An Alternative Politics of Political Parties – Manila Bulletin



Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid

The wave of activity in preparation for the upcoming national and local elections can be a welcome distraction for many of us who have focused on the challenges of COVID-19.

In a week or two we’ll see a final slate of candidates and expect to be inundated with campaign posts – some credible, some bogus, from hundreds of social media trolls. So, being prepared to sort these messages could be a challenge for many. A question on the minds of many people is “can we have a credible campaign during a pandemic?” “

A much appreciated initiative by the Partido Liberal and hopefully national political parties is to amend their constitutions to reflect reforms such as a transfer of leadership responsibilities from elite members to representatives of grassroots organizations – farmers / fishermen, women (ensuring their equality and centrality in other sectors), the workforce, youth, academics, indigenous groups and Filipino Overseas Workers (OFW).

This trend, which started in the most progressive countries of Europe, aims to curb the further deterioration of democracy and the rise of populist and authoritarian leadership. In addition, surveys had shown a “growing distrust of traditional party systems which are seen as relics of the past. Another challenge is to increase the number of radical parties – left and right alike. Because party membership becomes less important than civic engagement, this change is considered essential.

This 21st century party master plan, involves the development of responsible, inclusive and multi-party systems that provide citizens with an understanding of minimum standards for democratic participation, has been prepared by the National Democratic Institute based in Denmark.

Due to the decline in trust in traditional political parties, emerging trends such as direct democracy by referendum and similar initiatives are seen as reliable democratic alternatives.

An election period – from registration, candidate selection, campaigning, voting and other related activities, is often fraught with confusion and various difficulties as concerns related to the pandemic, misinformation and fake news, and again, in some areas, the three G’s – guns, henchmen and gold. Capacity building of political parties to facilitate the flow and processing of information, to arbitrate conflicts and to assist Comelec, Namfrel, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting or PPCRV and other citizen monitoring bodies is essential to ensure a fair and credible election.

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