LIPETSK REGION, August 16 (RIA Novosti)
Russia’s election chief Vladimir Churov called on Thursday the system of U.S. presidential elections “one of the worst in the world.”
“Presidential elections in the United States are one of the worst in in terms of organization,” Churov, who heads Russia's Central Election Commission, said. He was speaking during a visit to an educational camp in Russia’s central Lipetsk region.
“U.S. presidential elections are indirect; they vote for electors, and it has happened that those electors then voted against the voters’ will,” Churov said, referring to the 538 members of the U.S. Electoral College who cast ballots on behalf of the voters to elect a president.
“Several U.S. presidents have been elected by a minority of the [popular] vote,” he added.
Churov has faced a storm of criticism from Russia’s opposition following last year’s parliamentary elections, which activists said were marred by massive fraud in favor of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. The party, led by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, won almost half of the vote in the elections which triggered mass street protests across the country. Churov has dismissed the fraud allegations.
While reporting on the election results to Medvedev shortly after the vote, Churov claimed that he had made the most precise forecast of the vote outcome. Medvedev replied by calling Churov a “magician.” Opposition activists later used the nickname to describe Churov’s alleged vote-rigging skills.
Commenting on the effects of Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East, the Russian election chief said on Thursday he believed they have limited the electoral freedom in the Arab world.
Citing Libya as an example, Churov said that under Muammar Gaddafi, elections in the country were “universal,” while “it is still not clear what was the percentage of voters who took part in recent elections” in the North African state.
On July 7, Libyans voted in the country’s first free national vote in decades to elect a transitional legislature following Gaddafi’s ouster in October 2011. According to Libya’s election authorities, over 60 percent of voters eligible to cast their ballots took part in the polls.
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- bielecHow long will it take for those...19:47, 16/08/2012... big mouth politicians to admit thet there are no democratic elections anywhere.
Yes, people have the right to vote on candidates. Exactly as it was the case in the Soviet Union. But the candidates are appointed and not elected in grassroots elections. Like in Soviet Union, again. This is the case in the U.S., this is the case in Russia, this is the case in Europe.
Moreover, there is no credible mechanism in place that would allow the voters to immediately fire politicians who do not keep their electoral promises. This leads to corruption and encourages candidates to lie to the voters in order to get elected. After being elected, they often implement policies that are opposite to their electoral promises or at least were not part of their platform.
Having said this, I do see a need for some kind of selection of candidates based on merit. Grassroots elections would be very risky, as they usually promote demagogy and eloquency over qualifications and experience.
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The failure of the Islamist political parties who came to power in the dramatic events of the Arab Spring would allow the military to reenter the political arena. Political Islam was successful in the opposition, but it could fail in power, as the negative experience of Egypt and Iraq have shown.