First Past the Post: March 6

napolitano

East and South Asia

Rahul Gandhi, the heir to the most celebrated family in Indian politics, claims he has no designs on the prime ministership in 2014 (though he remains by far the most likely candidate to lead the ruling Congress Party’s campaign next year).

Martin Wolf considers plans to boost inflation in Japan.

North America

The U.S. government kindly reminds its U.N. negotiators not to show up blotto.

Los Angeles, the second-most populous U.S. city, chooses a new mayor.

Student tuition protests return to Montréal.

Latin America / Caribbean

Francisco Toro considers the relationship between Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela and Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

The Nation considers Chávez’s legacy.

More on Venezuela’s transition ahead.

Argentina continues to refuse the legitimacy of next week’s Falkland Islands status referendum.  [Spanish]

México’s ruling PRI revises its constitution to allow for private investment in the Mexican energy industry.

Grenada gets a new cabinet.

A Central American Schengen zone (at least, between Panamá and Costa Rica)?

Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe bars any foreign observers from its March 16 constitutional referendum.

Kenya’s Jubilee alliance doesn’t agree that the unusually large amount of rejected ballots should count in determining whether a candidate has won a 50% ‘absolute majority.’

More on those spoiled ballots in Kenya.

Europe

German chancellor Angela Merkel’s fine line on gay rights.

A closer look at Italian president Giorgio Napolitano (once described by Henry Kissinger as ‘his favorite communist’).

Europe and the United Kingdom are again at odds — this time over capping banking bonuses.

Catalan premier Artur Mas is forming a united political front against Spain’s federal government on Catalunya’s sovereignty.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Presidential runner-up Raffi Hovannisian is not letting up in his protests over alleged electoral fraud committed by president Serzh Sargsyan.

Moldova’s government gets a vote of no confidence.

Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s trial is once again delayed.

Middle East and North Africa

Israel’s haredi parties consider the costs of being forced into opposition.

The challenge that the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi face from Salafist and more conservative rivals.

Is al Qaeda becoming a problem in Lebanon?

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