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25 May 2019
Political systems
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Faults of democracy

The democratic process is supposed to be a good way of electing the best people to lead a country according to the wishes of the people. 

In practice, it has produced unsatisfactory results. 

Here are my observations.

a) It has caused the country to  be divided between the people who supports the different candidates. The losing side usually does not support the wishes of the majority.

For example, the results of the recent elections in Indonesia and Thailand are still under dispute. Even the 2000 presidential election in America was disputed and had to be decided by the Supreme Court.

In some cases, the outcome have led to riots and deaths.

b) The election campaigns were usually fought in a combative manner causing much damage to the reputation of the candidates. Even the winning candidates have their character tainted.

c) The elected leaders are usually not the best people to lead the country. In many cases, they abuse their power and acted corruptly to enrich themselves while in office, as their tenure is not assured.

d) Often, the incumbent ruling party has the opportunity to use state funds to offer incentives to "buy votes" from the voters. It gives them an unfair advantage and lead to corrupt practices.

Is there a better system to elect leaders? Here are some possible alternatives.

a) Restore monarchy and have the king or queen to appoint the capable and honest people to lead the country. This system was followed by the emperor of ancient China.

Although the monarch may act arbitrarily, the action is judged by the people. There is the public expectation that the decisions will be just.

b)  Elect wise people with a proven record of public service to serve in a senate and let them appoint the leaders. This is  similar to the system of appointing judges. The elected persons should serve for a long term until retirement age. 

This system spreads the power among the people in the senate, and not in one person. It avoids corrupt decisions and promote transparency.

c) Elect leaders from a smaller group of well informed people. This is the system adopted by countries that are led by the communist party.

A wise politician once said that democracy is a bad system, except for all the other systems. Since the time that he made this statement, democracy has deteriorated considerably. If he was around today, he might say that the democractic process should now be changed.

So, it is time to explore other systems to replace democracy.

Tan Kin Lian

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