US-Based Mission Has Good and Bad Aspects on Polls

Manila Bulletin, March 24, 2004 | Go to article overview

US-Based Mission Has Good and Bad Aspects on Polls


REPORTS that a delegation of the US-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs is coming over to observe the May 10 elections may be good news if only to help ensure clean and credible electoral process.

The bad news is the impression it could create.

In the first place, the fact that the coming election has called its attention at once provokes quizzical eyebrows considering that the NDI conducts missions for the purpose of assessing prospects for democratic development in countries it visits.

During the last decades it sent such missions to troubled countries in Central and South America, Central Europe and Asia .

Malacanang reported that the NDI sent a mission here during the presidential elections in 1986 "when then incumbent President Marcos officially won the election allegedly through massive intimidation and fraud."

Significantly, the NDI has noted the rising tide of democracy on a global scale and specifically mentioned the Philippines together with Chile and South America where the onward course of constitutional government is spreading.

During the past 20 years, according to a report, the Institute has been deeply engaged in transitions to democracy in almost every part of the world " monitoring elections, training political leaders, promoting opportunities for women, and helping build democratic institutions."

They are, no doubt, important aspects of the democratic life but despite our failings, we are living in a fullblown democracy that do not need such guidance in the category of the newly emerging and fledging democracies in some parts of the world with their fragile institutions.

Wider citizen participation, accountability of leadership, transparency, democratization of political parties which the NDI is spearheading have been known to us for a long time.

In fact, these are issues that we often hear in todays political discourse.

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US-Based Mission Has Good and Bad Aspects on Polls
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