Political reforms in developing democracies

Few political problems are common to all the democracies of the developing countries. Political reforms – minimum educational qualification for ministers need to be set and dynastic rule should be stopped – are absolutely needed.

Some political reforms are absolutely needed in Indian democracy and in most of the democracies in the Third World. Let’s examine the following two:

1) There is a long pursued demand that there should be a minimum educational qualification requirement for any person who wants to contest an assembly or parliamentary election. The demand is good, but counter argument is that if we Indians are voting for and electing an illiterate person, how can one bar that person in a democracy?

Also, India is a country of villages, where millions of illiterates live. However, what about ministers? Ministers are office-bearers, who run offices. Can they run their offices if they don’t have even bare minimum qualification? Can a person be allowed to do a surgery, if he/she does not have minimum required medical qualifications? How can we hand-over a ministry in the hands of an illiterate person when each ministry manages millions and billions of rupees along with a very large human resources?

An illiterate person can be a representative in India, but he/she absolutely does not qualify to be a minister because he/she does not have the bare minimum required skills. At least graduation degree should be made a compulsory requirement in order to be a minister in a state or in the central government.

2) The second biggest problem of Indian democracy and of most of the democracies in the Third World is the dynastic rule. All over the world, democracy has been accepted after rejecting imperialism and the dynasty rules.

Rejection of the dynastic rule is in the ethos of the democracy. We must make sure that in a democracy, democratic ethos do not get overruled and hijacked by dynastic rules. For this, we will have to provide some safeguards to a democracy. A person should not be allowed to head the central government for more than two times as the rule in USA. A close relative of the most influential person of any registered political party should not be allowed to inherit the party for, let’s say, 10-20 years immediately after the tenure of the influential person.

All registered political parties in a democracy commit to follow the democratic traditions within the party. Then how can a political party be a privately owned party? They must have some persons within the party capable of leading the party. In order to maintain the democratic ethos within the political parties, there must be a waiting period for the biological heir to inherit the party leadership, otherwise parties become just dynasties.

In a democracy, political parties are to serve the nation, not a family. In USA and other developed western countries, this moratorium period does not exist, just because their democracies are now matured enough and their electorate are now enlightened enough and there is no existence of the problem of dynasties in their democracies.  

These two reforms are revolutionary in nature, capable enough of solving many decade old grievances and absolutely necessary in order to transform our pseudo democracies into the real democracies.

Published in merinews.com:  http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=133293