Wednesday, January 09, 2008

When a society doesn't have democratic traditions.

When a society that doesn't have democratic traditions, or all the elections have been marred with shenanigans performed by the authorities, how do you know if the winner of the election is really the winner?

Did Sahakashvili win his second term? Who knows? The opposition says no, the state says yes. After his violent dispersion of peaceful protests by the Georgian citizens, how can a reasonable citizen believe that Sahakashvili is enough of a statesman to realize that clean elections, even if he lost, are important for the long term health of Georgia. The cynics are excused to think that the presidential elections were a baloney.

The same applies to Armenia. Sahakashvili still has some credibility - he has combated corruption, and has relied on violence only once since in power. The current regime in Armenia resorts to violence to solve even the tiniest wrinkle in their plans. The simplest act of distributing leaflets can result in violence by the cops and unlawful detention. The graver the sins against the regime are, such as printing an unfavorable article, or taking part in a protest, can get you bombed, loss of property or even killed.

For such a society to cure sickness, the only solution is for the incumbent not take part in an election. Otherwise even if they honestly get 100% of the vote, no one will believe them.

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