Africa leading the way with 50/50 by Joan Russow
On Wednesday, March 13, I went to an interesting session about electoral systems in different African counties: Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. In Zimbabwe and Zambia (two former English colonies) there is a requirement, in their Constitution, to ensure that 50 % of the MPs are women. The woman from Zimbabwe mentioned that they have proportional representation. I commented that perhaps Canada and the UK were the only countries that still had the antiquated first past the post system, and then asked how many other African countries have proportional representation. The representative from Zimbabwe clarified her statement and said that they actually have a combined system of first past the post and proportional representation. She will send me her power point and background information about their system. I told her about the Harper majority government’s changing the Elections Act and their refusing the request of the official opposition to go across Canada and consult with citizens. I also mentioned that the new act has several provisions that will suppress the vote. I suggested that it might be interesting for African countries to come to Canada, as international observers, in the 2015 election in Canada.