In other countries it started as:
1. Different Views:
Universal teaching must precede universal enfranchisement.
Exclusion from power means, exclusion from the benefits of power.
Belgium, Rumania, Argentina, Netherland, some of Swiss Cantons.
2. Criteria of Representation:
There are two known criteria of general representation:
Under this the whole country is divided into geographical areas of heavy equal population called constituencies.
Gerrymandering a malpractice is vague in U.S. wherein manipulation of delimitation of the boundaries of constituencies is done to help party in power to capture few more votes.
Representation on the basis of economic functions or occupational interests
The Guild Socialists, Syndic lists and Italian Fascists were its advocates. Indeed the system was tried by Mussolini in his corporate state of Italy. Laski is critical of functional representation.
3. Criteria of Electoral Systems:
To Laski a good electoral system ought to satisfy four general considerations.
1. It should so constitute the legislature that the vital issues of public policy. The legislature must reflect the opinions of the majority and the minority.
2. The constituencies should be small enough to develop the personal relation between the elected representative and the electorate.
3. It should reflect the changing opinion of the major issues by methods like elections.
4. It should assure that the voters as far as possible remain directly in contact with the government in power.
4. Kinds of Electoral System:
The result of voting is determined according to the prevailing electoral systems.
Broadly one can identify three electoral systems under democratic systems.
1. Plurality or first past the post
3. Proportional representation
First past the Post:
Also called simple majority system
The principle of first past the post is applied.
A candidate who receives the highest number of votes, may be less than even half the votes polled, is declared a winner.
This practice is widely followed:
The plurality system undermines the legitimacy of government in so far as government only often enjoys only minority support less than 50%.
Minorities may remain under represented.
The champions contend that this system promotes two party systems.
Prevent separatist tendencies among minorities.
Provides for a relatively stable and effective government
A candidate is usually required to obtain an absolute majority 50% of valid votes cast.
When there are three or more contestants it is assured by
1. Second Ballot System
2. Alternative Vote
Single Candidate Constituencies
A voter can vote for only one candidate.
If no candidate gets a first ballot majority, a second runoff ballot is held between the leading two candidates.
This system is popular in France.
In Alternative vote system there are single member’s constituencies.
There is preferential voting: 1, 2, 3 and 4 so on. Winning candidate needs to get 50% of the votes cast. Votes are counted according to the first preference.
If no candidate gets absolute majority of the first preference votes, the candidate who gets the least number of first preferences is eliminated and the next preferences of his or her voters are added to first preference of those candidates.
Alternative vote system is followed in the election to the Lower House in Australian, American and Indian Presidents.
To Finer ‘the majority produced by the systems of the second ballot or the alternative vote is a kind of second best, not whole hearted first choice.’
Proportional representation was favored by J.S. Mill. It is claimed that under this system any party, interest or group would secure representation in proportion to the support it has among the electors. There are multi member constituencies.
The main idea is to ensure by distributing votes rather than voters that the number of seats won by a political party in the legislature shall be approximately proportionate to the votes cast for that party.
There are two main schemes in proportionate representation.
1. The Hare system
2. The List system
Hare system is also called single transferable vote system.
Devised by Thomas Hare in Pamphlet called Machinery of representation, hailed by Mill as the greatest improvement yet made in the theory and practice of government
Multi member constituency’s never less than three electors vote preferentially.
Candidates are elected if they achieve a Quota.
Quota is usually equal to the total number of valid votes divided by one more than the number of seats available plus one vote.
Total number of valid votes polled/Total number of seats to be filled + 1
Votes are counted according to first preference.
An elected candidate’s surplus votes are redistributed.
The candidate obtaining least number of first preferences is eliminated and the next preferences of his or her voters are added to the first preferences of other candidates.
This system of redistribution is repeated till the number of candidates securing electoral quota equals the number of seats available.
The Hare system is used in the election to Municipal Council in U.S. and Canada.
Both Houses of Parliament in Northern Ireland
Lower House of Parliament in Peru and Malta
Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council in India
Under this system, the entire country is treated as a single constituency or it is divided into a large multimember constituencies.
Ballots contain separate lists of candidates of different political parties.
Electors vote for the parties not for candidate. Parties are allocated seats in direct proportion to the votes they gain in the election.
In Switzerland, voter has the right even to write additional names to determine his own preference.
Followed in Germany, Legislatures of Finland, Knesset of Israel, Switzerland
The list system is the only potentially pure system of proportional representation and is therefore fair to all parties.
The system of proportional representation has unique advantage of giving representation to all types of groups. But its disadvantages are instability and fissiparous tendencies.