Touria Prayag's Blog

The metrics of democracy 9 January 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

To reform or not to reform? That is not the question. The question really is what kind of reform would further
our democracy and spare us the kind of political mess we are going through today with political opponents
shopping around and bargaining like housewives in a fi sh market.
In his message to the nation, the prime minister mentioned the white paper – yet again – and promised to
introduce reforms, provided that these bring people together rather than divide them. The problem is that the
kind of reforms we have been hearing about are cosmetic changes which have no relevance to our democracy.
Some of these – like having even more members sitting in our national assembly and doing what they do best
like fer lezie dou (making sheep’s eyes) at each other – we could frankly do without.
What our political system needs is an overhaul which would make it possible for the government to rule, the
opposition to criticise freely and honestly and protect our interests whenever these are threatened and a national
assembly open to able and willing people who wish to join in.
This is a quick history lesson of what we have recently had: An unnatural alliance of three parties which have
little in common except their ambition – disproportionate for some – to be in power was put in place to make
up the one rupee necessary for the major party to be elected with a large majority. This was combined with a
‘loyal’ MMM opposition with similar ambitions which sacrifi ced its mission and credibility in the hope of
joining the government. When the fi rst party (the MSM) – under fi re of the opposition – had to leave the
government, the opposition immediately allied itself with it before it turned its attention to the other political
party in power (the PMSD) and sacrifi ce its input on the budgetary discussion to lure its leader to their side.
A fi erce hush-hush conspiracy followed in a shameful canvassing for anyone willing to leave their party for a
profi t. A few turncoats managed to rat their way into juicy ministerial positions they are unable to handle and
some of the most mediocre politicians started bargaining their way up in the most shameless manner. This
same game continues today, leading to a near-crisis with the PMSD rumoured to be leaving the government,
Aurore Perraud becoming the next best thing since sliced bread and the MMM/MSM remake in troubled
waters. In other words, politicians did a good job of their dedication to ruthlessly – but unfortunately lawfully
– undermining authentic democracy and did an even better job of deluding the public.
So, if reform there is, it should start with strict laws banning pre-poll coalitions. No party should go before the
people riding on any other party’s back. After the elections, coalitions can be formed translating the will of the
people through the weight given to each party by the electorate. Any party which – for whatever reason – fi nds
itself unable to work with its partner should step down. Politicians will thus no longer be allowed to shop around
and bargain as if they were in a market place. If they want to change sides, they should go back to the electorate
and get its plebiscite.
For as long as we have a fl awed, badly skewed democracy where unethical politicians and political parties waltz
from one side to the other, our stability will be continuously threatened and we will continue to feel that elections
have been stolen from us and our will defeated. Reform should start by giving us the power we ought to have:
that of deciding on the parties and people who should lead us and keeping them there until we decide otherwise.


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