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The Runoff Confusion

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The runoff proposal in the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 has been the subject of confusion over the last two weeks following the Prime Minister’s statement on August 4, in the House of Representatives and the laying of the bill itself on that date.

The reality is that the Constitution Reform Commission had a report dated December 27, 2013, which was submitted to the Cabinet on a unanimous basis. The report was made public subsequently and further public consultations were held on the report in February this year. After those consultations, the commission made further comments on a unanimous basis on April 30, 2014. After that, the commission submitted an addendum on July 18, 2014, to the Cabinet on a unanimous basis.

After the Prime Minister spoke in the House at the beginning of the Fifth Session of this Parliament on August 4, when the bill was laid for first reading, some views were changed. 

The crux of the position was that the commission never recommended any other system of election for the House of Representatives than the first-past-the-post system. That recommendation was altered in its comments on April 30 to seek a “fairer” method within the first-past-the-post system, and on July 18, the method agreed was the runoff method of the first-past-the-post system.