South Africa

South Africa is ripe for electoral reform.Why the time has come

South Africa Electoral system In the process of enacting a new constitution for the transition to democratization 1994..

The agreed system was proportional representation. This included creating a list of representatives who would win legislative seats according to the percentage of votes the party received in the vote. This system was chosen because it was considered to be able to maximize the expression of different political opinions and ethnic identities.

The system is working fine Representing a minority party In addition to The reoccurring majority of the African National Congress In parliament and most of the country’s nine states.

But now it is Accountability..The reason for that Proportional representation system Give power to the party’s boss – which in turn robs voters. The MPs feel that they are being watched over by their party, not the people who elected them.

The existing electoral system has received widespread criticism of not being able to explain elected representatives to those who elected them. Correspondingly, the demand for electoral reform is increasing, and there is a special demand that voters need to be able to: Election a representative directly.. However, all reform attempts have been hampered by the reluctance of the politically dominant African National Congress, which is fully functioning by the current system.

After a ruling by the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of the country, in June last year, the call for reform has been greatly boosted. The ruling enforced the matter by demanding amendments to the election law. Influential lobby group following the ruling, Inclusive Society InstituteRecently produced a detailed report showing recommendations for electoral reform.

Electoral reform

Constitutional court June 2020 decision Current declaration Election law Unconstitutional. This is because the law prohibits individuals from running for elections at the national and local levels, unlike political parties.

Congress is now obliged to change the law. A building In progress to allow changes. This opened the door to broader reform of election law, especially with respect to the idea of ​​merging the constitutional obligations of proportional representation with the rights of voters to directly elect their representatives.

Reform proposal by Inclusive Society Institute Created by a committee chaired by Roelf Meyer, Served as the supreme representative of the previous ruling Kuomintang In the process of establishing a constitution.

Of the committee Report I will make some suggestions. These include:

  • The Diet should consist of the current 400 representatives. Of these, 300 should be elected from a multi-member constituency.

  • An additional 100 compensatory sheets should be provided to ensure the overall proportion of the results.

  • If a party wins 55% of the referendum as a whole, it will get additional seats (in addition to the seats won at the constituency level) to provide 55% of the seats in parliament. (Similarly at the state level.)

To meet the demands of the Constitutional Court, an independent candidate will be able to stand among members of multiple members.

Considering the number of registered voters, about 26.7 million In 2018, Independent candidates are required to receive approximately 90,000 votes in order to be elected to parliament.

More voice, more liquidity

The idea behind multi-member members is that 300 out of 400 MPs will be accountable not only to the parties but also to the members. This is a welcome change, even if it doesn’t meet the direct accountability that many voters want.

Such a system opens the door to candidates who want to raise issues that are choked too often by established political parties.Concerns about Providing government services And the environment immediately comes to mind.

Such a system would also allow ambitious candidates who could not get a nomination by their preferred party, perhaps as independent members of their party.

Therefore, the adoption of this system gives voters more choices. It will also introduce great liquidity into the electoral system by impressing lawmakers that they are accountable to their members and their party bosses.

In recent elections Voting to go to ANC – There is a suggestion that you may lose a majority in the next general election In 2024 – In parliament the coalition may even have the country’s first government.

What’s next?

Proposal is back Proposed reform By a task team led by the late opposition leader Van Jill Slab Bart The team was implementing the constitutional requirement to review the electoral system after five years of democracy.

The team recommended a change that would introduce multiple members. This allows each member to be represented by 3-7 MPs.But ANC uses a majority in Congress Stop proposed reforms.. How likely is ANC to agree to a widespread reform of the electoral system in line with the institute’s proposed policy?

The party rejected the Slavbert Commission’s recommendation because the current system is working well. It’s simple and easy to understand. Now we may argue along a similar policy. The introduction of proportional representation may suggest that it may appear opaque to the majority of the population, adding proportional representation.

It may be easier to implement the Constitutional Court’s ruling by simply allowing individual candidates to stand side by side with political parties on the list of countries. If they get the minimum number of votes they need, it will enable their elections.

While such minimal changes may benefit the party, the total difficulty that individual candidates will encounter in gaining national support effectively eradicates content reforms. right. It leaves the MP as unexplainable as it is today.

Within the ANC, there is a reformist group lobbying for major changes within the electoral system.Similarly, the recent formation of “struggle veteran” groups Protect the Constitution and DemocracySuggests that electoral reform could gain momentum.

However, there is a high risk that the debate over electoral reform will be involved in ANC faction politics. Nonetheless, the present moment offers a real opportunity for more accountable and truly democratic politics. Missing that opportunity for change would be a huge disadvantage to South Africa.

South Africa is ripe for electoral reform.Why the time has come

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