The German electoralsystem
Do electoralsystems matter?
Evidence suggests that electoralsystems do matter, and that politicians
and the public think that they make a diﬀerence. There have been many
examples of electoralsystems which have been changed: some in order
to obtain partisan advantage, such as Mitterrand’s self-serving experiment with proportional representation for the French National Assembly
elections in March 1986. In other cases, reform has been undertaken in
order to improve the representation function of the electoralsystem: the
Independents and the electoralsystem
One factor frequently cited to explain the rare and unusual presence
of independents in Ireland is the use of a rare and unusual electoralsystem, PR-STV. Strom (1990, 103) says that ‘to a large extent the survival of these independents is a function of the Irish PR-STV electoralsystem’; Carty that ‘the single transferable vote can lead to the proliferation of independent candidates’ (1981, 23); Coakley that ‘the most
distinctive consequence of Ireland’s version of proportional representation is the presence
The principles of the German electoralsystem
The German electoralsystem is a key feature of the political process. Some understanding of its detailed aspects is necessary for an appreciation of how the party system and the processes of government work. Even some of the less familiar provisions of the electoralsystem, such as ‘surplus seats’ (see Box 4.1 ), have at times in the past affected significantly the composition of the Bundestag, and hence have influenced the range of possible coalition governments which can be formed.
Box 4.1 The German
Creating an electoralsystem:
The years after the French and American revolutions witnessed growing demands for electoral reform in what was soon to become the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The main demand
was for the franchise to be widened from a very small proportion of
the male population, almost all of them property owners; a working-
class mass demonstration in Manchester demanding the right to vote
resulted in the Peterloo ‘massacre’ of 1819, when a crowd of some
70,000 protesters was charged by cavalry, with several hundreds
Representational democracy is at the heart of the UK’s political constitution, and the electoral system is central to achieving it. But is the first-past-the-post system used to elect the UK parliament truly representative? To answer that question requires an understanding of several factors: debates over the nature of representation; the evolution of the current electoral system; how first-past-the-post distorts electoral politics; and how else elections might be conducted. Running through all these debates are issues over the representation not only of people but also of places. The book examines all of these issues and focuses on the effect of geography on the operation of the electoral system.
Building on earlier work, this text combines theoretical perspectives with empirical work, to provide a comparative analysis of the electoral systems, party systems and governmental systems in the ethnic republics and regions of Russia. It also assesses the impact of these different institutional arrangements on democratization and federalism, moving the focus of research from the national level to the vitally important processes of institution building and democratization at the local level and to the study of federalism in Russia.
This is a book-length study of compulsory voting. About a quarter of all democracies in the contemporary world legally oblige their citizens to vote, making this an important aspect of electoral systems in many settings. Moreover, numerous commentators and policy-makers in voluntary voting states are coming to see mandatory attendance at the polls as an attractive option in the context of declining turnout. Yet, we know relatively little about this practice beyond its effects on rates of electoral participation; there has been a dearth of systematic examination of the way in which compulsory voting shapes attitudes, behaviour and outcomes in the political process. This book seeks to fill that gap by providing a comprehensive description, analysis and evaluation of compulsory voting as it is practiced throughout the world. Specifically, the study systematically examines the history of the institution, the normative arguments for and against it, and the influence it has on a range of political phenomena. These include electoral campaigns, political attitudes, electoral integrity and legitimacy, policy outcomes and turnout. The book also considers the feasibility of introducing compulsory voting in a contemporary democracy, as well as variations on the institution designed to broaden its appeal.
Democratization is a major political phenomenon of the age and has been the focus of a burgeoning political science literature. This book considers democratization across a range of disciplines, from anthropology and economics, to sociology, law and area studies. The construction of democratization as a unit of study reflects the intellectual standpoint of the inquirer. The book highlights the use of normative argument to legitimize the exercise of power. From the 1950s to the 1980s, economic success enabled the authoritarian governments of South Korea and Taiwan to achieve a large measure of popular support despite the absence of democracy. The book outlines what a feminist framework might be and analyses feminist engagements with the theory and practice of democratization. It also shows how historians have contributed to the understanding of the processes of democratization. International Political Economy (IPE) has always had the potential to cut across the levels-of-analysis distinction. A legal perspective on democratization is presented by focusing on a tightly linked set of issues straddling the border between political and judicial power as they have arisen. Classic and contemporary sociological approaches to understanding democracy and democratization are highlighted, with particular attention being accorded to the post-1989 period. The book displays particularities within a common concern for institutional structures and their performance, ranging over the representation of women, electoral systems and constitutions (in Africa) and presidentialism (in Latin America). Both Europe and North America present in their different ways a kind of bridge between domestic and international dimensions of democratization.
The study of German electoral politics has been neglected of late, despite being one of the most pervasive elements of the German political process. This book argues that concentration on electoral politics facilitates deeper understanding and appreciation of the German political system. It provides explanations and analysis of the federal electoral system, its evolution and the challenges that have been made to its format; discusses the role of electoral politics in relation to political parties and to the public; and the influence of second-order elections in the German political system. The book goes on to evaluate the effectiveness of the German electoral system in relation to its functions, and challenges the premise that electoral politics makes a difference in Germany. Ultimately, it aims to reconcile the apparently limited role that elections have in determining the composition of governments with the notion that there is a ‘permanent election campaign’ in existence in German politics.
the impact electoralsystems have on
parties of the extreme right. It begins by concentrating on the two main
dimensions of electoralsystems – the district magnitude and the electoral
formula – and it investigates the ways in which these features may inﬂuence
how well right-wing extremist parties perform at the polls. Then, by examining their disproportionality proﬁles, it considers the overall effect that electoralsystems have on the West European parties of the extreme right.
Since electoralsystems form only a part of the electoral laws of a country,