Monday, March 14, 2016

Nauru: Democratic in name only

Having evicted the opposition from Parliament, the Nauruan government is now trying to stop them from running in this year's elections by hiking candidacy fees 20-fold, to US$1500:

Mr Batsiua said that yesterday the government hiked candidacy fees 20-fold, from $US74 to $US1500, and dramatically increased charges for voters wanting to move electorates.

"Those increases in fees are further attacks on the rights of people to stand as candidates. We believe it is another evidence of this government trying to rig the outcome of future elections in Nauru so they can retain their seats, and they are going out of their way to make it difficult for others to challenge their incumbency."

To put this in context, per-capita GDP on Nauru was ~US$16000 in 2013. So, they're asking for ~10% of your annual income just to run for office. And if you're a public servant (which is where the high-paying jobs are), you'll have to resign three months before the poll, making you that much less able to pay it - and given that the government has unlawfully cut the pensions of those who protested against it, the chances of being re-employed if you are unsuccessful are low.

Its very clear that the Nauruan government is seeking to prevent any democratic challenge to their rule. Like the Soviet Union, they'll have "elections". But they won't mean anything.

This is what Australia's concentration camp has done: destroyed Nauru's democracy and turned it into an authoritarian, undemocratic state. I hope they're happy with themselves.