Sunday, October 16, 2011

Price of Democracy

Price of Democracy. In three words, my French friend casually dismissed a serious topic. The French elections are coming up next year and the opposition party is in the process of finding the right candidate to contest the incumbent president. I'm completely ignorant about the policies of the various parties and also the challenges of France. But what caught my attention was how the government bears the cost of the campaigns.

In France, if a candidate secures 5% or above, the government funds their campaign. If the candidate is too poor to fund his/her campaign, the government allocates money for them to run their campaign. Why is this so? This is mainly to ensure that anyone can contest an election - be it poor or rich. Ironically, it is mostly the political parties who put up a candidate. The political parties have their pots of gold. Then, why this elaborate charade? Funding the campaigns is a way to take out "special interests" out of the equation. When the candidates have the money to finance your campaign, they do not have to depend on "special interests". Ideally, this should translate into meaningful legislation for the people. In a way, this will certainly curtail corruption to an extent.

Having known the French flair for checks in the form of documentation, this is an addition burden on the government. They must be having a specific organization monitoring this process at all stages. Doesn't it mean a lot of tax money which is dedicated for performing these checks and also funding the campaign? That is when my friend shrugged it off with the simple statement of "Price of Democracy"!



14 comments:

  1. Democracy comes at a price, at times too high

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  2. @Pesto Sauce - :) Yes, sometimes it is worth it.

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  3. every thing has a price...so has democracy...it isn't the perfect system, but we are yet to find something better :)

    nice post.

    Cheers!
    SUB
    http://evolvingdaddy.blogspot.com

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  4. @Sub - Ironic... isn't it? It has a price but it is the best we have!

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  5. in India, the winners(and mostly losers too ) recovers their money on their own ( with good returns ,billions ) spent during their campaign, soon after the election gets over and so we pay the price of living in world's largest, sick, wildlife democracy :)

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  6. @Bhupendra - Thanks for dropping by. :) You are talking about means of recovery through corruption. I'm talking about being reimbursed with no corruption involved. Two different things. The price we pay is for electing them! The price French way is for ensuring democracy!

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  7. My sis lives and works in Paris and would probably agree with ya!

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  8. @LifeUnordinary - Thanks for dropping by. :)

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  9. Hi

    We have browsed through your personal blog and found out that you are a very good writer. We hereby invite you to be an author at Impulse, the leading online magazine of India.
    For details, see: http://impulse.org.in/rules/

    regards

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  10. @Impulse Team - Thanks for the invite. I will drop in by your site to check out how I can be of any service.

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  11. Very good post Nona. There are different models over the world to minimise the negative role of money in elections, the most ineffective being in India (cap on expenses). I hope the electoral reforms Anna, and because of him the Government, is talking about address this issue properly...

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  12. @Satish - Thanks for the comment.

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  13. The French monitor it very closely.
    They start a special service which monitors how much TV time each of the candidates gets. So a bunch of people watch TV channels all day and monitor how much TV time each candidate gets.
    A friend of mine worked there for the previous elections.

    Nice post.

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  14. @Toward Harmony - Thanks for dropping by. Yes, the conversation covered the allotted air time for candidates. That is why I think too much of money is spent in making sure the democracy is working fine!

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