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February 2004 Country Archive


Elections that could change the world

2004 sees a cluster of elections, many of small importance outside of their own countries, others that could change the world. November and the US Presidential is one such - a Democratic President could be expected to reverse the more internationally divisive policies of the Bush administration. Remember that in 2000, the bitterly contested election then could only muster a 51percent turnout of the US electors. Consider then President Putin in RUSSIA, up for re-election in March and so far ahead in the polls as to be untouchable, and yet…. if there is a less than 50 percent turnout, he and the other candidates would be disqualified under the constitution.
Putin would be OUT, defeated by inertia…..and then what?

newnations reports NOW on the scene in RUSSIA and what he is doing about it. UKRAINE'S President Kuchma is due to stand down in October, but will he? A top Soviet manager in his time, he has proved to be a democratic disaster, ordaining the death of a critical journalist and presiding over corruption of breathtaking magnitude. UKRAINE'S politics are highly volatile and there are NO certainties as to how this will play.

KAZAKSTAN, Central Asia's economic success story, but where democracy is a fiction, nevertheless has a parliamentary election in October. A shoe-in? With the terrifying, to them, precedent in GEORGIA, where the citizens rebelled to force a truly fair election in January, the FSU republics with elections coming up under the world's spotlight, have their ruling cliques newly exercised about holding on to power.

TAIWAN, the first of the Asian miracles, and the PHILIPPINES are new entrants to our monthly reports. Both have elections respectively, March 20th and May 10th. TAIWAN, a fully functioning democracy has to contend with threats and massive disapproval for the process from across the straits in China. The PHILIPPINES, a notable failed democracy, is locked into a farce of a political contest between famous actors and their cliques, and power-holders from the 'illustrados,' judging by the record, seeking to get a hold of even more of the nation's dwindling treasure.

IRAN's elections due on Feb 20th are already in crisis, and yet they are critical not just for the future direction of that country, but for neighbouring IRAQ, where the Shiite majority looks to IRAN for guidance. But IRAQ, the template we were told for future middle-east democracies, is now to get an appointed not an elected government by June 30th which has created a different sort of crisis. AFGHANISTAN is shaping up for Presidential elections, maybe, but amidst a sea of troubles.

SYRIA, LIBYA and NORTH KOREA are not about to have elections any time soon, but their stories are critical to the jigsaw puzzle of world geopolitics.
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Clive Lindley - Publisher 

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