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American politics-maybe not the worst
FED UP with the posturing and politicking of this endless political season? Worn down by incessant analysis of the vocal styles and body language of the presidential candidates? Perplexed by the electoral vote math that might again mean that the winner of the most popular votes is not really the winner?
Maybe it's time to put all those frustrations into context. If you think the United States has the most dysfunctional electoral system in the world, you're wrong--really wrong!
Say a little prayer of thanksgiving that you don't face the impenetrable challenges of the Belgian electoral system. This month, from Brussels to Bastogne, voters streamed to the polls for local elections featuring more than 50,000 candidates--this in a country the size of Maryland, with a population of 11 million.
As The Wall Street Journal noted, you have to be pretty creative to stand out in this maze. One candidate, yearning to represent the urban scene, relied on break dancing, graffiti, and slam poetry to get his message across.
Climb up the political ladder and it gets even more complicated. There are no fewer than six parliaments in the country, one for the nation as a whole, and others to represent regions and language groups (Flemish, French, and German).
Oh, and there's also a king, whose powers are limited but who still plays a significant role in the nation's affairs. By law, his children sit in the federal Senate.
Complicated? Let's just say it's no wonder that Belgium set a world record recently when it took 18 months to form a federal government.
Fed-up voters in Belgium don't have many options. If you fail to cast a ballot, you're breaking the law and must pay
If you think Belgians would be better off sticking to their waffles instead of their parliaments, take a peek to the southeast, where the Balkan nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina offers stiff competition for the title of the most dysfunctional political system.
Divided into two "entities," one with a majority of Bosnians and Croats, the other with a Serb majority, the country has a four-layer approach to government that seems more focused on preserving ethnical rivalries than forging national identity.