Friday, May 14, 2004

Another valuable lesson for disaffected Americans that think voting is a waste of time:

'Queen Sonia' Is India PM-In-Waiting; Markets Crash
By Terry Friel, Fri May 14, 2004 09:57 AM ET

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Italian-born Sonia Gandhi stitched up broad political support on Friday to become India's next prime minister, but investors panicked at her pivotal alliance with left-wing parties.

Thousands of supporters partied in the street outside Gandhi's home, singing songs, beating drums and showering her with flower petals when she made a brief appearance, celebrating Thursday's shock election win over the ruling Hindu nationalists.

"Sonia, we are with you!" some shouted, as she waved and shook hands. All day, more supporters arrived crammed into tractor-trailers and by car.

Gandhi's Congress won the most seats in the 545-member parliament, but her coalition fell short of a majority and she has had to lobby for new partners, especially the country's left-wing groups.

She has been promised their support. But the country's markets, which at first welcomed Gandhi's big win as a sign of stability, plunged after a day of criticism by key communist leaders of economic reforms -- especially plans to sell India's inefficient and monolithic state firms...

The world's largest democracy has been stunned by the size of the Congress win over veteran Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who was rejected by disaffected poor angry at missing out on the benefits of India's economic boom.
Couple of interesting points made in the full article, and elsewhere, including the fact that Gandhi's Congress was considered dead in the water when the ruling party actually "called the election six months early to cash in on a boooming economy, bumper harvests and the prospects of peace with Pakistan."

Also interesting is the negative reaction by the stock market to the suprise victory. Not the least bit surprising that what's good for the people is perceived as bad for investors. The reality of capitalism and globalization.

Are you registered to vote yet? Even if you pull the lever for Ralph Nader, or write-in your own name (or Dennis Kucinich...hint, hint!), casting a vote is always preferable to staying home.

Silence isn't a protest, it's consent.

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