Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Exemplary Republics

A very republican speciality in a run off between two candidates for the presidential palace: The loser is arrested by the winner.

This is no tale out of the history books, but that has happened this week in Sri Lanka.

The office holder Mahinda Rajapakse had the rival presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka arrested. It sounds like a fabricated story that the Sri Lankan government has told the public: “He was detained on suspicion of committing 'military offences' and will face a military court.” Fonseka has previously been accused of plotting both a coup and to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family. Mano Ganesan, a Tamil-speaking MP meeting Fonseka at the time, said the retired general was dragged away "like a dog" and assaulted.

It is difficult to judge the accusations from Australia, but they sound as if revenge was taken by a president who could not accept the fact that he was challenged and perhaps even beaten in an election.

A Sri Lankan blogger called the situation of his country Zimbabwefication. Nothing could describe the situation better than this term.

On the other side of the planet, in Ukraine, a similar situation occurred. Russia's preferred candidate in the Ukrainian presidential race, Viktor Yanukovich, seems to have won last Sunday’s elections with 48 percent of the votes cast. Defeated rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, trailed behind him by three percentage points. However, she refused to concede defeat, despite appeals for her to do so by Mr Yanukovich and European election monitors. Weeks of demonstrations lie ahead of Ukraine. Will Ms Tymoskeno end up in prison?

Republican regimes provide no higher authority to which people can turn to in case of doubtful elections. In Constitutional Monarchies there’s always the impartial umpire who is above party politics who guarantees fair play.


BillyD said...

I saw a program about Sri Lanka on Food Network last night; the narrator said that there were more men with guns on the streets than any other country he'd visited, and the footage supported it.

Concerning contested races in republics: couldn't something similar happen during parliamentary elections in a country with a constitutional monarchy?

radical royalist said...

The closest incident I can remember was the clash between the "yellow shorts" and the "red shirts" in Thailand. That was a difficult moment for the country. The King repeatedly asked the Thais to resolve their problems peacefully.

ZAROVE said...

Yulia Tymoshenko won't go to Prison, she'll just have to eventually step down, and then be handed a cushy Political Job in some committee or lobby orginisation, and go the way of Al Gore.