Monday, December 03, 2007

Two barely democracies

Venezuela
So Chavez lost his referendum, fortunately. It took 51% of the population to ensure that 100% retained some freedoms. However he has gloated according to the Daily Telegraph ""From this moment on, let’s be calm," ... "There is no dictatorship here.""
One could argue the result is conveniently close, but with only 56% turnout it does show Chavez doesn't run a Stalinist state. It also shows that a significant minority is uninterested in his "revolution", which is both good and bad. As the Telegraph also outlines, the Venezuelan economic success is likely to be shortlived, with inflation at 20%, plenty of shortages and declining oil production - this experiment with socialism may fail sooner rather than later, and hopefully will see little blood spilt as a result.
Russia
Around 63% of the vote for United Russia. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Council of Europe have said ""The State Duma election ... was not fair and failed to meet many OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections,".
In second place came the Communists at 12%, the fascist Liberal Democratic party and the socialist Fair Russia party (barely to the right of the communists) also seem to have crossed the 7% threshold.
So Russians vote for the corporatist bully, and some pine for the Stalinists or support other fascists. That's what a long tradition of being governed by strongmen has done, and is the legacy of 70 years of brutal Marxism-Leninism. You know, the type that George Galloway and Chris Trotter both miss.

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