What gives rise to democratic discontentment?
In today’s age, we are seeing more and more nations adopting various models of democracy, but at the same time, there is some discrepancy between the strong democratic principles and the widespread discontentment with the way democracy works. In most cases, if there is some deviation from the law or an irregularity in laws, it leads to discontentment. In certain cases, the society is just not ready to handle the concept of democracy in practice.
How does democratic discontentment affect democracies directly?
We have to be careful of democratic discontentment because if it prevails in a society, then democratic governance cannot be achieved. It may cause several conflicts, disputes, and could eventually lead to corruption, which would then beat the entire concept of a democratic society. A good electoral system ensures a sound democratic set-up. A good electoral system must have proper electoral laws, and there has to be a readiness of candidates to maintain democracy. Political maturity of the society also plays a key role here.
So, in terms of handling a democracy, how is the political maturity of Indonesia?
In Indonesia, active political participation has not really been a building block of the society. Everyone has been going to vote during the elections, but more often than not, they are mobilised by the political parties.
The problems Indonesia has faced over the last couple of years in terms of growth of democracy can be expected for a country with diverse people. After the nation proclaimed its independence, people were asked to suddenly develop a unitary national consciousness, which can take a while. However, over time, we have paved our way towards better politics, and politics in Indonesia is now less mobilised than before. People are becoming more aware of the democratic mandates, and are stepping up for their rights.
Do you see any changes in the democratic system in India as compared to Indonesia?
To begin with, there is a major difference in the way elections are held in Indonesia, and the way they are held in India. In Indonesia, we still use ballot boxes whereas EVMs are now used in India. We are now exploring the possibility of conducting e-elections in our country, along with usage of generic ways of storing voter data. Indonesia needs to learn a lot from India in terms of the way the elections are held.
Keeping that aside, India and Indonesia are among the largest democracies in the world, and there is a lot that the two countries can learn from each other. Over the years, there has been a growing anti-corruption sentiment, which has mobilised the citizens of both the countries. The number of political parties has also grown in both the nations, which has increased the potential of both the democracies. All this could go a long way in reforming their respective democracies, and reducing the discontent within.