Sunday, March 27, 2016

Foreign Digest: Elections in Benin and Senegal; Update on Burma; Karadzic Conviction

Elections in Benin and Senegal
I have repeatedly observed a global trend toward authoritarianism over the last several years, especially in Latin America and Africa, where elected leaders have sought constitutional amendments to end term limits.  The presidential election in Benin and the constitutional referendum in Senegal reverse this trend.

The Beninese election for president was significant because the incumbent was constitutionally term-limited and did not make any attempt to extend his term.  An opposition candidate won and the Prime Minister conceded the election.

At the recommendation of the President of Senegal, the Senegalese constitutional referendum, which was approved, shortens the presidential term from seven to five years, recognizes the opposition and makes other reforms.

May Benin and Senegal continue to enjoy freedom in representative republican government and may they serve as examples to other African States.

Update on the Formation of the Burmese Government:
The Burmese Parliament, for which the democratic opposition which won the first fully open parliamentary elections, appointed a President who was the choice of the democratic party.  The new parliamentary majority also formed a government that includes opposition leader Aung Su Kyi as Foreign Minister.

Radovan Karadzic Is Convicted of Genocide
Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, was convicted by an international criminal court of genocide and sentenced to 40 years imprisonment.  He had committed his crimes against humanity, including “ethnic cleansing,” particularly against Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and also against Croats during the Bosnian Civil War in 1995 that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.  The Yugoslavian civil wars were sparked by Serbian Yugoslav Communist Dictator Slobodon Milosovic, who used ethnic tensions as a means to maintain power in Serbia following the end of the Cold War.  Milosovic died during his trial for crimes against humanity. 

The conviction of Karadzic provides a measure of justice.  It is hoped that this justice for the ugly example of hatred from that era will encourage ethnic peoples to live together while respecting each other’s rights.

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