Money politics, weak political parties and violence still mar democratic elections in Asian countries, Asia Network for Free and Fair Elections (ANFREL) chairperson Damaso G. Magbual said at a press briefing in Bali, the Jakarta Post reported.
As an example, Magbual said, candidates in Nepal and Sri Lanka could spend 15 times their annual salaries to participate in elections — a bad precedent that could discriminate qualified people from taking part in the democratic process. “The laws in those countries don’t provide limits on how much money the candidate can spend. This is not a fair election practice,” he said during the Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum III at the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel in Bali.
According to Magbual, political parties’ weaknesses could be clearly seen in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia, citing as an example that politicians in the Philippines changed political parties “as fast as they change their clothes”.
“This practice is bad. Political parties are supposed to define policies and propose programs to government. If [politicians] keep changing political parties, it means that political parties stand for nothing,” Magbual stressed, adding that Asian countries could take an example from India where candidates who leave their political parties must forfeit their seats.
Meanwhile, violence in the implementation of elections still occurs in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. He cited that previously, politicians in Cambodia had tried to intimidate and eliminate other potential candidates in the upcoming 2017 election. (Colombo Gazette)