Posted by: Frangipani | February 5, 2012

How about a public opinion poll?

Turkey is bouncing towards long awaited constitutional reforms. However, the number of elements to be reformed actually made the 2010 ‘yes/no’ referendum on whether to reform the constitution fraught with complications. The result was that millions felt powerless to do anything but abstain. The constitutional reform discussions are now taking place with all major parties involved; the current plan is to offer a new constitution by the end of 2012.

But with the same issue looming if a new version is put to a ‘yes/no’ vote in parliament, can some of the issues be flagged and dispersed though the year by the use of well planned opinion polls? Having just overseen the design of an opinion poll in Egypt, I appreciate they are imperfect tools. But I saw too the power of the answers to well formed and well worded, relevant questions. If used with skill, an imperfect tool is a lot better than no tool. How about gauging reactions to proposals as they are formulated during the year? Build in feedback loops, rather than putting one big package on the table at the end of the year. For example, use the reactions of all segments of the population on the proposals to more fairly represent the right of Kurds and other minorities, as input to build better proposals. If each element of the proposed reform is strong, the result will be unbreakable. Ask people across the nation what they think about the vexing question of various degrees of regional autonomy for the east. You never know, we might all be surprised by the answers.Ideas around constitutional reform


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