ARF Thoughts on Local Elections

". . . Despite the hardships and reasonable disappointmen’s–people do realize their political will is crucial in improving their lives."

Though the final results of local government elections held on October 20 are not in–some preliminary conclusions can already be made.

First–it is obvious that there were considerably less irregularities during these elections; at least these irregularities were not of the scale and type of those in the 1999 elections. This–of course–is progress and there is hope that the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections will be conducted in a better atmosphere.

Second–as it was widely expected–a great number of neighborhood mob-style "leaders," the wealthy and those supported by the authorities–won in most constituencies. The fact that most political parties did not actively participate in the elections–whatever their reasons–contributed to the outcome of the elections. Surprisingly–these parties continuously declare the importance of the role political parties.

Third–ARF representatives displayed great success. Many ARF members who previously held various local government offices–won again. This victory indicates that people approve of their activities. Of course–there were also losses. However–ARF members lost not because of their platforms but because their rivals exploited big money and the support of authorities.

Finally–the high rate of voter participation is remarkable–a surprise for all–including political parties. This means that despite the hardship and reasonable disappointmen’s–people do realize their political will is crucial in improving their lives. And this is quite essential in connection with upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. The country’s leadership and the political parties should do their best to maintain this atmosphere in order to establish a real democratic and civil society.


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