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COMMENT | Democratic reality is preferring what you dislike over what you despise

COMMENT | The truest statements of the nature of democratic politics are, one, that it is the art of compromise; and, two, that political choice often entails preferring the undesirable over the intolerable.

Germany’s Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was the formulator of the first maxim, and Edmund Burke, the Irish-born British parliamentarian, the author of the second.

Would-be formators of the federal government, following the stalemate of GE15, ought to take a leaf from Bismarck and a page from Burke.

Pakatan Harapan, winner of the highest number of seats, would find the PAS component of the second highest procurer of GE15 seats, Perikatan Nasional, intolerable. And vice-versa.

By comparison, Harapan would find BN merely undesirable as a federal government partner: the differences between the two coalitions are not visceral, nor fundamental.

The differences are amenable to compromise as when BN...

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