Brave New World of Democracy?

General elections took place last weekend in Austria. Regardless of what you might think of the outcome and the interpretations and conclusions taken, I would like to highlight one worrying detail: the portion of voters not going to the elections (about 26 %) was almost as high as that of the strongest party.

If you go and include those votes which were invalid (about 1.30 %), the proportion of non- and invalid-voters with some 27 % of all citizens eligible to cast their vote was about 1 % above that of the strongest party with some 26 % (Source: Die Presse, 4 October 2006). That, of course, cannot be overlooked or played down, can it? It may represent a populations attitude towards and discontent with their political leaders. But does it stop here? Does it also reflect a demise of the system (of democracy), in general? In a time dominated by mass media and spin doctors are we approaching a point, were we have to raise fundamental questions about how our societies are organised? For it appears that the result of the elections seems to reflect more a vote on the effectiveness of the election campaigns of the various parties rather than their achievements and abilities. What do you think?

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