Saturday, June 22, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Parties need to be more representative

Update : 07 Apr 2015, 06:07 PM

Political parties should look at their own internal procedures to determine how they can make themselves more representative of the population at large.

Most of the prominent candidates standing in the forthcoming Dhaka and Chittagong city corporation elections are men. This is despite years of official support by both the country’s largest political parties to raise the proportion of women participating in politics.

To add to a lack of gender balance, it is clear, as in past elections that parties are often prioritsing a candidate’s personal wealth over their record of public service, adding to concern that nominations can sometimes be bought.

We believe the public would be better served by all political parties reforming their internal procedures to make them more transparent and accountable to the public. The disclosure and scrutiny required by election regulators can only go so far in this regard. Wealth statements from candidates for instance help the public take an informed view on candidates, but do little to temper the power of party machines to arbitrarily choose candidates on the basis of wealth, over public service.

An alternative way to broaden the pool of candidates  might be to hold open primary elections for mayoral candidates. This would support the principle that local elections are formally non-partisan.  As results are still counted in the name of parties, this is in practice a semantic distinction, and we have no objection to local elections being partisan.

Either way however, parties still need reforms to become more representative of the population.

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