Asia Times Online :: US hypocrisy and Middle East democracy
Most Western governments and some observers argue that the elections that took place in Syria on June 3 were not legitimate because not all Syrians were able (or willing) to participate, they were held under war conditions, and Syrians were coerced into voting for the current president. These would be reasonable arguments if they were consistently applied. A brief examination of similar cases and relevant facts reveals that this is not the case.
First, US administrations have overseen numerous elections and
produced national constitutions under war conditions and in the middle of sectarian strife in Afghanistan and Iraq. Administration officials have often argued that even under these circumstances, elections and referendums are necessary to instill democratic tradition, isolate extremists, and legitimize governments. Are these functions of democracy not applicable in Syria?
Second, 56% of Egyptian voters did not take part in the recent elections that endorsed former military chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Moreover, al-Sisi came to power after overthrowing a president who was legitimately elected by higher voter participation and who faced stronger challengers.
Yet the US administration, the rulers of Saudi Arabia, and many Western governments readily embraced al-Sisi despite his weak mandate, the extraordinary events that preceded the elections, and the harsh measures (introduced under his watch) that stifled dissent and criminalized journalists and members of the opposition.
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