Parliamentary Salad

Why do we have a problem with the plurality voting system?

The normal answer you will find in our streets is that the plurality voting system will give the chance to corrupt old members of the parliament to win some seats in coming parliamentary elections. Lately with all the debate about the elections & the new law that is being imposed on Egyptians without having them participating in the decision making process, everyone is repeating the above mentioned opinion like a parrot. Smart Egyptians call this phenomenon "memorizing without understanding". My point of view, it is a very limited idea about what will happen in the future.

Lets go back & see what used to happen in the past to learn about the logical sequence of events in the future. The culture of previous parliamentary elections, was the most commercial way of mating political power with economics. An Egyptian MP was protected by the state & by the other members of the parliament, for example, if an MP cheated in the elections of his district, & you have everyone suing him for forgery, these court cases won't reach any results if the rest of the lobby (the parliament) voted for him to stay, under the excuse of "The parliament is the overlord of its decisions".

Thus, for any businessman ambitious enough & wanting to move his business to a different size, it is essential to find a way into the parliament as a business integration strategy, this way he can grow without being bothered. The last thing in their heads was to serve the country, or even read the laws that are coming out of their own assemblies. It was like a club, if you manage to join it you become supreme in the Egyptian business society.

Now there is no parliament, but there are businessmen & not very happy ones. In all the versions of the law that the supreme military council keeps on amending every few weeks, there is nothing that discussed the protection of the state to the MPs, which implies that this law is still active, & that in the coming parliament the MPs will have immunity. That is the biggest problem.

Whether we have relative lists or direct plurality voting system, if the immunity is there, all the businessmen will go to war to get a seat. Normally the plurality system will permit more of them to win, because your vote goes directly to a person. But realistically nothing will stop them from invading the first members of lists as well, whether they were proportional, semi proportional, non proportional, closed or opened lists, etc... they will win paying money to people to vote for lists the same way they used to do it for individuals. We have to be careful because this time they are going for the seats NOT to earn more money & to expand their businesses, this time they are fighting to survive. At a certain point we have to realize that with the last amendment of the supreme military council to the law, he gave 1/3 of the seats to plurality voting & 2/3 for the closed proportional lists, this is sort of imposing a quota of 1/3 of the seats for the old members of the parliament, this way the military council is doing what he can to preserve the current economic map of the country. We have to know that from the interest of the supreme council to keep the economic map as is, otherwise they will be facing an uncertain fate with new businessmen & new politicians, all the members of the council are in the late 60s early 70s, they really hate uncertainty.

Lets imagine a hypothetical parliament where all the MPs are not businessmen, & their only source of income is the money they earn per session. Of course if our parliament looks this way it would be the most honest & legitimate parliament we would ever have, why? Several reasons but the following two reasons are enough:

1- The MPs won't really care about immunity since they don't have any other interests but making laws & following them. Immunity is useful when you have another job other than being an MP, & mostly useful if you have a post in the executive government.
2- The MP that is absent for more than a month without a logical excuse is definitely taking bribes, since the only way for him to make money is attending sessions.

This hypothetical parliament is very far from what will happen. We are a country where Business & Politics are married. Do you really think that Egyptian businessmen would leave the parliament be so distant from their hidden hands? If this happens they might face crazy economic decisions that would make them lose some of their assets to help the society or pay more taxes to the state. Of course our businessmen are much smarter than that, they always pay less & make more money.

Lets get some things straight. The economic map of Egypt is all over the nice big fancy billboards, inside cities, on the highways, in malls, stations, airports, etc... These people paying that much money just to make us know that they exist, would pay much more money to keep the economic map the same...

You want to know more about Egyptian businessmen? You have a database that represents the future ecopolitical map of the country http://www.eba.org.eg/Main/Search.aspx

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