In a newspaper report last week Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Dr Roodal Moonilal, is quoted as saying “the run-off issue is not a policy but a mechanism for the operation of the recall”.
If that is so then why is it necessary to extend the use of the run-off provision to cases other than where an election becomes necessary as a result of the recall of a sitting Member of Parliament? The Government has also sought to justify the run-off provision on the basis that only MPs who have won the initial election with more than 50 per cent of the votes cast will be eligible to be elected to the House of Representatives and that failure of the winner to obtain this minimum percentage of the votes cast will result in the need for a run-off election to be held 15 days later between the persons with the highest and second highest number of votes.
Has the Government provided any mechanisms to cater for the mathematical and realistic possibility that:
a) there could be a tie between the first and second placed or second and third placed candidates?
b) the run-off election could result in a 50 per cent score by each of the two competing candidates which (I suppose) will require another run-off. Remember the unexpected 18-18 tie for which no provision was ever made?
c) the total of the less-than-50 per cent votes attained by the winning candidate in the initial election could be higher than the more than 50 per cent votes obtained by the winner in the run-off election? If this happens (and it is highly possible) then it would put the lie to the justification by the Government that no MP can be elected to the House of Representatives on the basis of a minority vote.
It is patently obvious that only superficial thought has been given to these provisions.
Albert L Marquez