[EM] Hello (Intro); PR, STV......

Venzke Kevin stepjak at yahoo.fr
Wed Feb 19 20:19:57 PST 2003

 --- James Gilmour <jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk> a
écrit : > > Kevin wrote (in part)
> >
> > Is it wise to permit independent candidates to
> run?
> Why would you want to put artificial constraints on
> democratic representation?

I don't really.  I should've asked, "Is it wise to run
as an individual candidate?"  What happens if 10% of
the national electorate votes for an individual
candidate?  He should receive those seats in some
form, I think.  I suppose STV just trickles the excess
votes to secondary choices.

> > I still don't think STV (etc.) can improve PR.  To
> run
> > on the party list, candidates will need to conform
> to
> > their parties.  They will not be able to
> individually
> > campaign, because nobody will see the need to
> spend
> > money on such campaigns.  They will be elected or
> not
> > elected solely based on party affiliation.  Am I
> > wrong?
> Yes, very wrong so far as STV-PR is concerned.  The
> whole point about STV-PR is
> that, uniquely among PR systems, it allows the
> electors to vote for all the
> candidates as individuals.  So it is the voters who
> decide which candidates take
> the seats.

I am aware that with STV, the voters select which
candidates are elected.  But I think there are some
factors that cause the vast majority of voters to be
indifferent towards individual candidates.  The
biggest factor, as I see it, is the parliamentary
nature of Canada (the locale of Stephane's proposed
system).  In such systems the important thing is to
get your party's members into the cabinet, and the
"government" crafts most of the legislation.  I don't
think the voters will care about who the individual
MPs are, and they are probably right for not caring. 
It just doesn't matter enough.

In the U.S. it might work better, because the
government is not staffed by the legislature.  The
independence of the legislature and President permits
the legislature to play a much more significant role
in creating laws.

But even if it did work better here, I worry that we
might see such problems as exist in Brazil.  They are
also presidential, and use open-list PR to fill the
legislature.  There are accountability problems
because the elected deputies have little way of
knowing what sort of voters elected them.  That, or
they realize they were elected for no reason of their
own, as parties get popular people to join their
lists, and they individually receive so many votes
that many other candidates from that party can be
seated.  Once elected, deputies switch or drop their
party affiliations frequently.  (I believe all of this
description to be correct, but I may stand to be
corrected if I've twisted the scenario.)

Anyway, it doesn't sound promising to me.  If there is
a country using party lists where the electorate is
concerned with individual candidates, I would be very
interested in learning more about it.


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