By David Van Reybrouck
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Additional resources for Against Elections: The Case for Democracy
After June 2010, Belgium broke all records by going without a government for a year and a half, but during the past few years in Spain, Italy and Greece too, a long and laborious process has been required to form a government after elections. Even in the Netherlands the situation is becoming more difficult. 19 The reasons for this are many and varied, and one reason certainly is that coalition agreements are becoming longer and more detailed. This is a remarkable evolution if one considers that times are more unpredictable than ever and flexible anticipation of acute needs is the order of the day.
Even in the Netherlands the situation is becoming more difficult. 19 The reasons for this are many and varied, and one reason certainly is that coalition agreements are becoming longer and more detailed. This is a remarkable evolution if one considers that times are more unpredictable than ever and flexible anticipation of acute needs is the order of the day. But it seems that so great is the distrust between coalition partners, and so great the fear of being punished by voters, that every small point of policy has to be firmly nailed down.
The leaders promote themselves as direct representatives of the people, as the voice of the underbelly, the embodiment of common sense. They claim that unlike their colleagues they are close to the man or woman in the street, that they say what they think and do what needs to be done, and that the populist politician is at one with the people. That all this is questionable in the extreme we know well enough, because there’s no such thing as one monolithic ‘people’ (every society has its diversity), nor is there anything that could be described as a ‘national gut feeling’, and common sense is the most ideological thing imaginable.
Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David Van Reybrouck