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    Proportional Representation: Would that be a good idea?

    Government of Pakistan is thinking of introducing Proportional Representation system in Pakistan. Do you think that it would be a better idea?


    Dawn 27 May 2001

    Proportional Representation system being considered: National Reconstruction Bureau making detailed study


    By Rafaqat Ali

    ISLAMABAD, May 26: The government is considering introducing the system of proportional representation (PR) in the country, allowing political parties with relatively smaller vote bank to enter parliament, Dawn learnt from official sources.

    The think-tanks of the government, working in the National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB), are making a detailed study of the system which is working efficiently in many countries of Europe like France and Germany.

    The government, the sources said, would have no problem in introducing the proportional representation system as the Supreme Court in its decision validating the military takeover, had held that parliamentary form of the government should not be disturbed. 'Proportional Representation is a form of parliamentary system," they pointed out.

    The think-tanks expect that quality of representatives would improve, as persons with ability to handle macro-level matters would have better prospectus for introduction in assemblies as listed candidates of parties in multi-member constituencies.

    The supporters of the PR system argue that not only it would help bring more middle-income groups to the parliament, but it would also minimize the possibility of military intervention in future. The military adventurists would not be invited by the politicians as they would have a stake in the system.

    The government's think-tanks believe that the adoption of proportional representation system as an alternative to the existing majority system, would suit Pakistan's fractious society, divided on linguistic and ethnic lines.

    Under the new system, political parties would enjoy greater importance and non-political pressure groups, tribes, clans, and families would have lesser political role. The "independents", representing different tribes and clans, would not be in a position to dictate their terms.

    The position of political parties would be correctly reflected in elections in the proportional system and the parties having widespread support would not be over-represented and those with thin support would not be under-represented.

    Small parties would have better prospects of representation in the parliament by winning seats in multi-member constituencies irrespective of losing in single-member constituencies. [/quote]



    #2
    khan_sahib,
    I hope it will work,,....but one thing we are ignoring about Islamic Parties. Their Motto is:"Don't let them play if you can't play.
    They won't be getting as much representation as they want and will start making noises.
    Also,those corrupt ploitical dragons will try their best to fail this proprotional system.

    But hope for the bset,....We always experiment with new things and then end up adopting the same old system.

    Bottom line is Pakistan must have elected representative and must do everything to achieve those goals.

    ARMY is not solution anymore.Like "We can't cure Cancer with Aspirin". It may make us feel good at the moment but doesn't treat anything,.....

    I hope this time solution gonna be different,...and results gonna be encouraging.

    GOD BLESS PAKISTAN,.....

    [This message has been edited by TARIQ786USA (edited May 27, 2001).]
    °º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`° ¤ø,¸°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤ ºÂ°`°º¤ø,¸,¸¸,ø¤º °`°º¤ø,¸,¸¸,ø¤º° ºÂ¤Ã¸



    A Faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.

    Comment


      #3
      I agree with Tariq , if it is allow to work then it may bring some polticial stability to pakistan. Lets see what will our leaders think about this.

      ------------------
      "Away from Eyes......Close to Heart"

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by khan_sahib:
        Government of Pakistan is thinking of introducing Proportional Representation system in Pakistan. Do you think that it would be a better idea?
        my guess will be that proportional representation will make things more unstable in the sense that none will have majority. In normal 2-party election if one party gets 5-6 % more than other it will sweep the polls.

        Comment


          #5
          The indians don't seem to get it. This forum and threads like this are for pakistanis to discuss their issues, not for the indians to comment on pakistan.

          I am strongly in favour of the proportional representation in Pakistan. It is a better system than the current system. But the thing is that a system only works if the people taking part in it allow it to work and run it in a proper manner. Our politicians can ruin the best possible system. In Pakistan therefore our problems go further than just adopting the best system. Political parties will get stronger but then most of our political parties are not worthy of it.
          So in conclusion while the PR system is a good idea, a lot more will be required for any future setup to work successfully.
          For example he process of accountability and banning of dirty politicians should conitnue with much more severity then it is right now.

          Personally I think the military should have a role so that in addition to improving the system they can also make sure that the un-wanted elements remain out and that the system is run in a proper manner.

          Comment


            #6
            [QUOTE]Originally posted by Ahmed:
            The indians don't seem to get it. This forum and threads like this are for pakistanis to discuss their issues, not for the indians to comment on pakistan.

            What? I am not commenting on Pakistan (not that I would refrain from it if i find fit.) But on the merits and demerits of proportional representation. I think it is more unstable that 'first past the post' system and will be so in any country with two major party groupings like pakistan.

            I am strongly in favour of the proportional representation in Pakistan. It is a better system than the current system. But the thing is that a system only works if the people taking part in it allow it to work and run it in a proper manner.


            What do u mean by this? Proportional representatioon just will tell you how yo fill the parliament. It does not do anything better than that. Now tell us why proportional representation will be improvement over current system.

            ..{whining about politcians deleted since it is not relevent}

            Comment


              #7
              ZZ,
              I wasn't referring merely to you but to the two guys above you.
              "But they are not Indians...."
              Wanna bet??

              Anyway since that is not the topic of the thread, I don't want to go too much into this and say anything further about this. People should read the starting lines of my first post and get the message!
              This forum doesn't have a "made for Indians" tag pasted on it.

              So on to the PR system now, it is a better system because it gives a more fair representation of the parties in the parliament. Especially it helps the smaller parties, which is what we need right now.
              In the 1993 elections, PML won more votes but the PPP got the majority. This won't happen in the PR system. Plus we won't get the factor where people who support the smaller parties, either not voting or voting for a bigger party or else causing the less popular party to win by splitting the vote.

              The remarks about politicians are very relevant. The last time we created a good workable and balanced system the politicians ruined it.



              [This message has been edited by Ahmed (edited May 28, 2001).]

              Comment


                #8
                ZZ, that's not democracy if only 2 parties take part as democratic process should be transparent and it should take into account as many people possible. Shouldn't it?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Ahmed:
                  In the 1993 elections, PML won more votes but the PPP got the majority.
                  my guess is that smaller provinces and minorities will feel further neglected in PR system. PPP got majority because it could win small provinces. In PR system, (just to take an example) a party could take a strong pro-punjab stand and not care about other provinces and if it gets all punjabi votes (As Awami league got bengali votes in 71) it will still end up in power.

                  it is also not clear if giving representation to smaller parties is a good idea or moving towards 2-party system is better. All countries where there are too many small parties like Italy or these days India are not particularly stable politically.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Once parliamentary democracy is restored in Pakistan we need a system which ensures true representative democracy. The first past the post electoral system has unfortunately not delivered that. It has often allowed parties which did not win the greatest number of votes (let alone a majority of the popular vote) to become the winning party. As Ahmed mentioned in 1993 the PML (N) received a greater share of the vote yet the PPP got more seats and became the government. The reverse happened in 1990 the PPP got more popular votes but the PML(N) received more seats and formed the government. The present electoral system has in effect allowed the creation of personal fiefdoms centred on the parliamentary constituencies.


                    Proportional Representation (PR) comes in many forms. There is the list system which is the purest form of PR. There are no parliamentary constituencies as such but the whole country is one constituency i.e. seats in parliament would be allocated almost exactly according to the % of national vote a party received. The downside of this is that the link between the voter and his constituency member would be lost i.e. who would represent local interests? A plus side of the system is that it would strengthen the federation in that political parties would have to lobby for votes from all over the country to achieve the magic 50%+ target.


                    But according to the article that khan_sahib has posted the government is looking at two other different systems of PR in operation in France and Germany. In France they operate the Additional Vote (AV) system which retains all the parliamentary constituencies, but ensures that the winning candidate must receive 50%+ of the vote in his/her constituency, even if that means that means going to a second round vote.


                    The PR system I personally favour for Pakistan is the Additional Member System (AMS) presently in use in Germany. Under this system half the parliamentary seats are elected on a first past the post constituency based system. The other half of the seats are elected according to the list system of PR. This would give us the best of both worlds retain the constituency link and ensure a fairer distribution of seats, and at the same time ensure that smaller parties are allowed the representation they deserve commensurate to the vote they receive.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Malik73:
                      The present electoral system has in effect allowed the creation of personal fiefdoms centred on the parliamentary constituencies.
                      But there must be some people who get elected because they work for constituency. If u have proportional representation, u are not responsible to anyone. If u have loyal 8-10% followers, u have 8-10% seats in parliament. It will enhance representation of interest grooups. Again it is extensively population dominated. For example if Sindh goes for PR, MQM will rule Sindh forever since Mohajirs have higher population.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If u have proportional representation, u are not responsible to anyone. If u have loyal 8-10% followers, u have 8-10% seats in parliament. It will enhance representation of interest grooups

                        No not necassarily. As I said there are many variants of PR used across the world, with the list system being the purest form. You seem to be basing your opinion on this. BUT, the Pakistani government is looking at the systems used in France and Germany which retain the consituencies yet allow for a more proportional distribution of seats. I have described the workings of these two systems in my previous post.

                        For example if Sindh goes for PR, MQM will rule Sindh forever since Mohajirs have higher population.

                        You seem rather keen on playing the "ethnic card" in this matter don't you? But if you carefully read my last post you will see that I said PR would strengthen the federation not weaken it as much as you would wish.


                        And please be careful with the "facts" you quote. Ethnic Sindhi's account for 53% of Sindh's population, and "Mohajirs" account for some 27% i.e. not a majority. And even if "Mohajirs" 'ruled' Sindh as you seem to infer what would be wrong with that? They would work for the betterment of Sindh and Pakistan as a whole. Our great Chief Executive and a great number of the members his government are perfect examples of that.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          in my opinion, only beneficiary will be jamaat and islamic fundamentalist parties (all parties in pakistan are fundamentalist. muslim league is, of course, not secular. but some are more fundamentalist than others) they cant find seats today. but will occupy seats in PR.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ZZ:
                            in my opinion, only beneficiary will be jamaat and islamic fundamentalist parties (all parties in pakistan are fundamentalist. muslim league is, of course, not secular. but some are more fundamentalist than others) they cant find seats today. but will occupy seats in PR.
                            Under the PR system used in Germany and other variant PR sytems used elsewhere a threshold for seats is placed i.e. on average a minimum of 3% but some have up to 5%. Which means that a party would have to win that % of the popular vote to win seats in parliament. In many European countries that threshold is placed to avoid nationalist-extremist/far right parties winning any seats.

                            A threshold maybe needed if PR is adopted in Pakistan to avoid only the extreme of parties winning seats i.e. those that spread sectarian and racial discord. But I don't think a big threshold is needed i.e. more than say 2 or 3% as that would deny legitimate Islamic parties from gaining seats. If Islamic parties get more than the minimum threshold then they are perfectly entitled to proportional parliamentary represenation, like all the other parties. That is only fair and democratic. If some of our neighbours or the west are perturbed by this fact then that's to bad. That's democracy

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