U.S. editorial excerpts -2-.
Selected editorial excerpts from the U.S. press:
IN KYRGYZSTAN, NOTABLY, AN ELECTION RESULT NOT KNOWN IN ADVANCE (The Washington Post, Washington)
The most remarkable fact about the parliamentary election in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on Sunday was aptly captured by President Obama in his congratulatory message: ''The outcome was still not known on the day of the vote.'' That could not be said about any election in the four other former Soviet republics to the north of Afghanistan, which are governed by autocrats. Kyrgyzstan's democratic breakthrough, which follows two violent coups in five years and ethnic rioting this year, offers both a new path toward stability for a poor but strategically located country and a potential example to its neighbors. But the path looks rocky.
The Obama administration deserves credit for backing the ambitions of the liberal democrats who took power in April after the overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Interim president Roza Otunbayeva correctly blamed the United States for ignoring Bakiyev's repression of pro-democracy forces and for apparently allowing members of his family to profit from the U.S. use of the Manas Air Base, which is vital to the war in Afghanistan. But the administration supported Otunbayeva's promotion of a new democratic constitution shifting power from the president to parliament and spent $5 million in support of the elections.
In contrast, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, whose regime maintains its own air base in Kyrgyzstan and has repeatedly tried to shut down the U.S. operation, declared that ''parliamentary democracy is a disaster.''
The risk that the administration took in backing the democratic course was evident from the outcome. A nationalist party whose leader rejected the parliamentary reform finished first, followed by the leading pro-Russian force. Two pro-government parties and one independent party also won seats.
It is possible that Medvedev will be proved right and Kyrgyzstan will come apart under a weak parliamentary government. But autocracy has demonstrably failed to produce stability or prosperity in the country or its neighbors. A system that does not allow any of the country's political clans a monopoly on power ought to produce less of the corruption and human rights abuses that plagued Kyrgyzstan in the past. It is in the interest of the United States to help make such a system work.
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|Publication:||Asian Political News|
|Date:||Oct 18, 2010|
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