Presentation on theme: "Constitutional Design"— Presentation transcript:
1 Constitutional Design Institutional Choices for Democracy
2 Consensual vs. Majoritarian Government Competing goals of democracy:Representativeness/InclusivenessInclude 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 votesversus….
3 Consensual vs. Majoritarian, 2 Efficiency and GovernabilityEfficiency= ability of voters to identify a clear choice, and to obtain alternation in governmentGovernability= the capacity of government to make and carry out decisions. Is facilitated by coherent (especially one-party) political majorities.
4 The Trade-OffIt 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 decisionsThe 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-makingWhere 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 cabinetsconcentration of powerFusion of power, cabinet dominanceUnicameral legislatureor asymmetric bicameralTwo-party systemOne-dimensional party systemExecutive power sharing (grand coalition)Separation of powersBicameral legislaturewith balanced powersMultiparty systemMulti-dimensional party system
7 Dimensions of Majoritarian vs. Consensus Govt. Majoritarian electoral system (single-member district, plurality)Unitary, centralized governmentUnwritten constitutionparliamentary sovereignty9. Interest Group pluralismProportional representationFederalism, decentralization of powerWritten constitutionconstitutional rigidity, minority vetosInterest group corporatism
8 Four Models of Democracy Plurality Electoral SystemProportional RepresentationPresidentialQuasi-majoritarian government, checks and balancesLess majoritarian(potential for extreme deadlock)Parliamen-taryWestminster model(highly majoritarian)Consensus model(coalition government)
9 Parliamentary Government Fuses legislative and executive powerPrime minister may be less powerful than an executive president: no fixed term, can easily be brought down by a fragmented parliamentPrime 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 coalitionsBut 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 withdrawsBlackmail power for small parties in forming and sustaining government (secret protracted negotiations)
11 Possible adjustments to Consensus Model Constructive Vote of No ConfidenceDirect Election of the Prime MinisterSemi-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 PresidendialismTemporal Rigidityfixed term of president prevents adaptation to unexpected eventsPlebiscitary characterpersonal claim to full legitimacyConcentration of power and legitimacy in one office personalization of powerExecutive Stability and predictability,and greater accountabilityUnifying symbol for the nationBut 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 PresidendialismTerm limits lead to chronic lame-duck statusInadequate means for successionZero-sum politics with unitary executiveWinner take allPM can continue in office indefinitelyPres system can be two termsSuccession is unstable and uncertain in parl sysWays to mitigate zero-sum character:run-off presidential electionpreferential voting for presidspecial majority requirements
15 Parliamentary vs. Presidential Govt Parliamentary vs. Presidential Govt. Critique of Presidentialism Defense of PresidendialismZero-sum nature is bad fit for divided societyAbsence of separate head of state who can moderate crisisDanger of deadlock if pres has no Cong majorityGenerates weak partiesChoose difft elec sys for presid: “vote pooling” with special majority requirementsMonarchy or Pres is very weak in parl sysCan have majoritarian elec sys, & simultaneous electionsStrong 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 PluralityAlternative VoteTwo Round SystemBlock VoteParty Block VoteSingle 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 electedE.g.: United States, Britain, Canada, India, Jamaica• Advantages:Simplicity; easy to administer and low in costAccountabilityClear majortities (see UK elections results)• Disadvantages:Potential for unrepresentative outcomesEncourages strategic rather than sincere votingMay 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 accountabilityLess strategic votingencourages broad based appeals to gain ‘second preference votes’ of non-core voters: “vote pooling” across ethnic linesDisadvantages:Complicated (literacy requirement), expensivepossible for majority of voters to prefer alternative candidate
22 Two-Round SystemPotential 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 roundLess 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 districtsVoters cast a single candidate-centered vote in a multi-member district; individual candidates with the highest vote totals are electedEx: Japan ( ),Taiwanese parliament• Advantages:more proportional than SMDPbetter representation of small or minority parties• Disadvantages:incentives for intra-party fighting and factionalizationfew incentives for broad based coalitionStrategic 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 proportionalSmaller parties can win representation (minority rep.)Weaker incentives for strategic voting; instead, coalition governments and power-sharingDisadvantages: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 thanindividual candidates.Generates highly disciplined political parties in parliament: Examples: Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Israel, South Africa.
27 Open List PROpen 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 districtsCandidates 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 systemsSome 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 thresholdDistrict magnitude (how many members per district)The technical electoral formula for allocating seats to votes
34 Electoral ThresholdsThe minimum percentage of the vote a party must win in order to have representation in parliamentGermany 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 MagnitudeAverage 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 identitiesDistricts give voters the option to vote for local notables and independent candidatesDistricts promote more local-level accountability in the voting decisionDistricts 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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