Electoral Rules Functions : The Development And Maintenance Of Democracy

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Majoritarian electoral rules function as the pragmatist’s approach to democracy by attempting to deliver tangible results while proportional representation aims to deliver the symbolic values of democracy such as equality and fairness. The following is an evaluation of the characteristics of proportional and majoritarian electoral rules and how these attributes affect governments. “The development and maintenance of democracy” will be evaluated through three metrics governability, accountability, and representativeness, all of which can be used to frame both benefits and disadvantages of the two systems in question. Finally, the Egypt and Argentina will reveal that proportional representation yields more stable democracy. Majoritarian…show more content…
Outcomes are dependent upon established mathematical formulas and the use of either open-list or closed-list ballots. Governability Governability is, simply, a political system’s ability to “get work done” and is a measure of effectiveness. The key factor in attaining high governability is forming a majority that can move legislation (Norris 1997). Majoritarianism is intentionally designed to maximize governability by creating a “manufactured majority” by “exaggerating” the seats that the leading party wins (Norris 1997). On the contrary, proportional systems are intended to incorporate minority parties which may include fringe parties with more extreme or niche beliefs (Blais 1991, Richie). An analysis of 27 democracies over 45 years reveals that the average effective number of parties is 2.0 in majoritarian systems but 3.6 in proportional systems (Lijphart 1994, Norris 1997). As a result, forming a majority proves more difficult under PR than majoritarianism. Proportional legislatures become reliant on coalition building. A study of 20 countries reveals that, in order to meet the majority mandate, “single-party” majorities were formed after 60% of majoritarian election, but multi-party coalitions had to be formed after 90% of proportional elections (Blais et al. 1987) Democracies that deliver tangible legislative results have high governability. However, to have such results, a majority must exist to prevent
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