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Constitutional Design

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Presentation on theme: "Constitutional Design"— Presentation transcript:

1 Constitutional Design
Institutional Choices for Democracy

2 Consensual vs. Majoritarian Government
Competing goals of democracy: Representativeness/Inclusiveness Include all major groups in government. Give everyone a voice. Make sure each group has a fair share of power, in proportion to their numbers in society, or to their votes versus….

3 Consensual vs. Majoritarian, 2
Efficiency and Governability Efficiency= ability of voters to identify a clear choice, and to obtain alternation in government Governability= the capacity of government to make and carry out decisions. Is facilitated by coherent (especially one-party) political majorities.

4 The Trade-Off It is impossible to maximize both inclusiveness and efficiency. The more political parties/voices are included in government, the harder it is for government to achieve clear decisions The greater the number of political parties in parliament, and the more fragmented the power, the harder it is for voters to determine how their vote will affect who rules

5 Consensual vs. Majoritarian cont.
A highly inclusive system may be very “fair” but prone to deadlock or slow decision-making Where one party has a majority in parliament, or control of the presidency and congress, the system may be very efficient, but overrun minority rights—or even the interests of a majority

6 Dimensions of Majoritarian vs. Consensus Govt.
One-party cabinets concentration of power Fusion of power, cabinet dominance Unicameral legislature or asymmetric bicameral Two-party system One-dimensional party system Executive power sharing (grand coalition) Separation of powers Bicameral legislature with balanced powers Multiparty system Multi-dimensional party system

7 Dimensions of Majoritarian vs. Consensus Govt.
Majoritarian electoral system (single-member district, plurality) Unitary, centralized government Unwritten constitution parliamentary sovereignty 9. Interest Group pluralism Proportional representation Federalism, decentralization of power Written constitution constitutional rigidity, minority vetos Interest group corporatism

8 Four Models of Democracy
Plurality Electoral System Proportional Representation Presidential Quasi-majoritarian government, checks and balances Less majoritarian (potential for extreme deadlock) Parliamen-tary Westminster model (highly majoritarian) Consensus model (coalition government)

9 Parliamentary Government
Fuses legislative and executive power Prime minister may be less powerful than an executive president: no fixed term, can easily be brought down by a fragmented parliament Prime minister may be more powerful than an executive president… if his/her party has a majority of parliament

10 Consensus Model of Parliamentary Government, with PR
Highly inclusive, large coalitions But if parliament is highly fragmented into many parties and ideologically opposed camps, may be highly fragile and volatile; can be brought down easily if a party withdraws Blackmail power for small parties in forming and sustaining government (secret protracted negotiations)

11 Possible adjustments to Consensus Model
Constructive Vote of No Confidence Direct Election of the Prime Minister Semi-proportional (mixed electoral system) But where divisions are territorially based, SMD/Plurality system may  fragmented parliament, consensus model (India)

12 Parliamentary vs. Presidential Government
Which is Better? Why?

13 Parliamentary vs. Presidential Govt
Parliamentary vs. Presidential Govt. Critique of Presidentialism Defense of Presidendialism Temporal Rigidity fixed term of president prevents adaptation to unexpected events Plebiscitary character personal claim to full legitimacy Concentration of power and legitimacy in one office  personalization of power Executive Stability and predictability, and greater accountability Unifying symbol for the nation But pres sys= checks and balances, parl sys fuses leg and exec roles

14 Parliamentary vs. Presidential Govt
Parliamentary vs. Presidential Govt. Critique of Presidentialism Defense of Presidendialism Term limits lead to chronic lame-duck status Inadequate means for succession Zero-sum politics with unitary executive Winner take all PM can continue in office indefinitely Pres system can be two terms Succession is unstable and uncertain in parl sys Ways to mitigate zero-sum character: run-off presidential election preferential voting for presid special majority requirements

15 Parliamentary vs. Presidential Govt
Parliamentary vs. Presidential Govt. Critique of Presidentialism Defense of Presidendialism Zero-sum nature is bad fit for divided society Absence of separate head of state who can moderate crisis Danger of deadlock if pres has no Cong majority Generates weak parties Choose difft elec sys for presid: “vote pooling” with special majority requirements Monarchy or Pres is very weak in parl sys Can have majoritarian elec sys, & simultaneous elections Strong parties can be too strong

16 How to Structure a Presidential System
Term Limits? What other restraints?

17 Electoral System Alternatives
The basic choice: Majoritarian vs. proportional Or something in between

18 Majoritarian Electoral System Options
Winning candidates or party receive the most votes (not necessarily the absolute majority; sometimes plurality) Types of Majoritarian Systems: Single Member District Plurality Alternative Vote Two Round System Block Vote Party Block Vote Single Non-Transferable Vote

19 Single-Member District, Plurality
in Single-member district plurality (SMDP) systems individuals cast a single vote for a candidate in a single-member district. Candidate with the most votes is elected E.g.: United States, Britain, Canada, India, Jamaica • Advantages: Simplicity; easy to administer and low in cost Accountability Clear majortities (see UK elections results) • Disadvantages: Potential for unrepresentative outcomes Encourages strategic rather than sincere voting May not discourage ethnic voting where ethnic groups are territorially concentrated (Africa)

20 Alternative Vote (or Preferential Vote)
Used in single member districts; voters mark their preferences by rank-ordering the candidates. Essentially, an “instant run-off.” Candidate who receives absolute majority is elected; if no candidate wins absolute majority then the candidate with fewest votes is eliminated and his/her votes are reallocated to next peferences until one candidate has an absolute majority of the valid votes remaining. E.g.:Australia, Fiji, Ireland Presid. elections

21 Alternative Vote: alternative views
Advantages: Similar to SMDP; only one representative  accountability Less strategic voting encourages broad based appeals to gain ‘second preference votes’ of non-core voters: “vote pooling” across ethnic lines Disadvantages: Complicated (literacy requirement), expensive possible for majority of voters to prefer alternative candidate

22 Two-Round System Potential for two rounds of elections. Candidates or parties are automatically elected in first round if they obtain a specified level of votes (typically majority). Otherwise second round in which parties or candidates with the most votes win. Ex: France (presidential [i], legislative [ii]) Argentina, Nicaragua

23 Two Round System two views
Advantages: TRS allows voters more choice than SMDP; voters can change their minds for second round Less incentive for strategic voting (e.g. France – LePen) Disadvantages: Costly on administration and voters (may have to vote twice) Disproportional results; hurt minority representation

24 Single Non-Transferable Vote
Equivalent of SMDP in multi-member districts Voters cast a single candidate-centered vote in a multi-member district; individual candidates with the highest vote totals are elected Ex: Japan ( ),Taiwanese parliament • Advantages: more proportional than SMDP better representation of small or minority parties • Disadvantages: incentives for intra-party fighting and factionalization few incentives for broad based coalition Strategic issues for parties and voters (parties don’t want to nominate too many candidates in district; voters want to elect as many candidates as possible from preferred party)

25 Proportional Representation
Quota- or divisor-based electoral system employed in multimember districts. Parties win seat shares in proportion to their shares of the vote. Advantages over majoritarian systems: More accurate translation of votes into seats, more proportional Smaller parties can win representation (minority rep.) Weaker incentives for strategic voting; instead, coalition governments and power-sharing Disadvantages: Less accountability (hard to identify policy makers, difficult to punish parties) Coalitions governments are more unstable; may need to include small, extreme parties

26 PR Type: Closed Party Lists
The parties decide the order in which candidates receive the seats. (Party leaders and important figures will be placed at the top of the list) Political parties tend to be more important than individual candidates. Generates highly disciplined political parties in parliament: Examples: Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Israel, South Africa.

27 Open List PR Open party lists: Voters determine which candidates on the party lists get the seats allocated to the party. In some countries like Finland, voters have to express a preference for a specific candidate. (However, in Denmark voters can vote for a party or a candidate.) Increases voter choice and accountability of representatives…. But reduces the importance of party labels, and the level of party discipline. E.g.: Brazil, Finland, Netherlands, Sri Lanka

28 Single Transferable Vote
Essentially the same as the Alternative Vote, but applied in multimember districts Candidates that get a specified quota of first-preference votes are immediately elected; in successive counts, votes from eliminated candidates and surplus votes are reallocated to the remaining candidates until all seats are filled. Very complex but many of the advantages of the AV system, yet more proportional. E.g.: Ireland, Malta, Australia

29 Mixed Electoral Systems Plurality Plus PR
Voters elect representatives through two different systems, one majoritarian and one proportional. Majoritarian rules may be used in one electoral tier, and proportional rules in another electoral tier. Most mixed systems have multiple tiers. Mixed electoral systems come in two types: Independent & Dependent

30 Independent Mixed System (or Parallel Mixed System)
Voters cast two ballots, one for a party list, one for a candidate in their district. The majoritarian and proportional components of the electoral system are implemented independently of one another. E.g.: Japan Diet: 300 seats from SMPD, and 200 from closed-list PR seats (later reduced to 180) Minor parties usually only win PR seats

31 Dependent Mixed Electoral Systems (Mixed Member Proportional)
In most dependent mixed systems, individuals have two votes (eg. Germany, New Zealand). One vote is for the representative at the district level (candidate vote). One vote is for the party list in the higher electoral tier (party vote). After the winners in the districts are established, each party wins seats from its party lists sufficient to give it an overall share of seats in parliament proportional to its party-list vote.

32 Problems with Mixed Systesm (dependent)
Two issues come up with dependent mixed systems Some candidates compete for constituency seats but are also placed on the party list. Some parties win more constituency seats than is justified by their party list vote. This leads to Overhang Seats.

33 The degree of proportionality in PR systems
PR systems vary in their degree of proportionality. This is shaped by several factors: The electoral threshold District magnitude (how many members per district) The technical electoral formula for allocating seats to votes

34 Electoral Thresholds The minimum percentage of the vote a party must win in order to have representation in parliament Germany requires that parties win 5% of the national vote or at least 3 constituency seats to be eligible to receive votes from the upper tier. Turkey has a 10% threshold, while Poland has a 5% threshold for parties but an 8% threshold for coalitions. “Pure PR”: No electoral districts and no threshold: Since there is only one district in the Netherlands, there is a natural threshold of 0.67% of the votes i.e. 100% divided by 150 legislative seats. In Jan 2005, Iraq also opted for no districts and no thresholds (switched to districts in Dec 2005)

35 Side-Effects of Thresholds
Can reduce the fragmentation of parliament into many parties, but can also produce majoritarian outcomes. In the Turkish legislative elections of 2002, so many parties failed to surpass the 10% threshold that fully 46% of all votes cast in these elections were wasted. Only two parties won seats. In 2007, only three parties won seats. AKP won 62% of seats with 47% of the vote. In the Polish legislative elections of 1993, fully 34% of the votes were wasted because of the 5% threshold for parties and 8% threshold for coalitions. In the Polish case, these wasted votes were crucial in allowing the former communists to return to power.

36 District Magnitude Average District Magnitude is the key characteristic that determines how proportional or permissive an electoral system will be. In PR systems, the bigger the district, the more proportional the system. In a three-seat district, a party would need to win +25% of the vote to guarantee getting a seat. In a nine-seat district, a party would need to win only +10% of the vote to get at least one seat. District magnitude: number of members elected from the district. One nationwide district in: Netherlands (150), Israel (120), Iraq-Jan (275).

37 District Magnitude cont.
In Majoritarian systems, the bigger the district, the more disproportional the outcome. E.g.: U.S. States vs. Congressional districts. California has 2 Democrats elected to the Senate, but 33 Dems and 20 Repubs to Congress (in 2003).

38 Why Iraq needed and now has electoral districts
Purely national lists privilege national-level ethnic and sectarian identities Districts give voters the option to vote for local notables and independent candidates Districts promote more local-level accountability in the voting decision Districts enable voters to know who their representatives are in Parliament (same problem in South Africa)

39 Two (or more) Tiered PR Systems
Local tier: Divide the country up into districts of moderate size (e.g. 3 to 15 members). Most of the seats (e.g %) are drawn from the districts. National tier: Then parties draw from national lists to “top off” their parliamentary delegations and achieve greater proportionality. Iraq system, Dec 2005: 230 district seats (based in provinces), 45 seats (16% of total) from national lists.

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