Election system is one of the most important features of a country’s political system. It symbolizes some inner concept of a political system of a nation. I have chosen election system of US government to discuss and compare with that of Bangladesh. Both of these countries have some unique style of election procedure. That has made it really interesting for the learner of both systems to contrast and evaluate their own respective election system and understand its impact on government. Bangladesh has got its independence on 1971.
After that on 1972 Bangladesh got her 1st constitution. Initially according to primary constitution the government was parliamentary in nature. There was a system of having general election throughout the country. By this way people can chose Member of Parliament of their own area. The national parliament is unicameral and is consist of 300 members. Whole country is divided into 300 election zonal area. For division in some cases population is considered and in some other cases area is considered. The party with highest number of Member of Parliament will form the government.
President will be the head of the state. Prime minister will be the head of government. By 4th amendment of constitution presidential form of government was introduced in place of the parliamentary system. Besides this, a one-party system in place of a multi-party system was introduced and the powers of the Parliament were curtailed. Afterwards there were military dictators till 1990. ON 1991 Bangladesh had its 1st acceptable form of election. They switched back to parliamentary form of government lead by prime minister.
Party with majority in parliament will form the government and their team leader will be selected as a prime minister. By the 13th amendment in the constitution of Bangladesh, the caretaker government system was introduced in Bangladesh in 1996. Caretaker government must be an impartial government and the head of the Caretaker government is called the Chief Adviser They take charge three months before the election and comprised of notable civil personnel lead bythe latest retired chief justice. He is known as chief advisor.
Their main job is to conduct a smooth and fair election and handover the power to an elected government. The system was appreciated for its effectiveness, but recently there was a huge debate whether this system should be used in next general election or not. The political parties were divided into two groups. This issue had a huge impact on the total governance of the country. Debate was raised because during their last duty, they took one year to conduct the election . That is a violation of constitution.
Besides this as the head of this caretaker government is always the last retired chief justice, last government tried to amend the constitution by increasing the retirement age of chief justice, so that they get a head of caretaker government who will work in favor of them. So the present government abolished the caretaker form of government by 15th amendment of constitution. There are some changes in election system also. Bangladesh has started using electronic voting system. Previously it was solely manual system.
So after every election the losing party used to blame the wining party for corruption and they used to start not cooperating with the government. Without an active participation of an opposition party parliament is always ineffective. USA has been using a special form of election procedure. They use the electorate college to elect their president. Here president has been the head of state from initial time. Here when a citizen votes for a president they actually vote for an elector who later votes to elect the president. That does not mean that citizen’s vote does not count.
They elect the candidate of their choice and by this they determine the electoral vote for their state. Actually this Electoral College is termed as a compromise between selection by congress and the election by the mass people who represent the popular vote. There are 538 Electoral College, composed of 435 House member, 100 senator and 3 votes from District of Columbia. A candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to be elected as a president. The election campaign is really lengthy. The constitution does not give anyguide line how to nominate a candidate for US presidential election.
The Democratic Party has a nationwide policy for determining candidate. The Republican Party allows each state to determine their own way to select candidate. When Bangladesh was united with present Pakistan, former president of Pakistan Ayub Khan introduced a system of presidential election called Basic democracy. That was almost similar to the presidential election system of USA. But mass people of Bangladesh did not accept that system as the electors were corrupted. They did not reflect the wish of popular vote. So this system did not worked in Bangladesh.
In USA the founder father thought that people are not wise enough to elect the right candidate. That is why they wanted to have a system where there will some sorts of control over people’s choice of candidates. They also thought people from different states may not agree to on a single person to choose as a president. That is why they felt the requirement to have an election system that will balance the situation. In Bangladesh politics and election are always accompanied by unrest, indecision and sometimes violence. Election system there is traditionally dynamic. Still some kind of reform is going on.
Actually history and tradition have almost no impact on election system there. Rather it always depends on the compromise and mutual understanding between the political parties that determine the system of election. Both of these election systems have their own criteria. But if I have to decide which one is better, then I will choose the Electoral College system. Yes, I do admit that it has some limitations. Sometimes there are some deviations called electoral anomalies. Sometimes some president is elected when they have lost in popular vote, but they have more electoral vote.
It shows that sometimes popular vote is not reflected in election. Still I prefer this system because it has happened only four times in history. These presidents are John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush. In US political election media plays a great role. Candidates engaged in some debates. Thus people come to know about theircandidate very closely and they can determine the strength and weakness of the candidates. In Bangladesh role of media is a bit different. That is confined to mostly news coverage and constructive discussion.
I find that less effective. Apart from this, election in USA is usually takes place in Tuesday. So people can continue their Work. It does not affect the poor people. In Bangladesh Election Day is a holiday. That has some negative impact on poor people and economy. In USA usually the election is free and fair. There is almost no chance of any manipulation. In Bangladesh the election system is manual. So it is possible to manipulate the result of the election. Many a time losing team complains that election was manipulated and there was corruption.
That eventually affects the government as they stop playing the active role of an opposition party. If the Electoral College did not exist, there would be no need for people in small state like Rhode Island, New Hampshire etc. to vote, because it would become valueless then. Without the Electoral College larger state like California, New York, Florida and Texas would pick the president, and only the interests of the urban community would be represented. This system has balanced the equality and thus everyone can feel their importance in this system which inspires them to vote.
Electoral votes are divided among an equal number of people each vote represents. So residents of South Dakota have the same voice as Californians. To me this is a unique method. Dr. Joanna McKay has told that fairness, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and stability are the criteria of a good election system. I believe that Electoral College fulfills all the above mentioned points. On the opposite side, the election system of Bangladesh is not convincing to me, because it is not stable. The system has changed a lot of time and still it is changing.
Sometimes it does not fulfill the condition fairness and transparency, because there are a lot of reports of such incidence in past elections. In US, for election no caretaker government needs to take charge. So it is always a very smooth transition. But in Bangladesh till the last election a caretaker government used to take Charge to conduct an election. That always brought inconvenience and always had a bad impact on economic condition as they are not habituated with this usual administrative job. So it had a bad impact on development of a country.
But very recently Bangladesh has abolished this system for the upcoming election. I believe that it is great step to remove the impediments for a fair election and restoring the faith among political parties. From the inception of human civilization always there were rulers and their subjects. Modern state and citizen are just a modified evolution of that system. So it is always important to determine a system to elect the rulers who are flawless and reflect people’s opinion and do not give any scope to select bad candidate. The most important factors are present condition and demand of present time. That is why the discussion about election system is really important and will remain significant forever.
- BANGLADESH TO USE ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEM FOR NEXT ELECTIONS. http://www. futuregov. asia/articles/2011/jun/13/bangladesh-use-electronic-voting-system-next-elect/ . Retrieved:16th November, 2012.
- Caretaker system abolished. The daily star, Bangladesh. http://www. thedailystar. net/newDesign/news-details. php? nid=192303. Retrieved: 16th November, 2012
- CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH. Retrieved 16 November 2012. From http://www.studygs. net/citation. htm Dr K M A
- Malik, Changes of Bangladesh Constitution: What the government is up to? Retrieved 16 November 2012. From http://www. sonarbangladesh. com/article. php? ID=1615
- Election Anomalies. Page: 160 From Election A to Z (Third edition). By Bob Beneson. Published by: CQ Press. Election Process: http://www. loc. gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/elections/elecprocess. html . Retrieved: 16th November, 2012
- Pakistan-Basic Democracies. http://www. mongabay. com/history/pakistan/pakistan-basic_democracies.html . Retrieved:16th November, 2012.
- Nizam Ahmed. Non-party caretaker government in Bangladesh: experience and prospect. University Press Ltd. , 2004. What makes a good electoral system? By Dr Joanna McKay, Nottingham Trent University. Published :April 19, 2011. Retrieved: 16th November, 2012.
- [ 1 ]. CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH. Retrieved 16 November 2012. From http://www. studygs. net/citation. htm
- [ 2 ]. Dr K M A Malik, Changes of Bangladesh Constitution: What the government is up to? Retrieved 16 November 2012. From http://www. sonarbangladesh. com/article. php? ID=1615
- [ 3 ]. Nizam Ahmed. Non-party caretaker government in Bangladesh: experience and prospect. University Press Ltd. , 2004.
- [ 4 ]. Caretaker system abolished. The daily star, Bangladesh. http://www. thedailystar. net/newDesign/news-details. php? nid=192303. Retrieved: 16th November,2012
- [ 5 ]. BANGLADESH TO USE ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEM FOR NEXT ELECTIONS. http://www. futuregov. asia/articles/2011/jun/13/bangladesh-use-electronic-voting-system-next-elect/ . Retrieved:16th November, 2012.
- [ 6 ]. Election Process. http://www. loc. gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/elections/elecprocess. html . Retrieved:16th November,2012
- [ 7 ]. Pakistan-Basic Democracies. http://www. mongabay. com/history/pakistan/pakistan-basic_democracies. html . Retrieved:16th November,2012.
- [ 8 ]. . Election Anamalies. Page:160 From Election A to Z (Third edition). By Bob Beneson. Published by: CQ Press.
- [ 9 ]. What makes a good electoral system? By Dr Joanna McKay ,Nottingham Trent University . Published :April 19,2011. Retrieved:16th November,2012.