Me thinks someone in UNTAC doth protest too much against awareness that some provisions
of the Paris Agreement work against SOC, for instance the proportional representation
which helps small parties get seats and weakens a party winning a majority of votes.
In the Phnom Penh Post, Vol. 2, No. 11, page 19, Frank Vassalo of the electoral component
was quoted as saying that the system being used by UNTAC is first past the post.
That answer is contrary to the Paris Agreement which in Annex 3, Election, Paragraph
2, says "The election...will be held throughout Cambodia on a provincial basis
in accord dance with a system of proportional representation...".
Vassalo tried to get around this by claiming that in a proportional system "you
would tick your preferences one to twenty". That is only one type of proportional
system, and the example he gave, that if a province had 10 seats, and SOC got 40
percent to the votes, they would get four seats, if FUNCINPEC won 30 percent they
would get three seats, with the remainder divided among the next parties according
to the percentages of their votes, is certainly a proportional system. In an absolute
first past the post system, SOC, in Vassalo's example, would get all the seats.
A more telling example of the potential effect of this proportional system is that
in a first past the post system a party winning 51 percent would get all seats, whereas
in Cambodia now a 51% win would get only five or six of 10 seats, which, as the Post
writer put it, is indeed "potentially divisive when the country need [s] strong
leadership". See the formula in "United Nations Electoral Law for Cambodia,
1992," Chapter 10, "Determination of the Electoral Result," article
79, "Determination of number of candidates of registered political party to
be declared duly elected".
University Sains Malaysia
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