21 December 2008

Most Important Elections of 2008

(From RealClearWorld)

The most significant world election in 2008 took place in the United States, where Barack Obama was elected the 44th president and his Democratic Party extended its hold on the U.S. Congress. The transfer of power in the White House likely will results in a number of U.S. foreign policy shifts on crucial issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, climate change and energy.

That's not to say that it was the only world election that mattered this year. Dozens of nations held elections in 2008. Some were indisputably free and some were downright rigged. Some were historic and some were ho-hum. Some elections brought in regime change and some led to chaos.

Russia elected a new president in Dmitry Mevedev, but that was merely a constitutional end-around that allowed Vladimir Putin to stay firmly in power. Canada re-elected Stephen Harper as prime minister but denied him the majority that he sought and as a result, the country was plunged into an unprecedented political crisis. New Zealand voted Helen Clark out of office, handing the leadership reins to John Key's center-right National Party.

Nations all over the world, from Ghana to Maldives, held elections to either pick a new leader or vote on a critical referendum. Citizens in territories such as Greenland and Puerto Rico also exercised their rights. Even in countries where election processes were not necessarily fair and transparent, surprising results emerged, as they did in Venezuela.

While every election has its own importance, a few stood out for their global and regional implications. The RCW editors have picked out five 2008 elections outside of the U.S. that have done the most to reshape our world.

No. 5 Zimbabwe

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