PRINCIPLE CONCEPT: Revival of the political process.
'Why not the Best?'
OBJECTIVE: To bring the best and brightest into politics.
BENEFITS OF THE LEGISLATION:
This legislation will bring the process of devolution truly into play. Intra-party democratization will be introduced for ingraining the values of democratic principles, within the functionaries of any given political party. The problems of nepotism, cronyism and favoritism that mar most political parties and political process overall would be changed in due course. By means of this process individuals who don’t possess the requisite qualities to govern will be whetted out whereas; a merit based system will ensure that the best and the brightest minds rise to the top of the party hierarchy.
This will have a direct bearing on the improvement in governance and will make people feel more part of the electoral process. Also, with the representative or individual running for election coming from among the masses, the individual is likely to have a much greater understanding of the problems faced by the common man and his lot, and would be able to solve them better.
It will also be a clarion call for the younger generation, which is around 80-100 million, that they can join politics, and that they can have a future in it, irrespective of the political connections, family lineage, patronage, etc. that are currently considered pre-requisites for being able to reach the top at any level in any political party, and to stand for elections from the party platform.
Moreover, the party also needs to introduce a certain percentage as a quota for professionals as party candidates. For instance, 10% of academics, 5% of business leaders, entrepreneurs, etc, should also be made, so that people with the right qualification and acumen join political parties, and know that they have a real chance of being in a position where they can promt change.
The idea behind issuing a quota for professionals is to bring more management, methodology and organization to political parties, which are often run in an ad hoc manner. The introduction of this quota will quickly show its benefits, and political parties will realize that the induction of such professionals is to their benefit.
Furthermore, such professionals, with years of experience, will also be adept at policy making, and thinking long-term, rather than short-term, which is the need of the hour.
BENEFITS TO THE COMMON MAN:
The creation of this process will serve as an impetus to young individuals and common folks, who have aspirations to join politics, that there is hope to move up in the party hierarchy.
For now, our political system and most political parties elect candidates (to represent constituencies) based upon nepotism, cronyism, and often tends to be hereditary, with father replaced by son.
This process will come to an end. Individuals who have genuinely worked for an area will have an opportunity to stand up for elections by joining the party; and can find out whether they have the preference of the locals of the area through election.
This will ensure that the average individual, often without monetary resources to run big budget campaigns, can also be a part of the federal, provincial or district level government.
This will also increase interest in the political process when the average citizen realizes that their kith and kin, and those like him, can stand up on the basis of merit and make themselves count, to the extent, where the party lets them use their platform to stand-up for election.
The element of professionals having a quota is another aspect that will bring the best and brightest minds into the political fold; as they will know that they have a genuine chance of getting to a decision-making position, rather than performing clerical jobs.
Professionals will also bring organizational skills to the party, and thus, enable it to better respond to the needs of the public and other relevant and key stakeholders. Professionalism is often the one aspect that is the most glaring omission from the political system, and it needs to be brought about. Hence, the inclusion of professionals will be an all-round benefit for the common man, the political parties, the electoral process and the country as a whole.
DETAILS OF LEGISLATION:
The legislation will work through the introduction of intra-party democratic processes, whereby all members of the political party, will be able to vote for the representative taking part in the election from the party’s platform.
This process should be made as transparent as possible; with parties setting up their own ombudsman of sorts – for self-monitoring.
Furthermore, the local constituency can also be engaged in the process, they being the most important stakeholders, with the elected representative made liable for their interest.
Several international models are available, like the American or European model, for the selection of representatives to stand-up for local, regional and national elections. Homogeneity of process will ensure that the selection of the candidate is done in an appropriate manner at all levels.
The most important change instigated by this legislation would be party members and the common people, choosing the representative standing up in local elections, as opposed to the party leadership determining it. This would be an inversion on the current top-down approach, with the bottom-up approach likely to inculcate a sense of empowerment and engagement at the bottom tier of the hierarchy. This will also ensure that instances of cronyism, hereditary preferences, nepotism, etc. will not be the prevalent trends in electioneering and selection of candidates; and remove a sense of a disenfranchisement that sometimes the lowest cadres of party members feel.
The inclusion of professionals and academics can be done through a special by-law, either on a party level or through constitutional change. This would make the inclusion of professionals with X number of years in the private or academic sector mandatory, along with certain pre-determined parameters.
Each political party will essentially reserve 25% seats for professionals and academics, holding one or more of the following distinctions.
i. Top ten position holders (Like Gold medalists from leading universities; those who were toppers during school or college years. Those who achieved academic distinction.
ii. Top business managers like CFOs, CEOs, COOs, etc., in-charge of major entities. (There will be a basic criterion for selecting such individuals, like being at the helm of companies with revenues in excess of $1 million; or paid-up capital of more than $50 million, etc.) Their practical experience and market success would bring dynamism to the way government functionaries operate – particularly the MNAs and MPAs, who are servants of the state.
iii. Non-Resident Pakistanis – who have been high achievers in their adopted countries – in any field.
iv. PhDs – both from Pakistan and abroad. These people would be repositories of knowledge and bring much needed expertise to the political arena of Pakistan.