Blog: The best Winning System
Talks are still going on the issue of electoral reforms. We have had the benefit of the Sachs report as amended by Mr. Ivan Collendavelloo and destroyed by the MSM when that party was in a coalition with the MMM. We have had the benefit of the Carcassonne report that has generated much controversy. The backbone of the reforms of Carcassonne is proportional representation. It is appropriate to go down memory lane here as Great Britain as the colonial power succumbed to the conservatives' point of view following the 1955 constitutional conference that took place in London from 12 to 20 July 1955.
The question today is whether electoral reforms will go through and what electoral process will be approved by our legislators. Electoral reforms are a serious matter and no political party can assume, as is unfortunately the case for the MMM and the MSM, to hold the monopoly of the ideal electoral system. There must be a consensus. But that consensus should not bear the Ramgoolam/Berenger/ Jugnauth mark only. That consensus should also bear the imprimatur of the people because whatever electoral reform is hatched was not part of the manifesto of any party at the last elections or even before. Once a concrete viable project is produced it must go to the people by way of a referendum for approval and then sanctioned by Parliament.
Many ideas have been tabled. There is no perfect electoral system. The one that has worked in Mauritius since 1948 is the first past the post system. It is thought now that the system is not fair as parties that secure a substantial percentage of the votes secure no seats or a number of seats that do not reflect the percentage of votes secured. What can replace that system? Is it a purely proportional representation system? Or is it a mixture of proportional representation and first past the post system? The stumbling block in the whole process is the best loser system that many want to keep to secure the minorities. This is pure nonsense. The conditions that existed when the best loser system was introduced are no longer prevailing. What the best loser system offers can be instilled in the choice of candidates for the elections. Though some may have an emotional attachment to the best loser system and others like the MMM may have its own ethnic agenda and political motivation to retain it, that system should go for the sake of a modern Mauritius.
At the end of the day, it is not a question who wins on the electoral reforms. It is not a question of personal pride of any party or party leader. It is not sticking to the best loser system for emotional or political reasons.
It is a question of the Best Winning System for Mauritius. Will our leaders heed this?