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
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week