We should be jealous
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
Less than 24 hours after the polls officially opened, the United States of America was able to declare the winner of its tightly contested presidential elections. The election results show that Barack Obama has won another term as the President of the USA.
There are those in the Philippines who may have wanted one candidate or another to win, but for most of us, the interest in the US elections comes from seeing how different and seemingly better their elections are compared to ours.
From the selection process to the campaign, all the way to the voting and the expeditious declaration of winners, there is a lot we can learn from the way the Americans elect their leaders into office. For starters their two party system means that it is the party that chooses and defines the candidate while here in the Philippines, it is the candidate that defines the party. Platforms or ideals are not necessary for a politician to run for president in this country. Just popularity and money.
When it comes to the campaign period, we Filipinos have yet to see one where the presidential candidates are actually willing to debate on topics like the economy and foreign policy because the people who want to lead our country would rather sing and dance onstage with celebrities to woo votes. The maturity of the US political system is also evident in its ability to hold a mid-term presidential election, with the challenger being able to mount a credible fight against the incumbent. This is virtually impossible in the Philippine setting, where the incumbent basically has free rein to use the awesome resources and machinery of the government in his campaign. When it comes to the problem of election-related violence that our security forces are still grappling with, no thanks to the still-feudal nature of local politics; it is practically nonexistent where their elections are involved.
Most impressive would be the speed at which the election results are known and the winner declared. We may have taken significant strides towards this with the recent computerization of our elections but we still have a long way to go if we compare our system with that of the US that has allowed them to determine the winner of their presidential elections within 24 hours after the voting centers were officially opened.
After seeing the speed and efficiency of the US elections, can our elections this coming May show any improvement whatsoever? We can only hope that our own Commission on Elections is on the case.*