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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

From Mongolia to Malaysia a democratic headache

In the name of democracy, it is now possible to burn, to launch sex scandals and to kill people to establish regimes – the like in Iraq and Afghanistan – when the US too want to pursue a maddening concept that seems to be in rejection in many parts of the world.

The charred shells of two Soviet-style buildings rising from the center of this capital stand as a warning of the dangers of mixing vodka with voter frustration. Video’s of intimidation and election fraud in Zimbabwe confirms the bad omens of the democratic system in Africa. From Asia to the Middle East and Africa, democracy is taking a beating.

In Egypt, the democratic system is such that a one man show decides who will be the President of the country. The sole candidate will apparently get 98% of votes in the elections and the results are appreciated by Washington and London, claiming it is a democratic exercise. In Zimbabwe, a solo show by Robert Mugabe – the former rebel fighter turned President – is condemned by the West, calling it a sham elections. Double measure is used in deciding which one of the two solo election processes are democratic.

Now, with an election in dispute, Mongolia's fledgling democracy faces its biggest challenge since its birth in 1990. Did the Mongolian people really need an election to choose their leaders? There was fraud in parliamentary elections, accusations disputed by international election observers. Normally observation teams would claim there were fraudulent practices in elections in some countries but in Mongolia they said no, there were no frauds.

In Kenya, thousands lost their lives last year and the scourge of a bad democratic choice is still haunting the people of Nairobi and its suburbs. Nairobi can be a very beautiful place if elections are not the cause of rioting. It has been a peaceful and fast developing centre in Africa, a capital that was worth its position as a progressive one in a country where autocracy was the rule.

Things have changed in Nairobi after the elections rioting and the country remain divided over the choice of leaders to run the country.

In Malaysia, the democratic process took place in March this year with the ruling coalition the Barisan National (BN) taking a beating, shocking its leaders with the opposition taking 5 states and thinning the BN’s usual 2/3rd majority in Parliament. The impact of this drastic cut in the powers of the government has resulted in a massive public spat between government and opposition leaders. Sex accusations and statutory declarations are flying across the board at warp speed and it appears there will be no end to this in the short term.

In Singapore, the authorities are worried and are working out plans on how to prevent the Internet from influencing the decision of voters. In the last General Elections in 2007, the opposition parties won more than 45% of votes, a feat not always seen in Singapore. If this percentage increases, the opposition may end up with much more seats in Parliament, a situation that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) does not want to happen.

Lee Kuan Yew recently said that in a very open democratic system, there were the risks that a weak opposition come to power and ruins the advancement achieved by a responsible government. He clearly said that Singapore could not afford an ‘open’ democratic system, urging the current government of Singapore to keep a tab on the media and on the internet for the sake of not ruining the country.

In Bangkok, Thailand the new government is hanging to power on a thread with threats of a coup flying over the airwaves and in the media like never before. There is always a denial either by the powerful military or by the government itself that a coup is in the making. The same situation is now apparent in Turkey where a pro-Islamic regime headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing disbanding over a constitutional matter. The Turkish democracy is not what we see in Europe or in the US and not even like the one in India or Indonesia. It is a pretty controlled democracy where the army has the right to disband a political party if it feels necessary.

Erdogan’s party is facing disbandment while police arrested at least two influential army generals on suspicion of staging a coup against the ruling government. A court case is the latest faceoff between Islamist- leaning groups and secularists that stretches back to the end of World War II. A defeat for Erdogan, 54, would put Turkey's six- decade-old democracy in uncharted territory by shutting down a party that was re-elected with 47 percent of the vote last year, the largest plurality in more than four decades.

Malaysia is heading for a massive clash between the opposition and the government on major policy issues and on crime and sex charges that have sent the country into shame. Mongolians burnt arts and precious treasures to protest against a ‘democratic’ system. The Zimbabwe people are crushed by Mugabe’s own political agenda – that is fighting against British influence in his country.

Written by Kazi Mahmood

Courtesy : WorldFuturesInfo

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