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Copyright (c) 2006 by Arash Abizadeh
Arash Abizadeh. "Democratic Elections without Campaigns? Normative Foundations of National Baha'i Elections." World Order 37.1 (2005): 7-49. pdf html
Article Keywords: democratic elections; parties; electoral campaigning; nominations; Baha'i elections; Baha'i faith; Shoghi Effendi
National Baha段 elections, conducted world-wide without nominations, competitive campaigns, or parties, challenge the emerging consensus that the only truly democratic elections are multiparty elections in which each party痴 candidates compete freely for votes. National Baha段 electoral institutions are based on three core values: respect for the inherent dignity of each person, the unity and solidarity of persons collectively, and the justice and fairness of institutions. While liberal political philosophy interprets respect for dignity exclusively in terms of equality and freedom, the Baha段 model interprets dignity to require respect for the equality, freedom, and nobility of each person. The perfectionist focus on nobility helps explain the distinct features of national Baha段 elections and, in particular, the ban on campaigning. In light of ongoing concerns about the character of the electoral process in actually existing democracies, further research into Baha段 elections and their philosophical foundations provides a promising basis for rethinking widely held liberal assumptions about how democratic elections must be conducted.
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