The most important thing in democracy

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“The most important thing in democracy is to be re-elected. Look at [Silvio] Berlusconi. He has been re-elected three times.”

This is one of many outrageous statements made by Nicholas Sarkozy at a recent lunch meeting. He is quoted at length in Libération here, but all the best bits are summed up in the Guardian here.

Sadly, Sarkozy’s statement is absolutely true, if you share his view on what democracy is – the system by which you get to the top and stay there.

Sarkozy always wanted to be President. He was open about this during his campaign. Yet his personal motive for gaining power did not put off the majority of voters any more than his unparalleled arrogance or his contempt for common folk.

Examples like Sarkozy and Berlusconi are evidence that the intended function of democracy – to ensure that all citizens have equal access to power – has been superceded by the goal of playing the game of democracy and winning it – year after year after year.

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