Electoral reform must come from "people outside the state" - Vali Musa

Electoral reform must come from “people outside the state” – Vali Musa

Former Minister Vali Musa.

Former Minister Vali Musa.

  • Former Minister Fali Moussa says that electoral reform will only happen if it is driven from outside the state.
  • Independent candidates are not expected to become a force in parliament.
  • Independent candidates can compete in next year’s elections after the Constitutional Court ordered a legislative amendment for this purpose.

Former minister Fali Musa said that electoral reform will only happen if it is led by people from outside the state.

Moussa was participating in the National Planning Committee’s dialogue on electoral reform on Tuesday.

Electoral reform has become a hot topic while the Electoral Amendment Bill – now law – worked its way through parliament following the June 2020 Constitutional Court ruling that the election law should be amended to allow independent candidates to participate in national and local elections.

Musa chaired a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) appointed by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to make recommendations on what form this amendment should take. Motsoaledi and his division did not follow the MAC’s majority recommendation for a system that mixed the constituency with the proportional list system—a system favored by many in civil society.

Instead, they opt for the so-called minimalist option, which does not include the masses. This option was also pushed through parliament by the ANC, despite strong opposition from civil society. President Cyril Ramaphosa He signed the bill into law in April.

Read | Yet another challenge from ConCourt to the Electoral Amendment Act

Much of the opposition to the legislation revolves around concerns it does not address independent candidates and political parties on an equal footing, and that the barriers for independent candidates are very high. There is also a general concern that changes to the electoral system are not fundamental enough.

However, the law requires the Minister of Interior to set up a committee that will make non-binding recommendations on potential reforms to the electoral system for future elections to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures after the 2024 elections.

In the virtual dialogue on Tuesday, Musa – who was the Minister of Constitutional Development – said when he The constitution was drafted In the 1990s, there was interest in creating an inclusive parliament – this was the idea behind the proportional system.

Moussa does not believe that the problem is the proportional system, but the party lists.

Nor does it call for minimizing the role of political parties.

He said:

I don’t think our democracy can function without political parties – strong and sustainable political parties.

However, he believes that the system based on electoral districts will force political parties to put forward better candidates for parliament.

He does not expect independent candidates to become a “force in Parliament”, nor does he think it desirable for independents to have a majority of MPs in Parliament.

“I think electoral reform will only happen if it is managed by people from outside the country,” he said.

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