MY NEW BLOG: The Ciudadista: Life in the City

Friday, May 28, 2004

You can never compare apples and oranges!

There are many uninformed people who are wrong to compare Philippine elections to other electoral exercises all over the world. They do not know a single thing about what they are talking about and not even knowing the right information. You cannot compare Philippine elections to other elections for many things. First, the Philippines does not have the same electoral system as India or the United States. Second, the Philippines is an archipelago which means that it will take time for electoral returns be sent to the head quarters of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Third, the Philippine electorate elects not only a president but also a legislature and local government which is about 20 names. Fourth, both houses of congress are mandated by the charter to canvass the president and vice-president votes.

The topic I so love to hate is comparing Philippine and Indian and Spanish elections. (As someone who watched every day of the BBC's Indian election coverage and tackled some Spanish modern social history it is just right for me to write this.) First of all the Indians and the Spanish only have to elect a member of parliament or even a party for proportional representation. Once the MPs are elected in every electorate the majority party will become the new government and will determine the new prime minister or head of government. In the case of the Philippines, like what was mentioned above Filipinos have to elect about 20 people in various posts. Before congress counts the presidential and vice-presidential votes the ballots have to be counted in the local level first to determine the composition of the legislature and local governments common sense will suggest that this takes time to do.

If you compare the French presidential elections with the Philippine exercise it is still not the same thing since the French do not elect the same number of people as the Filipinos.

If the Philippines has the same system of government and electoral system as India, Spain or France it is right to compare if the results of elections is slow.

A lesson to be learned is to know the topic FIRST before opening one's mouth or begin writing.

Some websites to visit and learn about things:
Elecciones - Ministry of Interior of Spain
Electoral Commission of India
Les √Člections - Ministry of Interior of France
Commission on Elections, Philippines
Administration and Cost of Elections Project (has links to other election related websites)
Voting systems (a Wikipedia article)