Casino democracy

By Edilberto C. de Jesus

The title I owe to Benedict Anderson, the eminent scholar of Southeast Asian history and politics. Studying the electoral landscape, Anderson described the Philippine system as “politics in a well-run casino.”

His starting point was the robust response to the first post-Marcos provincial and local elections in 1988. Of the 27.6 million eligible voters, 81 percent cast their ballots. Nearly 149,000 candidates competed for 16,500 elective positions, or an average of about nine candidates for each office on offer.

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