Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Carvajal: Bad to worse

Break Point

IT IS a tragic-comic joke that no candidate loses in our elections. He/she either wins or is cheated. The Marcos-Robredo contest is just a recent example of election protests that are filed every after election, all on allegations of cheating by the winners.

A fundamental flaw in the system (we elect individuals and not party philosophies/programs as in mature and advanced democracies) has turned our elections into virtual popularity contests between individuals. But only the rich can afford the huge expense mainly for the tri-media ads and the vote-buying needed to win high-stakes popularity contests such us our elections.

It’s no wonder then that this flawed system has never been straightened out by legislators. It works to their advantage that only a wealthy few can afford the system, control policy-making in government to the exclusion of society’s lower classes.

This is actually the opposite of democracy that the majority has no representative voice in government and the minority decides exclusively for all.

If we choose between political parties instead of individuals, voting and counting will be fast with no window of opportunity for cheating. Like how long does it take for the voter to shade one box and for Comelec to count the votes of two or three contending parties?

The winning party’s nominee (in a published party list) gets the executive position. In the case of town, provincial, and national legislatures the number of seats a party gets is proportionate to the number of votes it got in the just concluded elections.

Not only is cheating eliminated but proportionate representation is also assured. In this system, political parties are required to have an official social philosophy (ideology if you want), a corresponding style and direction of government and a state-determined minimum number of card-carrying members. Once accredited, parties become public institutions that are entitled to a budget from the government for, among others, membership education and the conduct of an election campaign.

Under this system, the marginalized sectors can form a party that will be funded by government in the furtherance of the social philosophy and program of government decided on by its members. Obviously, the rich man’s party still has the better hand. But at least the poor man’s party has money to pay the ante and play the election game.

“Active citizen participation” and “rule of the majority” are essential to democracy. Without systems insuring their presence the sham democracy we have will continue to exclude the majority from active participation in government and from a fair share in the country’s wealth and make their situation go from bad to worse.