Posted on July 4, 2004. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The Philippines

  • Were an American colony
  • Ballots involve writing the candidates name out by hand; if they can’t remember it, or it is mis-spelt, the electoral ballot is rejected
  • Democracy was restored to the Philippines in 1986 [after the overthrow of the 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos]
  • Marcos was toppled by popular protests, as was Mr Estrada in 2001 (Question: Why is the overthrow of bad leaders in the Philippines more common than in, say, Cambodia)
  • Florencio Abad, a member of the outgoing House, points out that most durable democracies, especially in poorer countries, are governed by parliaments. Of the countries that became independent between 1945 and 1979, 41 adopted parliamentary systems, while 39 opted for strong presidents. Fifteen of the countries with parliaments remained democratic throughout the 1980s, while none of those run by presidents did.
  • In general, dramatic constitutional change risks confusing voters and further alienating them from politics. It may also have unintended consequences. Take, for example, the term limits written into the 1987 constitution for almost all elected positions. Advocates of the measure were hoping to put an end to political dynasties. But they ended up strengthening them, encouraging dynasts to recruit their wives or children to take their place when their allotted time was up. Several representatives who had served their maximum stint simply deputed their wives to keep their seats warm for a term, before returning to the House at the next election.

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