Sunday, October 02, 2005

When Democracy equals Voting

What makes a democracy a democracy? Democracy has been analyzed in detail for 2500 years, as Dahl puts it, without a consensus being reached on what it means. Yet, two fundamental pillars can be easily discernible in modern democracies. First, a system of checks and balances. There are three equally powerful, independent branches, i.e. the legislative, the executive and the judiciary, that supposed to control the other two, so that if branch strays away, they can bring it back to order. Thus, each brach is accountable for their actions to the other two. Second, the fact that all individuals have rights and obligations.

In Bolivia, nonetheless, the concept of democracy is somewhat simpler. In Bolivia, democracy means voting (which is only one of several rights). Thus, in the past years we have heard Bolivians praising ourselves and our perfect democracy because a confusing referendum on energetic resources and mayor elections took place. And we were so busy praising the votes that we did not notice that everything else was missing.

By now, the legislative branch has grown so powerful that the combined forces of the executive and the judiciary cannot bring it back to its senses. What should be a simple matter of following the constitution has turned into a circus. The reason? Following Occam's Razor, I think it is rather simple. Normally, MPs have had 5 years to profit from the position. Now that the law requires to shorten their mandate, they just don't feel like it. They want to keep getting paid for a job they are not doing for as long as possible. The fact that they are not representing the people that chose them has taken the backseat to them shitting all over the constitution. It seems these people has their rights, but no obligations.

Thus, neither pillar of modern democracies exists in Bolivia. What this means is that Bolivia is not a democratic country, regardless of elections. If the lawmakers themselves don't give a crap about the constitution, how did we ever expect it to work?


Blogger Humour and last laugh said...

interesting blog!

10:05 AM  

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