CaFFE demands immediate electoral reforms
Posted on March 12th, 2015

Keerthi Tennakoon  Executive Director/CaFFE   

Electoral reforms are much discussed and are in the agenda of the political parties these days. There is an engagement between political parties, civil society organizations and election officials about the feasibility of such reforms and the time it would take to come up and implement the electoral reforms.

 President Sirisena’s manifesto

In his election manifesto, President Sirisena said that ‘Another serious problem that our Sri Lanka Freedom Party led government failed to address during the last twenty years is the change of the electoral system. The existing electoral system is a main spring encouraging corruption and violence. Candidates have to spend a colossal sum of money due to the preferential system. I will change this completely. It will guarantee the abolition of the preferential system and ensure that every electorate will have a Member of Parliament of its own. The new electoral system will be a combination of the firstpast-the post system and the proportional representation of defeated candidates. Since the total composition of Parliament would not change by this proposal I would be able to get the agreement of all political parties represented in Parliament. Further, wastage and clashes could be minimised since electoral campaigns would be limited to a single electorate only.’

CaFFE’s proposals

Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has always been concerned with electoral reforms and has been pushing for a change in political culture, to ensure that basic tenets of democracy are respected. After the Presidential Election on January 8 CaFFE commenced a dialogue with civil society organizations, trade unions, intellectuals, electoral administrators and other stakeholders on electoral reforms.

The initial draft were presented at ‘Nagarodaya’ on March 2 by Prof. Rohan Samarajiva and Dr. Sujata Gamage.

Media has reported that political party leaders agreed to a suggestion made by the Commissioner of Elections to reform the system so that 134 MPs are appointed for newly delimited electorates, 75 MPs through PR system and another 25 through the National List.This can be done in less than 3 months as the country has the technical tools and experts to handle the technical aspect of the reforms, i.e. delimitation, in 90 days.

Thus a base document on electoral reforms was presented at a discussion held at Foundation Institute yesterday (March 11th) where Dr. Sujata Gamage, Professor Rohan Samarajiva,  Mr. H.G. Dharmadasa, Former Additional Commissioner of Elections and Former Director General of Registration of Persons and Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, Executive Director of CaFFE spoke about various aspects of electoral reforms.

In their presentation titled ‘Deeper analysis of shortlist of options and the details of how revised election process will work’, Dr. Sujata Gamage and Professor Rohan Samarajiva discussed three basic principles on which the new reforms can be based on.

CaFFE believes that there are three aspects of electoral reforms

–          Political Aspect – Amending the constitution and an outline of what reforms should be.

–          Technical Aspect (the Delimitation Process) – once amendment is done, a delimitation commission needs to be appointed, to figure out the size of electorates, voters per electorate, what should be electorates with multiple seats or other forms of proportional arrangements. This can be done in less than 90 days, thus if there is a political will amending the electoral process would not be difficult.

–          When to implement the new electoral system

CaFFE is of the view that electoral reforms have to be completed and the delimitation process initiated within the 100-days. When to hold the election is a political decision, which has to be separated from the issue of electoral reforms.

If the leaders are in a hurry to hold an election, they can agree about the reforms (constitutional amendment) but hold the election before delimitation is completed. Thus they can hold the next general election under the existing system and use the new system for subsequent elections.

As an organization that monitors the 100 days programme we see that the desire among politicians regarding the electoral reforms is low. If there is political will, the current government had adequate time to carry out the reforms within the 100 days. That’s why we started this initiative to create a discussion on electoral reforms and attached herewith is the base document we have prepared based on our research and discussion.

Please note that this document may be subject to change as our dialogue continues.

(The attached documents on data analysis were done by Dr. Sujata Gamage and Professor Rohan Samarajiva)

 Keerthi Tennakoon

Executive Director/CaFFE

Electoral reforms:  Implementable options (revised to reflect reported decisions from 10 March 2015 All-Party Meeting)

Using a comparative analysis of three variants of the recommendation of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) chaired by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardene by Professor Rohan Samarajiva & Dr Sujata Gamage based on simulations of the results of the past four General Elections had they had been conducted using these variants

Contents

Summary of options and assessment. 2

Option 0: Smaller increase in size of legislature, fairer to some small parties, but, delimitation is challenging  3

Option 1: Smaller increase in size of legislature, fairer to small parties, but, delimitation is challenging. 4

Option 2: Large increase in size of legislature, fairer to smaller parties, but, delimitation less challenging. 4

Option 3: Maintain size of legislature, small parties lose seats, but, delimitation is easy. 5

Annex 1:  Criteria for assessment. 6

Annex 2:  Procedure for electing FPP and PR MPs. 7

Rationale. 7

Annex 3:  Procedure for appointing National-List MPs. 8

Annex 4:  Additional measures to ensure adequate women’s representation. 9

Annex 5: Justifications for increasing the number of MPs in Options 1 and 2. 10

Summary of options and assessment

Option 0 is what appears to have been agreed at the all-party meeting in Parliament on 10 March 2015.  Here 125 MPs (plus 9 additional with specific conditions) are elected first-past-the-post (FPP) in 134 newly delimited electorates; 75 MPs are elected through PR applied to remainder votes at the district level; and 25 are appointed through the National List as at present, giving a total of 234 MPs in Parliament.  This solution results in 57 percent of the seats in Parliament being decided by the FPP method; 32 percent by remainder-based PR and approximately 11 percent by PR applied to total votes gained.  This yields a 57:33 (FPP: PR) ratio.

Option 1 is closest to the PSC recommendation, with some adjustments to accommodate small-party and other concerns.  140 MPs are elected first-past-the-post (FPP) in 140 newly delimited electorates; 70 MPs are elected through PR applied to remainder votes at the district level; and 25 are appointed through the National List as at present, giving a total of 235 MPs in Parliament.  This solution results in 60 percent of the seats in Parliament being decided by the FPP method; 30 percent by remainder-based PR and approximately 10 percent by PR applied to total votes gained.  This yields a 60:40 (FPP: PR) ratio.

Option 2 is a variation of the PSC recommendation which is easier to implement in terms of delimitation: 150 MPs are elected FPP in 150 newly delimited electorates; 75 MPs are elected through PR applied to remainder votes at the district level; and 25 are appointed through the National List as at present, giving a total of 250 MPs in Parliament.  This solution also yields 60 percent FPP seats and 30 percent remainder-based PR seats.  The National List seats (10 percent) are decided by PR applied to total votes gained.  This yields a 60:40 (FPP: PR) ratio.

Option 3, originally proposed by the Pivithuru Hetak (PH) organization, deviates from the 2:1 ratio between FPP and remainder PR seats in order to maintain the size of Parliament at the present 225:  160 MPs are elected FPP in 160 newly delimited electorates; 50 MPs are elected through PR applied to remainder votes at the district level; and 15 are appointed through the National List as at present, giving a total of 225 MPs in Parliament.  This solution results in 71 percent of the seats in Parliament being decided by the FPP method; 22 percent by remainder-based PR and approximately seven percent by PR applied to total votes gained.  This yields a 70:30 (FPP: PR) ratio.

The options are assessed against criteria derived from the manifesto of the Common Candidate and good practice (see Annex 1).  High performance against a criterion is given a score of 3.  Medium performance is given 2 and low given 1.  Negative performance is shown by 0 and -1.  The simple tabulation below give equal weight to each of the criteria.  This can be changed.  Readers are invited to do their own scoring.  The simulations of what the results would be when the three variants of the PSC recommendation are applied to the results of the 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2010 General Elections are given as a separate Attachment 1 (Simulation of Three FPP+RP+NL scenarios).  Attachment 2 (Distribution of FPP and PR seats across 22 electoral districts) may also be useful.

Option 0 (134/75/25) Option 1 (140/70/25) Option 2 (150/75/25) Option 3 (160/50/15)
Preferential system eliminated 3 3 3 3
Every electorate has an MP 2 2 2 3
Combination of FPP and PR 3 3 3 2
Total composition of Parliament unchanged 0 0 -1 3
Campaigns limited to single electorates 3 3 3 3
Defeated candidates accommodated under PR 3 3 3 3
Small parties with geographical strongholds gain seats more or less proportional to votes 3 3 3 2
Small parties without geographical strongholds gain seats more or less proportional to votes -1 2 2 -1
Stable governments can be formed 1 3 2 3
Women’s representation is improved 2 2 2 -1
Professionals’ representation is improved 2 2 2 -1
Delimitation feasible within short period 1 1 2 3
Aggregate score 22 27 26 22

 

Options 1 and 2 score almost the same.  Option 1 increases the size of Parliament by four percent, but is likely to generate opposition from political parties because the number of electorates is reduced to 140.  Option 2 will generate less political friction, but expands the size of Parliament by 10 percent.  Special measures such as a five-seat reservation for small parties can keep the small parties close to where they are under the present PR system.  Option 3 holds the size of Parliament constant but harms small parties, especially those without geographical strongholds.  It is the easiest in terms of managing political-party opposition to delimitation, but is likely to be opposed by small parties.  With relatively small electorates, it brings representatives closer to the voters.

Option 0 will require adjustments to the formula for assigning the five National List seats so that the small parties without geographical strongholds will be given representation commensurate with the votes they receive.  There will have to be extensive use of multi-member electorates.  Single parties will face more challenges in forming governments under this variant.

Option 0: Smaller increase in size of legislature, fairer to some small parties, but, delimitation is challenging

This is what appears to have been agreed at the all-party meeting in Parliament on 10 March 2015.  Here 125 MPs (plus 9 additional with specific conditions) are elected first-past-the-post (FPP) in 134 newly delimited electorates; 75 MPs are elected through PR applied to remainder votes at the district level; and 25 are appointed through the National List as at present, giving a total of 234 MPs in Parliament.  This solution results in 57 percent of the seats in Parliament being decided by the FPP method; 32 percent by remainder-based PR and approximately 11 percent by PR applied to total votes gained.  This yields a 57:33 (FPP: PR) ratio.

The delimitation exercise will be challenging.  It will have to be managed through the judicious use of multi-member electorates.  Even in the period before 1977, delimitation commissions used this instrument when faced with heterogeneous population distributions such as those found in Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya and Colombo Central.  It is proposed that even greater reliance be placed on multi-member electorates in the 2015 delimitation, for example by combining Ambalangoda and Balapitiya into one multi-member electorate.

Before the general rule regarding the assignment of PR seats based on the remainder is applied at the district level (see Annex 2), the runners up (usually one) from the large and heterogeneous multi-member electorates would be assigned the PR seats.  Even in the smallest electoral districts (e.g., Trincomalee with 256,852 electors and Vanni with 253,058) seats are available for such assignment.

Single-party governments with small majorities likely to emerge from the application of this variant of the PSC solution, except in tight elections such as 2004 (a majority of two seats in 2000; a majority of three in 2001; three short of a majority in 2004; and a majority of 17 in 2010).  The National-List allocation is smaller than what exists now (25 versus 29; and even smaller as a percentage of the total) but still not too small to ensure adequate representation of small parties (who will be given five out of the 25 seats), women and professionals (see Annex 3 for proposed rules for appointing persons to the National List). However, women’s representation is so low that additional measures will be required (Annex 4).

All the criteria specified in the Common Candidate manifesto are satisfied, except for the increase in the total number of MPs from 225 to 234 (see justification in Annex 5).  Option 0 will require adjustments to the formula for assigning the five National List seats so that the small parties without geographical strongholds will be given representation commensurate with the votes they receive.  There will have to be extensive use of multi-member electorates.  Single parties will face more challenges in forming governments under this variant.

Option 1: Smaller increase in size of legislature, fairer to small parties, but, delimitation is challenging

This solution that is closest to the PSC recommendation, with some adjustments to accommodate small-party and other concerns, is: 140 MPs elected first-past-the-post (FPP) in 140 newly delimited electorates; 70 MPs elected through PR applied to remainder votes at the district level; and 25 appointed through the National List as at present, giving a total of 235 MPs in Parliament.  This solution results in 60 percent of the seats in Parliament being decided by the FPP method; 30 percent by remainder-based PR and approximately 10 percent by PR applied to total votes gained.  This yields a 60:40 (FPP: PR) ratio.

The delimitation exercise will be challenging, but can be managed through the judicious use of multi-member electorates as in Option 0.

Before the general rule regarding the assignment of PR seats based on the remainder is applied at the district level (see Annex 2), the runners up (usually one) from the large and heterogeneous multi-member electorates would be assigned the PR seats.

Single-party governments are likely to emerge from the application of the PSC solution, (a majority of six seats in 2000; a majority of six in 2001; a majority of four in 2004; and a majority of 16 in 2010).  The National-List allocation is smaller than what exists now (25 versus 29; and even smaller as a percentage of the total) but still not too small to ensure adequate representation of small parties (who will be given the five out of the 25 seats), women and professionals (see Annex 3 for proposed rules for appointing persons to the National List). However, women’s representation is so low that additional measures will be required (Annex 4).

All the criteria specified in the Common Candidate manifesto are satisfied, except for the increase in the total number of MPs from 225 to 235 (see justification in Annex 5).  The small parties will continue to be represented in Parliament, more or less in line with the proportion of votes they garner.

Option 2: Large increase in size of legislature, fairer to smaller parties, but, delimitation less challenging

This is a variation of the PSC recommendation which is easier to implement in terms of delimitation: 150 MPs elected FPP in 150 newly delimited electorates; 75 MPs elected through PR applied to remainder votes at the district level; and 25 appointed through the National List as at present, giving a total of 250 MPs in Parliament.  This solution also yields 60 percent FPP seats and 30 percent remainder-based PR seats.  The National List seats (10 percent) are decided by PR applied to total votes gained.  This yields a 60:40 (FPP: PR) ratio.

The delimitation task is less challenging but the commission may still have to use the instrument of multi-member electorates though they are likely to be fewer in number than under Option 1.

The likelihood of single-party governments is good, though there is no majority in 2004 (a majority of four seats in 2000; a majority of five in 2001; a tie in 2004; and a majority of 26 in 2010).  The National-List allocation is much smaller than what exists at present in absolute and percentage terms, and is barely adequate.

All the criteria specified in the Common Candidate manifesto are satisfied, except for the increase in the total number of MPs from 225 to 250.  The small parties will continue to be represented in Parliament, more or less in line with the proportion of votes they garner.

Option 3: Maintain size of legislature, small parties lose seats, but, delimitation is easy

This solution, originally proposed by the Pivithuru Hetak (PH) organization, deviates from the 2:1 ratio between FPP and remainder PR seats in order to maintain the size of Parliament at the present 225:  160 MPs are elected FPP in 160 newly delimited electorates; 50 MPs are elected through PR applied to remainder votes at the district level; and 15 are appointed through the National List as at present, giving a total of 225 MPs in Parliament.  This solution results in 71 percent of the seats in Parliament being decided by the FPP method; 22 percent by remainder-based PR and approximately seven percent by PR applied to total votes gained.  This yields a 70:30 (FPP: PR) ratio.

The delimitation exercise is still necessary because the current polling divisions cannot be automatically converted to electorates.  But 160 FPP seats will cause minimal unhappiness among political parties because no party organizers will be made redundant.

Single-party governments with larger majorities are likely to emerge from the application of the PH solution (a majority of 12 seats in 2000; a majority of 14 in 2001; a majority of eight in 2004; and a majority of 37 in 2010).  The increase in the FPP component is disadvantageous to small parties, especially those without geographical strongholds where they can win FPP seats.   Their losses (e.g., nine for the JVP in 2001; five for the JHU in 2004) are difficult to compensate.

The National-List allocation is less than half of what exists now (15 versus 29, but further reduced by the small-party allocation of five seats), making for poor to non-existent representation of women and professionals.

Annex 1:  Criteria for assessment

It is necessary to develop a solution for electoral reform that will meet the criteria set out in the manifesto and is implementable within the time frame in order to utilize the unique opportunity that has been created by the stated support of all the political parties for the 100-day program put forward by the Common Candidate.

The Common Candidate’s Manifesto stated that the existing electoral system is a mainspring of corruption and violence.  Candidates have to spend a colossal sum of money due to the preferential system.  I will change this completely.  I guarantee the abolition of the preferential system and will ensure that every electorate will have a Member of Parliament of its own.  The new electoral system will be a combination of the first-past-the post system and the proportional representation of defeated candidates.  Since the total composition of Parliament would not change by this proposal, I would be able to get the agreement of all political parties represented in Parliament for the change.  Further, wastage and clashes could be minimized since electoral campaigns would be limited to single electorates.”

The increased cost of campaigning caused by large electorates and the preferential voting system, not the proportional representation (PR) system itself, are the primary justifications for reform.  The Manifesto proposes a variation of the hybrid system combining first-past-the-post (FPP) and PR as recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) chaired by Hon Dinesh Gunawardene that deliberated electoral reforms from 2003.  It specifically mentions defeated candidates” being elected through PR.  It is possible to develop satisfactory and practical solutions that apply PR to remainder votes as worked out by the PSC.

Small political parties must be given a fair opportunity in any reform.  Sri Lanka has small parties with geographical strongholds such as the TNA/ITAK and those whose support is geographically spread out such as the JVP.

Concern has also been expressed about the stability of the governments that can be formed, especially in light of the weakening of the executive presidency.  This is an important consideration.  But if too much weight is given to this, the small parties and their constituencies may be permanently marginalized.  So a balance must be achieved.

A successful solution would also include measures to remedy Sri Lanka’s woeful under-performance regarding women’s representation in Parliament.  A solution that does not include ways to accommodate participation by professionals cannot be complete.

The polling divisions inherited from 1977 cannot simply be converted to electorates.  The country has changed too much.  Thus, delimitation is essential.  Delimitation of electorates can be assisted by digital maps and computer simulations, tools unavailable to delimitation commissions of the past.  However, the process must be one that can be completed within the available time and will be acceptable to most, if not all, stakeholders.  The major political parties have organizers” in place for the 160 polling divisions and there may be certain emotional attachments to these historical artifacts, at least among older citizens.  Thus, radical reductions of the number of electorates to, say, 100 or 125 from the 160 that existed in 1978 may not be realistic even if theoretically optimal.

The merits and demerits of the different solutions may be assessed not through speculation, but through the use of evidence generated by simulating the results of the past four elections (2000, 2001, 2004 and 2010) according to different variants of the PSC recommendation.

Annex 2:  Procedure for electing FPP and PR MPs

  1. Each party or group has to submit a list for at least one electoral district. The list = Designated candidates for each electorate in the district + number of additional persons that is greater than the number of PR MP seats in the District by one.  In a hypothetical electoral district with 3 FPP and 2 PR seats, each party/group would be required to nominate one person each for each electorate (3) and 2+1 in the additional person’s list, giving a total of six names.
  2. Electors cast one vote only for a FPP candidate (candidate name and party symbol).
  3. The FPP candidate who gains a plurality of votes is elected as a FPP MP.
  4. The votes of the winners and of parties/groups which obtained less than 5% of the total in an electoral district are excluded, yielding a remainder vote total for the district.
  5. The PR MP seats are allotted to different parties/groups based on their share of the district remainder vote total.
  6. In the case of a multi-member electorate, the runner up (one or two as the case may be) will be assigned the first of the runner-up’s Party’s PR-MP seats.
  7. The FPP candidates from a party who obtained the highest percentage of the votes of his/her electorate will be assigned the remaining PR-MP positions earned by the party/group in the order of percentage, subject to the percentage being greater than 25%. (An alternative method is being explored).
  8. Any remaining PR-MP seats will be assigned to persons from the additional-persons’ list in the order given by the secretary of the Party/Group.
  9. If a FPP candidate is unable to continue his/her candidature, he/she may be substituted by a person from the submitted additional-persons’ list for good reasons acceptable to the Commissioner of Elections. Such person shall be nominated by the secretary of the party/group.
  10. In the event a FPP MP vacates his/her position by reason of death, resignation or disqualification, the Commissioner of Elections shall conduct a by-election to fill the vacancy. Only steps 1-3 above shall apply, except for the requirement that a list for the entire electoral district has to be submitted.
  11. In the event a PR MP vacates his/her position by reason of death, resignation or disqualification, the Commissioner of Elections shall receive a nomination from among the unelected list candidates from the secretary of the party of the PR MP who vacated the seat and declare such person duly elected.

Rationale

  1. Especially in small electoral districts (e.g., Moneragala, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Vanni), it will not be possible to fill vacancies that may arise from among unelected candidates, making an additional-persons’ list necessary.
  2. An additional-persons’ list where the only possible reward is appointment to Parliament in the rare instance of a PR MP position being vacated is highly unattractive and is unlikely to provide sufficient motivation.
  3. Appointing as PR MPs persons who failed to gain a credible proportion of votes as FPP candidates in the electorate contest demeans the process.
  4. The additional persons will be motivated to help increase the votes of their candidates throughout the electoral district; no incentives are created to engage in internecine violence. This is a good way for parties to introduce future candidates to the voters.
  5. It will be necessary to define and enforce campaign expense limits for those on the other persons’ list as well.

Annex 3:  Procedure for appointing National-List MPs

  1. At the time of receiving nominations for electoral districts, the Commissioner of Elections shall also receive nominations for the National List from all parties and groups submitting nominations for more than two districts.
  2. The national-list nomination list shall contain at least one-third women.
  3. The professional qualifications of the National List nominees and a justification of at least 500 words for their inclusion shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Elections along with the nomination. The Commissioner shall, upon accepting the nominations, cause the above information to be published on the website of the Department of Elections.
  4. The first five seats of the National List allocation shall be given to small parties, defined as those that obtained more than 5% and less than 15% of the national vote.
  5. Upon the conclusion of the counting of votes, the votes of parties obtaining less than 5% of the vote in any electoral district will be excluded and the remaining votes for the entire country totaled up to yield the relevant number of votes to apportion the remaining 20 National-List seats.
  6. The proportions shall be calculated and seats apportioned in a manner that will yield a total of 20 seats.
  7. The secretary of any party/group that has been apportioned seats shall submit a ranked list of persons from among the previously submitted National List, with every third name being that of a woman.

Annex 4:  Additional measures to ensure adequate women’s representation

The requirement that every third appointment from the national list should be that of a woman does not remedy women’s representation issues sufficiently.  True participation of women in politics requires opportunities for representation directly through the hustings.  A rotating reservation of seats as women’s only” is the only effective means of bringing women into the political process in traditional societies such as ours.  One third of wards in Panchayats or village councils in India have been reserved for women since 1992.  A pending bill in India reserves one-third of the electorates in national or state elections for women.

Noting the difficulties of adjustments in moving from a PR system to an electorate system, it is proposed that a more gradual approach to reservations be followed:

  1. Mandate a reservation of 10% of the electorates for women in the first instance with the provision that the Commissioner of Elections should inform the political parties of such reservation at least one year before the relevant election. In effect, if an election is held immediately, reservations will not apply.  In the reserved electorates, all FPP candidates have to be women.
  2. Rotate the reservations after two elections or ten years, whichever occurs first. After two rounds of elections, it is expected that women would be ready to participate in an open competition.
  3. Increase the reservation to 20% immediately after the first general election in which the reservation was first applied.
  4. Increase the reservation to 30% after the second general election in which the reservation was applied.
  5. The selection of electorates for reservation should be done at a provincial level beginning with at least one reservation per province. The remaining reservations should be distributed across provinces according to the population distribution.
  6. The selection of reserved electorates will be selected randomly from electorates in each province in a transparent process through a draw.

Annex 5: Justifications for increasing the number of MPs in Options 1 and 2

There is little support among the public for any increase in the number of MPs because they are seen as a drain on public resources.  Therefore, the proponents of Options 1 and 2 would have to be able to justify the increase.

  1. The number of electors today is 15 million, double the number that existed in 1978 when the Constitution that set the number of MPs at 225 was adopted.
  2. Sri Lanka, unlike many of the countries it is compared with, has a unicameral legislature. It has to serve multiple purposes.
  3. One way to maintain the size of Parliament at 225 is to radically reduce the number of National List MPs from the present 29 to 15 in Option 1 and to zero in Option 2. This will decrease, in the case of Options 1, and deny, in the case of Option 2, the ability of the political parties to bring into Parliament professionals who may not do well in electorate level campaigning.  It will also seriously stymie efforts to bring women into Parliament.  The smaller the National List, the more difficult will it be for small parties to gain representation in Parliament.
  4. The current reform of Parliamentary elections must be considered the first step of a larger process of reforming the entire electoral system.
    1. If the powers of the President are much reduced by the 19th Amendment, there is no valid reason to hold a nation-wide election for the post. It would be necessary to replace the current system with election by an electoral college constituted by all the MPs and perhaps all the members of the Provincial Councils.  This will save a large amount of public and private resources and reduce disruption of normal functioning of society.  This change will most probably require approval by referendum.  But it also creates an articulation between the President and the Provincial Councils, which is a good thing in terms of national integration.
    2. The current excessive numbers of representatives at the Provincial Councils can be reduced, with members of local government bodies (criteria be to be defined) being automatically elected to the Provincial Councils. This would require the Provincial Council and Local Government elections to be held on the same day.  These changes will yield enormous savings.  It will also build a necessary articulation between the Provincial and Local Government levels.
    3. As long as credible commitments are given as to the implementation of these additional reforms, consent may be gained for increase in the size of Parliament.

 

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