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Small District Magnitude Will Clarify the Responsibility of Legislators

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Many experts deem small district magnitude will make it easier for legislators to credit claiming. The less legislator in an area, the clearer it would be the responsibility of each legislator, because there will be not much legislators involved in a decision making process. The public will also easily recognize their legislators and the performance of the legislators will be more effective.

“If district magnitude of an area is small, the responsibility of a legislator will become clearer. And legislators will realize that they are being put under the spotlight which encourage them to perform well,” says a researcher from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jennifer Frentasia, in the discussion titled “Credit Claiming Conditions and Constituency Visits” in Jakarta (01/13).

According to Jennifer, small district magnitude will encourage legislator to meet his/her constituency to absorb their aspirations. On the contrary, big district magnitude will discourage legislator to do the same, especially if the legislator was from a political party with small influence in the area.

“If district magnitude is big, legislator will rarely visit and meet his/her constituent. On the contrary, small district magnitude will encourage legislator to meet his/her constituency because credit claiming is more effective,” says Jennifer.

Jennifer also says that small district magnitude will improve legislators’ performance and strengthen the presidential system. However, as a consequence, small district magnitude will decrease the plurality within the parliament, and, indirectly, will render the vote-to-seat conversion process non-proportional.

“We can’t have the best of both worlds. In regards with the size of district magnitude, we need to make compromise,” says Jennifer.

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