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Representation, Elections and Voting

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1 Representation, Elections and Voting
Chapter 12

2 Do you think elections are important? Why, why not?
What do elections mean to you? Why do you think we need to elect someone to represent us? Does democracy mean elections?

3 Representation Should representation be restricted to those who have the competence, education and time to think about politics and act on behalf of others? Does representative government mean that they know better than the people? Does it mean that representatives should do whatever their voters demand or should they lead public opinion? Political equality? The right to vote and the right to stand for election. One person, one vote. Universal suffrage (Genel oy hakki)

4 Theories of Representation
Trustee model: Trustee: A person who is formally responsible fro another person’s property or affairs. (Mütevelli or vasi) Trustee is believed to have mature judgment and act with an enlightened conscience. According to the trustee model, politicians are representatives insofar as they are educated, because educated people are believed to be altruistic, socially responsible and make correct moral judgments. Criticism is that being educated does not necessarily mean making the best decisions for the people.

5 Delegate Model Delegate:
A person who is chosen to act for another on the basis of clear guidance. (Delege) What a delegate would say and how he/she would act is clearly defined. Politicians as delegates do only act in accordance with their voters’ demands. Their ideas only reflect the views of their voters. Criticism is the limited or no leadership by politicians.

6 Mandate Model Mandate: Instruction or command from a higher body that demands compliance. (Manda veya vekalet) The idea is that the political party gains a popular mandate that authorizes it to carry out its party programme. Voters select political parties and party programmes rather than representatives. Politicians serve the public as long as they remain loyal to its party programme/policies. Criticism is that rigid and ideology-driven party programmes might limit government policies.

7 Resemblance Model This model is based on the idea that the representative government should resemble the larger society. (A microcosm of society) This model suggests that only people who come from a particular group can represent the interests of that particular group. (Only a worker can represent the working class, only a woman can represent women or only a farmer can represent farmers) Criticism of this model is that its narrow definition of representation results in social divisions. Broader public interests vs. group interests.

8 Theories of Representation
The Principal-Agent problem: Principal: a person, legal or natural, who authorizes an agent to act on behalf of him to create one or more legal relationships with a third party. Agent: a person who is authorized to act on behalf of another person. Who are the principal and who are the agents in politics? Principal: Voters, the people Agent: Representatives, government officials Trustee model: Representatives are principals too. Delegate model: Representatives are only agents. Principals are voters. Mandate model: Voters are principals, yet representatives are agents and principals. Representatives have the mandate to govern for a limited period of time. Resemblance model: Principals are different groups in society and an agent is the representative chosen within these different groups. (Here, the issue is not the principal-agent problem rather, to what extent an agent resembles the principal.)

9 Elections Modern democracies are usually equated with competitive, free and fair elections. Competitive elections= several political parties competing in the elections Free and fair elections= secret ballot and preventing any influence/intervention on voters’ decisions. Elections are a political mechanism through which ordinary people can participate in politics. Elections are also a political method to choose people for the public offices. (members of government, members of parliament, members of local government and in some federal system governors)

10 Functions of Elections
Two different views on elections: Bottom-up: Political Accountability Through elections politicians are held accountable. Top-down: Political Influence Through elections politicians ensure their control on the public.

11 Bottom-up approach Recruiting politicians: Elections are the principal source of political recruiting. Making governments: Through elections people choose political executives for the government. Providing representation: Elections are means through which demands are channelled from the public to government. Influencing policy: Elections can influence government policies. Elections are means of choosing among different policies. People vote for policies.

12 Top-down approach Educating Voters: Election campaigns provide voters information about policies, political parties, current government’s actions. Building legitimacy: Elections foster legitimacy. Elections provide justification for the government. Strengthening elites: Through elections elites manipulate the public opinion, influence the decisions of the masses. Elections only give citizens a impression/sense of being influential on politics but in reality voters are manipulated by politicians.

13 Electoral Systems Proportional Representation (Nisbi temsil sistemi) v. Majoritarian Representation (Cogunluk sistemi) The principle of proportional representation is that parties should be represented in an assembly or parliament in direct proportion to their overall political strength. (Seats=percentage of votes) The principle of majoritarian representation is that an individual candidate who wins the most vote gains the right of representing the whole population.

14 Single member plurality system (Tek üyeli çoğunluk sistemi)
First past the post (En fazla oy alan kazanir) Used in the UK, USA, Canada, India Single-member for each constituency (secim bolgesi) Voters select one candidate The winner needs to achieve a plurality of votes

15 Pros and Cons Pros: Cons: Voters know who they are voting for.
A clear mandate given to the government. Extremist/radical parties are kept out of the system Usually it creates single party government Cons: Wastes many votes Under-representation of small parties Tendency towards two-party system

16 Second Ballot System (iki turlu veya ikinci oylama sistemi)
Used in France Similar to the first past the post. Single member constituencies Two-round system. To win in the first ballot, a candidate needs an overall majority of the votes cast. If no first-ballot majority, a second ballot is held between two candidates which won the most votes in the first ballot.

17 Pros and Cons Pros: Cons:
Gives a second chance/choice/thinking for voters Candidates in the second ballot has to appeal as broad as possible Strong and stable government is possible. Cons: Unfair to third parties Candidates on the second ballot abandon their principles and support short-term populist policies in order to make alliances with other candidates who lost in the first ballot Second ballot means waste of time and money

18 Alternative Vote System (Alternatif Oy sistemi)
Used in Australia Single-member constituencies There is preferential voting. Voters rank the candidates in order of their preferences. Winning candidate needs 50% of the overall votes. If no candidate reaches 50% votes given to last candidate are distributed according to the second preferences.

19 Pros and Cons Pros: Cons: Fewer votes are wasted.
Unlike second-ballot system the results are not influenced by deals between candidates. Strong/ single-party governments remains as a possibility. Cons: Still a majoritarian system and biased towards big parties The outcome of the result can be skewed by the preferences of small party voters

20 Additional member system (İlave Üyelik sistemi)
Used in Germany, Italy and Russia Proportional representation. A specified percentage of seats are chosen by the first past the post The remaining seats are filled using a party list. Voters cast two votes: one for an individual candidate and the other vote for a political party.

21 Pros and Cons Pros: Cons:
Hybrid system that aims to balance majoritarian system with a party list system in favour of proportional representation Possibility of a single-party government Provides an opportunity for voters to choose their individual representatives and also to choose a political party Cons: Proportional representation is limited. System creates two types of representatives: one type burdened with voters’ demands while the other group of representatives have higher status and prospect for ministerial office.

22 Single Transferable Vote System (Aktarılabilir Tekli oy sistemi)
Used in the Republic of Ireland. Multimember constituencies. Electors vote accordingly to their preferences similar to alternative vote system. Candidates are elected if they gain a minimum number of votes. If not all seats are filled, then the votes given to the last candidate redistributed.

23 Pros and cons Pros: Cons: More proportional than other systems
Fosters competition amongst candidates from the same party for the seats. Cons: Proportional representation remains limited. Strong and stable single party is unlikely.

24 Party-list system (Parti Listesi)
Used throughout Europe, Turkey. Large number of multimember constituencies. Parties offer a list of candidates Electors vote for parties not for candidates. Parties are allocated seats proportional to the votes they gain There might be a threshold (secim baraji) such as 5 % or 10 %.

25 Pros and Cons Pros: Cons: Most proportional system.
Provided that women and minority candidates are placed at the top of the party list it helps such groups to be represented. Gives equal opportunity to small parties to be represented in the parliament and emphasizes negotiation and cooperation. Cons: Existence of small parties lead to weak governments and coalitions The link between representatives and their voters is broken. Unpopular candidates can be elected if they are put on the top of the party list. Party politics becomes a leader-driven politics.

26 Pros and Cons of Majoritarian Systems
Strong and stable government /Single party government Link between representatives and constituencies Radical parties are not elected. Cons: Votes of losing candidates are not counted at all. Under-representation of small parties Undermines the legitimacy of the government.

27 Pros and Cons of Proportional Representation
Fair to all parties (if the threshold is not too high) Proportional representation of political parties Allows the representation of small parties and enable them to influence government policies through negotiations and bargaining. Cons: Tendency towards coalitions and usually weak governments Representatives are usually out of touch from their voters. Party leaders dominate party politics as he/she decides who will be in the party list. Creates leader-centred political parties.

28 What are the determining factors of voting behaviour?
1) Party Identity: Affiliation with a political party 2) Sociological: Social classes, social divisions and minority groups. Middle class vs. working class 3) Rational choice: choosing the political party with the best policies that serve your interests. 4) Dominant Ideology: Claims that through the mass media and election campaigning people’s choices are manipulated by a dominant ideology. The role of the mass media is crucial according to this model.

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