[EM] Stable PR governments

Markus Schulze schulze at sol.physik.tu-berlin.de
Mon Aug 23 03:58:55 PDT 1999

Dear Blake,

you wrote (22 Aug 1999):
> Election dates should be fixed and outside the control of the
> legislature.  Often it is suggested that the legislature or cabinet
> needs to be able to call an early election to resolve an impasse in
> the legislature.  My response is that such a rule has the opposite
> effect to that intended.  In general, as the opinions of voters
> change, it will frequently occur that a majority, or near majority in
> the legislature see a new election as likely to increase their
> standing.  If an impasse triggers an election, they have good reason
> to create an impasse.  If cabinet must be defeated on a major bill,
> they will seek an opportunity.  Also, if an early election does occur,
> it is not guaranteed to remedy the situation, and frequently doesn't.
> Furthermore, fixed terms have been used in PR municipalities, and some
> PR countries, such as Norway, without any obvious increase in
> governmental ineffectiveness over other PR jurisdictions.

I prefer the Swedish Method. The Swedish Method says that there are
ordinary elections on fixed days (e.g. on the first Thursday of
October of every year with a date dividable by five). Extraordinary
elections are possible. But the term of the then elected parliament
ends with the next ordinary elections.

The Swedish Method guarantees that the possibility to dissolve
the parliament cannot be misused to "corriger la fortune."

Markus Schulze

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