With the end of his second term approaching rapidly (though not rapidly enough for many), you know George W. Bush is following this story closely…
Putin’s Party Is Winning Russia Election
MOSCOW (AP) – Vladimir Putin’s party won more than 60 percent of the vote with nearly half of precincts counted Sunday in a parliamentary election that could pave the way for him to remain the country’s leader even after he steps down as president.
The vote followed a tense Kremlin campaign that relied on a combination of persuasion and intimidation to ensure victory for Putin’s United Russia party.
With ballots from 47.1 percent of precincts counted, United Russia was leading with 63.2 percent, while the Communists – the only opposition party to win seats – trailed with 11.5 percent, the Central Election Commission said. Exit polls seemed to corroborate the early results.
The Kremlin has portrayed the election as a plebiscite on Putin’s nearly eight years as president – with the promise that a major victory would allow him somehow to remain the country’s leader after his second term ends next year.
Remember, Mr. Putin is the man into whose soul Mr. Bush gazed… and he liked what he saw.
George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin
Update: Putin’s Party Wins Russia Election.
MOSCOW (AP) – Vladimir Putin’s party won a crushing victory in parliamentary elections Sunday, paving the way for the authoritarian leader to remain in control even after he steps down as president.
The vote followed a tense Kremlin campaign that relied on a combination of persuasion and intimidation to ensure victory for the United Russia party and for Putin, who has used a flood of oil revenues to move his country onto a more assertive position on the global stage.
“The vote affirmed the main idea: that Vladimir Putin is the national leader, that the people support his course, and this course will continue,” party leader and parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov said after exit polls were announced.
Update #2: Things appear to not be going as well for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, who just wants the same thing Mr. Putin wants…
Venezuela Referendum Too Close to Call
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Hugo Chavez sought to cement his power and end presidential term limits in a vote Sunday that the government said was too close to call.
One opposition leader likened the vote on constitutional changes to a photo finish. Another told The Associated Press that initial results showed the referendum was headed for defeat.
But caravans of Chavez’s supporters took to the streets after most polls closed honking horns and blaring celebratory music in anticipation of victory. The opposition said it was closely monitoring the returns.
“The result of the referendum is close,” Vice President Jorge Rodriguez said from Chavez’s campaign headquarters. “We will respect the result, whatever it is – even if it’s by one single vote … We call on the other side to do the same.”
Update #3: Hugo did not get what Vladimir got and George so desperately wants…
Chavez Loses Constitutional Vote
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Humbled by his first electoral defeat ever, President Hugo Chavez said Monday he may have been too ambitious in asking voters to let him stand indefinitely for re-election and endorse a huge leap to a socialist state.
“I understand and accept that the proposal I made was quite profound and intense,” he said after voters narrowly rejected the sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 percent to 49 percent.