Zambia to maintain 50+1 clause in new draft constitution

THE unanimous vote for 50+1 clause in the first new draft constitution at the on going National Constitution Conference(NCC) Sector Groups meeting is a ground breaking move that deserves applause from every well meaning Zambian. This means that Zambians will, no doubt, be able to elect a majority President with such an electoral system in place.

Zambia is currently under a plurality system that awards a seat to the individual candidate who receives the most votes in an election THE unanimous vote for 50+1 clause in the first new draft constitution at the on going National Constitution Conference(NCC) Sector Groups meeting is a ground breaking move that deserves applause from every well meaning Zambian.

This means that Zambians will, no doubt, be able to elect a majority President with such an electoral system in place.

Research has proved that 50+1 attempts to provide a greater degree of representativeness by requiring that candidates achieve a majority of votes in order to win. Majority is normally defined as 50+1.

Zambia is currently under a plurality system also known as “winner takes all” or “first pass the post” that awards a seat to the individual candidate who receives the most votes in an election.

The candidate does not need to get the majority 50+1 of the votes to win an election so long as he has a larger number of votes than all other candidates.

Speaking in an interview with the Lusaka Star, Bowas Nsenje, a youth from the United Party for National Development(UPND), said that the current system does not represent the majority interests of the people or even most voters.

He explained that even though a candidate needs only a plurality of votes to be elected, most voters may have actually voted against the winner although their votes are split among several candidates in such a system.

“You might find that even the most unpopular candidate wins due to vote splitting while in the actual sense he was not voted for by the majority” he said.

Meanwhile Justine Mulima from the Patriotic front (PF) party,  said that Zambia is finally making headway by maintaining the 50+1 clause in the Draft  Constitution and believes that the NCC will deliver a constitution that will stand a test of time.

“We are finally making progress with such brilliant ideas and I have no doubt that the NCC will give us a long lasting constitution” he said.

Under 50+1 system, if no candidate gets the majority of votes, then a second round of voting is held often a week or so after the initial ballot.

 In the second ballot, only a selected number of candidates, usually the leading two, are allowed to contest.

Recently, the Technical Commission Chairperson Justice Annell Silungwe made an official announcement that the majority of delegates at the NCC Sector Groups conference had voted to retain the 50+1 clause in the Draft Constitution.

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