Corrupt Non-General to Run Nigeria For a Change
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua was sworn in as President of Nigeria on Tuesday, despite the chronic irregularities that marked his election last month. Most of the western world called for a re-vote, but evidently the government did not agree.
I say "the government" because Mr. Yar'Adu was the establishment candidate, and his "victory" signaled the continuation of the ruling regime. He was the hand-picked successor of outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo, the former military dictator turned civilian politician. General Obasanjo ruled for two full terms after Nigeria's military regime ended in 1999. He then tried to get the constitution changed to allow him to run for a third term, but that scheme fell through. So then he talked his pal Yar'Adu into running. Yar'Adu was the Governor of Nigeria's biggest state at the time, and a loyal member of General Obasanjo's party, the "People's Democratic Party" or PDP. Despite no longer being President of Nigeria, Obasanjo is still President of the PDP, a fact which has led critics to characterize Yar'Adu as a mere puppet to be controlled by Obasanjo from behind the scenes.
The controversy over Yar'Adu and his dubious election has cast something of a shadow over what should be a happy event for Nigeria- their first civilian-to-civilian transfer of executive power since the 1960's!
Fun Nigeria Fact! The logo of the People's Democratic Party is an umbrella.
Traitorous Scot to Run Scotland
Alex Salmond was sworn in as First Minister of Scotland by Queen Elizabeth the Second on May 17. He is the leader of the separatist Scottish National Party, and as such his assumption to the top job comes as something of a disappointment to those who had been hoping that a coalition government could be cobbled-together to keep him out of power. But no luck, and now Her Majesty's Scottish government is being run by a nationalist whose ultimate political goal is the removal of Scotland from Her Majesty's realm.
On Sunday President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was re-elected with 97% of the vote in an election in which he was the only candidate and "yes, I love the President! Now please don't shoot me!" was the only option.
Patrick Ahern was also re-elected as Taoiseach of Ireland. In power since 1997, Mr. Ahern is evidently one of the few European leaders who has ruled for a decade and not yet been forced out of power.
A lot of Euro-leaders came to power in the late 1990's, and only left power in the last little while. This means that we're seeing a rather marked "wave" of regime change across the continent at present. It would be interesting to chart, but for now, amuse yourself with these statistics:
France, Jacques Chirac (1995-2007)
Spain, José María Aznar (1996-2004)
Sweden, Göran Persson (1996-2006)
United Kingdom, Tony Blair (1997-2007)
Germany, Gerhard Schroder (1998-2005)
I see it as a sort of symbolic "end of the 90's" thing. In fact, with Mr. Chirac gone, I believe Mr. Ahern is now the longest-serving leader in all of Europedom, and the only one left who came to power in the '90's.