BARMM voters unaware of region’s polling system – study
PREPARING FOR FIRST PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

BARMM voters unaware of region’s polling system – study

/ 05:02 AM June 22, 2024

COTABATO CITY — The majority of potential voters in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) lack awareness of the system of balloting for its first-ever parliamentary elections, a recent study showed.

“With the elections only a year away, the findings highlight significant gaps in voter education,” said a statement from the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG), which commissioned the study on the state of preparedness for the historic political exercise.

“This is concerning as these will be the first-ever regional parliamentary elections in BARMM,” the IAG further said.

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IAG, the leading authority on human security and governance issues in BARMM, said that in order to ensure wide voter participation in 2025, authorities must embark on a massive information campaign.

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Created in 2019 following the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, BARMM is currently run by an interim government led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which signed a landmark peace deal with the government in 2014.

Up for grabs in 2025 are 80 seats in the regional legislature, of which 32 will be filled by representatives from parliamentary districts, 40 by party representatives, and eight reserved for representatives from select sectors (two each for non-Moro indigenous peoples and settler communities, and one each for traditional leaders, youth, women, and the Ulama or Muslim religious leaders).

The survey, conducted from April 29 to May 14 among 3,072 respondents throughout the region, shows that 58.4 percent of likely voters have no knowledge at all of the BARMM’s voting system, while 24 percent have minimal knowledge about it.

The survey found that some 88.9 percent of respondents do not know about the proportional representation system in the BARMM, which stems from how the parliament seats are allocated.

Some 89.1 percent are clueless about the voting process for 32 parliamentary district representatives, and 88.7 percent lack understanding of the sectoral assemblies that will be convened to elect representatives for eight reserved seats.

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Also, 85.9 percent of respondents have “minimal to no knowledge” that the BARMM chief minister will be elected by the 80 members of Parliament rather than directly by the electorate.

In the 2022 general elections, BARMM had 2.7 million registered voters, and some 2.1 million cast their votes.

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“Information about the election process is sourced from the personal networks of respondents,” the IAG study found.

TAGS: BARMM, Elections, voter

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