Sunday, November 18

Elections in different places

Kenya's election has its share of problems. There's sporadic campaign violence....There aren't really many issues involved...But it's shaping up to be quite a close contest, and there's lots of excitement in the whole electoral process...

Which is better than a lot of the other places that are having votes now or in the near future...

In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is holding a referendum to centralize his power and create a new socialist constitution, though it does have some appealing features. Simon Romero has a piece in the New York Times. Krista Kapralos also has a piece in the Washington Post on the split among Venezuela's many evangelicals.

Russia is having parliamentary elections, though there aren't any viable parties that oppose Vladimir Putin. But as Neil Buckley notes in the Financial Times, Putin's also really popular.

Lebanon is stuck in a deadlock over picking a new president, and the outcome of that could be ugly for Lebanon's population, Nada Bakri writes for the New York Times.

In Thailand, supporters of ousted president Thaksin Shinawatra look poised to win an election, but the military junta probably won't really let them take power.

Kosovo just elected a former rebel, who will likely declare independence from Serbia soon. But as Douglas Hamilton notes for Reuters, while most Kosovars (except the Serbs) want independence they're still pretty poor and don't seem that optimistic about things changing any time soon. And as Maciej Zaremba writes in a fascinating Washington Post piece, the massive U.N. mission has outworn its welcome.

Denmark has a functioning democracy, obviously. But it just reelected its center-right government, and gave quite a bit of support the far-right anti-immigrant party. The right is also likely to take power in South Korea.

Australia seems like the one place where there might be some genuinely good news. The Labour Party's Kevin Rudd looks set to end the reign of the Liberal (read Conservative) Party's John Howard. Barbara McMahon has a piece in The Observer.

Also, I think Uzbekistan is supposedly having a presidential election, but nobody cares because there's no democracy there, not even an imperiled one like in Russia or Venezuela.

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