Spring is finally here – the time when a young man’s fancy turns to … elections.
Over in Afghanistan voters are bidding goodbye to Hamid Karzai and hello to… well no one yet because apparently it will take a whole week to count the ballots. Votes from Afghanistan’s first democratic election are still being tallied after millions of voters braved threats of Taliban violence to cast their votes on Saturday. Some polling places ran out of ballots and some people stayed inside fearing death by Taliban, but about seven million out of 12 million eligible voters made it out, so not bad. Both President Obama and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Afghan officials and voters for the relatively smooth elections (by Afghan standards), but mostly Obama is just happy he won’t have to deal with President Hamid Karzai anymore, who is constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term.
Meanwhile, in India, the nine-phase ballot process began on Monday and the country体彩手机在线怎么下载’s marathon election/logistical nightmare makes the Afghan democratic process look like child’s play. More than 800 million Indians will begin trudging to polling booths on Monday, in an election that will last until May 12 (since the voting days are slowly rolled out state-by-state). Over the course of the month, the Hindu nationalist BJP will take on the incumbent Congress Party in an Indian electoral showdown over the country体彩手机在线怎么下载’s two biggest issues: the economy and corruption.
And then there’s Quebec. Practice France began their provincial elections on Monday, two years after the Parti Quebecois somehow won a minority government in 2012. After a revived debate over Quebec’s independence from Canada, a controversial push for Quebec’s Charter of “Values” (which would ban public employees from wearing religious articles) and a boost in language law policing, the PQ may not be so lucky this time around. PQ Leader Pauline Marois called this election because she believed she could win a majority government but now most pollsters are saying that the Liberals are poised to reclaim the National Assembly. Where did they go wrong? Well, if she had to do it all over again, the PQ Leader says she wouldn’t have spent a full week of the 2014 election campaign talking about separating from the rest of Canada. And the whole Charter of Values/portraying Quebec as a racist backwater probably didn’t help either…
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the body overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Hague-based group has been out and about in Syrian war zones implementing the international chemical-weapons treaty. But Syria’s not the only place they hang out – since the 1990s the OCPW has conducted over 5,000 inspections in 86 countries and destroyed 80 percent of the world’s chemical weapons. Syria is the first time they’ve had to do their jobs in an active war zone though.
OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu said the award (and the $1.8 million prize money) was a “great honour” and would spur it on in its work.
Other contenders for the prestigious prize were Malala Yousafzai and Russian President Vladimir Putin. One advocates for the rights of women and girls and survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban last year. The other kills journalists and is buddy-buddy with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Tough choice.
Malala Yousafzai just won the on Thursday so she’s probably not too devastated about losing the Nobel Prize to some chemical weapons inspectors. The Pakistani teenage activist beat out U.S. intelligence analyst/NSA leaker Edward Snowden. So again, the competition was pretty stiff….
But what about poor Putin? What’s he left with?
Putin wasby a Russian advocacy group that credits him with finding a peaceful resolution to the Syrian-U.S. dispute over chemical weapons. The Russians argued that if US President Barack Obama could win in 2009, Putin should certainly be recognized in 2013. But sadly, he wasn’t. Now Putin will just have to go back to supplying Bashar al-Assad’s regime with weapons (non chemical ones are still cool), killing Chechens, and wrestling bears shirtless in Siberia.