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Voting reform is the answer to unaccountability

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A law on the ban on dual-mandates is welcome, but is it necessary?

It could be argued that it is a mere 'adhesive bandage' law simply because it covers the festering wound of breach of trust stemming from the unethical behaviour of the political class.

Better to build on rock than quicksand - and no better place to look than British Columbia.

The Recall and Initiative Act gives citizens the power to remove their MLA if they fail in their duties during the life of the Assembly - not just at elections.

Transpose this and attach it to the Bill sponsored by Dawn Purvis and then we shall begin to see which politicos talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk.

Getting rid of a public representative who abuses power is as important as how one is elected. The era of first-past-the-post (FPTP) must be thrown out as MPs can no longer claim to represent the majority just because he comes first on the ballet paper if the sum of the votes cast for the others exceeds the winner.

Living in the digital age we can adopt a fairer system where an MP must get 50%-plus of the votes cast by instant run-off to claim to speak for the majority. Jeffery Donaldson calls this system "dolly mixture" government - possible bias, as the DUP won South Antrim with 33.9% - but I think it would be a step forward in May 2011 if we all voted to change FPTP to the Alternative Vote system.

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PHILIP McNEILL

Lisburn, Co Antrim


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