02-Dec-2005

Electoral Reform

Return of the fast unto death, in a good cause. Though I do agree with the Oct 17 editorial that the writer takes such a dim view of in his opening paragraph, his point in the rest of this editorial is worth giving a thought to:
Corruption has become institutionalised over the years, and has crept into the judiciary, executive and legislatures. People have now come to accept it as a way of life. To capture power, and stay in power, all parties appear to be dependent on chargesheeters, criminals and dons.

Is there a way out? For quite a number of years, a group of very concerned citizens has been campaigning to inject probity into public life through electoral reform. Among other measures, they have recommended the compulsory audit of the accounts of political parties, the state funding of elections, the disqualification of tainted politicians from contesting elections, and above all the appointment of a Lok Pal with teeth.
Electoral reform seems to be the core problem crying for a solution if corruption has to go.

Far away from us, electoral reform has taken a first step in a tiny US state (via TPMCafe):
The legislation bans contributions by lobbyists, their spouses, and state contractors, limits political action committees, closes a loophole that permits corporate donations and creates a voluntary system of public financing.

By overhauling campaign laws crafted 30 years ago after the Watergate scandal, the bill upends long-established relationships between power and money, though few would predict precisely what might rise in their place.
Familiar problem, and a straightforward solution. Will the ripple reach and touch us?

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