At least 18 people were killed in elections in Bangladesh on Jan. 5, in a bloody culmination to months of violent protest. With an opposition-led boycott of the vote leaving 153 out of 300 parliament seats uncontested, the foregone conclusion that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ruling Awami League (AL) would remain in power translated into an abysmal voter turnout of some 20%, according to early reports. News of widespread violence on voting day kept many voters away. Though the streets of the capital city of Dhaka remained relatively quiet on Sunday, dozens of voting booths around the country were reportedly set on fire over the weekend. Other voters were simply disillusioned with the whole process. “It’s a very bad situation,” said Mohammed Abdul Salam, a businessman in Dhaka, who did not vote. “We have no choice.”Full Article: Bangladesh Elections Marred By Violence and Low Turnout | TIME.com.
The most violent nation in the world is Honduras, with more murders per capita (92 per 100,000) than even Iraq or Afghanistan and twenty times more than the United States. It is now getting worse, as a wave of brutal killings sweep over the nation in the run-up to the country’s elections on November 24. The left-leaning opposition Partido Libertad y Refundación (Liberty and Refoundation, or LIBRE) has emerged as the target of choice in the majority of attacks. Honduras’ recent troubles grow directly out of the events of June 2009, when a military coup removed democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009). Honduras, one of the last Latin American nations to move toward authentic democracy, had been slowly constructing democratic political institutions until the coup. But with this one stroke, Honduras’ nascent democratization suffered a damaging blow from which it has yet to recover. Honduras, a Tennessee-sized country of 8.4 million people, is in many respects Latin America’s most unreconstructed nation. It only began the process of democratization in the 1980s and its economy is still built around unprocessed agricultural exports—chiefly coffee and bananas—produced on latifundio plantations and the beginnings of a maquila industry. The nation’s GDP per capita is under $4,000 USD PPP (purchasing parity power), ranking near the bottom of all Latin American nations.Full Article: Spiking pre-election violence in Honduras | Latina Lista.
Tense and edgy merely weeks ago, the mood has since changed in Senegal, as the country stands on the precipice of another democratic achievement. The capital, Dakar, taut from the pre-election violence that resulted in at least six deaths in clashes between opposition supporters and security forces, now breathes a little easier in anticipation of a peaceful and successful runoff on Sunday. But by no means is the result of the presidential runoff here a cakewalk; pockets of tension continue in districts of Dakar, as a society gears itself for the possibility of a seismic power shift in the country’s body politic. The metamorphosis, however, from “critical” to “stable” has so far disproved the animated conjecture of overzealous journalists who speculated that the violence would intensify and spill into other restive countries in the regional neighbourhood. Senegal had the makings of a success story in a region often characterised by volatility, disappointment and paranoia. The talk in Senegal this week has been cautiously optimistic; peace is considered the default, the earlier violence a mere aberration from the norm. And then came Mali.Full Article: Along came the coup in Mali - Features - Al Jazeera English.
Voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo are preparing for Monday’s presidential and legislative elections with opposition candidates already claiming fraud following violence in the capital in which at least two people were killed.
Electoral commission vice president Jacques Djoli Eseng’Ekeli says ballots and ballot boxes are being delivered by helicopter to remote polling stations in this country the size of Western Europe. Eseng’Ekeli says there may be some difficulties for some people to find the right place to vote, but he expects that everyone will eventually be able to cast their ballots.Full Article: DRC Prepares For Vote Following Violence in Capital | Africa | English.
Elections in Egypt tend to produce not just one but two solid majorities. The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has never, since its creation in 1978, failed to win less than a two-thirds majority of seats in Egypt’s parliament. And since that time, the vast majority of voting-age Egyptians have never bothered to vote. Predictability under a veneer of democracy has given three decades of stability to the most populous and politically pivotal Arab state. But it has also produced a ruling class increasingly remote from an increasingly bitter people.
The general election due on November 28th looks set, as ever, to favour Egypt’s rulers—and to disfavour, perhaps more than ever before, the cause of democracy. The NDP is likely to capture as many as 400 of the 508 seats being contested. Turnout, meanwhile, is unlikely to surpass the 25% of registered voters reached in the last parliamentary poll, in 2005.Full Article: Egypt's election: Another charade | The Economist.
Egypt’s military rulers rejected protester demands for them to step down immediately and said Thursday they would start the first round of parliamentary elections on time next week despite serious unrest in Cairo and other cities.
The ruling military council insisted it is not the same as the old regime it replaced, but the generals appear to be on much the same path that doomed Hosni Mubarak nine months ago — responding to the current crisis by delivering speeches seen as arrogant, mixing concessions with threats and using brutal force.Full Article: Egypt's military rulers reject demands to leave - The Globe and Mail.
Several planned demonstrations in Egypt Friday could test whether the nation besieged by recent violent clashes can remain peaceful.The area around Cairo’s Tahrir Square was eerily calm early Friday morning. There were no protesters and only security forces could be seen near Tahrir Square.
Since Saturday, protesters have clashed with police near the Cairo square, the epicenter of the movement that led to Mubarak’s ouster as president nine months ago. Among other demands, they have called for the interim military rulers step down. But the situation seemed to calm down Thursday after soldiers came to the area an erected barbed wire barricades to separate protesters from police.Full Article: Ganzouri to become Egypt's prime minister, military says - CNN.com.
Egypt’s military rulers rejected calls Thursday to delay parliamentary elections scheduled to take place next week and issued a strongly worded statement that has the potential to further polarize the country as it reels from a week of violent protests.
The statement called on “honorable people” to apprehend those causing strife and turn them over to the authorities. The vague directive could encourage vigilantism between camps supportive and critical of the military as the unrest that has killed at least 38 people and wounded thousands more continues to sow anger and frazzle nerves.Full Article: Egyptian military rejects call to delay elections.
Egypt’s military rulers rejected protester demands for them to step down immediately and said Thursday they would start the first round of parliamentary elections on time next week, despite serious unrest in Cairo and other cities.
The ruling military council insisted it is not the same as the old regime it replaced, but the generals appear to be on much the same path that doomed Hosni Mubarak nine months ago — responding to the current crisis by delivering speeches seen as arrogant, mixing concessions with threats and using brutal force.Full Article: Egypt military rulers reject calls to step down - Connecticut Post.
Egyptian protesters want elections scheduled for Monday to be postponed and a council of elders to replace the military rulers who on Wednesday again sent in security forces to quell demonstrating crowds. The current protests are seen as a second – and decisive – phase of the January revolution that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. In the symbolic heart of the revolution, Tahrir Square, demonstrators were chanting the same slogans used 11 months ago, but this time directing them at the interim military ruler, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.
“If the wheels of democracy move on Egypt and this problem is still here, then democracy will have failed,” said Ikramy Esayed. “Next Monday is very important for Egypt, but not because [the poll] should be held, but because we should acknowledge that this is not the time.” A second man, Nashad Bishara, agreed. “It is unsuitable now to hold elections,” he said. “For those who love Egypt stability must be established first. The truth is the army doesn’t want elections.”Full Article: Egypt protesters call for postponement of elections | World news | The Guardian.
Egypt’s military-led government Tuesday denied using violence against protesters and said the resignation of the country’s Cabinet has been accepted, although members will remain until a new government is formed.
“We never fired one bullet against any Egyptian,” said Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in a speech. “Our first goal from the start of the transitional phase was to restore security in the streets.” Tantawi spoke on the fourth straight day of protests and clashes in Cairo and beyond, in which 30 people have died, and about 1,950 have been injured, the Health Ministry said.Full Article: Military leader: Egyptian elections will be held on time - CNN.com.
Clashes erupted in Cairo for a third day after fighting between security forces and demonstrators protesting military rule left at least 22 people dead, a week before Egypt’s first parliamentary elections since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
Protesters were driven back by tear gas in Tahrir Square, the center of the uprising that toppled Mubarak in February, some waving Egyptian flags and others hurling stones at riot police, in scenes televised from the site. Besides those killed, hundreds were injured in the fighting that started on Nov. 19, Health Ministry spokesman Mohammed el-Sherbeeny said today by telephone.Full Article: Egypt Protesters, Forces Clash for Third Day Before Election - Businessweek.
Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi was not urging violence when he called on supporters to “terrorise” the country’s security forces ahead of elections and free activists from jail, his party said Monday .
“The statements by (party) president Tshisekedi are far from being a call to violence. We are a non-violent organisation…. It is a cry of alarm and frustration,” Jacquemin Shabani, secretary-general of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), told journalists.Full Article: Congolese opponent not urging violence ahead of polls: party - ModernGhana.com.