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Electing the Chief Executive

As the season is approaching, conscious’ renewal exercise has started. As it happens before every election, our politicians find betrayal for the greater public good from their existing party and hope their new party will serve the public better. For the leaving party, they are the opportunist and the receiving party presents it as an attraction of her vision and philosophy. Then here we are calling names to all changing parties.  My understanding is that neither the person leaves a party for the reason he describes (largely) nor the party accepts him for his conviction to party policy but both understand it’s in their mutual interest if they can get along together. If the person contests on receiving party’s ticket, he is most likely to win, or at least both calculate that outcome. The question is why all this happen? I find two major faults causing this issue. One is a constitutional scheme to elect the Prime Minister and the other is the election of District & Tehsil Nazims.

Our current constitutional scheme and constituency practice, together, has practically forced every Prime Minister aspirant to rely on those who can win a seat. To be PM he sure needs numbers o he (or the party leader) has to be careful in awarding party tickets. Such an arrangement by-default limits the freedom for party chiefs to bring in new candidates or those without any strong political presence in the constituency. We are still way back where people vote on their conscious. If a PM is directly elected by the public instead of the parliament, he is free from parliamentary pressure groups or producing loyalists in parliament for his own sake. PM should be elected with “absolute majority” even if for this have to go for the 2nd round. Elections of the National assembly shall commence after the election of the PM. Such an arrangement will relatively give more freedom to the PM to introduce new faces in the system. While president office can remain as it is, a constitutional revision about the vote of no confidence against PM may be required.  For the purpose of the vote of no confidence, all provisional assemblies, national assembly and senate may form an electoral college and a two third majority may cause the removal of a PM. Similarly, Chief Minister of the province should also be elected directly.

The second issue lies at the heart of Local Govt system. In LG systems, chief executive of the local govt should also be directly elected. A person directly elected at this stage will produce more leaders available for the provincial and national assemblies. Currently, Tehsil Nazim and District Nazim are indirectly elected leaving them with very limited exposure to public politics and with no much chance for them to play in a bigger constituency. Producing candidates at Tehsil and district levels who are experienced in full constituency elections will give more choice to an elected PM to elevate these people to the national of provincial assemblies thus further reducing his reliance on generation-old politicians.

If we continued with the current system, we will not have enough choice available for the replacements. Directly electing District & Tehsil Nazim will significantly increase our pool of available candidates for national and provincial assemblies in 2 election terms. It is important that we amend our electoral system as such that it creates ways for the new entrants.

 

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Yasir Cheema

Yasir Cheema is a Civil Engineer by training and currently working as Resident Engineer for Surbana Jurong Pte. Ltd. in Singapore. He writes at this portal about Governance, Public policy, Institutional development, Construction practices, and procedures.

2 comments so far

IshtiaqPosted on 6:03 pm - Sep 11, 2017

I am also of the opinion that PM should be elected directly. However , there some aspects/issues need to be studied. Given the current geographical divisions in the country (provinces etc) , I am afraid such practice can weaken the federation. (for example, It is more likely that PM elected through direct election can be from Punjab ( being the most populous province) . To me first step towards such system is re-organization of provinces on the basis of population/administration. Second step is more independent and authoritative local govt system.

    Yasir CheemaPosted on 8:16 pm - Sep 11, 2017

    Yes…Their is a point of concern. We are still having more or less same and sure it will be more credible with more divisions. Yes LG system is the main feeder basically. It must develop stronger.

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