March 11, 2005: Headlines: COS - Kyrgyzstan: Blogs - Kyrgyzstan: Elections: Personal Web Site: Courtney Calvin (K11) in Kyrgyzstan - Some election notes

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Courtney Calvin (K11) in Kyrgyzstan - Some election notes

Courtney Calvin (K11) in Kyrgyzstan -  Some election notes

Courtney Calvin (K11) in Kyrgyzstan - Some election notes

Some election notes

Interesting site of the day: An old Uzbek man sitting at his folding table of gum and cigarettes for sale by the piece, eating noodles out of a tea cup with a sharp, rusty knife.

Really though, after a year and a half in Kyrgyzstan, I notice these oddities less and less. They all run together after a while and very little catches me by surprise anymore. It’s very disappointing. For better or worse, my life here has become mundane and ordinary. Like all you at home, I get up and go to work every day. Recently, since the elections I might chance upon a protest. But that’s not really different from my life in DC. In fact, protests here don’t interfere with my life nearly as much as they did in DC. Maybe we should invite the Global Action Committee, protest organizers to teach the locals how to properly disrupt daily life. Protests here are about ethnic tensions, getting Akaev to leave and other election-related topics.

I guess I should write a little about elections and the “democratic process” in Kyrgyzstan. First of all, not all representatives to the government are elected. The president appoints governors to the 7 oblasts (states). Campaign tactics are reminiscent of Daly’s Chicago, or even Pendergast’s Kansas City. They have a unicameral legislature with a multi-party system. The president’s party at times seems to be more machine than party. Fights and protests tend to breakout whenever there is a strong opponent to the president’s man.

A few women have ventured into politics here, but very few. Most people just vote so that they can get their 100 som. One volunteer reports that a mob erupted at a polling site near his house and 1,000 people didn’t get to vote. They were apparently more concerned that they didn’t get their fee for voting. They say that Kyrgyz are very honest, they always vote for the person from whom they collect money.

While campaigning here is relatively short, only about a month or so, elections are quite long. The first round was February 27 and the second will be this weekend. This is the runoff round, but I’m still not exactly sure what that means here. I guess candidates who made it through the first round, get run again.

In Kochkor, a northern region, 60% of voters voted for “no candidate.” That is one of the options on the ballot. A strong opposition candidate was booted from the election, like many others, for what is probably a bogus election violation. He encouraged his supporters to check the “no candidate” box. When “no candidate” gets the majority of votes, a runoff must occur. The catch is that none of the previous candidates are allowed to run again. This guy cleared up his registration and will run again, this time unopposed. He’s very clever.

The other day, while visiting Jalalabad, I heard the roar of a crowd. A little while later, while walking by the government administration building, I saw the lawn covered with people waving pink flags and banners. Ukraine had its Orange Revolution, and Kyrgyzstan I guess is having the pink revolution. Well, in Jalalabad anyway. Eventually, protestors surrounded the building, blocking anyone from entering or exiting. By the time they reached the governor’s office, however, he’d fled, along with his staff. So they spent the next five or so days hanging pink banners from the windows that say “Akaev leave!” Most of the protestors spent the day lounging on the lawn like it was the park, and drinking vodka of course.

When this story was posted in March 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in over 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related reference material in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can use the Main Index to find hundreds of stories about RPCVs who have your same interests, who served in your Country of Service, or who serve in your state.

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Crisis Corps arrives in Thailand Date: March 20 2005 No: 530 Crisis Corps arrives in Thailand
After the Tsunami in Southeast Asia last December, Peace Corps issued an appeal for Crisis Corps Volunteers and over 200 RPCVs responded. The first team of 8 Crisis Corps volunteers departed for Thailand on March 18 to join RPCVs who are already supporting relief efforts in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and India with other agencies and NGO's. 19 Mar 2005

March's Feature Stories - only on PCOL Date: March 20 2005 No: 523 March's Feature Stories - only on PCOL
Dream Come True - Revisiting India after 34 years
The Coyne Column: Read Winning Vanity Fair PCV Essay
Tomas Belsky's paintings inspired by service in Brazil
RPCV reunites with friend after 40 years
RPCV reviews "Los Heraldos Negros" by Cesar Vallejo
Photo Essay: Taking it to the Streets

March 19, 2005: RPCV Groups in the News Date: March 20 2005 No: 525 March 19, 2005: RPCV Groups in the News
New Jersey RPCVs host exhibit in Maplewood on April 2 20 Mar
Maryland RPCVs eat crab cakes in Annapolis 17 Mar
Illinois RPCVs present "Life on the Big Red Island" 13 Mar
San Diego RPCVs host reception with Gaddi Vasquez on March 6 4 Mar
Western North Carolina's RPCVs sponsor Africa Night on March 6 3 Mar
Connecticut RPCVs held fundraiser on March 5 3 Mar
RPCVs: Post your stories or press releases here for inclusion next week.

March 19, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: March 20 2005 No: 526 March 19, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
RPCV points out catalytic effect of Iraq 19 Mar
PCVs set up Basketball pool in Ukraine 19 Mar
Sam Farr introduces bill to monitor ocean fisheries 18 Mar
Bridgeland does not rule out run for Congress 18 Mar
Jim Doyle promotes Institute for Discovery 18 Mar
Newspaper says Bangladesh is safe for PCVs 18 Mar
Joan Ruddiman revisits Peter Hessler's "River World" 17 Mar
Mark Schneider says Save Haiti from more violence 17 Mar
Troy Johnson joins delegation to Indonesia 17 Mar
Chris Shays says baseball not exempt from the law 17 Mar
"Hurlyburly" benefits gypsy women in Romania 15 Mar
Chris Matthews interviews Schwarzenegger 14 Mar
Fred Burke dies in NJ, trained early PCVs 13 Mar
Mike Honda introduces Student Privacy Protection Act 13 Mar
FT details Cheney-McPherson relationship 13 Mar
Tucker McCravy reports on Tsunami Reconstruction 10 Mar
Dennis Braddock retires with record of accomplishment 9 Mar

RPCVs in Congress ask colleagues to support PC Date: March 5 2005 No: 482 RPCVs in Congress ask colleagues to support PC
RPCVs Sam Farr, Chris Shays, Thomas Petri, James Walsh, and Mike Honda have asked their colleagues in Congress to add their names to a letter they have written to the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee, asking for full funding of $345 M for the Peace Corps in 2006. As a follow-on to Peace Corps week, please read the letter and call your Representative in Congress and ask him or her to add their name to the letter.

Add your info now to the RPCV Directory Date: March 13 2005 No: 489 Add your info now to the RPCV Directory
Call Harris Publishing at 800-414-4608 right away to add your name or make changes to your listing in the newest edition of the NPCA's Directory of Peace Corps Volunteers and Former Staff. Then read our story on how you can get access to the book after it is published. The deadline for inclusion is May 16 so call now.

March 1: National Day of Action Date: February 28 2005 No: 471 March 1: National Day of Action
Tuesday, March 1, is the NPCA's National Day of Action. Please call your Senators and ask them to support the President's proposed $27 Million budget increase for the Peace Corps for FY2006 and ask them to oppose the elimination of Perkins loans that benefit Peace Corps volunteers from low-income backgrounds. Follow this link for step-by-step information on how to make your calls. Then take our poll and leave feedback on how the calls went.
Make a call for the Peace Corps Date: February 19 2005 No: 453 Make a call for the Peace Corps
PCOL is a strong supporter of the NPCA's National Day of Action and encourages every RPCV to spend ten minutes on Tuesday, March 1 making a call to your Representatives and ask them to support President Bush's budget proposal of $345 Million to expand the Peace Corps. Take our Poll: Click here to take our poll. We'll send out a reminder and have more details early next week.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Kyrgyzstan; Blogs - Kyrgyzstan; Elections



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