Sticking with Democracy?

Aug 08, 2007 Published under Middle East, OneVoice Movement

A recent poll highlighted that if asked to vote  today, less than 15% of Palestinians would vote for Hamas.  After the Gaza  debacle, this is not surprising.  But the tragedy is that they are now entrenched there and they will be hard-pressed to accept elections.

Neither Fatah in the West Bank nor Hamas in Gaza have an incentive to permit new elections where each ?governs,? as they both know the common thread among the Palestinian people is disenchantment and disgust with the corruption and destruction of those in power.

The achiles heel of democracy is that totalitarian and fundamentalist rules will be happy to use it to get into power, but will then seek to break the ropes that got them up there.

Democratic elections do really work, PROVIDED the following conditions exist:

are strong enough to ensure continuous cycles of voting so that those in  power won?t entrench themselves and change the rules of the game (as the theocratic Ayatollahs have done in Iran)

and political conditions permit people to truly express themselves freely

can rise up without suppression from those in power

Some mechanism exists to prevent potential abusers from usurping control and undermining free elections.

At the very least, a filter mechanism should be in place to prevent parties and platforms that do not abide by the rules of  democracy from standing for elections. Who will be the arbiter is a good question. But some self-protection mechanism needs to exist, or else the bad guys will get in and block the good ones from taking them out once the people discover their true colors all too late?

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