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Monday, 26 October 2009

The politics of parliamentary seats

The map above (source) is useful in understanding how the balance of power might shift following NCC decision to increase the level of elected constituency MPs from 150 to 240 [the remaining 30 would be chosen through PR, with the President being able to nominate a further 10]. If the delimitation formula relies on density (as per Article 77, Constitution of Zambia 1991 (Amended in 1996), one would expect the power to shift urban area and the south [previous discussions on this here].


In fact this might explain why Pf President Michael Sata has not been pleased that the statutory delimitation exercise which was suppose to begin this year and completed next year has not started. This would certainly have altered boundaries substantially within the existing quota. With that in mind, it begs the question why the MMD has allowed additional seats (plus a PR element), since this would certainly force a new delimitation exercise, with potentially unfavourable consequences. One possibility might be that the MMD so far has been able to field candidates in every constituency. More parliamentary seats gives the opposition more territories to fight over and an extremely expensive process for individual opposition candidates. The Opposition has been quite disorganised over 150 seats, contesting 240 would require substantial improvement on their part.

One thing is clear, 2011 is going to be quite complicated in terms of the legislature. More on the new electoral system via The Post.

3 comments:

  1. Isn't it odd that these 'game management areas' are also keeping the population centers from expanding, no doubt adding to pressure for land.

    Is this a leftover of the colonial era? An importation of the way the British manage their 'countryside'? Only 7% of Britain's land survace is designated for human habitation.

    We should remember that this 'conservation' craze was born during colonialism.

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  2. One possibility might be that the MMD so far has been able to field candidates in every constituency. More parliamentary seats gives the opposition more territories to fight over and an extremely expensive process for individual opposition candidates. The Opposition has been quite disorganised over 150 seats, contesting 240 would require substantial improvement on their part.

    More arguments for publicly funded elections. There can only be true choice, if all major parties can run candidates in all constituencies.

    Maybe there should be a cutoff point for parties, like there is in Germany. No party with less than 5% of the vote can be seated in parliament.

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  3. Mrk,

    On game management areas :

    Its a little more complicated (as always).

    Yes, it is partly historic, but also because of the way our country grew, along the line of rail.

    BUT the main reason appears to be that although land is plenty, very little is actually able to be utilised for farming and support the emergency of farming communities because it lacks essential services (or public goods). This is why many experts have told Government just focus on providing essentials.

    But you do have a point though that Game Management Areas are a source of concern as they continue to displace and victimise many of our people on land that rightly belong to them just for a little forex (which Namugala bizarrely calls a "benefit" - see Is our tourism policy flawed

    On the issue of public funding :

    As you know from "Sakism" days I share a different platform on the issue! I do not think we should reward disorganised parties with funding. If anything the "principle of reward" would suggest those that do well should be given more to encourage them to be even more organised.

    In short the solution must fit the problem. These parties are not lacking money as such they are just poor organisers. How many of them for example have a viable internet presence where people can donate money? How many are in Europe looking for funding from the Diaspora?

    ReplyDelete

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