Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

#2 - JRL 8438 - JRL Home

MOSCOW, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - The outcome of the U.S. presidential elections may be again decided by court, believes Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the Institute of the U.S. and Canada Studies.

"The Florida scenario is very likely. All the more so, as the United States does not have single voting standards, they differ from state to state," he said on Wednesday in an interview with RIA Novosti. This time the role of "controversial state" may be performed by Ohio, where residents have a right to vote by post, which may postpone final announcement of the winner by ten days, the expert said.

The previous elections in the U.S. were held on November 7, 2000, but the winner was announced only on December 13.

At that time Albert Gore refused to acknowledge his defeat. One of the key states, Florida, began the so-called "automatic recounting" of ballot papers, which, according to the state's law, is obligatory if the gap between candidates does not exceed 0.5%. During the recounting numerous violations and discrepancies were discovered in processing of ballots in several counties.

On December 12, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court with an edge of one vote ruled the decision of Florida's Supreme Court to count the ballots manually to contradict the Constitution and annulled it. The decision made George W. Bush President.

Taking into account the closeness of this year's race, the situation may be repeated, believes Mr. Kremenyuk. However, determining winner in court is not something extraordinary for the United States, he points out.

"In this country we talk about it with shock. But in the U.S. intervention of court puts an end to idle talks, because Americans are a very law-abiding nation," he explained. "In the U.S. disrespect to court is a grave offence. If court makes a ruling, the issue is settled."

According to Mr. Kremenyuk, the controversial situation in the elections is unlikely to give rise to heated debates in the U.S. "Americans will quietly wait for the results feeling they have done their duty," the expert said.

At the same time, if there is uncertainty about the winner again, there may be attempts to unify voting systems in different states, he added. "Probably, American society will come to thinking of the need to create a universal system of voting, like Russia's automated system Vybory. The world has seen such experience, and Americans can use it," Viktor Kremenyuk pointed out.

Another Russian expert believes that although there may be problems with counting votes in Ohio, their scale will be less than it was in Florida in 2000. According to Dmitry Orlov, "the results of pre-election forecasts have come true to a large extent and, evidently, George W. Bush will be President."

"This means a conservative economic policy and a tough foreign policy," he added.