Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One flew over the cuckoo's nest

One of the basics I learned in my Political Science classes is that in a legitimate democratic system, losers in an election accept defeat graciously and will have the chance to lawfully compete again in the next election cycle without resorting to any anti-democratic maneuvers such as coup d'etat, putsch and others. Accepting defeat is very hard especially when the candidates are heavily invested in the campaign, emotionally and financially.

For as long as I've lived in the US I've never heard any story of political candidates who went bonkers after losing elections. Nor have I heard stories where losing candidates committed suicide or simply died from exhaustion. Who knows? Maybe there are but they're not covered by the media. So I find it interesting that Indonesia, in her 3rd democratic election, has a bunch of political candidates who just went off the deep end after losing the election.

The above YouTube video is a Metro TV news clip (in Bahasa Indonesia) about candidates in the recent Indonesian legislative election who refused to accept the brutal reality of their defeats. Also, here are a couple of articles in the Jakarta Post about candidates who died after the election: One candidate in Bali died from extreme exhaustion and another committed suicide in West Java after losing.

It then begs the question what do these deaths and craziness of candidates mean to the quality of democracy in Indonesia? I can venture a few postulations but they'll have to wait for another posting. In the mean time, do ponder...

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