The pros and cons, or the advantages and disadvantages, of the First-Past-the-Post (FPP) and the Proportional Representation (PR) systems have been discussed at length for several years.
One of the worst features of the FPP system was seen when one party was able to obtain a very large majority of seats ( in 1977) that enabled them to rule the country for 17 years , though a significant number of the people had not voted for them. Perhaps in an attempt to prevent such a situation, which could possibly backlash on him or his party, and to grant parliamentary representation on the basis of the proportion of votes cast for a party, the then leader introduced the PR system.
However, the form of PR that was then introduced brought out the inevitable struggle and in-fighting within a party for preferential votes. It has also necessitated the alliance of several parties to form a government as no single party, under that system, could obtain a sizable majority. This resulted in very large Cabinets, often with ministers outnumbering the MPs of the alliance.
"MPs who enter parliament through a political party, shall not have the right to cross over to another party; but they would be permitted to join the group of Independent members without the right to join a party later"
The proposal presented below in summary form is a combination of FPP and PR, but eliminating preferential votes and intra-party clashes. The proposal regarding nominated members and bonus seats on the basis of the proportion of votes, would also promote stability of governance
There would be three categories of MPs- the percentages mentioned below are suggestions for consideration
1. 50 % elected on the First- Past- the- Post System (FPP ) For this purpose the present number of electorates would have to be reduced. This would perhaps require the combining of two adjacent electorates. It should be noted that one party would be entitled to nominate only one candidate for an electorate.
2. 35 % would be elected on the basis of an ACCEPTABILITY SCORE” (AS) which is calculated on the basis of the number of votes received by the defeated candidates, as follows:
This score would invariably be below 50%, as the winner on the FPP has collected the majority of votes. This category of election would be an indirect reflection of the PR system to some extent. The 35 % would be according to the Acceptability Score, arranged in order of the % marks obtained by candidates across country. These are candidates who though unable to come first in their electorate, are yet acceptable as Second - Past- the- Post, in a situation where the new electorate is a combination of roughly two electorates of the existing system, which would have elected two members according to the earlier system This proposal would eliminate intra- party rivalry and violence.
3. 15 % of the seats would be for Nominated Members, the number for each party being determined in proportion to the number of votes obtained by each party, from all the electorates in the country. It is further suggested that the party commanding a majority of seats be awarded at least five bonus seats; this is to ensure stability of gover nment. It is suggested that only those who would represent areas of expertise, or certain unrepresented groups should be considered. This would provide an opportunity for the country to obtain the services of eminent people who would not be willing to contest elections. No defeated candidates should be appointed as Nominated Members.
4. Independent MPs
While the election of Independent candidates on the basis of FPP and AS would be the same for the party candidates, the determination of the number of nominated members should be calculated on the basis of the total number of votes cast for independent candidates across the country.
Independent MPs, shall have the right to join any party or to change party affiliations as they wish. However, MPs who enter Parliament through a political party, shall not have the right to cross over to another party; but they would be permitted to join the group of Independent members without the right to join a party later. Similarly, Appointed Members (sec 3) shall not have the right to join a party other than the one that appointed them. However, they should not be denied the right to join the group of Independent members and remain as independent members, without the right to join a party later.
6. Provincial and other Elections
The same principles proposed for Parliamentary elections could be suitably modified If you need any clarifications about this proposal you can email this writer to