La ceremonia democrática de la India

NUEVA DELHI – La semana pasada, la Comisión Electoral independiente de la India anunció las fechas de la próxima elección general. El mayor ejercicio en el mundo de la franquicia democrática tendrá lugar durante la impresionante cantidad de 37 días, se realizará en 9 «fases», algunas con una semana entre sí, entre el 7 abril y el 12 de mayo. Aproximadamente 814 millones de personas estarán en condiciones de elegir, por 16.° vez, a un nuevo parlamento y gobierno, emitiendo sus votos en más de 930 000 sitios de votación, después de haber optado entre unos 15 000 candidatos de más de 500 partidos políticos.

La democracia, por supuesto, es un proceso y no un evento. Pero las elecciones en la India –con sus gigantescos desafíos de logística y seguridad, su miríada de lenguajes, y candidatos identificados no solo por sus nombres sino por símbolos electorales para ayudar a los votantes analfabetos– son eventos que generan admiración cada vez que tienen lugar.

Es necesario un bosque de tamaño considerable para producir suficiente papel para los afiches, los padrones electorales y las boletas. Y los miles de máquinas electrónicas para votar fabricadas en la India pueden sobrevivir al calor, el polvo y los cortes de energía, y mantener sus resultados en forma segura hasta que se puedan contar los votos, a veces semanas más tarde. (Como no se cuentan los votos hasta que se hayan emitido todos, el día del recuento es el 16 de mayo). Además, cada elección produce al menos una historia de funcionarios que desafían la nieve o la jungla para garantizar el registro de las preferencias de los votantes en sitios remotos.

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