Saturday, June 02, 2007

Akbayan's debacle at the polls

There's a great possibility that when the tallying of votes is done, Akbayan will return to the House of Representatives with only one representative --Risa Hontiveros-Baracquel. This is a great diminution of force for Akbayan because they had three representatives in the 13th Congress, and also a big letdown for some people who would have loved to see UP Professor Walden Bello, the party's second nominee, plying the halls of the Lower House.

The national tally sheet as of June 1 shows that Akbayan, at 361,639 votes, has barely surpassed the 2 % threshold to gain a single seat at the House. During the last elections, their votes hovered somewhere in the 800,000. An official postmortem, I think, is yet to be done by Akbayan insiders to explain this unfortunate debacle at the polls. It could be, as one Akbayan member hinted, partially a result of vote shaving, or perhaps a natural consequence of more parties contesting the party-list system and eating at that portion of the electorate that previously went for Akbayan.

2 comments:

Bonn Juego said...

This is sad news.... I'm reserving my comment on this after the final results.

Progressive groups seem to be suffering from 'diminishing returns' - to use an economics' term - as the party-list system becomes popular to voters and enlarges the pool of participating parties. They are appearing much more marginalised now at the very heart of the formal institution they have struggled to create within the interstices of elite rule. This development is an assault to the process of social change we long for. And this must also be a wake-up call to proponents of alternative futures in the Philippines to re-work their strategies based on the 'realpolitik' of our society, that is the transformative power of reality.

Ronnel said...

Bonn,

yes, apparently there's that diminishing returns perspective on this. The top vote-getter party for example is no longer Bayan, a leftist organization, but Buhay, a party from the right of the political spectrum.

The parties in the partiy-list system that are identified with marginalized causes are now marginalized with the entry of parties more identified with mainstream pilitical forces such as Bro. Mike Velarde's Buhay. This is sad because the party-list system should have been reserved for marginalized interests not commonly articulated.

Also, it is sad that when the traditional political forces enter the party-list picture, the progressive forces are not strong enough to hack it out.