Feature

Why we only need one political party; How lawlessness breeds more lawlessness

What

Russia

Why we only need one political partyVyacheslav NikonovIzvestiyaWhat’s so great about having multiple political parties? asked Vyacheslav Nikonov in the Moscow Izvestiya. Last month, when President Vladimir Putin announced that he would run for the Russian parliament as head of the United Russia party, his opponents started accusing him of every conceivable sin against democracy. United Russia, they pointed out, already has an outright majority in the parliament; with Putin at its head, it would be sure to sweep most of the remaining seats in the December elections. That would make Russia practically as authoritarian as the Soviet Union was under Communist Party dominance. But the critics are being obtuse. The point of a legislature is to pass effective legislation. A legislature dominated by one party can enact its agenda far more easily than one hampered by partisan bickering and gridlock. Remember the chaos of the Yeltsin years, when myriad tiny parties pushed competing platforms? If you compare the lame, compromise bills of the 1990s-era parliament with the clean, efficient bills passed by the current one, the winner is clear. That’s why we need to stay the course. Having Putin as the top candidate is practically the only chance for United Russia to retain the majority it has at present. And that majority is vital to maintaining the continuity of policies which have benefited our country.

South Africa

How lawlessness breeds more lawlessnessMary TomlinsonMail & GuardianA dangerous new predator is stalking South Africa, said Mary Tomlinson in the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian. We can call him feral man. The usual terms— hoodlums, hooligans, gangsters, gunmen, thugs —are too tame for these criminals, who ruthlessly murder those they steal from without hesitation. Many South African criminals are so brutal, so devoid of decency, that they seem beyond civilization. The danger for us all is that we, too, will abandon civilization in order to protect ourselves. Among developed countries, South Africa often ranks No. 1 in murders, rapes, and assaults per capita. In such a hellish situation, many of us have lost faith in the government’s ability to keep us safe. The temptation to resort to vigilantism is strong. For now, we are content to form community watches and join policing forums. But as more people see their neighbors senselessly killed, more will take the law into their own hands. Can anything prevent South Africa from descending into a feral state?

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