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Assessing and Ranking Democracies Nov. 3. Assessing and Ranking Democracies  Freedom House releases an annual report each year: Freedom in the World.

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Presentation on theme: "Assessing and Ranking Democracies Nov. 3. Assessing and Ranking Democracies  Freedom House releases an annual report each year: Freedom in the World."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessing and Ranking Democracies Nov. 3

2 Assessing and Ranking Democracies  Freedom House releases an annual report each year: Freedom in the World. Countries are assessed as free, partly free, or unfree. Freedom in the World Freedom in the World  The Economist magazine releases an annual Index of Democracy. Countries are assessed as full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes, or authoritarian. Index of DemocracyIndex of Democracy  The Ibrahim Index focuses on African countries. It “provides a comprehensive ranking of African countries according to governance quality” It “uses indicators across four main pillars: Safety and Rule of Law; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; and Human Development as proxies for the quality of the processes and outcomes of governance.” Ibrahim Index Ibrahim Index

3 Electoral Systems and Referenda Nov. 3

4 Elections and Referenda  Elections and referendums are the two main voting opportunities in modern democracies.  Elections are held to fill seats (representatives) in a parliament or some other institutions.  Referendums are votes on a specific issue to be approved or rejected.

5 Significance of Electoral Systems  The electoral system is the set of rules governing the conversion of votes into seats.  Electoral systems have a huge influence on a country’s party-system, government- coalition, representation etc.

6 Different Electoral Systems Billy BallotBilly Ballot: Billy Ballot Electoral Systems Around the World prepared by the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly

7 Single-Member Plurality (SMP)  Often called First Past the Post (FPTP)  One member elected per district.  The candidate with the most votes wins.  Voters select one candidate on the ballot.  Animation: SMP prepared by BC Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform. Animation

8 Single-Member Plurality (SMP)  USA, UK, India, Canada, Bangladesh, Botswana, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, among others.

9 Majority Systems  Alternative Vote  Preferential or ordinal ballot, voters rank candidates on ballot.  all ballots are counted on the basis of first preferences, if no one receives a majority of the vote, then the last-place finisher is dropped off, and ballots for that candidate are redistributed based on their second choices. This continues until a candidate wins majority support.  Two-round system  Works like the SMP system, but it is followed by a second round of voting on a later date (usually) between the top two finishers.

10 Majority Systems  Alternative Vote: Australian House of Representatives  Two-Round System: Used to elect parliaments in over 20 countries around the world. Common in presidential elections around the world.

11 Proportional Representation Systems  List PR  Voters select between competing slates of candidates.  Representation in the legislature per party approximates the percentage of the vote each party receives.  Single Transferable Vote (STV)  Voters use a preferential ballot to rank candidates in multi- member constituencies.  Candidates that surpass the necessary threshold are elected. “Surplus votes” are then transferred to other candidates to elect the required number of candidates.  BC-STV in Action: Animation prepared by the BC Citizens’ Assembly. BC-STV in Action BC-STV in Action

12 Proportional Representation Systems  STV: Ireland, Malta, the Australian Senate  Party List PR: Argentina, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Latvia, Moldova, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay.

13 Proportional Representation Systems  Important variations:  In some cases, the entire country is treated as one large constituency: Israel, Netherlands, Slovakia. More commonly, the country is divided into a number of smaller constituencies.  PR systems inevitably involve the use party lists. These lists may be closed lists or open lists (preferential lists).

14 Mixed Systems  Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)  Combines the geographical representation of single- member districts with an additional allotment of adjustment or compensatory seats allocated in terms of proportional representation.  Billy Ballot promotes MMP Billy Ballot Billy Ballot  Ontario Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform. MMP: System at a Glance. How the System Works. MMPHow the System Works MMPHow the System Works  Parallel Systems  Similarly combines single-member districts with PR, but there is no direct relations between the two votes.

15 Mixed Systems  Mixed Member Proportional (MMP): Bolivia, Germany, New Zealand, Venezuela  Parallel Systems: Albania, Andorra, East Timor, Georgia, Guatemala, Japan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Senegal, Seychelles, South Korea, Thailand

16 Moving to PR or a mixed system?  What are the advantages (real or alleged) and disadvantages (real or alleged) of PR and mixed systems?  What would be the impact of moving to PR or a mixed system?

17 Referenda

18 Referenda  Referendums are often described as “direct democracy”. But referendums should not be seen as being opposed to representative democracies, but as an institution within them.  Types of referendum: Uleri (1996) introduced a typology of referendums along five dimensions:  Procedural or ad hoc promotion of referendum  Procedural referendum as mandatory or optional  Promoted by voters or some other agent  Decision-promoting (ratification) or decision controlling (veto)  Binding or advisory impact of referendum vote

19 Why Referenda?  The rationale of a referendum:  (1) Process-related arguments:  Referendums increase the legitimation of policies  Referendums increase political participation / level of political knowledge

20 Why Referenda?  (2)Outcome-related arguments:  Referendums work against the interest of those who do not usually vote  Referendums can result in an infringement of the rights of minorities, but:  Access to referendums is restricted  Veto role of constitutional courts  Qualified majorities (e.g. double majorities)  Referendums may prevent policy innovation  Lower quality of decisions (“cognitive incompetence”)

21 Referenda: When? Empirical patterns:  Widespread but uneven distribution of referendums.  Huge variation in the frequency of referendums.  Some empirical evidence of an increasing number of referendums.  Referendums are often held on sovereignty-related questions such as secession, independence or EU. For example 14 of 19 countries that joined EU between 1973 and 2004 held a referendum to decide whether to join. In Norway, joining the EU was rejected in two referenda.  Secessions of Norway from Sweden (1905), Iceland from Denmark (1944) East Timor from Indonesia (1999) and Montenegro from Serbia (2006) all involved referenda.

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23 Referenda in New Zealand What is a Citizens Initiated Referendum (CIR)?  A citizens initiated referendum is a referendum promoted under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act A referendum question must have only two possible answers.  A referendum is required if 10% of enrolled electors sign a petition calling for a referendum. The form of the petition must be approved by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the signatures must be collected within 12 months of the Clerk’s approval.  A referendum is required if 10% of enrolled electors sign a petition calling for a referendum. The form of the petition must be approved by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the signatures must be collected within 12 months of the Clerk’s approval. Source:  Information on the 2009 referendum in New Zealand. referendum


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