Sunday, August 19, 2007

Reserved political positions
Several politico-constitutional arrangements use reserved political positions, especially when endeavoring to ensure the rights of minorities or preserving a political balance of power. These arrangements distort the democratic principle of one man - one vote in order to address special circumstances.
For example:
Pakistan and Iran (but not Bangladesh) reserve a fixed number of parliamentary seats for non-Muslims.
New Zealand reserves a proportion of its parliamentary seats for the representation of persons electing to register on a separate Māori roll. The number of seats depends upon the number of people on the roll — there are currently seven. See Māori seats.
Lebanon specifies the religious affiliation of several of its high officers, such as the President (Maronite), the Prime Minister (Sunni Muslim) and the Parliament's Speaker (Shia Muslim). Every electoral district for the parliamentary elections includes a fixed number of the various religious communities. The same system, at least for the parliamentary elections, was in force in Syria up to 1949, when the subdivisions among each religion were suppressed, then there were only reserved seats for Christians up to 1963, when the Baathist regime suppressed free elections.
Fiji provides for the election of specific numbers of Members of Parliament on the basis of three racially-defined constituencies: the indigenous Fijians, the Fijian Indians and the "General" electorate. See Constitution of Fiji: Chapter 6.
Poland's constitution guarantees the parliamentary representation of ethnic minorities.
The former East Germany had blocs of parliamentary seats reserved for representatives of women, trade unions and youth organisations.
The Brussels Regional Parliament includes 17 reserved seats for the Flemish minority, on a total of 89.
India has its 15% of seats in the Parliament of the country, State Assemblies, Local Municipal Bodies and Village level institutions reserved for untouchable castes, also called Dalits or Scheduled Castes. Similarly 7.5% are reserved for tribes or the aborigines.The election of Untouchables and Tribes candidates is by a Joint or mixed electorate , which includes all religions voters like Hindu, Muslim etc and all castes including Untouchables and tribes, vote. This is different from separate electorate practiced in other countries. Two Indian states, Kerala and Bihar, have parliamentary reserved seats for the Anglo-Indian community.
Jordan has reserved seats for Christians, Circassians and Bedouins.
Afghanistan has reserved seats in the parliament for women as well as for the Kuchi nomadic minority.
Iraq held its first post-Saddam parliamentary elections in January 2005 under an electoral law providing for compulsory integration of women on the candidates lists, like several European countries with a proportional electoral system.
Cyprus Republic of Cyprus is full of reserved political positions. Due to its nature of bi-communal republic, certain posts are always appropriated among Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. For example president is chosen from Greek Cypriot community by Greek Cypriot Community by using separate electoral rolls whereas vice president is chosen by the Turkish Cypriot community from Turkish Cypriot community using separate electoral rolls. Similarly 70% of the parliament are chosen by the Greek Cypriots from Greek Cypriots whereas 30% is chosen by the Turkish Cypriots from Turkish Cypriots. In the Supreme Court there should be one Greek, One Turkish and one neutral foreign judge.
In Mauritius, the National Assembly consists of 70 members, 62 elected for a four year term in single-seat constituencies and 8 additional members, known as "best losers" appointed by the Supreme Court to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities are equitably represented.

No comments: