Presentation on theme: "LEGITIMACY AND LOSING. 1. Attitudes of the losers after the electoral outcomes Assumptions: -The literature on election outcomes agrees that the regime."— Presentation transcript:
1. Attitudes of the losers after the electoral outcomes Assumptions: -The literature on election outcomes agrees that the regime support is based on the way citizens perceive the legitimacy of the resolution of an electoral contest. -Losers’ reaction is crucial: their support depends of the recognition of the legitimacy of a procedure which produced their loss.
1.1. Contest « Exit »: - Withdrawal from the political process (e.g. abstention) - In order not to legitimate this process Example: the boycott of the Peruvian presidential election (2000) resulted in a new election in 2001.
1.1 Contest « Voice »: -Active ways of protest -Nontraditional and socially less accepted protest behaviours Example: the Spanish election of 1936 ended in the civil war.
1.2. Consent Sometimes losers (leaders and voters) concede even if the fairness of the outcome appears to be contestable: -Al Gore (December 2000): « While I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it » -97% of his supporters thought he was the true winner (Gallup polls, 2000)
1.2. Consent Necessary to protect the democratic system: -Nadeau and Blais (1993: 553): « The viability of electoral democracy depends on its ability to secure the support of a substantial proportion of individuals who are displeased with the outcome of an election.» Do you think that losers’ consent is always the best solution to protect the democratic system?
2. Citizens’ support Easton (1965, 1975): « Legitimacy of democracies is affected by the extent to which citizens trust government to do what is right most of time.» Easton’s distinction between supports: -Diffuse support: « reservoir of favorable attitudes or good will that helps members to accept or tolerate outputs to which they are opposed or the effects of which they see as damaging to their interests » (Easton, 1965: 124-5) -Specific support: decided by the citizen’s evaluation of system outputs, performance-based, short term
3. Individual characteristics, support and legitimacy Determinant variables of citizens’ support: -Majority/minority status -Economic performance evaluations -Interest in politics -Socio-demographic characteristics The electoral experience of the individuals also matters
3.1. Majority/minority status « Winner/loser gap »: -It is assumed that losers are more likely to be dissatisfied with the way democracy works -People who voted for a governing party are by definition more likely to believe that the government is acting favorably for their interests
Losers and institutional change: -Losers are more likely to want a system, which is considered as unfair for them to change -Losers are more likely to take risks in order to accomplish this change
3.2. Electoral experience Riker (1986): chronic losers are more likely to be favorable to an institutional change Losers with little electoral experience are more likely to contest the democratic legitimacy: -Particularly true in newer democracies where citizens are not used to losing (Anderson et al.) If losers are so likely to contest the democratic legitimacy, why don’t we have more examples of institutional change?
4. Institutional system, support and legitimacy Assumptions: -The type of democracy affects the satisfaction of the citizens with the system -The way winners are rewarded and losers punished affects their attitudes toward the system Lijphart index (1984): -Typology of democracies from the most consensual to the most majoritarian system -Typology based on the answer to the question: « who rules ?»
4.1. Consensual democracies « As many people as possible » rule: -Proportional representation -Coalition government -Constitutional checks Losers in this type of democracy are more likely to support the system
4.2. Majoritarian democracies « The majority of people » rule: - Single member district elections - Unitary government Losers are more likely to be dissatisfied with the way the democracy works than in another system Do you think that people will be more satisfied in Italy (consensual democracy) than in Great Britain (the most majoritarian democracy)?
5. Conclusion Losers’ support is essential for the democratic legitimacy: -risks of contest after the electoral outcomes -losers are more likely to be dissatisfied with the way democracy works -losers are more likely to be favourable to an institutional change and would take more risks to accomplish it
5. Conclusion Losers’ support depends on: -The individuals’ characteristics -How the system rewards the winners and punishes the losers