Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sham election concludes predictably

On Sunday there was a presidential election in Turkmenistan, supposedly to democratically elect a successor to the late dictator Turkmenbashi. However, as I mentioned last month, the candidate roster was not exactly a thrilling milieu of diversity. All six candidates were from the party of the late despot, which naturally is the only party legal in Turkmenistan.

Unsurprisingly, the election was outrageously crooked. Most western commentators agree that the whole episode served little purpose other than to put some gloss of legitimacy on the rule of the acting president, Gubanguly Berdymukhammedov. Mr. B was soundly ratified with 90% of the vote, in a turnout that was apparently 99%. I'm sure the only reason why he didn't get a larger percent was because he's planning to stick the other candidates into his cabinet, and thus make himself look like he's establishing a "government of national unity." I like the understated headline in the International Herald Tribune: "Vote in Turkmenistan is labeled implausible."

Today Berdymukhammedov was sworn in. As is the tradition in most Eastern European countries, during his inauguration he was decorated with the presidential chain of office, and given the sceptre of power to hold. He kissed the flag passionately, symbolizing his duty to the nation as commander-in-chief.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't exactly call Turkmenistan "Europe", but oh well.
Your blog is great.

Anonymous said...

He didn't exactly say Turkmenistan is European only that they conduct their ceremonies like Eastern Europeans.

Geographially they're Asian, but politically they're much more similar to their Eastern European cohorts.

na said...

99%? At least they went for some plausibility.

"99 percent - because no one would believe we got 100%!"

Anonymous said...

99%, is that what they do in Egypt too? Heard something like that somewhere..

roamingsoul said...

I'm itching for an update man, what's happening out there?

andy said...

"99%, is that what they do in Egypt too?"

No, Tunisia is the only North African country with votes in the 95%-99% range.

Psudo said...

Um... turnout was 99%. He got 90% of the vote. Both are infeasible, but don't confuse your lies. =]

And I have to agree with Mr. B about one thing; that flag is hecka sexy. I'd passionately kiss it, too.

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