Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why I support Run off Elections

I couldn't attend the discussion on Electoral Reforms organized by Loksatta Party Karnataka today because of a bad cold.

While Electoral Reforms have several aspects, on the main issue of the voting system, I'm steadfastly opposed to the Proportional Representation (PR) System and instead support the Run-off Election (ROE) model. Let me explain below. Also find a video of my talk on Electoral Reforms at a Takshashila Shala.

What is ROE model?

In ROE model, people will vote for candidates in the first round like they do currently in the FPTP (First Past the Post) model. If a candidate secures 50% percent of the votes, he/she will be elected. If however, no candidate gets 50%, a run-off election will be called between the top two candidates to select the eventual winner.

Advantages of Run-off Elections:

1. Curb criminals and caste/religious fanatics:

The ability of criminals and caste/religious fanatics to win elections will be greatly reduced, since a majority of voters can be expected to vote out such candidates in the run-off round.

2. Encourage good candidates to contest elections:

People can vote for a good candidate without wondering if their vote will be wasted, since they might get a more decisive say in the run-off round. There will be a lesser need for 'strategic voting' by certain communities to prevent a candidate/party from winning.

3. True representatives, not Dynasties:
In PR system, family members and cronies of party leaders will become our representatives without having to directly face the electorate. In ROE, the family members of leaders also have to contest the election and win 50% votes.

4. No Appeasement:

In FPTP model, all major parties field candidates from the caste/community influential in respective constituencies even if better candidates are available. In the ROE model, the electorate can be expected to vote against such appeasement if someone outside that community makes it to the run-off round.

5. Unlike PR system, ROE doesn't give representation to fringe elements:

The biggest advantage of a FPTP model is the opportunity it gives for fringe elements to contest the elections and stay within constitutional methods, and not take up arms for example. A PR model might give representation to fringe elements even if they are a small minority in all constituencies. ROE model moderates the influence of fringe elements on the polity till it reaches a critical mass in atleast one constituency.

6. Moderate Coalitions:

Opportunistic pre-poll, post-poll and hidden alliances among political parties are a bane of our current system. In ROE model, all parties can contest elections on their own and based on their performance, decide to support other party candidates (whose ideology they are comfortable with) in the run-off round.

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1 comment:

Maya iyer said...

Three debutantes in race in bangalore central.

rizwan arhshad