Ershad suggests 'proportional representation' in elections
Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad yesterday proposed introduction of proportional representation in the general elections, a concept meaning that the number of parliamentary seats won by a party is proportionate to the number of votes it received.
Placing the proposal at a press conference at a hotel in the capital, he said the system, now in practice in some 86 countries including Japan, Turkey, would ensure free and fair polls.
If any party bags 50 percent of the total votes cast, it will get 150 out of the 300 parliamentary seats, the former president explained. "If a party obtains one percent of the vote, it will win three seats."
He said the political parties would announce panels of their candidates ahead of the voting. "The parties will be careful in nominating candidates, because if a wrong person is nominated, the entire party
would suffer." Independent candidates can also contest, he said.
The JP chief said Bangladesh had been following the concept in electing female lawmakers to the reserved seats. The system would not give any advantage to any party, he claimed, rather it would bring a balance in the strength of the parties in parliament.
Illuminating the problems in the existing system, Ershad said that in the 2001 general election, the BNP got 40.86 percent of the vote but received 193 out of 300 seats, while the Awami League won only 62 seats despite bagging almost as many votes--40.21 percent.
The former military ruler said he would not place the proposal in parliament now, as he wanted to drum up public support for it first.
He also said, "If the system is introduced, the caretaker government system will no longer be required."