Seating in Parliament a non-issue

Letters to the Editor

Seating in Parliament a non-issue

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Advanced African and European multi-party democracies with proportional electoral representation like Rwanda and Germany have the people's deputies seated in semi-circles facing the speaker.

There are aisles to facilitate access to the seats but there is no physical divide to separate members of different political parties. A physical divide is neither feasible, because it's impracticable to rebuild the interior of the assembly halls after each national or by-election, nor necessary because the members are civilised individuals who have learned to agree to disagree agreeably.

Gordon House was built with the outdated colonial single-member plurality two-party Westminster electoral system in mind, but there is neither a need to tight squeeze 48 or more members into a compartment on one side of the divide, nor to explore options outside Gordon House.

Seating shouldn't be an issue. The 63 seats can easily be split into one seat for the speaker and 31 seats on either side of the aisle with members of both parties sharing space in the same compartments. Insisting on allocating divided spaces to members of different parties is utterly ridiculous.

Frederick Bucking

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