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Constituency politics and electoral shortcomings

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Several inadequacies of our democratic system can be traced to the constituency-based electoral system, that has been blindly borrowed from the British parliamentary system. Our own sociological and economic realities have been ignored under the current system. Without getting rid of these constituencies, at least for the National Assembly, there is little hope that our parliament would ever be able to deliver on national issues.

Our parliament comes into existence through electoral constituencies which on the principle of first-past-the-post system return legislators to national and provincial assemblies. The local dynamics of individual electoral constituencies play a significant role in determining election results for the National Assembly that is supposed to legislate and make public policies on the issues of nationwide significance.

In our electoral system, the clout of individual candidates is as significant as the support base of a political party. Political parties do have their core support bases in many constituencies, but they vary from region to region and are more relevant in urban areas than semi-urban or rural countryside where individuals call the shots. This system has thrown up so-called ‘electables’ in each constituency referring to those influential people who have their personal vote-banks.

Constituency-politics runs on the basis of patron-client relationship, browbeating of the poor into submission and, in many cases, outright purchase of votes at........

© Daily Times