IT’S ELECTION SEASON: AN UPDATE ON THE TRUDGE OF DEMOCRACY
It was only last February that long-term tyrant Hosni Mubarak was ousted from the Egyptian Presidency after a stellar 30 years at the top. Aafter a year of instability and transition, new President Mohamed Mursi appointed Hisham Kandil as Prime Minister on Tuesday, tasking him with the creation of a new government. Although Egypt has formally been a republic since January 2012, a ruling by the Supreme Court declared the February general election unconstitutional. After this, the previously Islamist dominated Parliament was dissolved, leaving the military in charge. Oh no!
But then (suddenly!), at the end of May, new presidential elections were held. Candidates were divided mainly in relation to the role of religion within the state, with Islamists pitted against liberal, secular opponents. Candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi, emerged victorious and pledged to be a President for all Egyptians.
Despite the recent elections many protesters remain wary of the military’s extensive influence and frustrated at continuing issues with infrastructure. But let’s just call it a win for democracy anyway.
In Salient’s favourite North African nation, the first elections following the civil war were held in early July. Unlike neighbouring Egypt, a broad selection of somewhat secular parties were the biggest winners, marking a stark contrast to the 32 year long autocratic regime of the now-deceased Muammar Gaddafi. The elections produced no firm party majority however, meaning that the composition of the government will largely be determined by around 120 independent candidates. Oh goody, sounds like it’s coalition time. But remember, never forget the Libyans. Especially if you’re looking for weapons-grade plutonium for your flux- capacitor.
They have democracy in the Americas too. A General election in Mexico was held in early July in which Mexicans elected their lower and upper houses, as well as a new president. Across the board, it is the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that has emerged victorious. The PRI had previously held political power for 71 years before being ousted by the National Action Party (PAN) in 2000. Candidates from the three major political parties sparred over the issues of chronic unemployment and a war against drugs that has cost over 50 000 lives.
The election results have been marred by allegations of corruption, electoral fraud and “vote-buying” by the PRI, behaviours the PRI were notorious for throughout their seven decades in office. Supporters of left wing candidate and runner up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, are calling for the election results to be annulled. Just another day in the south-of-the-border crime-ridden paradise.
For the record, Salient formally endorses democracy.