Chapter 3 – BREAKING THE COUNTERCYCLICAL PATTERN OF LOCAL DEMOCRACY IN PAKISTAN
Ali Cheema, Adnan Q. Khan, and Roger B. Myerson
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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