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Former US President Watches Village Election in Jiangsu
2004-06-12 15:01
On September 5, 860 villagers of the Quanwang Village, Zhouzhuang Township, Kunshan City cast vote for director and members of their villagers' committee, the ordinary election was watched by Jimmy Carter, former president of the US.

At 7:30, people were seen rushing to the voting site, including young men on motorcycles, serious-looking middle-aged men, old ladies and pregnant women. At 8:45 Carter turned up amidst a wave of applause.

According to Suzhou Daily, there are 1129 people in the village and 925 eligible to vote. Altogether 805 people reached the voting site and 55 entrust others to vote on behalf of them. The voting rate exceeded 90 percent while in ordinary local elections it is usually 60 to 70 percent. No wander Carter says that it is a very good election and it is his pleasure to watch it. The villagers nominated a handful of candidates, (one more than needed in number) then cast their votes.

The 76-year-old villager Wu Chunrong made three suggestions on the election meeting -- to build a leisure center for aged people, a kindergarten and public WC. His words roused warm applause and candidates made answers immediately. Later interviewed by reporter, Cater says he came to Suzhou 20 years ago and it has changed greatly, adding that he sees the new look of Chinese countryside and that villagers have learned to use their rights to decide their future.

Finally Zhao Xiaomao was elected director to head the villagers' committee by 559 votes, Gu Xingying and three others committee members. "I'm really proud that most people I like got elected", villager Zhu Qiaosheng told reporter secretively.

People's Daily 9/7/01

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