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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Understanding proportional representation
Percy F. Makombe
July 31, 2013
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It is said that
anyone can be a democrat in victory; the true test of a democrat
comes with defeat. As Zimbabwe
gets into elections, a lot of comments have been flying about
on proportional representation generating more heat than light.
years ago, Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations signed the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) mediated by SADC. A major purpose
of this GPA was to look forward and begin a process in which Zimbabwe
would not have elections that are not disputed. The GPA sought to
deal with the problem of political legitimacy and prepare the ground
for an agreed and acceptable election process.
A lot of comments
and scepticism can be expressed about whether in fact what is happening
in Zimbabwe is an acceptable election process, what cannot be doubted
however is the fact that one of the key deliverables of the GPA
was a new constitution.
On March 16,
2013, over 3 million Zimbabweans
voted YES in support of the proposed basic law of the land.
The harmonised elections on July 31 will be conducted according
to the new constitution
which introduces proportional representation. This changes the way
National Assembly members and provincial councils are elected. A
look at the electoral system that will be in use is important.
of election at national level
has to be elected by a margin of at least 50% plus one vote, anything
less than that necessitates a run-off between the two candidates
with the highest number of votes. The National Assembly will have
271 members of which 210 are constituency representatives elected
through a first-past-the-post system plus the 60 women – six
from each of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces – who will come
from the party lists through proportional representation. The 270
National Assembly members will then elect the Speaker from their
members or from outside the National Assembly.
The Senate will
have 81 members broken down as follows:
- 16 chiefs,
two from each of the eight non-metropolitan provinces elected
by the provincial assembly of chiefs
and Vice President of the National Council of chiefs.
- Two people
elected to represent people with disabilities. These two are elected
by the Electoral College of persons with disabilities. The National
Disability Board (NDB) draws up provisional list of the electoral
college in which all people on list must be disabled; half the
people on list must be women; all people on the list must be registered
voters and four people on list must be nominated by NDB.
for proportional representation
Under the new
constitution, three different categories of representatives will
come through proportional representation.
- 60 senators,
six from each of the 10 provinces
- 80 members
10 from each provincial council (Non-Metropolitan)
- 60 seats
in the National Assembly reserved for women, six seats each from
of these seats is only for the first 10 years after which it will
fall away. This also means that every vote cast for the National
Assembly seats is equal to four votes. It is a vote for the constituency
candidate; it is also a vote for any one of the six senators in
the province as well as a vote for the six women candidates per
province and finally a vote for any one of the ten councillors in
the provincial assemblies (non-metropolitan).
The party lists
for the Senate and provincial council elections will follow what
is called a Zebra format - female and male alternately headed by
of allocating proportional representation
representation will be allocated can be seen if we take an example
of a province with three constituencies X, Y and Z. What would happen
is that the contesting parties are listed on a table starting with
the party with most votes.
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