Ruling parties suffer in Spain, Poland, but not so in Ethiopia

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski lost out to challenger Andrzej Duda in Sunday's elections.

Story highlights

  • Spain's conservatives face electoral setback
  • Conservative Polish President ousted
  • Ethiopian Prime Minister, accused of repression, expected to retain power

(CNN)Voters in Spain and Poland had a message for incumbents Sunday: We are not pleased.

But in Ethiopia, once the votes are counted, the ruling party is expected to win by a landslide.
    Herewith the details of democracy in action in three very different countries:

    Spain: Conservatives take a tumble

    Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party suffered heavy setbacks in regional elections Sunday, according to CNN affiliate Atlas TV. The loss came six months ahead of national elections, and could presage a turn to the left, as has happened in Greece.
    The country has suffered heavily from the collapse of its construction industry during the global financial downturn and the austerity measures that followed. A quarter of the work force is unemployed, and voters Sunday seemed inclined to punish those in power.
    True enough, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative party came in first in 11 of the 13 provinces. However, it held onto an absolute majority in only two of them.
    And the Popular Party lost mayoral elections in Madrid and Barcelona to a left-wing coalition.
    Two new parties -- the left-wing Podemos and centrist Ciudadanos -- won seats in several regional governments.

    Poland: Voters oust the President

    The story in Poland was similar, where voters ushered conservative President Bronislaw Komorowski out the door and replaced him with the little-known challenger, Andrzej Duda.
    Duda won 52% of the vote to the incumbent's 48%, according to the country's National Electoral Commission.
    In Poland, the President's powers are limited, although he can veto legislation and is chief of the armed forces. But the results may make worrisome reading for Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, a Komorowski ally, with parliamentary elections looming this fall.
    Both Komorowski and Kopacz belong to the Civic Platform Party. Poland has continued to grow through the global financial crisis, but unemployment is at 11.3%, and in general workers can earn more in neighboring Germany than they can at home.
    "I congratulate Duda and wish him a successful presidency," Komorowski said, according to CNN Affiliate TV24 Poland.
    A voter casts her ballot Sunday at a polling station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia: Landslide expected for ruling party

    The outcome for Ethiopia's ruling party was expected to be far more pleasant than for the governing parties in Spain and Poland. But the opposition is charging that the government has used authoritarian tactics to make sure it wins the election.
    Western observers were not invited to monitor the balloting.
    The election is the country's first since Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's death in Belgium in 2012, which occurred after the government spent considerable energy insisting that nothing was seriously wrong with him.
    Zenawi was a notorious African strongman, accused of suppressing dissent and stifling the press. But he was an ally of the United States in the fight against terrorism.
    His successor, Hailemariam Desalegn, seems certain to stay in office.
    Desalegn has expressed a commitment to democracy. But to the consternation of some in the international community, he ordered the arrest of a leader of the opposition, who was extradited from Yemen in 2014.
    Andargachew Tsige was sentenced to death in 2009 for allegedly plotting a coup. But Amnesty International says Ethiopian authorities are trying to silence the opposition.