Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cabinet formation for dummies

Recently concluded parliament elections in India have proven one thing, that it is much easier to win an election than forming a cabinet. Here I would like to give few tips to my readers on how to form a union cabinet quickly, in the unlikely event of any of them being asked to take up the job of prime minister of their country. Please note that these tips should be experimented only under the guidance of professional politicians, DO NOT try them at home, unless you run your own political party from home.

Firstly, always form a coalition government. This reduces your cabinet formation job considerably because you then have to worry about fewer positions to fill yourself. Choose parties that are patriarchal/matriarchal troops as partners so that even if they have more MPs than the ministries you set aside, the patriarch/matriarch has the last word there. Your job is to convince aspirants from your party that you got to give a reasonable amount of portfolios to the coalition partners for the government to survive. Being politicians, most of them will agree because they know that sitting on a treasury bench is a better proposition than going back to the ruthless voters who can change their mind any time.

Next, let’s look at how to distribute the remaining positions among your party members. Here, always take two ‘bottom-up’ approaches. First, keep your bottom up while dealing with the aspirants, will help you keep your cool. Secondly, start with setting aside one ministry each for all known biological/social/linguistic anthropological group (also known as yakuza) in your country. Now this depends on your knowledge on your country, so always keep a copy of Lonely Planet guidebook, not that it will be of any help here, but later when you want to take a break, it will be useful.

Here, some of you might end up in a situation where there is a yakuza, but no MP from that mafia to make a minister. Don’t worry, go ahead and choose any one random thug from the group; amend your constitution so that you can have them for six months without being an MP. Within that time have your intelligence team follow them closely, since they are on the treasury benches, will soon get into treasure hunting, nab them on the spot and throw out. Under normal circumstances the yakuza won’t make immediate claims, and when they do so repeat the said process again. After reaching this level, you will normally be left with only a handful of cabinet ministries which you can allocate to few capable senior members from your party.

Now if none of the above work out and you are in real pressure from the media to have a ministry appointed in few seconds after the election results are declared, there is an easy way out as well - induct all those MPs who can repeat ‘prime minister’s prerogative’ rapidly fifty times as a minister of states. Give independent charges to those who could also correctly pronounce ‘conscientiously’.

Being done the selection of ministers, your next task will be to allocate them portfolios. This job is comparatively easy, put 2 – 3 in each of your ministries as assistant ministers; once labeled a minister, most of them will be least interested in knowing whether bureaucrats working under them will be doing urban development or water resources management. For all those important cabinet portfolios you will anyway have seasoned politicians around, and if you don’t have any, the best thing to do is to make human cloning legal, kidnap Pranab Mukherjee from India, clone and place in each ministry.

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