It stinks to be an incumbent officeholder these days. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party lost nearly 300 seats in local elections. Nicolas Sarkozy of France is now properly addressed as Monsieur le ex-President. His partner in austerity, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saw her Christian Democratic Union suffer what she called a “bitter, painful defeat” in the May 13 election. In Greece, the two major parties that have been running the country for decades were rejected by the voters. About the only elected world leaders who have been able to extend their hold on power are Russia’s Vladimir Putin—whose party’s recent victory was widely seen as fraudulent—and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu—who cannily cut a deal to expand his governing coalition without an election. So unless you can rig an election or cancel it, you’re in trouble as an incumbent.
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