To change the system – change the electoral system first
Posted on May 22nd, 2022

Shenali D Waduge

Everyone is parroting system change but everyone is reluctant to point out where to start the change.

The present parliament is already elected. We cannot make changes to the present Parliament. But we can make sure the next Parliament makes the changes we want.

What are the changes that we want.

  1. Re-allocating seats proportionately for each province by population (delimitation commission) – some provinces having undue number of seats enabling people with few thousands to enter Parliament.
  1. We are all in unison that the current electoral system of preferential representation is a failure. People with a few thousand votes enter Parliament and become kingmakers & deal makers. This has to stop by reintroducing the First Past the Post System 
  1. Criteria to become a MP to stand for Parliament should be a basic degree / for other entities it should be Advanced Level.
  1. Mandatory to declare assets & liabilities
  1. No criminal record or prison sentence – anyone exonerated may apply
  1. Anyone to stand for election must be resident of area contesting for minimum 10 years
  1. Status of National List – recommended that the 29 seats be given only to professionals who would act as an advisory body divided into key subjects (finance/Health/education etc) – they would not be given status of a MP. This way they will not hold any Ministerial portfolio. As professionals they are not politicians and should be utilized for their expert knowledge for strategy only.

We can add to this criteria but the basic requirement is to make the system change to bring in direct voting system where MPs are accountable to the people who vote for them. This can be done only via the First Past the Post system.

The allocation of seats needs to also be done so as to have equitable representation from a province.

More importantly, all those bellowing to remove 225 are completely silent about how to get about CHANGING THE SYSTEM and where the changes should be made to start off with.

Thus, this should be priority if people are serious about dealing with corruption, ensuring quality people enter Parliament & guaranteeing proper representation proportionate to a province

While the slogans and placards calling for system change are many, very few have presented a new electoral system that is representative of the population, where MPs are directly elected and are accountable to the People and puts to an end the current manner that corrupt deal makers & kingpins enter Parliament.

Shenali D Waduge

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