Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Spirit & the Letter

It's not yet the right time for elections.  More needs to by done to overcome the communist legacy first.  The commissions set up to investigate 7/4/09 and the period of Soviet communism need to complete their work.  The prosecutor general needs to lock up a large number of criminals.  The judicial authorities need to be renewed.  Europe needs to come to the party with some goodies such as facilitated visas.  Investment needs to flow and be seen to be flowing.  A more pluralistic media sector needs time to overcome the eight years of brainwashing at the hands of the Communist-controlled TRM and NIT.

And yet, we find ourselves careening towards anticipated elections because of noisy complaints from the communists and misguided / uninformed advice from Europe.  The problem is that most people are failing to appreciate the difference between the letter of the constitution and its spirit.

Under the letter of the constitution, there is no problem with bringing in a new constitution by referendum and as a result having the AIE government see out a four year term.  The will of the people is supreme, and if that's what they want, that's what they should get.

The issue with that approach is not with the letter of the constitution but with the spirit.  The current document says that if Parliament fails to elect the president, then new elections should be held.  An opposing view is that voters went to the polls on July 29th not expecting to be called back for another vote until 2013.  Given the extremely aggressive approach of the communists, the opoosing view would be hard to maintain, however.

The solution is to do what I set out in a previous post.  Fix the constitution, thoroughly, legally, then go back to the people within a reasonable time frame.  More or less that would mean new elections in about a year from now.  Most importantly, it would be seen to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the existing constitution and take the steam out of the issue.

Just one further point.  Until the end of December the AIE should focus on running the country.  If they want to bicker, this should happen behind closed doors.  What we should see publicly is a united front and a common vision for the country.  Ideally this should be achieved by fusion among the centre-right parties, at least into recognisable electoral blocks, e.g. PLDM-AMN and PL-MAE

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