towards them. Tensions were already high as more Muslims immigrated to Europe, this is just one of many issues raised in regards to their religious practices. Swiss diplomats have been assuring Muslim countries that this is not the governments standpoint and hope the backlash does not affect their exportation of goods to various Arab countries.