Chapter 3 – BREAKING THE COUNTERCYCLICAL PATTERN OF LOCAL DEMOCRACY IN PAKISTAN

Ali Cheema[1], Adnan Q. Khan[2], and Roger B. Myerson[3]


Abstract

Amid the great forces pressing Pakistan today, decentralization may seem a small matter.  Local democracy was introduced only a few years ago, under General Pervez Musharraf’s rule, for small local unions with an average population of under 30,000. But decentralization can change the nature of democratic politics profoundly when it sharply increases the number of popularly elected representatives. Although local democracy was introduced by a military ruler for his own purposes and now might seem inconvenient for many politicians at higher levels of government, local democracy can provide an essential foundation for a strong democratic system in Pakistan. To see how, this chapter first considers the vital relationship between local and national politics, and then analyses alternative systems of local elections to see how they could strengthen the national democratic system.

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