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Officials' seats to be reduced in NPC (2)

By Yang Jingjie (Global Times)

14:22, March 10, 2012

Lü warned that such structure could weaken the NPC's function to supervise officials.

He Junzhi, a deputy director at the Center for Electoral and People's Congressional Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times that the draft suggests a trend to amplify voices from people at the grassroots-level in the legislature.

"Many legislative bodies at the local-level have already cut seats for officials, though most of the reductions are still limited," He said, adding that decreasing the proportion of officials at the national-level will be a tougher mission.

In 2007, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region took the lead to stipulate that officials shouldn't account for more than 25 percent of deputies to legislatures at the county-level.

Mao Shoulong, a professor with the School of Public Administration at Renmin University in Beijing, said the NPC could also set a quota limiting the number of officials in the top legislature.

"There could also be a bottom-up approach. In county-level elections, officials should be excluded from running for seats, and the constituency should elect candidates from the grassroots-level. This model could be gradually introduced to higher-level elections," Mao told the Global Times.

Besides farmers and workers, Mao suggested that more lobbyists and experts from various fields be incorporated into the NPC to improve efficiency of the organ.

"Those people pay close attention to public affairs and offer constructive opinions," Mao said.

The draft also said there shall be an increase by a relatively large margin in the number of migrant worker deputies. Currently, there are only three national lawmakers from the country's 250 million-strong migrant workforce.

Deputies to the next NPC will be elected following major principles set forth in the amended election law in 2010, which gives deputy quotas to urban and rural residents based on the same population ratio, with each deputy representing 670,000 people.

Each province, autonomous region and municipality will be allocated eight seats in the NPC. Meanwhile, some deputy seats will be reserved by the NPC Standing Committee to ensure that each ethnic group, no matter how small its population, will have at least one seat at the NPC.

Xinhua contributed to this story

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