Saturday, November 17, 2007

Reference: Coalition govt a foregone conclusion, Bangkok Post, November 13, 2007

A known weakness of parliamentary democracy is that it relies heavily on the opposition bench in parliament to hold the government accountable. Without a strong opposition, the government can devolve into party dictatorship. However, if a parliamentary democracy could be structured so that each of three or more political parties fields one and only one candidate in any given constituency, then a small change in the election procedure would make it impossible for any one of these political parties to form an unaccountable government. The same change would also severely weaken the effectiveness of vote-buying. The proposed change is to select not just one but two candidates from each constituency to serve as equal members of parliament. Various methods may be used for this selection, the simplest of which is to select the top two vote getters. The system would require protection from fraud because, among other things, it would encourage large political parties to field multiple candidates in a single constituency through devious means. It will also be necessary that political parties themselves be made transparent and democratic.

Cha-am Jamal

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