Thursday, February 22, 2018

Racial battlefields in making with run-off

Thanks to Linus F Didier of Mt Hope (Express, August 14) for his enlightening  hypothesis that run-off  voting could impact the election dynamics negatively as the overall winner in constituency X,  could garner less votes in the run-off than in the initial election, with lower voter turnout the second time around. 

But there’s another sinister side to run-off voting gleaned from the Constitution gurus, including Ramesh Lawrence-Maharaj. With political parties jostling to control the Treasury, run-off voting could very well degenerate into a racial/partisan  battlefield, with unprecedented inducements and badgering.  

In addition to voters who exercised their franchise in the initial election,  political parties would undoubtedly target non-voters—who, according to past trends, account for some 40-50 per cent  of registered voters. (I’m hazarding a guess that registered voters who didn’t vote in the initial election would be permitted to vote in the run-off).

Run-off voting conflicts with proportional representation which was touted as the way forward in the recently concluded local government election— affording minority parties representation on municipal  corporations via a point system. Run-off voting on the other hand seeks to disenfranchise minority parities and their supporters.   

As an ordinary citizen, there are many unanswered questions and ambiguities regarding the proposed changes. I hope the Independent senators accede to widespread call for deeper public consultation and move to delay passage of the bill on August 26. 

RP Joseph

San Fernando