Legality and Legitimacy in Democratic Elections

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The progressive drop in voter turnout is quite worrying, underscoring citizen disenchantment and the fragility of democracies whose governments and parliamentarians enjoy little popular support.

As was the case a few months ago in the United States, in the recent Portuguese elections abstentions greatly exceeded voter turnout.

In the European Parliament elections the percentage of votes obtained by the “representatives” of many countries was simply scandalous, and an unacceptable example of indifference and apathy.

This precarious situation must be urgently reversed. Otherwise we will be obliged to accept this dangerous display of simulation, with an enormous discredit for democratic institutions, whose legitimacy as well as legality are presently less evident than ever.

Setting a minimum percentage of required votes would be useful as well as instructive. How can those who have not participated complain about the weaknesses and lack of organization of democratic systems?

Let’s correct this incoherence. It’s especially relevant for the future that requires radical changes. That is, strong democracies.