Modifying SNTV in Afghanistan?

IFES reports that there is an ongoing legislative debate about possible changes to the single nontransferable vote (SNTV) system used to elect the Afghanistan congress in 2005.

The draft law proposes a maximum district magnitude of 10 and to include party symbols on the ballot beside candidates’ names. In 2005, the magnitudes ranged from 2 to 33 and there were no party names or symbols indicated. Quite apart from the question of whether a change from SNTV would be advisable, these are very sensible proposed changes within SNTV.

The article also notes that there are discussions of a shift to proportional representation (presumably open list) and that there has been some consideration of MMP.

0 thoughts on “Modifying SNTV in Afghanistan?

  1. No reaction on the boycott by Abdullah Abdullah?
    The lesson to be leard of this presidential election could be:
    1) how to sanction election fraud?
    2) what’s the threshold for a second round : Abdullah Abdullah had very little chance to win if Karzai realy had almost 50% in the first round.
    3) a powerful president in a country re-inventing itself is a bad option : too much focus on an institution while only one person can win it.

  2. I understand that when the Loya Jirga was writing the new constitution most delegates wanted to restore the king as a ceremonial leader, but were pressed by the US to adopt a presidential republic isntead. In nay case, the retention of the same officals who rorted the first round would have ensured the second round was another joke.

  3. I don’t have all the details, but it sounds like the major actors agreed to throw the constitution out the window. If Abdullah^2 isn’t up to the second round, why isn’t it being held between Karzai and Bashardost, his second runner-up (according to the official election “results”)?

    In your modal two-round system, the top two vote-getters face off if no candidate wins a majority in round one. In Afghanistan, the threshold is 50%+1 vote. I am not aware of any clause in Afghan election law that implies no second round between the leader and second runner-up if the first runner-up bows out.

    If this is what happened, it wouldn’t be the first time a donor country gave up on the target society’s democratic institutions.

    Then again, in Afghanistan, there are much bigger fish to fry than non-compliance with electoral rules…

  4. Yes, the French Const spells this out explicitly – the two highest of those who don’t withdraw. However, the statute prescribing the analogous runoff method for the Nat Ass has, in fact, been interpreted to mean “runner-up concedes = plurality candidate wins ‘unopposed’, no runoff held”.

    I suppose the first thing the Taliban Second Islamic Republic will do, is kill all the loyas.

  5. According to Al Jazeera tonight, USG is pushing for a power-sharing cabinet including Abdullah^2. Hello, Kenya. Hello, Zimbabwe.

    I know this isn’t a blog about democratization in the transitive sense, but I didn’t have the time to get into it on TDP, and it is a blog about comparative political institutions. USG’s record on enforcement these days is middling at best.

  6. Some eating of words may be in order. According to a credible source, the cancellation of the runoff was legal.

    In Tom’s words, “the statute prescribing the analogous runoff method for the [President of Afghanistan] [was], in fact, been interpreted to mean ‘runner-up concedes = plurality candidate wins unopposed, no runoff held.'”

  7. There have been other cases where a second-place contender withdrew between rounds, and the other candidate was declared the winner on less than 50% of votes. Off the top of my head, I can think of Argentina (Menem withdrew, allowing Sr Kirchner to become president with about 25% of the vote), one of the Dominican Republic’s elections (possibly the firs election of Fernandez), and one in Peru (possibly Alan Garcia’s first win).

    I am not sure how legitimate any of these was, whether there was a specific rule stipulating that the runoff would be canceled if one of the contender withdrew.

    Now, with the legislative election in Afghanistan scheduled for less than a year from now, will it be held under SNTV again? Will it be any more credible than the presidential election just concluded?

  8. And will it be held at all?

    If it is, I would like to observe it.

    While I can imagine the conditions emerging for a move to OLPR, I do not expect them. It would be surprising in general if the political will to abandon SNTV were mustered.

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