Man Without Qualities

Monday, March 08, 2004

What If They Gave An Election And Almost Nobody Came?

Well, in Russia one consequence would be that all of the candiates would lose - including Vladimir Putin, who is running for re-election to the Presidency of Russia without meaningful opposition. Jim Hoagland points out:

The former KGB agent's secretive style of governing has brought Kremlinology back to life in Washington and Moscow. Sifting a mysterious Cabinet reshuffle by Putin just days before the March 14 presidential ballot, some top Kremlin-watchers here and independent Russian analysts in Moscow conclude that Putin is running scared -- of his own shadow.

Putin's heavy-handed campaign is alienating some voters and putting many others to sleep. If turnout falls below 50 percent, the Constitution requires that the result be tossed out and a new vote held. Candidates on the March 14 ballot would be ineligible the next time around.

Of course, the Russian Constitution can be amended by a super-majority vote in Parliament. So, if Putin runs into this problem, the matter could become just another Parliamentary deal.

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