Saturday, November 10, 2007

Electoral System: Proportional Vs Mix

Krishna Hari Pushkar

The below attached reports will help people to understand the reality of Proportional and Mix Electoral System. The most of the political leaders and their parties are still unconscious about the theoretical, practical and ground concepts of electoral systems. I trust it would a serious crime against state to impose any electoral system without having serious research and pre-and post simulative impact analysis of such electoral system. Lets’ disseminate the information to the guardian and ordinary class political and non-political people to observe closely about the system otherwise it will tempt another unfortunate scuffle to our future generation. Please read the attached reports carefully and compare the Nepalese state of affairs and emerged contemporary circumstances. The electoral composition and system are just not only a process of electoral administration rather it is a principal path of overall state operation and management. It is a strong tool of ethnic and social inclusion that would work as political modus operandi of any state or nation. I hope the attached reports will helpful and productive to all concerned parties and institutions. Thank you.

How Proportional are Mixed Compensatory Electoral Systems?

Choosing Electoral Systems: Proportional, Majoritarian and Mixed Systems

A quantitative study of mixed-member electoral systems in Central and Eastern Europe

Going It Alone? Strategic Entry under Mixed Electoral Rules

The Political Effects of the Introduction of “Two-Ballot Votes” System

Electoral engineering and inclusion of ethnic groups

Friday, November 9, 2007

Violence In Nepal

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Journalists in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, marched in protest against the murder of Birendra Sah. Mr. Sah was a reporter for Nepal’s FM news radio station and several local newspapers. He was abducted and murdered in early October by Maoists in Nepal’s Bara district. Mr. Sah had written stories about alleged smuggling by Maoists and about Maoist violence against political opponents.

More than thirteen thousand people have been killed and some two-hundred thousand others displaced in a decade of conflict between Maoist insurgents and Nepal government forces. A peace agreement ended the fighting in 2006. The Maoists agreed to renounce violence, but the violence continues.

In its latest human rights report, the U.S. State Department said Maoist insurgents committed numerous human rights abuses throughout 2006 including murder, kidnapping, and extortion. Abuses by Nepali security forces decreased substantially while Maoist abuses continued relatively unabated.

A report by Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission says that more than one-hundred people were killed between late February and mid-July of this year in riots or in clashes between extremists, including the Maoists and a dozen armed groups in Nepal’s southern Terai region. The report says “bomb attacks on vehicles carrying media people and incidents of attacks and threats against human rights workers have increased the sense of insecurity.”

Violence continues to worry international observers. The United Nations Security Council recently called on Nepal to set an early date for elections that will choose a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. The elections have already been postponed twice by Nepal’s interim government.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad says “the election is part of a process for normalizing the situation in Nepal.” For elections to take place, said Mr. Khalilzad, all the parties to the peace process, including Nepal’s Maoists, “must do their part in terms of delivering on their commitments.”



We Express our heartfelt condolence on the untimely demise of Mr. Birendra Sah a Bara based Journalist. CPN(Maoist), former CPN(Maoist Terrorist) being the brutal Murderers We register our intense Protest against the terrorist type activities by them and appeal for Justice to the chief of state.

Nepal's peace process:In limbo

Neither very peaceful, nor in process: A MONTH after the abduction of a journalist, Birendra Sah, in the district of Bara in southern Nepal, three Maoist parliamentarians this week announced the findings of their own inquiry into the affair. They concluded that two local Maoist officials had shot Mr Sah dead, on the orders of their local superior but outside party policy. This followed weeks of obfuscation from the Maoist leadership and the government and came after Mr Sah's weeping wife appeared in public in Kathmandu.

Although last year's peace agreement officially ended the Maoist insurrection, abductions, threats and violence have continued. The Terai, the southern plain, is now the most violent part of Nepal. Perpetrators include the Maoists, a string of new militant and criminal groups, and the army and police. There are now more than 20 Terai factions, mostly claiming to espouse the rights of the marginalised southern peoples known as Madhesis. The daily litany of violence recalls the war years. In recent days a youth was burnt to death, a local politician had his throat slit and a bomb in the town of Birgunj killed one person.

The backdrop to this violence is renewed political stalemate. In October elections to a constituent assembly, planned for this month, were postponed indefinitely. The Maoists had earlier walked out of the interim cabinet. They had a long series of new demands, notably a system of proportional representation for the elections, and the immediate abolition of the monarchy.

The political limbo feeds the violence. It is rooted in the minorities' sense of continued discrimination; the politicians' obsession with short-term political gain; and the Maoists' failure so far to accept peaceful, competitive politics. As the Maoists struggle to overcome internal divisions between hardliners and pragmatists, their Young Communist League has revived their old system of parallel government and rough justice.

Many other questions remain unresolved. The United Nations mission in Nepal, UNMIN, is concerned about the prolonged confinement of former Maoist fighters in 28 camps. This week UNMIN's head, Ian Martin, offered to discuss a long-term solution for them and the Nepal Army, which under the peace accord is meant to become more inclusive. The army's hardliners, however, resent any hint of UN involvement.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nudity of Political Leadership in Nepal

By Arjun Bishta

During the 1930's, poverty was rampant in Britain. British people with low income became nervous and exhausted with price hikes, deflation and famine in the country and some who were unable to cope with the crisis committed suicide. Suicide is the only crime where the perpetrator can not be punished.

The incidence of suicide remained highly debated issue and struck like a thorn in the throat of the British cabinet. Meanwhile, an experienced and mature Member of the Parliament explored a magic stick; "the dead body of a person who commits suicide should be made naked and circled through the main streets of the British down towns"! It is believed that a human would definitely feel degraded even after death, if his/her dead body is paraded naked among the public. This wise move turned to be the remedy for controlling suicides in Britain, then.

But in Nepal, the power blind, selfish and visionless political leaders have reached such a stage; where they can not even commit suicide. The reason behind it is; because they are not elected by the people and the Nepalese people have never approved or supported them. It is clear that the majority of Nepalese Politicians will lose their deposited sums if elections are held under a transparent and secured environment. Nepalese Politicians should clearly mind it!

Politicians are playing a children's game like hide and seek or BHANDA KUTI (a Game played by children in Nepal where they make themselves the King, Premier, Minister, or some times bride and bride groom etc.) What a miracle! How could these politicians take the oath of office among themselves in this democratic era? What legitimacy have they to demonstrate such constitutional and sovereign acts? Have they received the people's mandate? How can they self claim that they are the only capable creatures in Nepal? Look! The whole world is laughing by watching the nude dances of Nepal's shameless so-called Politicians.

People are stunned with the current political dramas and even the politicians' own hard core supporters have stopped advocating for these incompetent figures. I guarantee that even the Premier GIRIJA, UML Chief Secretary MADHAB, Maoists' supreme PRACHANDA and Doctor BABU RAM BHATTARAI alias JEETBEER will never win in any open elections even from their respective home districts. A bitter fact, though!

The political drivers of Nepal have been totally disorientated and do not even have any clue about the movement of their lorry.

Scrutiny here! Why are the Nepalese not protesting and responding against the ploys and conspiracy of these illicit Politicians who have been able to dictate party hegemony and insistently rape this Nation for nearly two years now? Who is going to Save Nepal? Where is Nepal's pride and glory? What a shame, still Nepalese people identify themselves as BRAVE GORKHALI! My Foot! This is the proof of this interim government totally being idle and incapable. If these politicians have real morals and guts; the home minister should resign now on moral grounds.

This incapable Government has no right to stick on to the revolving chairs, if it is unable to maintain law and order in the country. Why should these useless politicians be paid from the Sweat and taxes of Nepal's innocent public? Rather, they must be dumped in to the rubbish bins. This is the only way to end Nepal's turmoil.

Except a few hues and cries of Media personnel, no one is giving a damn to the autocracy and tyranny of the present illicit Government in Nepal.

Amazing! How the self claiming hard core Nationalist Political parties have tightened their dirty lips. In fact, the governing political parties themselves have been supporting and nurturing terrorism in Nepal. They have embraced the hooligans, totalitarians and have been aligning with the extremists.

Even the Nepalese institutions that have publicly taken the holy oaths of sacrificing their lives for the protection of their Motherland have been hiding inside their fox holes nowadays in Nepal. Why is this so?

The main point to note here is that; Why have not the Security Forces in Nepal responded against the barbaric acts of these politicians? Do they have any obligation, self interest or special alliances with them?

Nepal is gradually turning into Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon or any other conflict hit country in the world. About 15-20 Thousands innocent Nepalese souls have unnecessarily given their lives during a decade long bloody conflict in Nepal. Nepal will definitely face a horrible civil war if the present illicit Government and Parliament remains as such and all the illicit activities keep on as usual.

So, I opine that a new model of National consensus and solidarity is indispensable for Nepal. The remedy is; Congress, UML, Maoists, civil societies and patriotic institutions should come along and take this country out of it's horrendous turmoil.

Nepal has become the prey of the arrogance, slave-ness and ignorance of nude and shameless politicians. Why do the Nepalese hide themselves in this time of crisis? Nepalese Politicians should think that they have ignored the grievances of 20 thousands Maoists in the past and faced this situation.

What about the cries of Millions of Nepalese? What will happen if the wishes of Millions of Nepalese in Nepal are ignored? Can these politicians imagine the emerging consequences of such a thing? If these politicians still have some grey matter in their brains, they must halt their nude dances immediately and should not think of making Nepal; a KOIRALA Private Limited.

Continuation of this charade could turn it into a fatal game. Source: NewsBlaze

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

UNMIN: Transcript of Question and Answer session

Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal,Press Conference 6 November 2007, Kathmandu,Transcript of Question and Answer session

Sam Taylor, AFP: Mr Martin, it’s a bit difficult, I am still digesting your statement. When youtalk about expanding of the mandate, first you talk about support to the implementation to the peace process. Can you explain in concrete terms what you mean about that support, what would that, could that be?

Ian Martin: There are a number of peace processes where there is implementation machinery defined which the United Nations participates in or supports. Indeed here in Nepal we were asked to be members of a broader advisory committee around the Peace Ministry. But many of the elements of agreements that have been reached, for example, the establishment of a high level monitoring committee, which we have always regarded as of great importance and were indeed asked in principle to assist; the establishment of a credible commission to investigate disappearances, which again has been repeatedly agreed but yet to be implemented in practice: these are among the kind of measures where I believe we could be of greater assistance to the parties in the follow-through on agreements that have been reached, sometimes more than once.
Please See Complete Transcript

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The case for proportional representation

Bottom Line

The case for proportional representation

Harun ur Rashid

For the sake of wider participatory democracy, there is a strong view in the community that the voting system of proportional representation (PR) -- sometimes also called "full representation" -- needs to be introduced for electing members of parliament.

The voting system based on the PR system is widely considered to be fairer and more democratic than the current first-past-the post system in Bangladesh. PR is based on the principle that a political party should win seats in parliament in proportion to its share of the popular vote (currently about 90 million voters).

With the PR, first and foremost, people have a larger choice of parties/candidates to vote for. This means that there is a wider selection of candidates from different parties who can represent different sections of society.

Whereas the current voting system awards 100 percent of the representation to a 50.1 per cent majority, PR allows voters of different parties to win their fair share of representation on the basis of proportion of popular vote. For example, with PR, a party that wins ten percent of the popular vote would win one of ten seats.

All elections in Bangladesh under the current voting system are based on the "winner-take-all principle." Candidates who get most votes win representation, and other candidates win nothing. It is unjust.

It is simply unjust because it leaves minorities (ethnic or political) unrepresented. As the 19th century Scottish philosopher John Stuart Mill said: "It is an essential part of democracy that minorities should be represented." Mill stressed the importance of voters having a full range of choices and representation in parliament of their different communities of interest.

Various mechanisms may work to provide PR system. One PR system may not suit all countries, while the principle of full representation through PR is fundamental. New Zealand, Italy, and Germany are among a growing number of democracies that use systems with a mix of winner-take-all districts and PR seats.

Consider the following most important failures of the current system of representation:

* Members of ethnic or political minorities are under-represented.

* Professional classes or eminent citizens are under-represented.

* Women are under-represented.

Correcting these failures requires PR. There is a view among many citizens that no other political reform will suffice to correct these deficiencies in our democracy.

If polls are taken, it is believed that most Bangladeshis would like to see minor parties (some of them having principled stances on various issues) represented in the Parliament. Minor parties, by definition, begin with minority support, which wins nothing in "winner-take-all elections."

Legislation in democracies with PR generally requires the support of representatives elected by a far higher percentage of the electorate. Majority rule on the basis of popular vote also is undercut by winner-take-all elections.

PR is important for national interests because it allows represented minorities to have a say in the parliament. PR is likely to increase the number of women in parliament. Furthermore, PR fosters ongoing challenges to major parties, and thus complements democratic pluralism. It is instructive that women in countries that have introduced PR are three times more likely to win seats through PR than to win in the first-past-post system.

In short, governance is more likely to take place at the center of the political spectrum with PR, since the electorate is fully represented and voters are able to express a wider range of preferences. Opposition voices will be heard, and their ideas will be far more likely to be debated. If those ideas win growing support, the major parties will have to adjust accordingly in order to hold onto their supporters.

The system of PR has its critics as well. They tend to argue that proportional representation often may lead to coalition governments. Since representatives of so many parties are elected, it is very unlikely that just one will gain sufficient seats to form a government.

However, it is noted that in India there have been successive coalition governments under the first-past-the post system. In modern day politics, the emergence of various interest groups representing political parties, including the environment-friendly parties, is a new phenomenon, and indicates plurality of views among the electorate. Besides India, many European countries are compelled to form coalition governments, even under the first-past-the post system.

One political party majority rule has been gradually disappearing in parliamentary democracy. This being so, the argument that PR brings about coalition governments is weak.

The advantages of PR far outweigh its disadvantages, according to many constitutional experts. Under democratic pluralism, it is important for the government to debate a topic enough in parliament and come to compromises, so that legislation takes into account the views of most of the people represented in the parliament with PR.

The ramifications of our current, fundamentally flawed, voting system are being ignored. The real culprit responsible for the deficit of genuine democracy in our country is "winner-take-all" election. Voters across the spectrum can support greater democracy, or feel poorly represented by "winner-take-all" elections. In South Asia, Nepal is reportedly considering adopting PR for election to parliament.

It is argued that Bangladesh has the opportunity to join the vast majority of mature democracies (such as Italy, Germany and New Zealand) that have already adopted systems of proportional representation.

source: The Daily Star
Barrister Harun ur Rashid is a former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

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