Elections

Taiwan:

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won an election on Saturday, securing a fresh mandate to pursue an independence-leaning policy toward rival China.

Although the National Assembly poll was held for the sole purpose of ratifying constitutional reforms already approved by parliament, relations with China dominated the agenda as the vote followed bridge-building visits by opposition leaders to the mainland.

The DPP won 42.52 percent of votes to affirm its standing as Taiwan's largest political party, figures from the Central Election Commission showed. The main opposition Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) finished with 38.92 percent.

Ethiopia:

Opposition parties advocating a bigger role for free markets in the impoverished country of 72 million have set aside their ethnic differences for the first time, pledging to unite if it means winning a majority in the 547-seat national assembly.

But many analysts say a victory over Meles's dominant Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front is unlikely, given the opposition currently holds a mere 20 seats.

[...]

In Dukem village, 35 km south of Addis, Kedja, 50, an illiterate peasant woman dressed in traditional white shawl and robe said she knew nothing of the opposition.

"I will vote for the government," she said, lining up at a tin-roofed mud building serving as a polling station. "I am not aware of any opposition parties. I just know the government."

How meaningful can an election be if some voters don't even know there is more than one choice?

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