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Worlds Apart: Elections Strife, Georgia / Pakistan

  • January 6th, 2008
  • Posted by 7thmin

georgia-rose-revolt.jpgThe conduct of voting in Georgia is being contested, invoking images of the strife in Pakistan this month, also over elections.
SIGNS OF NEW TROUBLE IN GEORGIA

The President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili had a strong lead in exit polls, 53.7%, after elections on Saturday in which he had called for a mandate to take the country into the NATO alliance.

The elections were called after Mr Saakashvili had suppressed opposition demonstrations under a state of emergency in November.

Many voters did not declare how they had voted; opposition leaders said there were signs of vote-rigging in the poll, which was being watched by several foreign observers, and have called for fresh protests.

Mr Saakashvili came to power after mass demonstrations in 2003, adopting a pro-Western stance, moving the country towards affiliation with the European Union and NATO.

Georgia has been torn by social and politicial conflict since its separation from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, especially over grievances of its ethnic Russian population and secessionist movements in some of its regions.

Relations have been strained between Russia and Georgia under the American-educated Mikhail Saakashvili, with the government of Vladimir Putin in Moscow ordering a trade embargo on the small country on the Black Sea.

EU WANTS TO HELP WITH A SOLUTION IN PAKISTAN

The European Union has offered support to Pakistan for conducting the elections scheduled for 18.2.08.

It will send 100 observers and wants a set of guarantees of fairness: prompt publication of returns, an independent audit of the results and effective system for managing complaints.

The elections set for the beginning of the year were postponed by six weeks, after violent disturbances, in the wake of the assassination of the former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto (27.12.07).

The International Crisis Group in Brussels has said that President Pervez Musharraf, head of the military-based regime in Pakistan, should resign from office, to make a democratic solution fully effective.

The organisation conducts research and advocates ways to end violent conflict around the globe.

“If Pakistan is to be stable in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s murder, President Pervez Musharraf must resign and a quick transition follow to a democratically elected civilian government”, it says.

Reference:

International Crisis Group, “After Bhutto’s Murder: A way Forward for Pakistan”, 2.1.08. http.www.crisisgroup.org/…, (6.1.08).

M. Ilyas Khan, “Pakistan vote won’t curb instability”, EU-Digest, 2.1.08. http://www.eu-digest.com/…,(6.1.08).

Picture: Image from the “rose revolution” in Georgia; blog.kievukraine.info

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