Monday, February 27, 2012

Elected Representatives: Limiting Their Role as the Electors

Our political system in prone to instability mainly because the executive needs to maintain a simple majority in the elected assemblies.

Our elected assemblies wear at least three hats: (1) legislatures; (2) electors for the offices of the president and the prime minister etc; and (3) representatives of their constituencies and their interests in the development etc.

My point of departure is that role of the representatives as 'electors'  for the office of the prime minister should end once they elect a prime minister. Thereafter, the doctrine of trichotomy of powers, the basic structure of our constitution demands that the our assemblies should become legislators alone, separate and distinct from our executive. This is how the system of check and balance can fully work.

Presently, the executive and the legislature remain interdependent and both cannot do justice to their assigned roles. If we tweak our system a little, we can have far more stable system, namely:

  • once the elected representatives have elected a prime minister, their right to change him or her should go in abeyance unless it is invoked by two thirds of their majority on some limited grounds.
  • And, if such numbers are not forthcoming a majority or some other percentage should be able to call a general election.
  • The right to call for the general elections should also be given to the masses, who should be able to petition for the general elections if they can come up with a certain number say one million signatures or supporters.
  • Furthermore, the voters in each constituency should have a right to recall their representatives and call for the elections in that constituency if they can gather certain number of signatures say five thousand!
Given that in foreseeable future, coalition governments are likely to be the norm rather than the exception, the urgency for these reforms could not be overstated.

These are small measures but will go a long way in stabilizing our polity and making it more democratic! This will also reduce the risk in making a wrong decision at the elections!

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