First Past the Post: March 19


East and South Asia

The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan holds a 41% to 13% lead in this summer’s upper house elections against its chief rival, the Democratic Party of Japan.

North America

Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton, widely believed to be the 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner, supports gay marriage.

Québec’s Liberal Party chooses Philippe Couillard as its new party leader.

Latin America / Caribbean

Pope Francis meets up in Rome with Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (pictured above).

Mexicans resist foreign investment in Pemex, México’s state-owned oil industry. [Spanish]

Susana Villaran, the first female mayor of Lima in Perú, has survived a recall vote.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wants to reform the country’s education system.

Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta calls on the ICC to drop his case.

Was Raila Odinga’s campaign team to blame for his Kenyan presidential election loss?

Zimbabwe’s government arrests key opposition figures and human rights lawyers.


Will Pope Francis appoint a new Vatican secretary of state?

EU council president and former Belgian prime minister Herman Van Rompuy will step down in 2014. So will EU foreign representative Catherine Ashton will also step down.

In Bulgaria, both the ruling GERB and opposition Socialists have low support.

Leftist and human rights activist Laura Boldrini and Piero Grasso, a former anti-mafia magistrate, are the new speakers of the Italian lower and upper houses, respectively.

Middle East and North Africa

Syria’s rebel opposition has formed an interim government under a new prime minister, Ghassan Hitto.

Imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan expected to call a ceasefire with Turkey.

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