Constitutional & Electoral Reforms: Opposition Calls For Proportional Representation

Constitutional & Electoral Reforms: Opposition Calls For Proportional Representation

By Spy Uganda

A shift from the current “winner-takes-it-all” system to proportional representation is part of the Opposition’s proposed package for constitutional and electoral reforms.

According to the Leader of Opposition (LOP) in Parliament, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, the Opposition in its planned Bill to amend the Constitution, wants the electoral system to change for the country to adopt the proportional representation system under which the voting patterns of the electorate are reflected proportionately in Parliament and the lower level legislative councils.

Addressing leaders of South Africa’s Party of Action who paid a courtesy call on him at his Parliamentary office, Mpuuga said that the current ‘Majoritarian’ system is unfair to political parties, adding that it is the reason why the National Unity Platform (NUP) has one Member of Parliament from Busoga sub-region much as the area overwhelmingly voted for the NUP presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.

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“In the Busoga sub-region, our candidate defeated Gen Museveni by over 80 per cent but guess what, we have a single MP [from there]. If that were proportional representation, we probably could be having 50 MPs from Busoga,” Mpuuga said.

“It is part of the conversation we want to have as the Opposition with the nation to change that system. The system of first-past-the-post promotes laziness and entrenches unpopular leaders. If we had proportional representation, the People’s Progressive Party [PPP] would have more than one Member of Parliament,” he added.

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Under the proportional representation system, the seats in Parliament and lower-level councils are allocated in proportion to the vote share each party garners at a general election.

“[Such] a system promotes participation; all you need to do is to identify motivated, charismatic candidates to go and martial support for your party in the countryside, and before you know it, you are home and dry,” Mpuuga said.

At the close of last year, Mpuuga announced that top on the Opposition’s priority list for its legislative agenda this year is a Bill to amend the Constitution to introduce political and electoral reforms.

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The South African opposition party, according to its leader, Billy Nyaku, was fascinated by the NUP, especially how it won 57 seats in Parliament within two years of its creation.

Nyaku said that as a young party that is aspiring to dominate his country’s politics, the Party of Action chose to draw lessons from the NUP experience.

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