Wednesday, November 03, 2004

from IHT: Global monitors find faults

Internation Herald Tribrune writes:

The global implications of the U.S. election are undeniable, but international monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest fell short in many ways of the best global practices.

The observers said they had less access to polls than in Kazakhstan, that the electronic voting had fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela, that the ballots were not so simple as in the Republic of Georgia and that no other country had such a complex national election system.

Fair enough. I do not have the strength to argue that other last paragraph's comparisons make little sense. Does Republic of Georgia actually have simple ballots? complicated? Why should US have really simple ballots? I do not know. I did find the following particularly illuminating:

Two-member observer teams fanned out across 11 states and included citizens of 36 countries, ranging from Canada and Switzerland to Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Slovenia and Belarus.
Belarus?! Free elections there have last been held... never. [I know the history of that country]. This is what the US has to say about the last Belarussian elections:
“At a time when freedom is advancing around the world, Aleksandr Lukashenka and his government are turning Belarus into a regime of repression in the heart of Europe, its government isolated from its neighbors and its people isolated from each other.”

The OSCSE itself, said this about 2001 elections in Belarus:

Hrair Balian, the head of the 300-strong OSCE observer mission in Minsk told Radio Netherlands that the Belarus presidential election failed to meet democratic election standards, mainly because of what happened before the elections.

"Election day went fine: we didn't note any major or significant problems, but the legal and administrative framework in which this election took place was defective and could not provide for democratic elections. During the pre-election campaign, there was a high level of intimidation and repression. Many human rights violations took place, particularly against the independent media, opposition campaign activists and non-governmental organisations who tried to monitor the electoral process. The state-owned media was highly biased. Against this, you had an independent media working under enormous pressure."

So, now we can all feel safer, knowing that Belarussian observers have found our electoral system imperfect.


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