Sunday, 3 August 2014

election blues (yellows, and purples)

As Tramp looks back over 2004, one political catastrophe seems to stand out more than the others: elections. So we're bringing you the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, in no particular order:

  • Ukraine's elections were such a mess that they decided to start all over again. Which Viktor will be the victor (yes, we've been keeping that one for a while)? Find out (hopefully) on December 26th. This faulty election hasn't just been bad for Ukraine, though. It has also widened the gap between Russia and the Western world. Sorry, Reagan, we guess the end of the Cold War didn't solve all those problems.
  • Belarus technically didn't have elections this year, and they may never have real elections again thanks to a referendum president Alexander Lukashenka faked, allowing him to run for an indefinite number of terms
  • In Spain the socialist party won an unexpected victory a mere three days after a train bombing in Madrid that claimed over 200 lives.
  • The EU elections had a surprisingly low turnout, which only resulted in seriously diminishing the power of the ruling parties in 22 of the 25 countries. Socialist parties got a significant boost.
  • Afghanistan's elections seemed to go off better than anyone (with the exception of the Bush administration) expected. Hamid Karzai won over 90% of the votes and was sworn in yesterday.
  • Australia re-elected John Howard for the fourth time, thanks to a booming economy. We think Aussies just really like the guy.
  • Indonesia elected karaoke-singing General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in what Tramp would like to nominate as the best election of 2004.
  • Romania will be holding run-off elections on Monday between it's two presidential finalists, Adrian Nastase, the outgoing prime minister, and Traian Basescu.
  • Tunisia's "elections" all but welded Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali into his presidential seat until he either steps down or someone gives him the boot in the name of real democracy.
  • Venezuela re-affirmed Hugo Chavez as president, much to the dismay of now crippled opposition party (not to mention, democracies everywhere). However, the referendum seems to be legitimate, giving Chavez even more "political capital" than before.
  • The Philippines get the award for most entertaining election of 2004. It had something for everyone: sex, violence, comedy, and lo and behold, even a winner! (After nearly a month of deliberation, Gloria Arroyo was finally re-elected.)
  • Vladimir Putin won re-election in Russia. Now you can find Russians hiding in dark alleys and smacking their foreheads.
  • South Africa's elections were happily peaceful, unlike the elections in 1994, where thousands ended up dead. Thabo Mbeki quietly won the presidency and quietly took his position. It was the kind of election that makes Tramp feel good about democracy and makes the rest of the media bored to tears.
  • After considerable debate, Taiwan declared Chen Shui-bian's re-election ... barely.
  • Algeria proved that even Arab countries can be sort-of democratic (without being forced to) by electing Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
  • Antigua received a nomination for the most entertaining election of 2004. Unfortunately they were no match for Fernando Poe , Jr. and his Sex Bombs. Nonetheless, congratulations to Baldwin Spencer.
That actually doesn't cover all of the elections of 2004 (no, not even all the presidential elections), but we think you get the idea: 2004 was the