Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Run-off no threat to democracy

 For decades, we have been hearing about constitutional reform. What is this constitutional reform they speak about?

To the average man, it is just something politicians say, but we have no idea what it is because it has never materialised. Like the man who perpetually says he will cut his lawn but every day, he says the same thing, “I will cut it tomorrow,” alas, one day, we all look into his yard and discover it is now a jungle. That is the state of constitutional reform in this country. Some argue the current reform is piecemeal at best and sinister at worst. We must remember, though, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Consequently, the issue with run-off, to my mind, is clearly histrionics on the part of the Opposition. One major argument against it, fallacious as it may be, is it will obliterate the concept of the third political party. That is total nonsense. 

I submit the simple position, in our current system, which has been there for decades, we operate under the first-past-the-post system. Simply put, who comes first will win. For example, Party A has ten votes, Party B has eight votes and Party C has six votes. In the current system, even though 14 people voted against Party A, Party A has won the seat. Note Party C, with its six votes, is obliterated from the political landscape. 

Take the run-off system now: using the same results, Party A and Party B will now battle it out in a second round of election. Indeed, Party C is out again, however, the people who supported Party C now have the choice, which they may use or not, to vote for either Party A or B, depending on whom they deem preferable to their needs and political desire.

Based on the above, it is quite clear. In our current system, third parties and their supporters are already obliterated. On the other hand, with the run-off system, Party C may be out again, however, the people now have a say and are given a second chance to influence the outcome as to who becomes their MP. How could that ever be a threat to democracy? 

Douglas C Bayley

Valsayn South