21 Pages

Introduction: Political elections as popular culture

By the end of the twentieth century, the hegemony of ‘democracy’ as the only ‘legitimate’ form of government in the contemporary world had allowed the United States of America to use the ‘promotion’ of democracy as its foreign policy and justified its use of military force in removing ‘dictators’, as in the case of its attack on Iraq in 2002. Fundamental to a ‘democracy’ is the use of general elections as the means to select citizen representatives who will constitute the government. Elections held at periodic intervals to change or to re-elect the incumbent government for another term in office is, therefore, presumed to be the means by which the masses ‘influence the choice of a nation’s governors’ and, as such is ‘the central institution of popular participation in government’ (Rose 1980: 1). Countries that stubbornly refused to maintain some semblance of electoral representative politics, such as the military state of Myanmar and the one-person-totalitarian-cult state of North Korea, are treated contemptuously as ‘pariah’ states by all the other nations.