Original Posting: New Political System for the Information Age Draft #05
In reponse to Re: Bernard's worst case scenario when the President is vested with both the executive and legislative powers - [Bernard Clayson]
Email: Sun, 18 Jul 2004 20:53:08 -0700
For A Safe Democracy and An Effective Government
Saturday, 31 July 2004 02:30 Singapore
“My suggestion is the community choses the best person, the 'community' is extended each time they are elevated up the hirearchy until the 'community' is the country in the case of the PM.
So who is he/she going to 'bribe' to keep the position of PM.”
“If this is the case, then we are substantially in full agreement on by whom the national leader is to be elected. In the your NPS, the PM is directly elected by all the people in the country, whom you prefer to call them as the PM's 'community', whereas, in the New Political System for the Information Age, the President is also directly elected by all the people called the 'people'. In essence what you call the PM, I call the President.”
“The only difference that I could see was the executive and judicial (legislative) powers, those functions should not be combined, and I am not too happy with the executive function either.
Power begets power, delegated functions needed to be carefully described before being given.”
“You are right that the powers constitutionally vested in the PM in your NPS are radically different from the those of the President in the New Poltical System for the Information Age. The full agreement I refer to above is limited to on "by whom the national leader is to be elected".
Now you have raised the objection to the vesting of both the executive and legislative powers in the President. This is a very substantive issue.
Would you put forward the worst case scenario when the President is vested with both the executive and legislative powers as proposed in the NPS Draft #05?”
“Quite simply if one person had both executive and legislative powers, he/she could remove the publics right to vote on issues.
Powers vested in anybody, or bodies, can only be by removing them from other bodies i.e. the public.
Legally, neither the public, or the senate, would have any means of censor, democracy would become dictatorship”
What you say here may be generally true in the existing political systems where legislative powers include the powers to amend or make changes to the Constitution without a referendum and where the Legislature has the monpoly of making, amending or repealing the laws.
The principle of separation of executive and legislative powers as practised in the existing political systems and in which you have relied on to ward off dictatorship would fail when a single political party or alliance or coalition seizes control of both the Executive Office and the Legislature by means, fair or foul. And with sufficient majority to amend the Constitution as it pleases to remove the constitutional safeguards and adding in the dictatorial provisions, the country would become a dictatorship by constitutional means. This has already happened in the world. And citizens have woken up to their horror that this principle of separation of powers has given them a false sense of security.
In the New Political System for the Information Age Draft #05 (NPS), there are stringent constitutional safeguards that makes it absolutely impossible for the elected President, notwithstanding the executive and legislative powers being vested in him, to take away constitutionally the voting rights of the people without their consent and transforming a demoncracy into a dictatorship.
Safeguard #1: Constitution as the Will of the People
The voting rights of the people are enshrined in the Constitution and to take away such rights the Constitution has to be amended. In the NPS unlike the existing political systems, the Constitution is truly put beyond the reach of the President so that there is no way he could constitutionally amended the Constitution without a referendum asking the people to take away the voting rights from the people.
Furthermore in the NPS, for removing or amending fundamental principles in the Constitution, it requires not less than 75% majority vote in a referendum or citizens' initiative, which in practice is a near impossibility unless the overwhelming majority of the people want the changes.
Safeguard #2: Independent Institutions or Bodies (IIB)
In the NPS unlike the existing political systems, the Judiciary, Election Commission, and other Independent Institutions or Bodies are truly independent of the President who has absolutely no say their appointements, removals or remunerations or other benefits. So the influence of the President on these public officials would be practically zero.
Safeguard #3: Immunity from Prosecution and Lawsuits
All members of the Senate, Council of Veterans and Independent Institutions or Bodies are immune from prosecution by the government and from lawsuits.
This is to prevent the President or anybody else from using minor personal weaknesses or indiscretions of these public officials as excuses for the blackmail or harassment of the these public officials, especially for minor offences committed many years ago. The use (or the threat to use) of libel lawsuits to shut up critical reports or public discussions by these public officials would be a thing of the past.
Safeguard #4: Impeachment of the President
The President could be removed from office at any time by the Senate with two-thirds majority of the Senators present and voting. This is to provide a fast and efficient way of getting rid of a really bad or incompetent President.
Again as this power of the Senate is also enshrined in the Constitution, there is no way the President could constitutionally render the Senate ineffective without first amending the Constitution through a referendum.
Safeguard #5: Bad Legislation Immediately Inoperative
The Judiciary has the constitutional duty to review for bad or poor quality legislations and on an urgent basis whenever it is necessary.
Any legislation or any part thereof found by the Judiciary in its absolute discretion to be bad or poor quality would cease to be operative immediately and would first be returned to the President (or the Parliament) for amendment within the time as prescribed by the Judiciary failing which it would then be referred to the Senate for approval or veto.
Safeguard #6: Independent and Objective State Media
The National Media Commission is constitutionally empowered to ensure that the national media and information infrastructures are fully independent of the President and the government, and that its news reports, articles, editorials and documentaries are to be as free from the governmental or presidential propaganda as the circumstances could permit.
Safeguard #7: Appointed Public Officials are professionally selected and assessed
The Talent Development Institute would professionally, objectively and independently select and assess candidates for appointement to the Council of Veterans and to the Independent Institutions or Bodies (other than the TDI itself), free from the influence and interference from the President.
Safeguard #8: Free, fair, secure and efficient elections, referendums and citizens' initiatives
The Election Commission is constitutionally empowered to provide free, fair, secure and efficient elections, referendums and citizens' initiatives. There is no way for the President to interfere with the elections, referendums and citizens' initiatives constitutionally.
Safeguard #9: Unjust laws rendered ineffective
The House of Justice is constitutionally empowered to set aside unjust judicial judgements and to vary the sentences that are meted by the Courts of Law to what is just according to an agreed standard and principles of justice subject to a nominal sum of S$1.00. So extremely unjust laws is practically ineffective worth only a niminal sum of $1.00.
Safeguard #10: Transparency of Government and Public Service
Clause 19 under Senate:
“The Senate shall have the powers to appoint the appropriate investigating committee to look into allegations or suspicions of wrongdoing or malpractice by any person holding a public office including the President with the exception of the Councillors. The proceedings of such a investigating committee shall be telecasted live over national television and the Internet except those parts of the proceedings that involve the issues of national security and state secrets unless authorised otherwise by the Senate”Similarly, Clause 13 under Council of Veterans:
“The Council of Veterans shall have the powers to appoint the appropriate investigating committee to look into allegations or suspicions of wrongdoing or malpractice by any person holding a public office including the President with the exception of the Senators. The proceedings of such a investigating committee shall be telecasted live over national television and the Internet except for those parts of the proceedings that involve the issues of national security and state secrets unless authorised otherwise by the Council of Veterans”
Safeguard #11: Voter Education and People's Participation in Public Affairs
There is no better safeguard for democracy than a politically aware, informed and active people.
So the Election Commission is constitutionally responsible for the voter education for raising political awareness and participation by the people (Election Commission, Clause 2).
Safeguard #12: People Power
In case, any or all of the other safeguards fail, the people could still resort to People Power.
Unlike the existing political systems, the people retain at all times their sovereign powers and could exercise their sovereign powers at any time through the citizens' initiatives or referendums, not once in 4 or 5 years during the general elections.
This retention and exercise of sovereign powers by the people themselves through the citizens' initiatives, referendums and elections makes the NPS a Direct Democracy System, as there is direct rule by the people.
The above 12 safeguards are by no means exhaustive. They are only the main safeguards against dictatorship in the New Political System for the Information Age Draft #05 which contains numerous other safeguards as well.
New Political System for the Information Age
Back to top