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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Assad wins "election" with 97% of the "vote"

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 17 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad officially began his second seven-year term Tuesday.

Assad, who in May won 97 percent of the vote as the sole candidate, was sworn in Tuesday in Damascus, Alalam Satellite News reported.
This brings up a host of questions.

Al-Alam is an Iranian "news" channel. Why would Iran have the news before Syria?

And who was in second place?

And when will that #2 candidate's unfortunate accident and funeral take place?

UPDATE: Soccer Dad finds an old Charles Krauthammer article that discusses a Tyranny Index related to the margin of victory in an "election:"
Copyright Chicago Sun Times Jan 12, 1987

In 1982, Albania held an election which Communist Party chief Enver Hoxha won by 1,627,959 votes to 1. A decisive victory. It suggested to me at the time a key to what political philosophers had long been seeking: a reliable tyranny index.

The Tirana Index (named after Albania's capital) holds that repressiveness correlates with electoral success. The higher the score by the ruling party in elections, the more tyrannous the regime.

At one end of the spectrum are places like Albania, the Soviet Union and Syria, where 99 percent of the vote is the norm. At the other end are freewheeling semi-anarchies, like Italy, where the ruling party never gets half the vote.

In between lie orderly democracies like the United States (winning margins of 60 percent, tops) and moderate autocracies like Mexico, which will broach 70 but not much more for fear of embarrassment to all concerned.

A few weeks ago, the Tirana Index met yet another challenge. In the midst of a severe food and energy shortage, Romania held a referendum. The result: 17,699,772 Romanians voted yes, no one voted no. A shutout. A perennial contender for the honor of most repressive regime on Earth (in Romania, typewriters must be registered with the police) had conducted what may be the most perfect election yet.