Some Alternative Proposals on Electoral Reform (Part I)

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Some Alternative Proposals on Electoral Reform (Part I)

Post by Lotus on Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:52 am

LOTUS no.81

Political and Social Commentary

Monday 16th of June, 2008

Some Alternative Proposals on Electoral Reform (Part I)

In view of the forthcoming discussions between the major political parties and civil society on the subject of electoral reform, this newsletter will also be contributing some suggestions with respect to several key aspects.

(1) An Alternative to Proportional Representation

Most of the emphasis on the reform of the actual electoral procedure has concentrated on the introduction of a mixed system of First Past the Post (FPTP) and Proportional Representation (PR).

Arguments used in favour of this formula are, amongst others:

(a) A fairer proportion of seats allocated to parties following the popular vote, in particular where a 60-0 is involved;

(b) An opportunity to improve gender inequalities by including more women on the Party list.

Arguments against this system, however, are not mentioned too often, namely:

(a) Weakening of the Parliamentary majority, possibly leading to a change in the result of the poll (as was the case in Rodrigues);

(b) No guarantees of a fair representation of either women or minorities (or even the majority);

(c) Creation of two categories of elected members, the first having to look after a constituency, whereas the second, on a Party list, not having to do so;

(d) Inclusion of unpopular politicians on the Party list.

Let alone the recent case of Rodrigues, Proportional Representation has led to chaos in other democracies such as Italy and Israel. An alternative to a mixed system could be the creation of 60 single member (smaller) constituencies, elected by First Past The Post in two rounds, at a fortnightly interval, as in the French elections.

Smaller constituencies encourage the emergence of strong popular local candidates, irrespective of community or gender (as in the 1959 & 1963 elections, for example), and voting in two rounds eliminates frivolous or extremist candidates, also allowing the electorate a time of reflection between rounds, making a 60-0 much more unlikely.

Sanjit Teelock

PROUD TO BE MAURITIAN (1): Living in one of the oldest established democracies in the world!

DISCLAIMER: The ideas expressed in this newsletter are those of the author, solely. The comments included in this newsletter may sometimes be viewed as subjective rather than objective. You are welcome to respond by email or by posting on a forum. Your criticism will be appreciated.

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