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Elections are not the answer
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, August 03, 2006

Democratic institutions are.
The race for president of Congo took a surprising turn Wednesday when election observers announced that Jean-Pierre Bemba, a warlord accused of severe human rights abuses, was leading against the incumbent, Joseph Kabila, in preliminary results. U.N. officials urged Congolese voters to stay calm and not race to any conclusions until all votes from Sunday's election are counted.
Hamas elected to power in Palestine. Hezbollah elected to power in Lebanon. Voting, without the establishment of basic democratic institutions, will, as often as not, simply "legitimize" tyrants.

After all, they voted in the USSR, Cuba and Saddam's Iraq.

Holding elections does not make an instant democracy. Democracy cannot be imposed from the top. And until those who see it as a way to bring peace and prosperity to the world understand that point, "surprising turns" like that in the Congo will continue to happen.

The battle to make democracies is a grass-roots, multi-level, multi-year (decade?) endeavor. There are no short-cuts to be found in the ballot box.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

And the most fundamental democratic institution required for a democracy to develop is private property, i.e. capitalism.

When voters depend on handouts from feudal warlords or welfare nanny states, they will vote their interests in. Look at Russia and Putin’s popularity. Very similar. Putin is just the only warlord left there.
Written By: Cyrill
Again! Again!
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
I can’t add too much to that Cyrill, basic human rights, property rights, and the rule of law is more important, and then democracy.

That is Why I think that people like Augusto Pinochet were not as bad as left wing dictators like Castro. Pinochet murdered people and seized power, I don’t let him off the hook for that, BUT he did modernize the Chilean economy, establish a fairly good legal system, and then turned it over to a Democratic Process.

I also think it is beyond stupid to prosecute someone like that since that only tells future dictators that they should hang on to power at any cost.
Written By: kyle N

Unfortunately for this theory during the multi-year (decade?) interim elections need to be held. There are no substitues for free elections.

Are you sure you are not merely upset because people are voting in their own best percieved interests and not in yours? Hamas beat a Fatah party that was stealing most of the taxes and aid money. Hezbollah was elected into opposition by people who know that the people in the government spent the best part of 15 years trying to kill them.
Written By: unaha-closp
kyle N, I tend to agree with you, but speak not the name Pinochet near lefties. They will immediately crucify you as a supporter of the murder of Salvadore Allende. I mean, we all know the fascist US government used the CIA to overturn a friendly, hero of the people, leftist like Allende and then kill him, right? ;)
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://

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