In Russia the 12 year domination of Putin and his United Russia Party, has ended. Voters sent a clear message that they are tired of his hard-lined security policies and his showmanship and that they have lost trust in him and Medvedev. Exit polls suggest that United Russia received only between 45.5% and 48.5% of the votes for the Duma, a drop from 64.3% in 2007. The Communist party (20%) and other parties have complained of widespread fraud. Putin is expected to win the presidential election in March, but will not have his way. In the past United Russia, with its two-third majority could do what they wanted, from waging war in Chechnya, reasserting Russian control over the regions, changing the constitution to presiding over economic revival after the disaster of Yelstin. Now he will be forced to work with the opposition. Medvedev is expected to be the fall guy, which would allow Putin to name another Prime Minister. If Putin wins , and in all likelihood he will, he may be in power until2024.
In Guyana, the governing Peoples Progressive Party lost its majotity, losing 4 seats to fall to 32 of the 65 seats (48.8%) distributed on the basis of proportional representation. They have been in power sine 1992 (after la grande noirceur...the great darkness of the previous 24 years of racial division and violence) and had suceeded in reviving the economy and bringing some racial peace in the South American republic. The renamed Peoples National Congress (A Partnership for National Unity..APNU), which had helg power from 1968-1992, won 26 seats with 40% of the votes and the Alliance for Change,,AFC won 7 seats and 10.3% of the votes
. Infighting in the PPP, "a collision of ambitions" which saw some long-standing members breaking away and joining the AFC and taking some voters with them led to this situation. The former Secretary of the PPP, Donald Ramotar, a mostly backroom player with litle experience in governance (this was where the "collision of ambitions" took place), was its presidential candidate and was sworn in as the 7th president. He has a great opportunity to use this"'setback" to continue the healing process, by forming a coalition government, bringing in some members the opposing parties. That is, if he has not neen soured by his years in the backroom, plotting strategy against these opponents.
The voters of Guyana have shown great maturity. They sent a message to the PPP that they will not be taken for granted. That they will not reward shoddy governance and at least in the case of Moses Nagamootoo will not forget his great contribution and sacrifices for the PPP and the country. Now it is time for the leadership to show their maturity. It is time for healing. Carpe diem...Grab it.