Raja asked me to elaborate more on proportional representation in response to the entry below:
The electoral system we have now in Lebanon is simple majority which stipulates that the winner in popular elections is the candidate who garners the largest number of votes, even if the majority of voters voted for other candidates. Example: In an electoral district of 150,000 eligible voters, from whom only 100,000 voted, their votes were cast on the following candidates: Candidate A 30,000 votes; Candidate B 25,000; Candidate C 20,000; Candidate D 15,000; and Candidate E 10,000. Candidate A who got 30,000 votes is considered the winner, even if 70% of votes were cast on the remaining candidates.
According to Dr. Salam, a simple majority system coupled with a small electoral district (qada’a, for instance) and in the absence or weakness of political parties, leads to the “reproduction” of traditional leaderships by casting a patron-client relationship overtone on the political landscape, as well as allowing parochialism to overshadow national issues and the public good.
The simple proportional representation system allows each contending group in the elections a number of parliamentary seats which equals at best the number of votes each group garners. Usually such system would be implemented in conjunction with an electoral district, like a province, or that of a unified electoral district for the whole country. In either case, the seats for the different contesting lists would be distributed after dividing the number of votes by the number of the designated seats for each district in order to come up with the “electoral quotient.” Example: if the number of voters in an electoral district is 100,000 and the number of seats is 10, the electoral quotient would be 100,000/10 or 10,000, and let’s say that three lists were running against each other and the first list won 50,000, the second 30,000, and the third 20,000, then the seats will be distributed as follows: List 1 50,000/10,000 or 5 seats; List 2 30,000/10,000 or 3 seats; and List 3 20,000/10,000 or 2 seats.
Of course, there is more to this system than what I explained, but I hope this explanation suffices. Proportional representation signifies a mature political culture in a country as it allows diverse parties/views to be represented in parliament; encourages running for elections based on political programs and nourishes political parties; allows the engagement of many societal groups in the electoral process, such as women, ensuring the widest representation of citizens; and ultimately helps lead to the much longed for national unity.
Raja, personally, I believe in a Mixed-Member Electoral system, which merges the majority and proportional systems. This system stipulates that a portion of parliament representatives are elected based on the qada’a and simple majority and the other portion based on the unified electoral district and proportionality, which guarantees at once the representation of Lebanese by their different regions and sects and by “national” policy choices they make that are not sectarian or regionally driven.
What do you think? Again, I repeat, that proportionality as a policy option should not be put up for debate now because it is being used by the loyalist camp for their own interest as opposed for the public good; however, we should consider this option in the near future.
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."