Monday, April 18, 2011

Term limits for Cuba

This is genuinely good news if it occurs. AP reports:
Raul Castro proposed term limits yesterday for Cuban politicians – including himself – a remarkable gesture on an island ruled for 52 years by him and his brother.
The 79-year-old President lamented the lack of young leaders in government, saying the country was paying the price for errors made in the past.
Castro told delegates to a crucial Communist Party summit he would launch a “systematic rejuvenation” of the Government.
He said politicians and other important officials should be restricted to two consecutive five-year terms, including “the current president of the Council of State and his ministers” – a reference to himself.
I think term limits are very valuable in stopping dictatorships. If someone is able to try and retain the top job forever, then they will try to – and the temptation to abuse the powers of the state to hang on is immense.
Think if there was no term limit for the US President. I hate to think what Presidents would do to try and win a third or fourth term.

Even in NZ, we saw the Electoral Finance Act as part of Clark’s strategy for a fourth term.
If NZ had a four year term, then I’d propose a maximum five terms for any MP, and a maximum two terms for the office of Prime Minister. If MPs knew there was a finite amount of time they could serve, I think it would encourage more focus on what they achieve during that time, rather than how long they can stay on for.

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