Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Anatomy of national elections

By Chen Xiangyang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-16 08:16

A number of countries, some of which face serious domestic problems, have held or will hold elections to choose new governments. Will the elections install governments that can solve the domestic problems of these countries and help improve regional and global security?

The general election in India, whose result will be known on May 16, has special importance for China. The new Indian prime minister will, no doubt, accord priority to boosting the country's economic growth and fighting corruption. If the National Democratic Alliance led by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party wins the election, it will adopt policies (including foreign policy) to serve India's interests and strike a balance between China and the United States.

The Western media have highlighted the possibility of uneasy ties between the US and India if the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is elected head of the government. Modi was denied a US visa in 2005 for his alleged complicity in the 2002 riots in Gujarat province (where he was chief minister) in which more than 1,000 Muslims were killed. The Barack Obama administration, however, started softening is stance against Modi in February, when the US ambassador met with him. Officials in Washington have since said that whoever is elected India's next prime minister would be welcome to the US.

The Ukrainian presidential election, scheduled for May 25, will be different from the Indian general election, because it could escalate the Ukraine crisis. Clashes between the transitional government and pro-Russia forces in the eastern part of Ukraine have escalated with outside powers wrestling against each other.

Russia questions the "legitimacy" of Ukraine's presidential election and believes constitutional reform is the priority. Also, Russia has been holding large-scale military exercises along its border with Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Kiev of the "consequences" of deploying troops against its own people. The political upheaval in Ukraine can be seen as a new "Color Revolution" under subversive Western powers. With the pro-West and pro-Russia forces locked in a tug of war, Kiev seems to have lost control over the fast changing situation.

The Afghan presidential election, on the other hand, is likely to enter a second round and become a prolonged exercise. The election was held on April 5 to replace incumbent President Hamid Karzai. But a second round has to be held because neither leading candidates - the opposition party's Abdullah Abdullah and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai - could get more than half the votes. Although indications are that Abdullah could be the ultimate winner, there is uncertainty over the signing of the Afghan-US bilateral security agreement without a new president in office.

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