Election boycotted: domocratic or undemocratic?

24 01 2007

When the opposition party in Thailand boycotted the general election in April 2006, I received many messages and oversea phone calls of comment and complaint that it was undemocratic. By so doing the opposition left voters with no alternative choice…Sounds fair enough? Yet, the opposition explained the election was free but unfair, they would have limited chances of winning big majority anyway. More importantly, they pointed to the incredibility of the Election Commission as the commissioners were known to be pro government. As later proved it, the three commissioners were ordered by the court to be put into prison for four years. This was not only made the headline on both national and international papers but also marked a history in Thai’s electoral system.

Recently in Malaysia, the opposition has decided to boycott the by-election in Batu Talam. One of the opposition party: PAS also hinted that if this tactic works then they might consider to boycott the general election too… I then put the same comment to a few persons who made complaint on the election boycotted in Thailand. Yet i know the answer i am going to get is perhaps a silent response.

Democracy in each country has its own character, dimension and direction. It is developed by people in power to suit the local situation. There is no instant or fix form of it. One country democracy is another country chaoticity…boycotting election may theoretically be undemocractic, but if it can contribute to create people awareness of what is happening in their country and urge them to find out the truth and press for reform in the electoral system…does it matter whether it is democratic or undemocratic?


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