Elections

So, after a long election campaign, the vote takes place. Exit polls say that one candidate has a clear lead, but when the votes begin to be counted it seems that his rival is leading by a small margin. Election officials keep counting, with results not expected for a day or so, while candidates begin to warm up their lawyers and supporters for action.

And this time, it’s in Ukraine. As I write this, current Prime Minister Yanukovych leads opposition leader Yuschenko by less than 1% after exit polls showed leads to Yuschenko of between two and nineteen percent. This follows, of course, lots of allegations of irregularities in the first round of voting. Counting is currently on hold until this afternoon.

Update: Counting is now almost complete, and official returns show that Yanukovych is the winner by around 50% to 47%. However, the OSCE says the vote fell far short of European democratic norms and pro-Yuschenko protests have begun with reports of 50,000 people in Kiev’s Independence Square.

Another update: From Georg in the comments, two Ukrainian blogs that are covering events: Neeka’s Backblog and obdymok. Both seem quite interesting and worth a look.

4 thoughts on “Elections

  1. Two Kyiv-based blogs reporting as events unfold are Neeka’s Backlog and obdymok. The outcome of this may be decided outside of the ballot box and will be rather important, not least for defining the stakes in the expansion plans of the EU and Russia, respectively.

  2. Shoot me down in flames, but I recall reading somewhere that it’s now unPC to call Ukraine “The Ukraine”.

    Neat anti-spam feature, BTW.

Comments are closed.

Elections

Reports from Spain indicate a victory for the Socialists in the election, taking 43% to the PP’s 38%.

(Live results in Spanish can be found here and here)

Meanwhile in Russia, Vladimir Putin seems set for a landslide re-election, with exit polls predicting he’ll get almost 70% of the vote.

14 thoughts on “Elections

  1. Regardless of who was responsible for the attacks, the results of the Spanish elections are proof positive that terror works, at least in Spain.

  2. My sympathies for the Spanish people just evaporated. By electing the party that promised to back out of Iraq if elected, the Spanish people have chosen the route of cowardice when faced with terror and intimidation.

    Al Qaeda will not go away. It’s unfortunate that Europeans have permitted to lull themselves to sleep on this issue. What naivete!

    The dead of Madrid deserved better than this.

  3. RSN,

    Though I agree that a Parti Popolar victory would have been better for the larger war on terror, your attitude is astonishingly callous.

  4. I didn’t say that you were alone, RSN.

    I just said that you were callous.

    I fully agree that al-Qaida sees this as a victory and fear that these election results will weaken the resolve of other European governments in the war on terror.

  5. “By electing the party that promised to back out of Iraq if elected, the Spanish people have chosen the route of cowardice when faced with terror and intimidation.”

    Please read again what you wrote: “THE” Spanish people …cowardice.
    Less then 50% of the Spanish people voted for the social democrats. How can you claim that all of them voted on the topic of the attacks only? How many voted against PP because of the the fact that they accused ETA first?
    How many social-democratic voters on the issue Iraq and terrorism want ONLY a withdrawal of the Spanish troops?

    “For the war on terrorism it?s crucial that the next Spanish government is not going to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq immediately. I hope that instead the next Spanish government is going to urge for European cooperation on fighting terrorism. That in Europe the debate will start on how to cope with the terrorist threat. Not by doing away with civil rights or raising the traditional defense budget. Instead we must act to separate the moderate from the radical everywhere and most specifically in the middle-east.
    A first element is to address the enormity of the Karbala massacre as well.” (my comments at Bonoboland)

    In the words of the Belgian pm Verhofstadt – certainly not a social-democratic coward- I hear right now on television: we have to fight the reasons why the likes of Al Qaeda can recruit so easily. Urged by the journalist he even mentioned Turkish membership of the EU.

  6. “Al Qaeda will not go away.”

    If the massacre in Madrid was inflicted by al-Qaeda then very evidently the Iraq war did nothing to constraint either its capacity or its inclination for terrorism. Of course, the Iraq war did kill thousands of Iraqi civilians through no fault of their own and that might well have stoked terrorism, which leads me to include the war wasn’t a very intelligent undertaking.

  7. Frans, Bob, you’re engaging in sophistry. The Spanish electorate decided that punishing the party in power was more important than granting Al Qaeda a victory. To me that seems that Spain is more interested in living a life of denial than tackling the problem head-on.

    It’s true that there’s great confusion and soul-searching going on in Spain at this time. But it just seems to me that Spaniards are out of touch with what is going on in the outside world. And whose fault is that? The government’s?… – or the left-leaning, dominant Spanish media’s, that through its narrow-minded filtering of the news have made the Spanish unprepared for this kind of calamity, even though the reconquest of Andalusia is a very, very real goal for Al Qaeda.

    Which leads me to make the following speculation: if this kind of attack would precede the American elections, there is no doubt that Bush would win, because he would do what the voters would call for: strike back. In Spain (and in other parts of Europe?), an attack will only cause massive demonstrations, and calls, – such as Schroeder’s – for more conferences on terrorism, which have little effect, and which only serve to preserve the status quo.

    Americans, however, would go and strike back. Indiscriminantly perhaps, but still with the intent – and effect – of CHANGING the status quo for the better.

  8. [T]he reconquest of Andalusia is a very, very real goal for Al Qaeda.

    But not a very realistic one, given current populations and levels of military strength.

  9. What levels of military strength? Maybe that would make sense if Europe hadn’t abdicated most of its responsibility for self-defense and left it to the US.

    They just proved it took a couple bombs to make the people of Spain willingly bend over and take it in the ass. I’ll pray for Great Britain and Poland. It’s clear who they’ll probably hit next. Score for Al Qaeda.

  10. Whoever said Al Qaeda were realistic? The problem is that their fantasies are quite real… for them.

    The question to ask is why Spaniards didn’t take this more seriously, given the fact that they “occupy” portions of the Caliphate.

    The answer seems to be this: Spanish media has portrayed the conflict as something solely between US “imperialism” and offended Arab and Muslim pride… a conflict where Spain should have no role.

    But in reality, Spain was always in the sights of Al Qaeda…

  11. RSN: “Which leads me to make the following speculation: if this kind of attack would precede the American elections, there is no doubt that Bush would win, because he would do what the voters would call for: strike back.”

    And just what or whom would Bush bomb in a situation similar to Spain’s?

    I have been following the news reports about Madrid. Spanish intelligence sources are reported as saying they had no reason to expect an attack by al-Qaeda. There was no indication from untoward signals intelligence of any likelihood of an imminent attack, nothing from intelligence contacts and Madrid does not fit the usual al-Qaeda pattern of suicide bombers – but then Bali didn’t either. Suppose al-Qaeda has put into the field what the IRA used to call “snow whites” – people without prior histories of association with al-Qaeda or terrorism: http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040213-113722-5875r

    The general European view is that the Bush administration really doesn’t understand what it has got itself into with its Neocon unilateralism and pre-emptive strikes. People round the world can read the web: the account from Paul O’Neill (Bush’s first Treasury Secretary) about the Bush administration starting to plan the Iraq war on coming into office in January 2001, months before 9-11, only confirms instinctive suspicions about American motives. By Kerry’s account, many world leaders are hoping for an administration change in November’s US presidential but it might just be that the leadership of al-Qaeda wants to keep Bush as president because he is good for its morale and for winning hearts and minds.

    I don’t want to worry you unduly but neither France nor America had a successful track record in French Indo-China, later Vietnam, in defeating insurgents and the French weren’t successful in North Africa. The only significant example since WW2 of a successful counter-insurgency war, leading to a benign outcome, was the twelve-year long State of Emergency in Malaya (1948-60), which lead to the foundation in 1963 of the independent, sovereign state of Malaysia after the Communist guerrillas had been soundly defeated. Going further back, look who won the American War of Independence.

    It has yet to be demonstrated that technological superiority is capable of winning what have been dubbed asymmetric or Fourth Generation wars: http://www.lewrockwell.com/lind/lind3b.html

  12. “if this kind of attack would precede the American elections, there is no doubt that Bush would win, because he would do what the voters would call for: strike back. In Spain (and in other parts of Europe?), an attack will only cause massive demonstrations, and calls, – such as Schroeder’s – for more conferences on terrorism, which have little effect, and which only serve to preserve the status quo.”

    Look I hate to be a bore, but there is little evidence that either of these approaches ‘the iron fist’ or ‘more conferences’ is very effective as they stand, at least if we can take this bombing – and of course what happened in Kerbala as Frans is pointing out – as prima facie evidence that this kind of terrorism is growing. We need to use both our brains and our fists. This was the point MSN about my metis post. It appears right now that we may be losing the first round of this war. So we do need to reflect.

    Whether Spain’s voters wanted a more or a less effective security policy only time will show. I think it is premature to start making judgements (see my new post). That many may be living in denial I agree, but this isn’t the last word on the matter.

  13. Let’s not oversimplify the facts.
    After a little research and a few (costly) phone calls to people posted in Spain, I found out.

    1.- The socialists had been promising to pull the troops out of Iraq since the get go (They shouldn’t but that’s the fact)

    2.-They have had ETA terrorism for thirty years and have not given in an inch. Under any government. The problem is that they seem to see no relationship between AQ and Iraq.

    3.- Who said the incumbents were going to win anyway? Not all the polls predicted a victory for the conservatives. The conservatives lost just a few votes. After the bombings the campaign was stopped. The leaders of all the parties just gave a message. “Show the terrorists we are not afraid, next sunday just go and vote” High turnout is usually good for the left in Spain. And the government mishandled the crisis trying to pin the bombings on ETA. Spanish people hate spin and that cost the conservatives those seven hundred thousand votes. Just that, out of more than twenty million ballots.

    And there will be no appeasement. The first thing the next president promised is to stand firm against terrorism.

    They have already caught the bastards without bombing any countries.

    Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan, not in Iraq. And the Spanish are not pulling their troops from Afghanistan.

    Churchill was ousted after WWII. Would that mean that the Brits punished him for standing firm against the Nazis?

    Oh, come on!

Comments are closed.