Is a five-year term too short for a govt?

The following mention appeared on Express Tribune website on February 01, 2021 at the following link

In the last two decades, Israel has witnessed eight elections. The Jewish state’s national legislature – the Knesset – is elected for a four-year term. However, most governments did not serve a full term, resulting in early elections. Yet this lack of continuity has had no impact on Israel’s economy.

Japan — one of the most developed economies of the world – will go for electing the National Diet — the Japanese Parliament — for the eighth time since 2000. Pakistan in the same period has seen three general elections and one military rule, which was longer than any of the civilian government’s tenure.

However, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent statement that “elections every five-year is a tragedy” has triggered speculation about a possible constitutional amendment to enhance the federal government’s tenure once the PTI government snatches majority in the Senate.

“Theoretically, he [PM] is not wrong. But the democratic system has limitations,” the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat) President Ahmed Bilal Mehboob said, while talking with The Express Tribune.

“If you compare the drawbacks of the system ending after 10 or 20 years with the current system, you will find the latter better than the former,” he said.

Commenting on a possible constitutional change after the Senate polls, Mehboob said it is possible but the majority in the upper house would not simply pave the way for the government to make a constitutional amendment as a two-thirds majority is still a distant dream for the ruling coalition.

According to Mehboob, many countries have even reduced the five-year term rather than increasing the term of their government.

“The PM often doesn’t share a well-considered view as he has to attend several events in a day and he usually speaks without any notes,” he said.

Before calling the five-year term a tragedy, PM Imran had referred to the detailed briefings given to the elected governments in the US and the UK before they take office and said he virtually had no time to prepare before assuming office and the first three months were spent understanding the state of affairs.

In his speech in December, he had suggested tweaking the system, saying it would give some time to the new government to prepare better for governance.

In his latest speech, he had praised the Chinese government especially for developing long-term plans.

However, Federal Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry said that the PM’s statement was reported out of context.

“He [PM] said politicians think only in terms of five years because of elections. No one is thinking for the long term and the nation needs long term planning,” Chaudhry added.

Surprisingly, lawmakers from the government and opposition parties agreed that one of the reasons why governments only think about their five-year term and show less interest in long-term planning was the pressure of delivering in the last year of a government’s term.

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