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Time to address party donations and MLA figures

Published 10/12/2015

Gerald Morgan (Write Back, December 4) makes valid points concerning the need for electoral reform to address the problem of unelected MLAs by co-opting.

However, in addition to co-opting, there are two other electoral-related issues needing attention. These are, firstly, the need for transparency regarding political donations - the electorate needs to know who funds the parties here and by how much (as in the rest of the UK).

Secondly, the total number of MLAs in Northern Ireland - 108 - is disproportionate to the size of the actual electorate population (1.2 million).

This is especially apparent when a comparison is made with other devolved regions. For example, Wales has just 60 Assembly members for an electorate population of 2.22 million. Hence, the correct number of MLAs for Northern Ireland would be around 35.

This could be achieved by reorganising the constituencies on a county basis, with five seats per county and an additional five seats for Belfast.

Each of the parties could then field a single candidate per county during elections; this would result in having five MLAs per county and five for Belfast, which would be quite sufficient. In addition, Spad numbers would be significantly reduced.


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