International Political Turmoil
December 21, 2016
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While many are decrying our recent domestic election, we have it lucky compared to the recent political situations in other countries. For example, did you know about Italy’s recent constitutional crisis, or the sham elections in Uzbekistan and the obstinate but ousted dictator Gambia? Or, if you need to catch up on the impeachment of the South Korean president, read on…
Let’s start in Europe, where Italy has been going through a constitutional and leadership crisis. Former prime minister Matteo Renzi recently resigned, fulfilling a promise that he would tender his resignation if the populace did not vote on his proposal to centralize government power. Those reforms would have reformed the way the lower house (the Chamber of Deputies) and the upper house (the Senate) interact. It would also have centralized government functions such as maintaining highways. Indeed, a change in the interaction between the two is necessary; as of now, bills merely bounce back and forth between the houses with no actual progress. The no vote was largely seen as part of the rise of populism in Europe.
Meanwhile, in Uzbekistan, democratic elections were recently held. However, these elections only transferred power between a dictator and his chosen successor. Two other candidates were put on the ballot, but only to provide some semblance of choice. (Everyone knew who to actually vote for.) However, this pales in comparison to what has been going on in the Gambia. His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Awal Jemus Junkung Jammeh Naasiru Deen Babili Mansa (yes, that’s the name he likes to be called by) was defeated by former security guard and real estate agent Adama Barrow in a recent presidential election. However, despite the results (which he originally accepted), Jammeh called for a new election because he found “abnormalities” of some sort.
Lastly, we have the impeachment of the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye. She had been found to be operating what can be described as a “pay-to-play” scheme, where she accepted donations for access; as a result, she tendered her resignation once those allegations came to light. However, the rival political party had decided to, strangely enough, reject her resignation, opting instead for an impeachment trial (perhaps to present themselves in a better light).
So, as we leave this painful election season behind with the electoral votes being certified today, let us remember…we got it pretty easy.
Photo from WCBS NY