Monday, May 14, 2007

One Person, One Vote, One Time

An interesting thing I've noticed is that with Erdogan and Turkey's AK party, with Maliki's electoral list in Iraq and with Hamas and Hezbollah is that Islamists actually make pretty effective participants in democratic electoral systems when they are allowed to compete on more or less fair terms.

I repeatedly read and hear that Islamists want one person, one vote, one time. That supposedly means Islamists will overturn democratic institutions if they ever come to power. But now an actual track record is being established. Islamists have a far better record than pro-Western anti-Islamist political groups.

I can think of several elections cancelled by Western or pro-Western groups to prevent Islamists from coming to power but I cannot think of an election that has been cancelled by Islamists anywhere to prevent pro-Western groups from coming to power.

One recent example is that Juan Cole reported last summer that the US postponed provincial elections in Iraq for fear that Sadr would do too well there.
I was told by an American official who had been in Baghdad that Iraqi provincial elections had been postponed because there are indications that Muqtada al-Sadr's movement is growing in popularity in the Shiite south and his lists might sweep to power.

I guess "one person, one vote, one time" has been the West projecting its own disdain for democracy onto the Islamists all along.

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