Elections Bring Out the Best in a Politician – Really?

Actually I have to say that the title of this post (and its contents) are inspired by this blog from the Sydney Morning Herald – Election brings out the hollow best.

That blog was posted way back in March 22, 2007 by Matthew Moore. Now, I won’t regurgitate the contents of that blog post. But I suppose the main idea of this blog is relevant, even in the context of Malaysia.

In this regard I will quote one section of the blog:

Iemma’s Government does not support freedom of information. Like all governments, it hates it, hates the way it can still occasionally allow the public to find out what it actually is doing, and give a different version of events to those supplied by platoons of spin doctors paid to say things like “we support freedom of information”.

Election brings out the hollow best

That phrase sounds familiar doesn’t it. Wherever you go. In whatever jurisdiction that you live in. The incumbent government don’t like people asking questions….

Of course, the context is different, that phrase and the blog that comes with it refers to the New South Wales government.

Ok…. actually that is the apparent idea in Matthew Moore’s posting. I suppose the real underlying reason are the elections themselves.

What are the purpose(s) of an election?

It seems that elections brings out the best in all politicians. During the campaign period, they all come down to meet the people. They shake hands, meet the locals and they promise so many things to encourage voters to elect (or re-elect) them.

But what happens after the elections?

Do things go back to the way they were before the elections?

Do things actually “improve” ?

Basically, elections are all about making politicians (this applies more to the incumbents) accountable for their actions. In the elections incumbent politicians have to compete with the newbies or “wannabes” from the oposition who are supposed to be able to takeover if voters decide that the incumbents’ performance or future promises are not up to their (the voters’) liking.

But happens when elections return the same people (or the same “group” of politicians?

Does that defeat the true purpose of elections?

Now, in Australia, the question on the basic purpose of political elections is rather academic. This is because elections are compulsory and the situation is “fair” to all contestants. All contestants are given airing time even in the state run ABC. And all amjor parties can and do have political advertisments in other tv stations. There might be people who complain that all politicians are the same. And actually, that is one basic reason why there was the Democratic Party (Australian Democrats) in the first place – as said by Don Chipp: “to keep the bastards honest“. The bastards in this regards are the “normal” politicians.

But in Malaysia – it seems that in all elections, the same groups (though from time to time the people that run them change) are returned to power- all the time. And just to note – this group retain the 2/3 majority at all times.

And so – what is (are) the purpose(s) of elections?

Does elections bring out the best in all politicians?

I wonder….


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