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Recall & Repeat
It’s more like freeway. Come & go
30/04/2009

Recall of candidates, be it elected or appointed, often creates mayhem, controversies and chaos among the populace particularly in a democratic setup. Norms and propriety notwithstanding, it continues unabated even in the best of democracies to honour the wishes of the people, and also to often settle personal score and vendetta. One cannot deny the pedigree of United States as a pioneer of the democratic system. Unlike in many developing nations, the recall in the US is a rarity (not permissible in most of the states) or if at all, is done through ballot papers of the electorate. Gray Davis, the Governor of California was unseated by popular mandate and the same elected Arnold Schwarzenegger for the job in 2003. Gray Davis was ousted by a margin of 55.4% to 44.6%. On the other hand, a court in Michigan dismissed a petition to sack a Republican candidate Walberg on the ground that laws of the state does not permit to axe an elected member of Congress. However, back home recall of candidates is rarely done through popular consent, but by unilateral decision of the party and the government. Most conspicuous example of that was the unceremonious recall of Dayanidhi Maran by the party provost M Karunanidhi, stripping him of his ministerial designation. In another instance of party’s influence over its appointed representatives is the recall of Somenath Chatterjee from his Speaker’s post when the Left withdrew support from UPA Government.

An unprecedented move was taken in National Electoral Council of Venezuela, which accepted the demand of recalling 28 governors, mayors and congressmen in 2007. Recall is and has always been there to weed out corruption. It is all the more relevant in developing nations, where corruption is high with substandard performance level. Having said that it is also more common in underdeveloped economies to use it as a weapon to achieve ones own political ambitions and personal one up-manship.

By:- Sayan Ghosh
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