What the American Left dreams of
Posted by aogThursday, 13 January 2005 at 12:58 TrackBack Ping URL

Yes, I’m entire weeks behind. Now that I’m once again doing actual work, I find I have less time and energy for weblogging.

Anyway, I was thinking about what Joe Gandelman said concerning a possible referendum in the Basque region of Spain. It’s worth reading but the essential point (quoted from Barcepundit) is

you cannot call free an election about an issue whose opponents must have bodyguards 24/7 because they can be gunned down any minute as it has happened is several hundred times (and I mean all opponents with even minor political roles; for example, a councilwoman for the Socialist party who is a janitor in the night shift must work accompanied by armed bodyguards!)

I certainly agree and I think this is a point that’s very often missed in discussion of elections for the Palestinians. Arafat and now Abbas have never had to rig the actual elections because they’ve taken care of the opposition beforehand. So I expected the voting itself to turn to have been reasonably open and fair. However, it’s a very small step when most of the politicians have no hesitation to send out goon squads to eliminate potential opposition candidates.