Friday Jun. 18, 2004, Philippines

Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila

'Slowest in the world,' says
visiting Austrian professor

Posted: 0:27 AM (Manila Time) | Jun. 18, 2004
By Carlito Pablo
Inquirer News Service

ONLY in the Philippines.

The canvassing of the May 10 presidential and vice presidential elections has struck a visiting Austrian professor as the slowest in the world.

Dr. Hans Kochler of the University of Innsbruck was interviewed Thursday at the gallery of the House of Representatives where he and 10 graduate students were observing the canvassing process on the floor.

"Compared to those elections which I have observed, this process is extremely slow," Kochler said. "I guess it's the slowest in the world."

Kochler, a political science and philosophy of law professor with special interests in electoral processes, said that the canvassing "should not take much time."

"That is necessary for the stability of the country and for the stability of the entire region, Southeast Asia," Kochler said.

He cited the example of Austria where they have manual elections like in the Philippines.

He said that as soon as polling precincts were closed and the counting started, a statistical sample was immediately taken and the final results were projected accurately.

"According to modern statistical methods, one can calculate results by a margin of one or 2 percent as soon as one has samples from certain precincts," he said. "This is being done in other countries, particularly in Europe."

Hence in Austria, which holds separate elections for President and members of the Parliament, the citizenry there know of the results by nightfall after the precincts close in the afternoon, according to Kochler.

Speaking about his impressions on Philippine elections, Kochler said: "I am a little bit surprised that it is so complicated to collect the results and that there are so many doubts on the precinct results."

"We just hope that there will be an outcome that is considered reasonable and correct by all the political parties," Kochler said.