Why Electoral Reforms in Pakistan?

Why Electoral Reforms/PR System for Stable Democracy in Pakistan :

There is echo of 2013 in 2018 is in the air again when in 2013 all looser parties claimed that the elections in 2013 were rigged. PTI came forward to launch a protest movement. The Election Commission and the incumbent government failed to address the massive rigging allegations of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek Insaf). The resultant protests created political instability. ultimately the Judicial Commission probed, pointed out massive “irregularities” (legal term used for rigging) but cleared the elections, keeping people guessing. Ultimately after over two and a half year’s lengthy legal procedure case of NA-122 rigging allegations was decided by the Tribunal, which termed Ayaz Sadiq’s election null and void, to hold by elections.

الیکشن 2018 الزامات ، خدشات

الزامات اپنی جگہ مگر ہم کو سکہ رائج الوقت ، ایک پیمانہ پر چلنا ہے ۔۔ 2013 کے کے انتخاب کو انٹرنیشنل مبصرین نے درست کہا ، ناقد کو یہ کہ کر چپ کرا دیا جاتا تھا ۔۔ اب وہی مبصرین کہ رہے ہیں کہ الیکشن 2018 بہتر ہے 2013 سے ۔۔تو ہم نہیں مانتے ۔۔ مانتے ہیں جہاں وہ جہاں جیت گئیے، مگر جہاں  PPP PMLn اور دوسرے ہارے وہ دھاندلی بن گئ۔۔
کہ
جب کمیشن بنا تو سپریم کورٹ کمیشن نے کہا کہ 2013 میں بے ضابطگیاں ہوتی ہیں دھاندلی نہیں   ۔۔ اب یہ وہ الیکشن کمشن ہے جو PPP +PMLn نے مل ملا کر خود بنایا ۔۔۔اب الزام بھی اپنے آپ کو دیں، بھگتیں !!!
مگر یہ جو اب رو رہے ہیں پچھلے دس سال سے حکمران تھے انہوں نے الیکشن سسٹم   کو کیوں ٹھیک نہیں کیا کہ کوئی دھاندلی نہ کر سکے ؟ جواب یہ ہے کہ یہ خود اس سسٹم کے beneficiary ہیں ،اس کو کیوں ٹھیک کریں ؟ اب جو ہارے تو شور ۔۔ مشہور محاورہ ہیں یاد آتا ہے ۔۔  چور مچائے شور

متناسب نمائندگی کا نظام ہوتا تو ہر پارٹی کو ووٹوں کے حساب سے سیٹیں مل جاتیں ، ایک ووٹ بھی ضائیع نہ ہوتا اور ۔۔یہ شور شرابہ شائید نہ ہوتا ۔۔ بیت مغربی ممالک ،ترکی، مصر وغیرہ میں  Proportional Electoral System رائیج ہے

اب بھی پارلیمنٹ میں جا کر پہلا کام الیکٹورل سسٹم کو ٹھیک کریں ۔۔مگر یہ نہیں کریں گے ۔۔ انڈیا سے سبق لیں ان کا سسٹم کاپی کر سکتے ہیں ۔؟؟؟؟

One needs to ponder as to what is wrong with the political system in Pakistan? Two aspects needs immediate attention, firstly the quality of politicians or the elected representatives, secondly the prevalent democratic political system. Both are complimentary hence should be viewed together rather than in isolation.

The spirit of democracy is in representation of the will of people through their elected representatives in parliaments. If the parliament does not include representatives from all the segments of society rather represent minority, it will not be democracy but an illusion.

It is interesting that in allegedly rigged elections held in May 2013, 84 Million voters were eligible to vote, total 45 Million (55 %) cast their votes. PML (N) got around 14.3 Million, 33% votes [in real terms 18% of total registered votes, 82% opposed], 30.5 Million (67%) people voted against PML (N), but as per the existing system it formed government being a party with parliamentary majority. How can it claim to posses the mandate of majority? This problem is further compounded with allegations of massive rigging.

Some percents more of the votes to win the election and exchange these towns for a few towns known to be voting for the opposition – so the government’s party will win both seats.
In principle, this kind of manipulation is just as much electoral fraud as counting some votes twice or having some votes uncounted. The problem is: the existing old borders of a constituency might have been created by the same kind of manipulation by a former government and it is almost impossible to find a really neutral solution.

While the majority election system seems to be straightforward and simple at first glance, it leads to rather complex decisions that are not transparent to voters. This is definitely not a basis to create trust in democracy.

Proportional Representation System [PR]:

With the Proportional Representation System several members of parliament are to be elected per constituency. Basically every political party presents a list of candidates and voters can select a list that is they vote for a political party. Parties are assigned parliamentary seats proportionally to the number of votes they get. The basic idea is that the political parties play a key role in creating political solutions (even in a majority election system). A reasonable number of competing parties will create more and better ideas while just two big parties (resulting from the majority election system) tend to be at a deadlock with inflexible positions.

Analysis:

With several parties there is more choice and voters are more likely to find a party that does represent their major political convictions than would be possible in a two-party system. Supporters of a small party are likely to be represented by at least one member of parliament rooted in their region and sharing their political views and convictions.

The size of constituencies is bigger and there are less possibilities to manipulate their borders than with the majority election system. Usually the borders of the constituencies are fixed by historical considerations (provinces, federal states, counties etc.). As several seats are assigned to parties proportionally to votes even within a constituency, the borders of a constituency are not as relevant to the election result as in a majority election system.

With an increased number of represented parties a majority for a single party becomes less probable. If the government must be based on too many small parties they may disagree when new issues emerge. This may become a danger to political stability and cause anticipated elections absorbing the attention of politicians. If instability gets notorious in a country, the state as a whole will just not be able to perform the tasks it should.

Small parties may also abuse their position to get support for special interests (for examples subsidies for institutions related to the party) in exchange for support for the government policy. This is nothing less than a form of corruption.

In most countries with proportional elections the parties decide who will represent them in parliament. There may be a difference between the party hierarchy deciding on the top places on the party’s list of candidates and the voters preferences. In some countries, there are additional rules to make sure that voters may have some influence which candidates will represent them. The most sophisticated system of this kind has been established in Switzerland: Voters may replace candidates on a party list by other candidates (even from a different party) and favourite candidates may appear twice on a list (while the total number of candidates on a list may not exceed the number of seats, of course). For those who think this is too complicated for them there is always the possibility to use an unchanged party list. This way, a major drawback of the proportional election system is eliminated while preserving the obvious advantages of proportional representation. More than 86 countries have adopted PR or mixed PR with Majority Vote system.

After analysing the popular voting systems in the world and peculiar environment and experience in Pakistan, following may be considered:

The PR system can be applied at all levels.

2. Mix of both voting systems. Majority vote system for lower house and provincial assemblies while, PR [direct vote of people, not through provincial assemblies] for Senate [upper house]. The Senate should be made more powerful, as it would have equal representation of all provinces.

3. There should be through debate to find more options to ensure maximum representation of people, ensuring that minority does not impose itself upon majority.

4. The ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan) has to be independent and powerful, not a toothless body acting as puppet to government in power. The problem of time delays in counting, bogus voting and stealing ballot boxes to physically manipulate results.Restructuring of ECP, with wide powers and freedom is required. ECP being an executive, administrative function may be headed by senior bureaucrat of repute rather than judge. Cue from India may help in this regards.

5. Indian method of using simple user friendly Electronic Voting Machines.

6. The Elected local government institutions [LB, Local Bodies] should be strengthened by giving them more autonomy. The LB elections be conducted regularly along with general elections.

7. Completely neutral caretaker governments with broad consensus not restricted to government and leader of opposition but all major parties.

8. The requirement to elect honest politicians with good record according to article 62, 63 of constitution.

9. Returning Officers (ROs) play major role in conduct of elections. Judicial officers remain under influence of Judiciary, this aspect need to be looked in to. ROs and other staff should be appointed with least interference, people of repute.

10. Mechanism to address the petitions, election disputes be quick and effective.

11. Use of CNIC should remain a check against bogus voting.

12. Allowing overseas Pakistanis to vote, they contribute positively in the economic development through 14 Billion dollars annually.

13. Election to be conducted in phases for administrative convenience within shortest possible timeframe. [Recently In India the general elections were phased over a period of six weeks.

14. Military may be employed to conduct election till neutral civil institutions are established.

15. Use of religion for political gains be discouraged or avoided. Independent may be eliminated, or some alternative arrangements be made.

16. A permanent mechanism be evolved to continuously improve the electoral system involving all stake holders including opposition political parties.

Conclusion:

As long the ‘ruling elite’ holding to power from last 66 years with cosmetic change of faces is not ousted peacefully there will be no PEACE, the EXTREMISM shall continue to flourish. This suits ‘ruling elite’ to remain in power indefinitely. Poor masses suffer while rulers, their children and wealth is safe and well protected here or in Switzerland, Europe and elsewhere.

Despite all the short comings, democracy remains the only choice, military dictatorship is not the answer. The democratic system should be progressive, open to reforms and improvement. This has to be done through and within the existing system by exerting pressure to create awareness among politicians for their own survival, for survival of democracy and country. The politicians tend to behave like dictators; transition to develop democratic culture will take some time, which could be reduced through accountability, awareness and political reforms.
(By Aftab Khan)
Read full research …. http://pakistan-posts.blogspot.com/2011/06/political-reforms-for-stable-democracy.html

What is  PR systems in the broader family of voting systems

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