Monday, June 09, 2014

Thoughts on Electoral Reform (2)

What are we trying to solve with electoral reform? Mostly two things. One is to get rid of the Best Loser System (BLS) – which was the closest thing to stamping us like cattle that one could come up with – and therefore comply with the UNHRC ruling. The other is to try to reduce the unfairness of the First Past The Post (FPTP) system without compromising its stability. Of course both of these objectives can be achieved without introducing the totally undemocratic devices like proportional representation (PR) and double candidacies as proposed in the white paper -- which is nothing more than the toxic 2012 Sithanen report less 4 MPs. Above all we must not lose track of the most important purpose of our Parliament which is to provide good, long and healthy lives for a maximum of citizens by the design and implementation of thoughtful policies. Right? Let us begin with a little bit of history.

Down with PR
As Yashwant Jeewoolall reminded us recently, Labour was dead against PR when it was proposed some sixty years ago. The progressive individuals of the time fought against PR because they knew that party lists would shift the loyalty of MPs from voters to leaders. Indeed if you read Chit Dhukira's Experiments in Democracy you will find out that Philippe Rozemont -- Guy's brother -- was expelled from the Labour Party because he voted in favour of it and that Renganaden Seeneevassen was one of the fiercest opponents of PR. There was even a bye-election in 1956 which revolved around PR and which the Labour Party won. So suggesting PR would be a betrayal of the DNA of the Labour Party.