Improving the democratic process

A Commonwealth team , is recommending that the British Overseas Territory should introduce the equal suffrage.

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Jul 24– A Commonwealth team that observed the May 22 general elections here, is recommending that the British Overseas Territory should introduce the equal suffrage principle of “one person one vote”.

In a 15 page report, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) team headed by Mario Galea, a member of the Maltese Parliament, noted that the equal suffrage principle or equal number of votes could be achieved by introducing an electoral system with single-member constituencies or multi-member constituencies with equal number of elected members of the Legislative Assembly.

The report said the newly defined constituencies could contain, “as far as possible and practicable”, the same number of inhabitants and registered electors.

In addition, the CPA said that reducing the required period of residency in the Cayman Islands prior to the registration as an elector could increase the number of registered electors and enhance overall inclusiveness of the election process.

“Reducing the required period of residency of candidates in the Cayman Islands prior to the date of nomination would open up the universal right to stand for elective office to a larger number of otherwise qualified citizens. A clear legal definition of “his/her own act” in relation to other citizenship could bring more clarity for the Elections Office when deciding on eligibility of candidates, as well as for potential candidates when deciding whether to contest elections.”

It is also urging the establishment of an independent election management body with independent budgetary financing which it said “could further increase the public confidence in the election process. (2013)

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