Political Parties and the Polls

Manila Bulletin, March 14, 2010 | Go to article overview

Political Parties and the Polls


Political parties are at the core of democracy. By competing in elections, influencing decision-making in government and mobilizing citizens behind certain ideals, political parties offer meaningful choices in governance and an opportunity for political participation.The role of political parties is to train the future leadership of the country. They represent interests and needs of certain sectors of society, which are then carried by their standard-bearers. This is the case in advanced democracies like the US or Japan where a strong and functioning political party system enables the selection of good leaders and the articulation of a vision.Unfortunately, there is no genuine party system in the Philippines. The problem is not too many parties, but that there is no real party system to speak of. Philippine politics is dominated not by parties but by personalities. The dominance of personalities over platform has allowed parties to contend in the political arena with vague policies or zero stand on pressing national issues.Our politics of personalities and the lack of a genuine party system have stunted our progress to political maturity and hindered our economic development as well. At present, whoever has money has the political machinery to win an election. Campaign spending has run amok. …

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