A soviet republic?-A A +A
Friday, September 14, 2012
LAST I heard, voters elect single candidates running under single parties, an electoral exercise in a republic. That is, in what used to be the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Maybe not. Negros Occidental seemed nearly headed to become one of the Soviet republics until the incumbent governor and the vice-governor decided to live separate political lives.
At least, Negrense voters have a choice between a Marañon and an Álvarez. The erstwhile tandem insisted they are determined to run for governor in 2013.
I can heave a sigh of relief. At least, our politics have moved beyond groupthink. A battle royale between two candidates should compete with ideas for governance to woo the support of the electorate.
Álvarez, however, announced earlier that he is the Nationalist People's Coalition choice to run for Negros Occidental governor and has the support of Eduardo Cojuangco, NPC and United Negros Alliance (UNA) founder.
This idea of getting a common candidate leaves a bad taste to the mouth. Somehow, a common candidate implies one personality is as good as another, and everybody shares the same platform, the same ideas.
I hate to think we're stuck with one choice. In fact, describing a common candidate as a choice is even being generous. Like, what's the difference of a regular with a Litro, same taste, same ingredients, except that one is grander than the other one? We get the same cola.
It's like an election with a soviet republic. The choice is a common candidate among communists running for an "electoral" position. It would still be the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that is assured of coming out as a winner.
Which brings me to another point. Danding Cojuangco founded both the UNA and the NPC. The selection of candidates is left not only to a single party but to a single individual. How can an individual assume to know the interests of all sectors in Negrense society? What is this? A choice of dictators in North Korea? Kim Il-Sung, Kim-Jong-Il, or Kim-Jong-Un?
Where is the battle for the hearts and minds of competing interests among different sectors that could serve as a platform for governance? It's now national election year in the US. Republicans and Democrats have locked horns, Pres. Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden versus Presidential and Vice-presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Like in the Philippines, the US electoral contest is undoubtedly a contest of personalities, of who can deliver a speech the best.
But supporters pin their hopes on what the opposing tandem can deliver in terms of tax cuts versus taxing the rich, universal health care that includes abortion on-demand in all health institutions against conscientious objectors against abortion such as Catholic hospitals.
In other words, the causes of what the opposing candidates represent.
Partisans from both sides expect their candidates to be their champions on how government will be run for the next term.
I've been reading the news, trying to get sound bites from both sides of the political fence, even though I'm not - politically speaking - not even a direct stakeholder since I vote in Bacolod.
What will the two candidates offer for 2015 when near zero tariff for sugar becomes the regime? How will both candidates support other emerging economic sectors such as organics and fair trade? At least, I know about Marañon. But what will Álvarez offer the Negrenses? How will both candidates offer to arrest the growing tide of criminality in the province?
Let's see how our provincial politics replace that of personalities to one on issues.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 14, 2012.