Afghanistan Electoral System

Had a fascinating meeting this afternoon with a group of a dozen or so people from Afghanistan and Democracy International. They were from civil society and/or the Afghanistan Electoral Commission, and were out here to observe our referendum, plus meetings with various experts, lobby groups and commentators.

Afghanistan uses SNTV, and we discussed the pros and cons of MMP, STV and FPP, plus associated issues such as thresholds, list MPs, stability vs inclusion.

We also talked a bit about polling and focus groups, and specifically polling around the teacup tape which they had all heard about.

A very enjoyable discussion, and a real privilege. I’m going to add Afghanistan to my list of countries to monitor in terms of electoral politics.

At one point I discussed the importance of the right vs wrong direction country indicator in polling, and how this tends to indicate a Government’s survival chances. I was surprised to learn that a recent (independent) poll in Afghanistan had 70% saying the country is heading in the right direction. It’s a reminder that we often only hear the bad news.

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