Monday, April 11, 2005

Proportional Representation: No Pure Intentions

So...Monday has come and no birth (or perhaps rebirth) of any government. The excuse: this time it is the electoral law, simple majoritarian with the qada'a as the electoral district versus proportional representation with the province as the electoral district.

I thought more about the reasons behind the loyalist camp's stance on the latter option. While simple majority means for the opposition that the winner wins all (which is what they aspire for), proportional representation means that everyone would be represented based on a proportionate calculation of sorts ensuring that no group is completely marginalized.

Now in ordinary circumstances, proportional representation would be a welcomed electoral policy option, however trying to force it down our throats by the Ein El-Tineh camp makes this policy proposal questionable, hence my entry. The loyalists want to ensure that they are represented. Moreover, in a proportional representation setting, candidates organize more effectively under political parties, which means a plus for parties like Hizbullah or Amal and might not be good news for those under the opposition camp as not all are affiliated to parties and would perhaps rely more on the "list" system.

MP Najib Mikati said something wise today (again, if wisdom ever exists in any political discourse): "I have been always an advocate of proportional representation, however it poses a point of contention right now, which leads me to the conclusion that I will agree with whatever electoral law is agreed upon among the various contending groups and would find it advisable to leave the debate over implementing proportional representation to a later time." (his idea, my words).

Lastly, I would like to refer you to a great resource: "Khiyarat Li Loubnan" or Choices for Lebanon, edited by Dr. Nawaf Salam, a compilation of ten essays on different policy areas and options to take in Lebanon. The article by Dr. Salam on reforming the electoral system informs the reader on the various policy options we could adopt to create viable electoral laws.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."


Raja said...


please elaborate more. You don't say why proportional representation is advantageous for political parties. In fact, I sorta felt cheated by your post because I got the impression you were going to do more explaining.

To be honest, I'm not so sure how proportional representation differs from what we have now.

If you could please elaborate on differences that we will notice as potential voters, then maybe we can make our own minds on this policy issue.


reem said...
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