The Eighteenth Brumaire of Arnold Schwarzenegger

Replacing a governor whom they re-elected only a year before with Arnold Schwarzenegger must have given Californian voters an enormous--if guilty--pleasure. Some members of the opposition in Germany would dearly love to do the same to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, though they have not (yet!) found a film star to replace him.

Several other European governments find themselves in a similar state of unpopularity not long after being elected. Beyond Europe this is true even for the recently acclaimed Brazilian President Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva, to say nothing of Mexican President Vicente Fox and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, the latter having called for a referendum to help arrest his sinking popularity.

Electoral success, it appears, fades fast nowadays. So should every country adopt a recall procedure to maintain the legitimacy of governments?

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