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Proposal for a “hybrid” system without preferential votes

2 February 2015 07:10 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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There is no doubt that the Proportional Representation (PR) for Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka  has unfortunately resulted in an inevitable struggle for preferential votes, and in-fighting among candidates of the same party (intra-party rivalry),  which has on many occasions  led to criminal violence  and even murder. Another negative feature is that a single political party has often found it difficult  to obtain a stable majority, thereby leading to alliances, which have resulted in large Cabinets.
A significant feature of the electoral system that is being proposed is that it eliminates preferential votes, which has been the bane of electioneering, and it would promote a more balanced representation of the voice of the people.            This proposal would also reduce the occurrence of landslide victories or of a hung Parliament.




According to the 100 day programme of the Government  of President Maithripala Sirisena,  “an all party committee will be set up to put forward proposals to replace the current Preference Vote System and replace it with a Mixed Electoral System that ensures representation of individual Members of Parliamentary Constituencies with mechanisms for proportionality. ”
The Dinesh Gunawardena Committee on Electoral Reforms had earlier (2007) made observations and recommendations, which though worthy of  consideration with suitable modifications, had  unfortunately been shelved.  They are as follows  :




a. A mixed system, a hybrid of the first past the post system and the proportional system as the most suitable electoral system for Parliamentary Elections.
b. Such a system should ensure the establishment of a stable Government and a strong Opposition, equitable representation to numerically minority parties and communities, closer nexus between voters and their elected representatives and the democratic representation of the people’s mandate.
c. The proposed system of elections should give weight to the elimination or minimizing violence, undue expenditure at elections and misappropriation of state resources at the time of elections
d. The system proposed should further be easy to comprehend and relatively easy to administer. Preferential voting system should be eliminated completely.  
Internet: Representative Democracy & Electoral Reforms in Sri Lanka -- Research Department - One Text Initiative [For information, on electoral systems in Germany, France, Japan, etc, refer internet:  Electoral Reforms Sri Lanka]




PROPOSAL: This proposal is being submitted for the consideration and critical comments of the policy makers and the general public, in a simplified and summarised  form.  It is reckoned to be practical, workable, and viable; furthermore,  it could be implemented without  delay. It is recommended that the total number of MPs  be maintained at the existing number - namely 225, consisting of  four categories:  Elected,  Selected,  Nominated, and  5 Bonus seats,  as explained below.   1 Elected MPs: There shall be 160 elected MPs, one being elected  to each of the existing 160 electorates – not several for one district, as at present.   If this number is altered, it would necessitate a Delimitation Commission, which would have to take inevitable decisions of controversial views such as minority representation, etc.; its function is not merely carving out electorates on the basis of population.  Why stir up a hornet’s nest - unnecessary political problems -  at a  time when national unity is the prime concern?




These 160 MPs would be elected on the First Past the Post System (FPP). For this purpose one political party would obviously  nominate only one candidate(for each electorate).  If that candidate wins, it goes without saying that he/she gets into the list of Elected Members.  If the candidate loses, but however qualifies to be the Second Past the Post (SPP), he/she would be placed in a list for selecting MPs on the National PR system (Selected Members), as explained below in section 2.




1.1 The balance number of  65 seats  would be allocated  as follows:    40  Selected ,   20  Nominated,    5 Bonus  – the respective suggested numbers  may be changed .
2. Selected MPs: The noteworthy feature  of this proposal is that it eliminates preferential votes, while preserving proportional representation at a national level.
2.1 Those candidates who come second in the electoral contest - Second Past the Post (SPP) -  would be placed  on a national list, and chosen on the ranking of  an “ACCEPTABILITY SCORE” (ACS), which is deemed to be a fair  measure of the  degree  of acceptability, recognition, and stature as a Parliamentarian, based on a form of indirect  country-wide  PR.    The ACS is calculated as shown below:                         
Number of votes received
       ACS=x100
Total number of registered voters in the electorate
3. Nominated MPs.  The  20  Nominated MPs.(section 1.1 )  would be in proportion to the total number of votes collected  by a  party, from all the electorates in the country; i.e. Parliamentary representation for  the whole country, based on PR.
It is suggested that only those (from a list previously announced)  with expertise / eminence, or  representatives of groups such as minorities, should be included in this list ; not  defeated candidates.     
4. Bonus Seats.  Recommend  5 seats to the party that commands a majority.  This is a proposal to strengthen and promote  stability of governance  without the need to resort  to fragile alliances and unnecessary compromises.                                                                                                                                   
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  • shu Tuesday, 03 February 2015 04:32 PM

    THIS SYSTEM CAN BE EFFECTIVE ONLY AFTER ABOLISHING THE EXERCUTIVE PRESIDENCY?

    Ramzadeen Tuesday, 03 February 2015 05:22 PM

    A system good to be implemented but there is a system to be eliminated soon...


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