October 16, 2006

GIVE THEM A CHANCE AND THEY'LL CHOOSE A BANANA REPUBLIC:

Billionaire leads Ecuador poll, forcing Chávez ally into run-off (Rory Carroll, October 17, 2006, The Guardian)

A pro-US banana tycoon will challenge an ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez for the presidency of Ecuador in a run-off next month after a bitter first round of voting.

In a race splintered between 11 candidates, the billionaire Alvaro Noboa led with 27% of the vote with more than 70% of ballots counted, according to the country's electoral tribunal. His unexpectedly strong showing relegated the frontrunner, Rafael Correa, a political outsider and fierce critic of the Bush administration, to second place, with 22%. [...]

If the political establishment unites against him Mr Correa could disappoint those hoping for a resurgence of Latin America's "pink tide", following leftwing election defeats in Mexico and Peru. Mr Correa alleged fraud and irregularities in Sunday's poll and warned his supporters to be vigilant during the next vote. A Noboa victory would turn Ecuador into a private banana plantation, he said.

Mr Noboa, 55, who has twice before stood for the presidency, promised to take Ecuador towards "Spain, Chile, the US and Italy, where there is liberty" as opposed to "Correa's position of communism, dictatorship, of Cuba".

MORE:
Morocco faces a choice between modernism and obscurantism (Anna Mahjar-Barducci, October 17, 2006, Daily Star)

As Morocco prepares for the next parliamentary elections in 2007, the electoral-campaign battle has already begun, and intellectuals and civil society are wondering which Morocco the population will choose. The elections will represent a battle between two main political forces: the liberal-socialist bloc and the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD).

In the run-up to the polls, newspapers are full of debate about constitutional reforms and the overwhelming role of the monarchy. The liberal class that is trying to push Morocco toward modernization encounters two obstacles: the monarchy, which must be given credit for accepting to reform the Family Code and allowing greater freedom of speech in recent years; and, more importantly, the Islamists, who are preventing any changes in traditional Moroccan society.

During my last visit to Morocco, I was very eager to watch the latest hit: the movie "Marock" - a word play on Maroc (French for Morocco ) and rock music - by young film director Leila Marrakshi. The movie brings to light the division within Moroccan society - which is in a way reflected in the wider Arab and Muslim worlds - between modernism and obscurantism, between liberals and Islamists, and between pluralism of religion and the prevention of it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 16, 2006 11:06 PM
Comments

Obscurantism - an interesting word to choose.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 17, 2006 12:09 AM
« LET US BE THE FIRST TO OFFER A NAME FOR IT--THE FREE-FIRE ZONE: | Main | WHAT'S THE OVER UNDER ON THAT WAR, TWO DAYS?: »