Thursday, August 18, 2005

Democracy Roundup

I recently added Publius Pundit to my list of things to read (at the expense of other things I’m afraid) as they focus on world events, and it now rivals Winds of Change as my favorite site to get information on stuff going on outside the US.

There is a lot going on in the democratic front around the world, but here are some of the more interesting developments.

Egypt is having the first contested elections in over 24 years, and even though current president Mubarak will probably win, the population there has never been so free and open to talk about something other than how much they don’t like Israel and the US.  The elections are on September 7th.

Afghanistan is also having parliamentary elections in September, and the press there is giving every candidate an equal amount of free radio or TV time to get their message out.

Thousands of people protested in Kathmandu, Nepal, for democracy, demanding an end to the monarchy and the king’s martial rule he imposed last year.

Syrian Kurds are protesting and rioting against the Assad regime for the government’s not allowing them to show support for banned separatist group.

The inaugural meeting of the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU) was held this week.  It consists of over 20 countries around the Pacific rim whose leaders are elected by the public.

Taiwan’s President Chen made comments to the effect that China would be invited to join just as soon as it’s leaders were elected by the people.  Until then it could apply to be an observer.

There’s a democratic revolution going on in the Maldives currently.  They are pretty small islands in the Indian ocean south of India, so there’s no really huge worldwide impact from this revolt, but it’s another country on the growing list of nations full of people who want the freedom that American has enjoyed for a couple of centuries now.

It’s also a major tropical vacation paradise, so if you were planning on going there anytime soon, you might want to pay attention.

The Congo is having presidential elections after a decade of fighting of various factions vying for power.  Over 4 million people have been killed in the last 7 years.  An election committee has been tasked with creating a structured and transparent election process, which will take place in May of 2006.

In Iraq, up to 80 percent of people who did not vote in the last election have registered their names for the upcoming referendum on the draft constitution.  Which means that the Sunnis are mostly coming around, and the “insurgency” is looking more and more like a small radical fringe.

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