The World This Week: Votes for president or a king

SEVERAL peoples vote this week in polls that reveal how deeply political crises have shaken constitutional foundations. More than 100 million Russians will be asked on Sunday whether they support President Boris Yeltsin and his economic reforms and whether they want the country to hold early presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mr Yeltsin has conducted a low- key campaign so far and his prospects for victory are dimmed by rules laid down by conservative MPs in the Congress of Deputies: they say he must win 50 per cent of the votes of the entire electorate, not just of those voting. 'It would be unwise to be sure of victory,' Mr Yeltsin warns.

More than 80 million Brazilians vote on Wednesday on whether to keep their presidential republic, adopt a parliamentary republic or restore the monarchy. After the Fernando Collor de Mello debacle, in which the country's first directly elected president for 33 years was chased from office for corruption, the monarchists are gaining support.

There is no shortage of pretenders: they include Joao Henrique Maria Gabriel Gonzaga de Orleans e Braganza, ('Joaozinho'), a restaurateur and accomplished surfer, who is a distant cousin of King Juan Carlos of Spain and a descendant of Brazil's last emperor, Dom Pedro II.

A black priest, Ogan Neninho de Obaluaye, says he should be king, citing the precedent of the 17th-century slave Zumbi who formed an isolated community or quilombo of escaped slaves in the north-eastern tip of Brazil. The precedent does not augur well, however. The Portuguese invaded and destroyed the quilombo in 1695. Then there is Alcides de Souza, a Funio Indian who wants to be 'Brazil's chief' and promises an 'indigenous form of government - just, uncorrupt and pure'.

The Brazilians, none the less, will probably stick with their presidency. The Eritreans, by contrast, who vote on Sunday on whether to declare independence from Ethiopia, are expected to do so overwhelmingly to become a new, albeit poor, African state.

Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising reaches its climax today when the US Vice-President, Al Gore, joins the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and President Lech Walesa at a ceremony in Warsaw at the foot of the Ghetto Fighters Monument. France will be represented by the Health Minister, Simone Veil, a former deportee to Auschwitz. Visa charges have been waived to encourage thousands to travel to Warsaw for the event. The rebellion of a few hundred Jews against the Nazis in 1943, crushed only by burning the ghetto to the ground, is a symbol of the Holocaust in which millions of Jews died. A Museum of the Holocaust is inaugurated in Washington on Thursday before the German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and Mr Walesa among other international leaders. The Polish President, who will be in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday, is to hold talks with members of the US's large Polish community. Breaking the mood, the Ku Klux Klan hold their own counter-demonstration at the Holocaust Memorial in Miami on Saturday.

The Pope makes the first papal visit to Albania on Sunday to consecrate four bishops. He will be welcomed in the recently restored cathedral of Shkodra which Enver Hoxha had turned into a sports hall.

And Red Hot Television strikes back: on Friday it sues Britain for its plans to ban the decoders needed to receive the company's hard-core pornography from Denmark.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada