Most people confused by new electoral system: Nida Poll

Most people confused by new electoral system: Nida Poll

A majority of people do not fully understand the new voting system to be used in the forthcoming election tentatively scheduled for Feb 24, 2019, according to the result of an opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on Nov 5-7 on 1,261 people aged 18 and above of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country to gauge their understanding of the new electoral system under the 2017 constitution.

Under the new electoral system, the mixed member apportionment system (MMA), voters will cast a single ballot for a candidate - instead of two separate votes as in the previous election, where they selected both a candidate and a party for the party-list slate of MPs.

A single ballot will now count as both a vote for the candidate and simultaneously a vote for that candidate’s party for the party-list seats. 

The new election law also allows candidates to have their own number in each constituency. This means there will be no unique nationwide number for each party. 

Asked whether they knew how many ballots they will cast in the next election, a large majority - 77.80% - said "no", and only 22.20% said they were aware that they will cast only a single ballot.

Asked whether they knew that under the new system, candidates will have their own number in each constituency - rather than the unique nationwide number for each party as in the previous election - 82.79% said "no", while 17.21% said they were aware that the candidates of each party will be given different numbers in different constituencies.

A huge majority, 95.80%, said they will definitely turn out to vote in the forthcoming election; 2.22% said they will definitely not go to the polls, believing it would not serve any purpose; and 1.98% were uncertain or had no comment.

Asked on what basis they will vote for a candidate, 47.02% said they will base their decision on party policies; 19.62% are still undecided; 14.15% said they will vote for the candidate of their preferred party; 13.91% said their decision will be based on individual candidates; and 5.30% said they will vote for the candidate of whichever party proposes their favourite candidates for prime minister.

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