Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Proportional Representation and a written Constitution

The Election of a new Senate to replace the House of Lords using Proportional Representation will lead to major Constitutional developments. The House of Commons will continue to be elected using First Past the Post and the Senate (House of Lords) will be elected using a similar mechanism to the one used to elected Members of the London Assembly via the London Wide List.
What most people do not realize is that in order to prevent conflicts between the two elected Houses of Parliament and between the two Houses of Parliament and the Executive represented by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, there will have to be specific written rules. The Parliament Act will no longer be a valid instrument.
Given the way the system is structured, there is a great degree of confusion regarding the prerogatives of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary and more often than not legal precedents are being created by Judiciary verdicts that take precedence over decisions made by Parliament.
The separation of powers will have to be clearer and guaranteed by written rules. Otherwise, we could end up with a permanent political standstill.
We must look at the way Proportional Representation works in other countries where Proportional Representation is the key for Presidential systems rather than Parliamentary systems.
Carlos Cortiglia

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