PJ Online | PJ Letters: Council election
The Pharmaceutical Journal
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Council election (2 letters)
From Mrs S. Carter, MRPharmS
At a recent branch meeting we discussed the lack of enthusiasm in voting for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Council. I find it difficult to vote because I know few, if any, of the candidates each year. I struggle to base my decision on the written information provided. I believe we would be better served by voting for a candidate for a specific area of the country. The candidate would have to be resident in the area thus increasing our chance of knowing them. Equally, they could attend branch meetings before elections to put forward their views and enter into discussion and debate.
If candidates were elected by areas, the system would lend itself to much better feedback from the grass roots. This is not a new suggestion but it made a lot of sense to me when I first heard it. Perhaps it will to others, too.
From Mr P. Jenkins, FRPharmS
As we move towards Council elections there will be the usual and valid complaints that for the majority of voters many of the candidates are unknown. To offset this there will probably be the usual attempt at hustings but these are of limited use because of geography and the limitations on free time to attend.
We should devise more ways in which the maximum number of candidates are introduced, if only through their written thoughts, to the maximum number of voters. Requesting, but not pressurising, anyone interested in standing to declare their intentions one year in advance and so placing themselves on a register of potential candidates, could be a good start. This is a variation of the process used by the national political parties but in that case just showing an interest is not sufficient and there are formal selection procedures to get on the candidates' list.
I do not suggest any such formality and there should be no obligation to stand even if the intention has been signaled, if over the year a person's circumstances have changed. There should also be no block on someone standing who had not signaled his or her intentions. However it would concentrate the minds of those interested and mean that from any letter, article or anything else over their name we, the electorate, will be able to judge their quality or lack of suitability as Council members. We may get a flood of publications but that could be counterproductive to the potential candidate by exposing their limitations (better to find that out before they are elected than afterwards) and we could judge what sudden flurries of activity are all about. Blatant electioneering should not be allowed and the editorial experience of the major weeklies should keep the worst excesses at bay.
The present sensible restrictions should be kept in place for the immediate run up to the election. The existing Council members and especially those in office will still have the advantage of a higher profile but this simple registration will go some way to redress that balance and perhaps even reduce the excuses of those members who use lack of knowledge of candidates as an excuse not to vote at all.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20005875
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