By Our Staff Correspondent
In a release, the founding president of the andolan, H.A.B. Paripa, said a study of the 2004 election results showed that the elected representatives had received between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of the votes cast by the people.
Thus the legislatures were representative of a minority and the majority remained unrepresented. Hence, the People’s Representation Act should be modified to ensure that each MP and MLA was a representative of at least 50 per cent of the people who voted, if not of all the registered voters. It was only then that the legislative bodies could be truly representative to respond to the people’s needs, Dr. Parpia said.
He said the present process was undemocratic and needed to be changed, as those who had secured only 20 per cent to 40 per cent of the votes could not be reckoned to be truly representative of the people.
Dr. Parpia said to make the election process truly representative and feasible, efforts should be made to change the system now so that it would be ready within five years. He suggested penalising those who abstained from voting.
The other changes mooted by him were to vest the electorate with the right to recall a legislator if he or she failed to live up to the commitments made and indulged in practices not commensurate with that of a legislator.
It was suggested that there should be an age limit for being elected to legislatures and Parliament. Dr. Parpia said the present system had assumed a form where only a rich person could contest the polls.
He mooted the idea of funding the candidates through the Election Commission and monitoring the election-related expenditure incurred by the candidates. Unless this was done, no true social worker or people’s servant could contest the elections, he added.
It was also suggested to make it mandatory for those seeking re-election to make public the list of promises made during the previous elections, services rendered and promises un-kept.
He said if action was initiated on these lines immediately they could be in force during the next elections. "Despite the inadequate electoral system, the people have given `shock treatment’ to the politicians in 2004. How much greater the impact of this treatment would have been with a better and more democratic system of representation", he asked and called for the government machinery to initiate the process.