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Designing the Afghan constitution Case-study. Class Structure 1. Key discussion questions 2. Lijphart’s theory & his critics 3. Case-study briefing: Afghan.

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Presentation on theme: "Designing the Afghan constitution Case-study. Class Structure 1. Key discussion questions 2. Lijphart’s theory & his critics 3. Case-study briefing: Afghan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Designing the Afghan constitution Case-study

2 Class Structure 1. Key discussion questions 2. Lijphart’s theory & his critics 3. Case-study briefing: Afghan society 4. The Afghan constitution and electoral system 5. Discussion: pros and cons

3 1. Key Questions You have been asked to advise the Afghan government about the major constitutional options and their possible consequences. 1. Presidential or parliamentary executive? 2. Division of powers between central state and provinces/districts? 3. Majoritarian or proportional electoral system? 4. Role of religion and the state? 5. Representation and rights of ethnic groups and women? – What does the new constitution specify? – Why were these arrangements chosen? – In the light of Lijphart’s theory, what are the possible consequences of these choices? – What alternatives would you advise?

4 2. Lijphart’s thesis Lijphart: Consensus democracy is best for plural societies “In the most deeply divided societies, like Northern Ireland, majority rule spells majority dictatorship and civil strife rather than democracy. What such societies need is a democratic regime that emphasizes consensus instead of opposition, that includes rather than excludes, and that tries to maximize the size of the ruling majority instead of being satisfied with a bare majority.”

5 Ref: Arend Lijphart Patterns of Democracy 1999 ‘Majoritarian’ Model Effective and accountable ‘Consensus’ Model Inclusive and representative Exec-PartiesOne-party cabinet (?)Coalition (?) ParliamentExecutive dominant (?)Balanced exec-legis.(?) Party systemTwo-partyMulti-party Electoral systemMajoritarianPR Interest groupsPluralistCorporatist Federal-Unitary GovernmentCentralized-unitary (?)Decentralized-federal (?) ParliamentUnicameralBalanced Bicameral ConstitutionFlexibleMore Rigid JudiciaryParlt. sovereignJudicial review Central BankDependentIndependent

6 Critics of consensus democracy Donald Horowitz Ethnic Groups in Conflict (1985) Power-sharing regimes reflecting each ethnic group may freeze and heighten ethnic divisions Majoritarian (Alternative Vote) systems have incentives for candidates to make inter-ethnic (‘bridging’) appeals

7 3.Afghan context: basic briefing Estimated total pop m (10.5m registered voters?) Ethnic groups: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4% Religion: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, other 1% Languages: Pashtu (official) 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism Literacy: 51% male, 21% female

8 What are the main political challenges facing Afghanistan? Barney Rubin: Institutions must also take into account realities of Afghanistan, including: The need for national reconciliation and problems of security after violent conflict; The strength of regional, ethnic, and sectarian loyalties in different regions, few are homogeneous; The desire of the population for a uniform administration based on legal rights, rather than arbitrary rule by the gun; The weakness of the administration; The lack of a census, intense controversy over size of regional populations and ethnic groups; The scattered distribution of the population, poor transport and communications; Low levels of literacy and numeracy; Respect for elders, religious figures, and other local leaders; and The weakness of political parties. Historical traditions: a monarchy and unitary state

9 Ethnic composition

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11 4. New Afghan Constitution

12 Presidential elections 2 nd ballot majoritarian (like France) 50% or more of the valid votes in 1 st round Or a runoff election among top two candidates two weeks later 5 year term

13 Presidential election 9 th Oct candidates, inc. Hamid Karzai (Pashtun) Younis Qanuni (Tajik) Ismail Kahn (Tajik) Abdul Rashid Dostum (Uzbek) Masooda Jalal 75% turnout Karzai 55.4% vote

14 Turnout - 41% Female, 59% Male Turnout by Gender 18:25

15 Presidential executive Qualifications of presidential candidates Afghan citizen, Muslim and born of Afghan parents Age (40+) No criminal convictions Term limitations: maximum of two terms Impeachment: Vote by 2/3 rd of Loya Jirga can dismiss president Duties: Implement constitution Determine policies of state Commander-in-Chief of armed forces Appoints ministers and 9-member supreme court (subject to approval by Wolesi Jirga) Veto on legislation

16 Legislative bodies Loya Jirga Members of the National Assembly Chairs of provincial and district councils Can amend constitution by majority vote National Assembly Wolesi Jirga (elected House of the People) Meshrano Jirga (appointed House of Elders) Elections 18 th September 2005

17 Wolesi Jirga (lower house) Single Non-Transferable Vote electoral system: Multimember constituencies and simple plurality elections Election through free, general, secret and direct elections for 5 year term 249 seats allocated among the provinces in proportion to their population Tot. pop 28m/249=seat allocation quota, with the exception that all provinces must have at least two seats One member per 112,450 electors Parties may nominate a list of candidates in each province up to the total number of seats The candidates with the most votes will be awarded seats in each province

18 Women’s representation The constitution stipulates that the number of female representatives in the Wolesi Jirga must be at least twice the number of provinces (2*32=64/249=25%). The election commission sets the minimum female quota per province. The female candidate with the most votes in each constituency will be elected until the minimum quota for female candidates in each province is met Other women can then be elected based on their share of the vote In total, 582 women candidates stood (10%) Yet major HR abuses of women continue

19 Elections 18 th September ,500 candidates for Wolesi Jirga & provincial councils 69 ballot papers – in Kabul, 390 names on 7 pages 26,000 men or women-only ballot stations w. 200,000 staff – cost $149m 300 excluded due to fraud Lower turnout (est. 75%>55%?)

20 Problems 68% of votes went to losing candidates Unwieldy ballot choices (400 names in Kabul) Unequal votes (top elected member got 50,000 more votes than the lowest) No party cues allowed Issues of campaign funding

21 Meshrano Jirga (upper house) 96 members One third each appointed by Provisional councils (Using majoritarian 2 nd ballot elections) District councils (Using majoritarian 2 nd ballot elections) The president Nominated by civic society, parties, & public

22 Electoral reform Afghan Electoral Commission Civil and voter registry Draft law proposes Proportional Combined/Mixed system for lower hse 80 seats PR 159 SNTV (inc 68 for women, 10 nomads)

23 Consequences for… Effective governance Security and stability National unity and reconciliation Inclusiveness Legitimacy (internal, external) Local participation Equality Transparency/simplicity

24 4. Discussion You have been asked to advise the Afghan government about the major constitutional options and their possible consequences. 1. Presidential or parliamentary executive? 2. Division of powers between central state and provinces/districts? 3. Majoritarian or proportional electoral system? 4. Role of religion and the state? 5. Representation and rights of ethnic groups and women? What does the new constitution propose? In the light of Lijphart’s theory, what are the possible consequences of these choices?

25 Next class Wednesday:


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