Party List P.S.

Herman Beun chbeun at
Mon Jul 27 05:22:06 PDT 1998

Mike Ositoff <ntk at> schreef:

> But I left one out: Plurality With Withdrawals. 

Hmm, OK. But in this way candidates get some sort of control over the
election result. Isn't this vulnerable to coalition forming or other
forms of cheating? Or if it doesn't, is it at all possible for
candidates to get an idea of their chances to get elected from the
intermediary results? Why not have a mechamism that automatically
eliminates the Condorcet loser, instead of having to wait for
candidates to withdraw at their own initiative?

> Of course if there's strong insistance on another count rule,
> such as IRO, then that other rule could also be used with
> the candidate withdrawal option.


Anyway, this system could not be used in our case, since the D66
candidate elections go by mail, instead of taking place during a
party conference. If they would, the number of voters would probably
be below 3000.

> I don't believe that it's advisable for people here to be 
> suggesting that you change your country's election system.

Oh, no problem with that, I would probably do the same ;-) The only
point is that it has nothing to do with the problem I am trying to
solve right now, i.e. my party's internal election system.

> You said you want to propose some changes in it, and you're 
> of course the one who's in a position to know just what needs 
> improvement, and what would likely work better.

That's right of course, although I would still need your expertise
about which are the practical effects of each election system, so I
could make the right choice for myself.

> Plainly, the system you have is working fine (but if there's some
> way in which it isn't, that's something that you, not anyone
> in the U.S., would know about).

The way I see it, one advantage e.g. the British FPP system (this is
the only constituency system most Dutchmen know, so they always
confuse constituencies with FPP) at least has, is that people at
least _know_ "their MP", and even phone him or her when they think
some public matter deserves attention. No such thought would occur to
a Dutchman: here, parliament is just a black (or should I say: grey)
box you may place a cross on a ballot paper for once every 4 years.
The Dutch party list system leads to very anonymous politics.

In my opinion, the big flaw in the British system is _not_ so much
FPP, but the existence of political parties and their "whips". The
regional (cultural geographical) variation of political views
_should_ result in a varied composition of parliament, were it not
for the fact that the political parties force their MPs to vote all
in the same way once they have been elected. As a result, the party
having the majority of the seats (not so difficult to achieve with
FPP) has dictatorial power for a period of 4 years. If the British
would simply prohibit the existence of political parties and allow
only independent candidates instead, their election system would be
just fine ;-)

> If you're inclined to propose STV, in an open list election, to
> determine which of a party's candidates get the seats that that
> party wins, that seems like an ideal way to do it.

I am. 

> If you want to propose that STV be the national PR system, then
> you don't want the small districts that are usually used with
> STV. If it were used, it should be used with the whole country
> as one district, as is the case with the current system.

Well, one of the things that lack in current Dutch politics is the
regional view, because the parliament is elected with the whole
country as one constituency. That is, the country's administration is
highly decentralised to provinces and municipalities -- much more so
than in e.g. the UK. But decentralisation of the administration is
not the same as decentralisation of power: delegation of power still
occurs top-down instead of bottom-up as it should be. So I think the
country should be federalised again (it was a federal republic until
1795), with the boundaries between provinces (member states) and
municipalities (re-)drawn by referendum, i.e. in the Swiss way. And
then there should be a bicameral parliament, with one chamber elected
by the entire electorate in one constituency, and the (directly
elected) members in the other chamber representing the provinces. In
this way cultural, regionally bound differences get the room they

But this is a different discussion, and it is my personal view -- not
my party's (yet ;-). D66 does have the introduction of a moderate
(more than one winner) constituency system in its political program,
but there is no detailed plan of how it should be realised.

> The advantage of the Hare quota (total votes/total seats) is
> that it's the optimally proportional quota, and the unbiased
> quota. It's even-handed with regard to the size of factions
> in your party.

I agree. That's why I prefer the Hare quota too.

> Another possibility, of course, would be to simply repeat the
> use of a single-winner method. Use it to pick the number 1 
> candidate. Then use it among everyone but him, to pick the 
> number 2 candidate. Etc. But that wouldn't be PR, wouldn't 
> be an attempt or approximation to proportionality between 
> the composition of your party's fractie and the composition 
> of its voters.

Exactly. This is one of the main reasons why I want to get rid of the
current Borda system.

Herman Beun                                                    Arnhem                        Gelderland
CHBeun at                                       Nederland
**** Representative democracy is a contradiction in 4 year terms ****

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