L A L I T C O M M U N I Q U E
Why LALIT refuses to submit any document to Prime Minister Ramgoolam on Electoral Reform
LALIT took the decision at its Sunday Central Committee NOT to submit any response to the supposed “White Paper” on electoral reform that the Prime Minister brought out, and for which he called for submissions by 5 May in the context of a “national debate”. The Prime Minister’s “White Paper” is now clearly exposed for what it is: no more than a document thrown together by his political advisors, neither a Cabinet Document nor a Labour Party Document.
However, the reason for LALIT’s decision not to submit out proposals on Electoral Reform to the Prime Minister’s Office is that Navin Ramgoolam has clearly spelt out that he and Opposition Leader Paul Bérenger have already come to “unanimous” agreement as to what will be in the Constitutional Amendment Bill. So, it would be farcical to submit a document in the context of a discussion that continues just for show. And it follows that we will refuse to meet the Prime Minister on this issue, should he invite LALIT.
It is our duty, however, to inform the public of some of the points on which we continue to insist, and on which we oppose the Ramgoolam supposed “White Paper”. The Press, including Radio stations, have already taken up some of these points from the Kreol version of this Communiqué issued yesterday.
1. LALIT maintains that there should be a single “proportional representation list” containing the names of all the candidates who are eligible for PR nomination in a predetermined order, so that electors know who they are voting for. We strongly oppose the retrograde measure by which party leaders are to have the power to choose 8 people for the National Assembly in order to make up communal balances. This would be no more than a prolongation, in an even more dangerous form, of the communal Best Loser System, and it is clearly even more anti-democratic. This shows why LALIT has maintained its stand that just eliminating the obligation on a candidate to declare his/her community on the Nomination Paper will not necessarily do away with the communal philosophy of the Best Loser System. Unfortunately, the Ramgoolam-Bérenger tandem is succeeding, as their speeches at the religious festival of Varusha Pirappu clearly exposed, in both keeping, and even increasing, the communalism of the Best Loser System, in the new 8 nominations of MPs to be made by party leaders.
2. For the Proportional Representation lists, we insist that each elector has two kinds of vote: one for the 3 candidates (as already takes place) and one for a party (from the party list). By voting for a “party”, as well as for the usual 3 candidates, emphasis is put on the political program an elector is supporting.
3. LALIT also insists that a mechanism be devised (none has so far even been suggested by the Ramgoolam-Berenger tandem) to prevent a party or alliance that wins an overall majority after the votes on the First-past-the-Post are totted up and announced, being reversed when the PR nominations are subsequently made.
4. Rodrigues must be given an additional MP.
5. Chagos must be given a Constituency and an MP.
Sharing of Power between two Megalo-maniacs?
And as for the “Second Republic” that Ramgoolam-Bérenger have put on their medium-term agenda, in LALIT we cannot accept that sharing power between two megalo-maniacs can in any way increase democracy. We are in favour of more power either directly in the hands of electors, or in the hands of the elected members, to be able to exercise control over the Executive Branch, which is far too autocratic. This is the real content of the term “increase democracy” – increase the control by the people, either directly, or through MPs that represent them, over the politics of the Executive. In any case any demand for a Second Republic is bound to produce absurd results like “power-sharing between two megalo-maniacs” when the demand comes at a time when the balance of forces is so unfavourable to the working class and to all democratic forces in society.
Please see our other articles in this News Section for LALIT’s position on Electoral Reform.
Alain Ah-Vee, for LALIT, 22 April, 2014