Archive for August, 2008

Week of many faces

August 11, 2008

August has begun with many events of significant importance around the world. A few days ago the news of a coup d’etat in Mauritania arrived. Democratically elected president Abdellahni had been overthrown by army generals just dismissed from the military leadership. This is a very much known reason for military takeover, as in Mauritania often with some political crisis preceding.  The new military leadership has rigthfully faced international condemnation and suspension from the African Union, this change has been especially critisised since the previous government was a democratic one. For instance the coup paving way for the democratic reforms can be seen as more legitimate since the regime toppled at that time was a longtime sitting dictatorship.  The military leadership has announced its intention to hold democratic elections as soon as possible, an inevitable decision and the only way for Mauritania to stay in good interntional relations. We can only press for the coming elections to be genuinly democratic.

Nearby an alleged coup attempt has been foiled in Guinea-Bissau. Here aswell the political situation has béen in a state of crisis recently. A major political party has left the national coalition government, which has been followed by the dissolution of parliament. This act from prsident Vieira can however not be seen as all alarming as fresh elections are prepared to be hold in november. Recent events in Mauritania will hopefully not cause the military to make further attempt, but that is only a wish.

Even worse has the news from Georgia and caucasus been. A full scale war is evident as russian troops has entered South Ossetia to support the russian minority and fight the georgian forces.  Now the world community must take firm action to make Russia withdraw from further hostilities. A state of emergency has been declared by the georgian parliament. This does in one way produce a changed political status of Georgia, but since parliament is still functioning and has decided on the emergency rule, a full change of the political status can not be seen.

Finally and with great joy and hope, news has reached of a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai will allegedly be prime minister, and Mugabe president. The full distribution of power is not yet decided, but we will likely see a solution similar to that in Kenya. By this change Zimbabwe has reached its highest degree of democracy/liberty for a very long time. Following some 15 years under Oan Smith and close to 30 with Mugabe, Zimbabwe will have reached a form of acceptable democracy. And new political status.

August 11, 2008

A state of emergency and curfew is imposed in Ulan Bator following violent protests against result of the recently contested election. Supporters of he opposition Democrat party accuses the present government party(Mongolian Revolutionary Party) of rigging the elections to its own benefit. Despite the curfew the hostilities has continued with excessive looting and destruction of public and government buildings and sites.

The state of emergency and curfew has been imposed to be in force for three days. This is generally a too short period, and since it not is declared martial law, this act will not be considered a new status by me in this project. However notice and awareness has been made.

Should the allegations of electoral fraud turn out to be justified, or if some sort of political repression begins. The political status of Mongolia will be changed. Forthcoming development will decide this, however it would be sad and unfortunate for such a good example of democratic transition as Mongolia has been.

 

den 30 juni 2008

Mugabe installs himself on false grounds.

Yesterday Robert Mugabe was reinstalled as president of Zimbabwe following the phoney and sham elections held this Friday. By using force and violations no other option was open than a re-election.
For some time on now Mugabe will possess ultimate political power, until the elected parliament is inaugurated. Still it is hard to see how there under present circumstances can be any co-existence of these institutions.
Either Mugabe will make a tragic move dissolving the elected parliament and declare the election illegal, or some kind of cooperation agreement will be reached.


Kenya is in a way a role-model of this, although the situation in Kenya this winter was politically no way near the catastrophic situation we see in Zimbabwe today.
That would anyway be the second best alternative as Mugabe is still in power, to relieve the population from violence and political repression some sort of agreement between the government and opposition shall be desired.
We could however not expect Mugabe to keep his intention to pen up for negotiations once he now is elected.

The AU summit held today puts a large responsibility on the African leaders to put pressure on Mugabe to introduce a new order in Zimbabwe. The pressure on AU is hard on this point as UN demands it from them, and as observers and officials from the organisation criticizes Zimbabwe hard. But, even though Africa as a continent is more democratic and politically free than ever before, there are many states that matches or even passes Zimbabwe in authoritarianism and political repression. Maybe the most striking example is Libya, which under Khadaffi has a major role in AU. That is a country where no political opposition allows or can exist, in that respect much worse than in Zimbabwe. What separates the countries is the lack of violence in Libya(which mainly is nonexisting because of the lack of organised opposition). Besides Libya there are ten or more countries with more or less brutal repression on political opposition. The increasing number of democratic states are in majority today, but may not yet have reached a point where the democratic norms are the highest priority in relation with other African states. Besides that several of the actual democratic leaderships can be lacking from other perspectives such as corruption.

The demands on AU to act on Mugabe shall be hard even in respect of this. Mugabe is still in many eyes seen as a freedom-hero for the African continent, and from a realistic point of view the internal affairs of Zimbabwe may be seen as his dominion.

 

den 26 juni 2008

Resignation of Koirala in Nepal

Aging and long time sitting PM of Nepal, Koirala, has accepted his resignation as head of the government. Appointed by former king Gyanendra, Koirala has led the interim administration taking the country to a republic.
Following elections held a few months ago disagreements has been significant between the maoist winners of the election and the previous dominant Congress Party, to which Koirala belongs. The political transition to a fully parliamentarian system is not yet complete, as an official president has to be elected and a new government installed based on the last election results.

As the Maoists has come out as the major party and will dominte the Nepalese politics ahead, it is important to be aware of its compliance to democratic rule. One must observe the future politics of Nepal, but on the other hand not judge the Maoists before they have proven their political agenda. Despite its rebel past and maoist communist affilation, they have commited themselves to international cooperation and cooperation and co-existence with other political parties.
However some leftist tendencies may be seen in
Nepal
ahead, we(I) will initially consider the government installed as democratically and parliamentarian.

Most likely successor to Koirala is the maoist leader Prachanda. The constitution further stipulates that the forthcoming president will be in many aspects ceremonial but stands as head of the army.

Once installed a change of Nepals political status will be changed from Interim to Parliamentarian.

den 17 juni 2008

On Zimbabwe

Ten days left to the decisive vote in Zimbabwe.

The opening electoral campaign has been marred with violence and systematic repression against opposition and supporters of running MDC candidate Tsvangirai. The statements of political and military leaderships has been divided, where ZANU-PF announces its willingness to recognize the outcome of the elections. Statements from Mugabe and the military has been less optimistic as the former says MDC is unfit and never in position to run the country and the latter that it will never accept any other than Mugabe as legitimate president.
The March/April election showed that even under harsh conditions the people can stand up and vote for the true winner in MDC. The question at this point is whether the people following massive repression will vote for Tsvangirai or not.

Violence and actual threats is a not very common way of manipulating election, and whether it can succeed is really not certain. Where there in Zimbabwe is an actual majority in favour of the opposition, unfair media coverage or repression against oppositional activity is probably not enough to secure a victory for the regime. Furthermore massive misconduct and vote manipulation did not occur, at least not to the extent that ZANU-PF could maintain a majority in the parliamentarian elections. This even though the result showed only a slight majority of MDC
Perhaps could this be an indication that the electoral authorities are not fully manipulated and to some extent independent.

Should political repression and the voting process not help Mugabe to stay in power, perhaps the only way to gain a victory would be to threat or bribe the voters to vote for the regime.

Following years of manipulation and a colonial heritage one should on the other hand not completely underestimate the real support of Mugabe. Some may still support the politics of Mugabe as a support for the Zimbabwean people against “damaging” foreign influence. The repression of political opposition may I some eyes be justified as a way to maintain the unity of the country.

To these elements and in the eyes of Mugabe the concept of democracy may be different. The peoples power may be seen as seeking unity and full support of the regime, in a way that may be seen as a merger of state and regime.
Critics of the sitting regime may be seen as critics of Zimbabwe itself. And in the cause of a national of Zimbabwe one support the president, and not someone who(with foreign influences) threatens him and the security and unity of the country.
Actually the opposition could for supporters of this idea been seen as the cause of disturbances. As the bringing into democracy of the country causes division and military action, even though the regime orders these actions and the military to use force.

But despite a historical and in some extent still existing support for Mugabe, there is no doubt that at this point the support for Tsvangirai is stronger. And if the voting process is not manipulated, we should see a democratic breakthrough with Tsvangirai as a winner and president.
This would end the influence and position of Mugabe following almost 30 years. However the new democratic government must in this case take action to reconciliate with the ZANU-PF. The parliamentarian vote and the legitimacy of representation of ZANU-PF must be respected, and over time one must open a dialogue. There must be a working and functioning political opposition where critic can be directed in terms of political issues and met with debate and dialogue instead of repression.

There will under any circumstances be a change in the political status of Zimbabwe as the parliament will be run by a MDC majority. Constitutionally this would make Mugabe to do concessions even if re-elected, if the elected parliament is not dissolved.

The elections of June 27 will show us what path Zimbabwe will take.

den 16 juni 2008

The Macedonian issue

Following the recent elections in Macedonia, there is from my point of view a significant uncertainity on how to classify and consider the political situation in that country.
On one hand the elections were faced with critiscism from the world community over it conduct and that it failed to meet genuine democratic standards. Still much of these shortcomings were related to violence erupting in and around polling stations. It is at this point unclear to me whether there has been any systematic shortcomings and violations against oppositional groups political activity.
The governing party VMRO-DPMNE led by prime minister Gruevski succeeded in a massive win. Did there occur any form of unfair condition for the political oppopsition to campaign freely, a change of the political status of
Macedonia
is sadly justified.

Should the shortcomings be the result of autonomous groups violence against ethnic groups or political opponents, this is generally not reason enough to change the political status. The most striking example of this is Iraq, which besides serious internal security problems is considered a democratic parliamentarian system by me.
The idea is that the political elite and democratic institutions shall not be suffering from autonomous groups efforts to disrupt the order and stability.

In serious cases where the political governance loses much of its authority a change is justified towards some form of emergency rule.

The question about Macedonia is very much whether there has been any political repression or misconduct or not.

Until a more genuine study of this has been done, I have changed the sttus to Uni-Authoritarian.

 

den 10 juni 2008

Opening post: What lies ahead

Following an eventful first half of 2008 many of the countries affected by changes has been normalised or (at least for some time) stabilised in political system. According to where the process is still going or where elections are to be held, we can in some way predict what we can expect in the coming period.

First, we can probably expect a president to be installed and a government change to take place in the newly established republic of Nepal. Depending on the authorities and matter of presidential election, this would probably place Nepal somewhere between Parliamentarian and Semi-Presidential in form.
Furthermore the elections about to be held in Zimbabwe on June 27 will in some respect make a change of status, should Mugabe win and continue his authoritarian politics, the present interim form will be normalised. A victory for Mr Tsvangirai would hopefully mean a democratic breakthrough. Since MDC has gained a parliamentarian majority, a victory of Mugabe should not be able to make him a still as authoritarian ruler.
The outcome of these elections are awaited with excitement.

Later in 2008 elections that could make political and democratic changes are to be held in Cambodia in july, Angola and Rwanda in September, Maldives, Belarus, Azerbaijan in october, Ivory Coast in November, Bangladesh in December, and Guinea at some point.

These are the countries I believe some changes can occur, I am however not that hopeful about Belarus, but it is possible that the opposition can gain seats in the new parliament following the elections. At this point there is no oppositional presence in the parliament.

Besides the countries mentioned several democratic countries and strong dictatorships are holding elections, not mentioned here because no real change can or is expected to occur.

Additionally there can always occur changes due to political reforms, resignations, emergency declarations or possible coups. These can often not be fully predicted, but takes place unplanned.

Week of many faces

August 10, 2008

August has begun with many events of significant importance around the world. A few days ago the news of a coup d’etat in Mauritania arrived. Democratically elected president Abdellahni had been overthrown by army generals just dismissed from the military leadership. This is a very much known reason for military takeover, as in Mauritania often with some political crisis preceding.  The new military leadership has rigthfully faced international condemnation and suspension from the African Union, this change has been especially critisised since the previous government was a democratic one. For instance the coup paving way for the democratic reforms can be seen as more legitimate since the regime toppled at that time was a longtime sitting dictatorship.  The military leadership has announced its intention to hold democratic elections as soon as possible, an inevitable decision and the only way for Mauritania to stay in good interntional relations. We can only press for the coming elections to be genuinly democratic.

Nearby an alleged coup attempt has been foiled in Guinea-Bissau. Here aswell the political situation has béen in a state of crisis recently. A major political party has left the national coalition government, which has been followed by the dissolution of parliament. This act from prsident Vieira can however not be seen as all alarming as fresh elections are prepared to be hold in november. Recent events in Mauritania will hopefully not cause the military to make further attempt, but that is only a wish.

Even worse has the news from Georgia and caucasus been. A full scale war is evident as russian troops has entered South Ossetia to support the russian minority and fight the georgian forces.  Now the world community must take firm action to make Russia withdraw from further hostilities. A state of emergency has been declared by the georgian parliament. This does in one way produce a changed political status of Georgia, but since parliament is still functioning and has decided on the emergency rule, a full change of the political status can not be seen.

Finally and with great joy and hope, news has reached of a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai will allegedly be prime minister, and Mugabe president. The full distribution of power is not yet decided, but we will likely see a solution similar to that in Kenya. By this change Zimbabwe has reached its highest degree of democracy/liberty for a very long time. Following some 15 years under Oan Smith and close to 30 with Mugabe, Zimbabwe will have reached a form of acceptable democracy. And new political status.

Hello world!

August 10, 2008

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