The Election: Seen From Overseas

The world is feeling a tad superior to the U.S. these days. Smirked the Statesman of Calcutta, “Foreigners are watching with bemusement the spectacle of Americans tying themselves up in knots over election results. Nigerians have speculated on the scoldings they might have received had such confusion been theirs, while MS Gill, India’s Chief Election Commissioner, has said in jest that it is time now for America to invite international observers.”

And why not? After the world has long been lectured by the U.S. on how democracy should really be conducted, the world’s largest industrial democracy is doing some of its own squirming while all four branches try to pick the real winner of the presidential election.

There’s a possibility that Florida will replace, say, Belarus as the site of unfair and uncontrolled elections. For instance, the Toronto Star began a story on the municipal elections, “With nightmares of Florida-like electoral chaos dancing in their heads, Toronto officials spent yesterday fine-tuning the election machinery…”

Meanwhile, Australia’s largest paper, Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian, was not content to merely report the drama, but tweaked it higher when it wrote, “George W. Bush has come out in boils, Al Gore’s face is a clenched mask of stress and the toll of tension is beginning to tell on a nation that has now been left twisting in the wind, without a new president, for almost a week.”

Every paper, of course, looks for the local angle and Russian ones are no different. Commenting on absentee ballots, the St. Petersburg Times, “In one of the most bizarre turns in U.S. electoral history, a vote counted in St. Petersburg, Russia could now seem to be more significant than a vote cast in St. Petersburg, Florida.”