Presentation on theme: "January 26, 2010. In representative democracies, their purpose is to allow voters to express their political preferences Elections provide an opportunity."— Presentation transcript:
In representative democracies, their purpose is to allow voters to express their political preferences Elections provide an opportunity for citizens to render a verdict on the past performance of their government Elections have implications for who governs and what policies a government will pursue.
Millions of people vote. Why? Do voters have the capacity to cast an “informed decision”? While many individuals do not appear to be sufficiently informed, they appear collectively to make sensible decisions? Why? What choices do voters have? Many or few? Meaningful or not? Does it matter? Why do parties gain or lose support? Are there “better” ways to elect a government? Are there “better” ways to have an influence?
Executive chosen by parliament which appoints not only the PM but the entire cabinet Unicameral vs. bicameral Upper house is generally less powerful and not usually elected. New elections can be called at short notice Party leaders are in parliament and generally known
President is directly elected President appoints the cabinet Fixed terms
Candidates play a more important role in Presidential systems Conflict over policy is more likely to arise in Presidential systems because presidents must share power with the legislature.
Plurality (or first past the post) Single member (usually) Winner take all systems; seat awarded to candidate who receives the most votes UK, US, Canada, India Proportional Representation (PR) Systems Multi-member Use of Party Lists (ie. Netherlands) Single Transferable Vote (Ireland) Mixed Systems Plurality and PR used to elect candidates in the same chamber Corrective vs. Non-corrective
Plurality systems facilitate two party competition Plurality systems often create “manufactured” majorities PR is associated with multi-party systems. Rules thus have an influence on how much choice voters have.
Plurality systems are assumed to promote greater accountability because it is easier for voters to identify who to blame/reward. PR systems often produce coalition governments (shared power Coalition governments may make it more difficult for voters to figure out who is to blame.