It’s the Executive Presidency, stupid!

All politicians who are out of power pledge to abolish the executive presidency. They follow Machiavelli’s advice when there occurs a rebound in their political fortunes; then, they renege on their promise. The SJB has submitted a draft 21st constitutional amendment (21-A) to the Secretary General of Parliament. It wants the executive presidency scrapped and Parliament strengthened.

The proposed amendment also seeks to prevent crossovers from receiving ministerial posts. It says the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (SC) in cases concerning the MPs expelled from their parties for defection should be confined to the legal merits of the expulsions concerned; the apex court should have no jurisdiction as regards the procedures adopted by the party in expelling the MPs concerned. This smacks of an attempt to straitjacket the Supreme Court, which, we believe, should be free to examine all procedural aspects of expulsions to ensure that political parties do not arbitrarily sack their MPs. True, dosh-induced crossovers have caused a severe erosion of public faith in the parliamentary system, and action must be taken to prevent the MPs from being bribed into defecting, but they should be dealt with in a fair manner; and their expulsions ought to be open to unrestricted judicial scrutiny, which is the only antidote to party leaders’ dictatorial action.

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