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

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