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“Be the Change Complaint by Romitesh Kant” (Letter to Editor sent 23 April 2014, published Fiji Times 24 April 2014)

24/04/2014

“Be the Change Complaint by Romitesh Kant” (Letter to Editor sent 23April 2014, published Fiji Times 24 April 2014)

 

Dear Sir/Madam

Mr Romitesh Kant, on behalf of the Be the Change Campaign (and presumably Roshika Deo, their declared Independent candidate) complains (FT, 19 April 2014) that I am “compromising voter integrity and one’s political freedom by making statements targeting aspiring independent candidates”.

I suggest to him that candidates are totally free to stand as Independents, and voters are totally free to vote for them.  I am merely the messenger pointing out the likely consequences of so doing.

Will Kant and Deo honestly point out to their supporters that unlike previous elections when Independents and small parties had pretty much the same chances of winning as Party candidates, under the new system devised by the Bainimarama Government, the 5% threshold completely stacks the odds against them (see my article on 19 April 2014 for details)?

(a) for their votes to elect an Independent like her to Parliament, they will need 27,000 votes at least, whereas for a Party candidate they would need on average only 9000, and in practice, far less? (we will see in a few months, how few votes get some people elected).

(b) that if they do manage to elect an Independent, they will still only elect 1 person, whereas if they had all voted for a party, they would probably have elected 3 MPs who could work for them in Parliament?

(c) that if she does not manage to obtain 27,000 votes, all their votes would be wasted,

(d) whereas if she had stood for a large Party, not only would she have a reasonable probability indeed of being elected (if Facebook and Twitter “likes” translate into actual votes), but even if she is not elected, their votes would still count towards the Party and help elect someone else.

Mr Kant’s letter also stated that the  Be The Change Campaign would like to “caution Mr Narsey from making statements based on just statistics and probabilities”.

Yes indeed, my Opinion Piece is based on “statistics and probability”, which strangely seems to be a vice according to Mr Kant, but that is probably also why The Fiji Times, publishes my articles, despite the constraints they work under.

The public should be more worried that “cautioning” citizens for exercising their right to free speech is even afflicting otherwise principled young persons like Romitesh Kant, fresh on the political scene.

 

Professor Wadan Narsey

 

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