Introduction to Comparative Politics
Electoral systems play a major role in elections outcome since they translate the votes cast during elections into results. Electoral system affects key areas of electoral laws. For instance, it normally determines the way in which boundaries of district can be drawn, registration of voters, how papers ballot are designed, counting of votes, how the results are transmitted and announced and many other aspects of electoral system. Basically, it determines how a leader of the highest office in the land is elected. Like in the case of the US, the president is elected by the votes from Electoral College and not popular vote unlike many countries in the world where the most popular person assumes the leadership. In other words, they are mechanisms by the will of the people is translated into political seats in representative institutions. In formation of government, it provides a way to fill the elective government posts and leaders who vet people who can work in the government. The behavior of candidates and political parties for various elected offices in a great measure if always conditioned by the nature of electoral system.
The role of electoral systems in Majoritarian, Proportional, and Mixed Systems are both similar and different in some ways. In Majoritarian electoral systems, the law demands that the winning candidates be those individuals who have managed to attract the most votes in every electoral district. Majoritarian systems are different in relation to the number of elected representatives in an electoral district as well as the kind majority that a winner if an election has to achieve. In proportional representation, the system is designed to allocate political seats proportionately to votes in the hope that governments and assemblies will be an accurate reflection of the preferences of the country’s electorate. This system assigns political parties a certain number of seats in the legislature corresponding to the amount of support they garnered in a particular electoral district. This arrangement demands that all the proportional representation districts reply on the function of multi-member districts. Mixed systems encompassed the use of both proportional and majority systems in efforts to gain the benefits of both. It is perceived that Majoritarian systems distort election outcomes by leaning in favor of strong parties while the weaker ones are under-represented. Thus, the wishes of voters many not necessary be reflected in electoral outcomes. Unlike Majoritarian system, proportional representation systems are known for ability to give seats to smaller parties thereby encouraging the formation of such parties. This factor promises balanced representation of wider spectrum of the option of the public. Voters are known to be more willing to vote for smaller parties as if they known that their votes would translate into tangible results. While proportional systems produce strong opposition, Majoritarian systems are known to oppositions that are weak and ineffective. The main point of similarity of the systems is that they all allow democratic processes and allows the will of citizens to prevail. In election systems, political parties undertake an important duty of uniting people to gain control of the government, come up with policies that favor the interest of citizens and groups that support them. Political parties also organize and initiate efforts to convince voters to elect the most appropriate candidates to offices. Political parties can also conspire to persuade the citizens to overhaul an electoral system through a referendum.
A Democratic System of Cougastan
The country is made up of a population of 100,000 people. To ensure that each district is adequately populated to make significant decisions, the country would have 10 districts.
Cougastan is a small country and requires a democratic system that gives room for the majority to have their way. Because of the population size, it is possible for a large percentage of a population to rally behind a single candidate and existence of single party system. Thus, the candidates who secure most votes from the citizens would ascend to occupy their respective positions. A candidate must get 50%+ of the votes cast to win and at least 25% of votes in 5 districts. Electronic voting and transmission of votes would be used to protect integrity of results by avoiding possible malpractices allowed by the use manual casting and tallying of results. Candidates would be elected by plurality and not necessarily majority of the votes cast.
The most suitable model for this kind of electoral system is multi-member plurality system. This model would ensure that multiple points of views from a district are represented in the legislature and that the elected officials enjoy adequate support from the electorate. There are only 10 districts and it is more appropriate to allow many members from districts rather than allowing decisions affecting 100,000 people to be made by only 10 people.
The country would elect a president as well as 40 members of parliament who will be responsible for making laws all of whom must be democratically elected by the people. The president would be the head of state. He will sign in the law legislations passed by the members of parliament. The president would appoint a prime minister who must be approved by the parliament. Compulsory approval by the parliament is a strategy to ensure the president does not abuse his power to make such appointments and allow the will of citizens as represented by members from different districts are incorporated. The prime minister would head the government thereby overseeing all branches of the government such as health, education, security and foreign relations among others. The parliament has the powers to impeach the president by 2/3 of votes and credible reasons approved by the Judiciary. The prime minister is the second in command who assumes power in instances of death of the president of incapacitation. The president would also constitute key ministries headed by ministers to take care of affairs of the government. He would also be the commander in chief of armed forces of Cougastan.
Elections would take place after every 5 years. During elections, the citizens would have an opportunity to elect a new president and members of parliament. The president would be subject to only two terms while members of parliament have four terms. This system is meant to ensure that citizens exercise their powers in governance elected new leadership if the incumbents do not meet their expectations. Block vote would be used in voting where electors can vote as many times as there are empty seats to be filled. All the ballot papers would be returned to districts to elect the next member. The candidates the highest polls will be fill the positions no matter the percentage of votes he/she received.