Election 2012 Poll Results and News as it Happens 11/06/2012
Sure, waiting in long lines just to fill in a few boxes on a piece of paper can be a pain. (This reporter waited at his polling station for an hour and a half this morning. And they ran out of coffee.) But the U.S. election process is still the envy of many countries around the world whose citizens can’t participate in governance.
Laos is consistently ranked among the worst offenders, according to a FreedomHouse.org study, which gives it the worst grade for political rights and second-worst for civil liberties. Despite this oppression among the 6.3 million citizens, a group of students at the end of October was able to learn more about a political process they have never known through a project organized by the U.S. Embassy there.
The students from the Lao American College in Vientiane, the capital, participated in a mock presidential election, including pleas from a makeshift incumbent asking for more time, and a supposed challenger claiming actions are better than words.
FreedomHouse ranks seven countries as the worst worldwide for societal oppression: Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Laos is among seven other countries that are on the threshold of the what FreedomHouse calls the “Worst of the Worst,” along with Belarus, Burma, Chad, China, Cuba and Libya.