Constitutional attorney Dr. Lloyd Barnett, says a secret ballot to elect the President of a future Jamaican Republic would not be in violation of the country’s democratic principles.

He’s explaining the thinking behind the recommendation made in the Constitutional Reform Committee Report.

However, Mr. Barnett argues that a means to achieve consensus should be paramount in order to avoid political deadlock.

Chevon Campbell tells us more.

According to the CRC report, optimally, the president would be selected through a two-stage process.

Nomination is to be done by the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition with a view to arriving at consensus.

Confirmation is then to be done by the Parliament in a joint sitting of both Houses, where each House votes separately by secret ballot. 

The vote required to confirm the nominee is an affirmative vote of a two-thirds majority in each House.

However, where no consensus can be reached, each House should be empowered to make a separate nomination for confirmation by the Parliament.

This would be done in a joint sitting where each House votes separately by secret ballot. 

However, instead of an affirmative vote of two-thirds, the successful nominee would be confirmed by an absolute majority of each House.

Mr. Barnett supports the move in principle.

The Constitutional Attorney says he holds no strong view as to whether the ballot should be held in secrecy.

However, he doesn’t believe such a move is a violation of democratic principles when used in such a narrow process.

However, he says it would be best to find a means to have an overall consensus.