Tag Archives: elections

Silly Season In Full Swing In American Politics

The silly season of American politics hit full stride with Senator Hillary Clinton charging Barack Obama with plagiarism for taking words from a speech made by the governor of Massachusett and the unpardonable sin of using HER ideas in his speeches. Governor Deval Patrick, a supporter of Obama, made a speech defending the power of oratory which is now available on YouTube. A Clinton spokesperson, Howard Wolfson, says this terrible crime on the part of Obama, “raises questions aboout the premise of his candidacy.”

I guess the Clinton group will next take after Shakespeare whose play ideas were continually lifted from previous plays done by other authors. Frankly, the American people really don’t care about such serious concerns. They are slightly more interested in winding down the war in Iraq or obtaining medical care than who said what first or last or whenever.

A Funny Thing Happened On Road To Burma Election….

The militay junta of Myamar which enjoys complete control of the nation has announced there will be a general election in 2010 as well as an oppourtunity to vote for a new constitution. Ordinarily, on the road to an election, there are competing parties which offer their ideas and candidates, but that is not exactly what will happen in Burma. As Australia’s Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, noted about the election: “We’re frankly very skeptical, we’re not persuaded this is anything more than a cynical sham.” Japan has tried hard to engage leaders of the military junta which runs the country, and it also expressed concerns about the announcement saying while they praised the desire for an election, “however, the process does not allow participation by Aung San Suu Kyi and other (opposition) parties.”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party merely commented the “announcement is vague, incomplete and strange.” The junta slipped into the constitution a paragraph which bars any candidate from running for public office if the person is “entitled to the rights and privileges of a foreign country.” Her late husband was British so this disqualifies her from running. This is the road to democracy in Burma.

January Elections, Says Musharraf, Come Hell Or High Water!

President Musharraf of Pakistan told ABC news that he might consider the possibility of resigning if conditions after the January 8 elections do not result in a significant improvement regarding the needs of his nation. He denied making any deal with the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto who was allowed to return from exile a few months ago and promised that he would not support any political party during the electoral process for a new parliament. Musharraf placed a great deal of blame for the current situation on failures of American governments over the past decades to take any decisive action against the growth of terrorism. When questioned about the reality of an election, he responded: “Come hell or high water, elections will be held on January 8.” Although he gave this assurance, many Pakistan political leaders and parties fear the election is being rigged causing them to consider the possibility of boycotting the electoral process. Bhutto fears a boycott would simply allow Musharraf’s Muslim League political party to gain an overwhelming victory.

There is considerable woe is me in Musharraf’s comments concerning not receiving support from the United States. Pakistan has obtained at least $10 billion in military and economic assistance since 2001. He fails to make any reference to the fact that Pakistan Intelligence was the group that provided military aid to the Taliban and helped it take over Afghanistan. Musharraf ignores the close cooperation between Pakistan military leaders and insurgent groups in northwest regions until fairly recently. There is no question that Bush made a terrible mistake by withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan in order to use them in the Iraq invasion, but Musharraf is also a guilty party in allowing al-Qaeda and the Taliban to become powerful.

Pakistan Political Parties Debate Boycott Of Elections

The political opposition to President Musharraf has yet to decide on a unified approach to dealing with the upcoming January elections. The All Parties Democratic Movement(APDM) issued a clear statement that it will engage in a boycott unless President Musharraf restores by December 15th the judiciary to its positions of authority. former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has also indicated his willingness to support a boycott unless Musharraf ensures the presence of an honest election and restoration of Pakistan Supreme Court judges to their posts. Sharif expressed his view that “we do not accept him(Musharraf) as a legitimate president. However, Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) indicated she might participate in elections if guaranteed they will be fair. She believes the issue of the judiciary should be handled apart from the electoral process.

It is doubtful if a splintered political opposition will be able to attain the success it might achieve if united, either for a boycott or for participation. A great deal depends on the reality of a fair electoral process, that is something only Musharraf can guarantee. Will he go in that direction is the real issue.

Council Of Europe Doubts Fairness Of Russian Election

Luc van den Brande who is involved with the Council of Europe’s program on human rights expressed misgivings about the fairness of the upcoming Russian election on December 2. He said there is little evidence the election would be fair, open, democratic, or transparent. Russia’s leading party, United Russia, completely dominates television sources and uses government money to propogandize its ideas to the public. Of the 85 political parties which attempted to have themselves placed on the ballot, only 11 were able to do so. He also expressed concern that only 300 international observers would be allowed to monitor the election compared to 1,163 who were allowed in 2003. The Russian Electoral Commission dismissed this complaint saying there was nothing in its nation’s constitution requiring foreign observers.

President Putin is in control of the nation and he has turned his back on the democratic enthusiasm which swept the country in the 1990s. His old KGB training dominates the manner in which he deals with elections– why bother since only one party-his United Russia– is allowed to gain victory.

Putin Stages An Election To Ensure Power From Grateful Masses!

Russians are gathering all over the country to express their admiration for Putin’s United Russia political party and urging their beloved leader to remain in power. A Russian lawyer, Pavel Astakhov, went around the country attending these pro-Putin meetings where “ordinary” people took on themselves responsibility for organizing the adoring masses who love Putin to come out and show the world how much he is loved. He was in one city where an “ordinary doctor” was able to bring together a crowd of 15,000 people. Meanwhile, the Russian press published copies of telegrams and official directives addressed to various organizations and universities that require a certain number of their employees and students to be present at the pro-Putin rallies. There are even attempts by leaders of A Just Russia to persuade the legislature to change the Constitution in order that Putin can have another term of president, but these efforts are even too much for Putin to carry out without causing an outcry of anger.

In the aftermath of the end of the Soviet Union, expectations were high that the Russian people would finally be able to live in a democratic society and end rule by a single man. There was a moment when that dream was realized, but the emergence of Putin and a active booming economy has altered the situation. Russia is not a dictatorship, but the old standby attitude that a strong man leading the nation still appears a strong attraction to many Russians.

Putin Stages An Election To Ensure Power From Grateful Masses!s

Russians are gathering all over the country to express their admiration for Putin’s United Russia political party and urging their beloved leader to remain in power. A Russian lawyer, Pavel Astakhov, went around the country attending these pro-Putin meetings where “ordinary” people took on themselves responsibility for organizing the adoring masses who love Putin to come out and show the world how much he is loved. He was in one city where an “ordinary doctor” was able to bring together a crowd of 15,000 people. Meanwhile, the Russian press published copies of telegrams and official directives addressed to various organizations and universities that require a certain number of their employees and students to be present at the pro-Putin rallies. There are even attempts by leaders of A Just Russia to persuade the legislature to change the Constitution in order that Putin can have another term of president, but these efforts are even too much for Putin to carry out without causing an outcry of anger.

In the aftermath of the end of the Soviet Union, expectations were high that the Russian people would finally be able to live in a democratic society and end rule by a single man. There was a moment when that dream was realized, but the emergence of Putin and a active booming economy has altered the situation. Russia is not a dictatorship, but the old standby attitude that a strong man leading the nation still appears a strong attraction to many Russians.

Why Putin’s United Russia Party Will Win Duma Elections!

In the 1990s, Russia got rid of communism and was on the road to establishing a democracy. The press openly expressed its ideas without fear of being suppressed and numerous political parties vied for power. Then, along came former KGB agent, Vladmir Putin, to clean up the mess of democracy. He created a United Russia party which was completely under his control, ended elections of province governors by having them appointed by the president of Russia, and rigged elections. In the 2003 elections, if an opposing party obtained 0.9% it was conveniently changed to 0.5% with the remainder transfered to United Russia. This led to many parties failing to obtain the necessary 50,000 votes which qualified them for at least one seat in the Duma. Now, times have changed with United Russia easily obtaining 70% of the vote. Putin’s current problem is getting other parties to put up candidates since they know the deck is stacked. Fortunately, there are always the conservative communists who probably will put up candidates. As Boris Kagaritsky writes in the Moscow Times, “In the end since Russia has a de facto one party system it is not necessary at all to falsify election results.”

Putin no longer how to fool around with such mundane things as rigging elections, he controls the entire process. Opposition candidates can’t get on TV, they lack money to spend on elections, so to the outside world there will be a “free election” in December for the Dumas. But, most Russians know the results and many will stay home. Such is democracy in 2007 Russia.

Putin’s Power Drive Continues Unchecked

Vladmir Putin’s recent announcement that he was running for the Duma as head of his political party, United Russia, means the end result of its victory is allowing him to switch from being president to becoming its prime minister. To ensure that goal his party must win about 75% of the Russian vote and at least 50% in Moscow. According to Konstantin Sonin, writing in the Moscow Times, “there is no realistic way to achieve such numbers without the president interfering even more substantially in the elections than he has done already. For example, United Russia is now trying to force doctors and teachers to join the party, and that interference might reach the point where the political elite becomes concerned of the consequences.. When Russia’s elite is motivated by fear rather than political belief, it tends to behave more responsibly, which ultimately means the people’s interests are better served.”

The tragedy of Russia is the intense desire of Vladmir Putin for power, naked, unchecked power which allows this egomaniac to believe without his presence the entire nation would crumble. Putin haas convinced himself, and his political party, that one party rule under his leadership is the only way in which Russia can continue its economic progress. Putin has brought stability to Russia, but if the price is abandonment of democracy, has it been worthwhile for the people of Russia?

Musharraf Elected President –Maybe!

President Musharraf of Pakistan was elected one again to the office of president by obtaining 252 of 257 votes cast in parliament. About 200 members of parliament belonging to opposition parties refused to cast ballots in protest against him. They argue Musharraf can not stand for president while still retaining the position of chief of the armed forces since that violates the Pakistan constitution. The Pakistan Supreme Court has held in abeyance his election until they review constitutional issues.

Musharraf has already indicated one of his close friends will take over as head of the armed forces while he again serves as president. He also has made a bargain with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto to share power and most probably will have the law changed so she can serve for a third term as prime minister. The unknown question is whether these manipulations serve the interests of the people of Pakistan.