[EM] re: Brazil

Kevin Venzke stepjak at yahoo.fr
Thu Jul 17 16:02:01 PDT 2003


It seems James has explained much of this pretty well.

 --- Stephane Rouillon <stephane.rouillon at sympatico.ca> a écrit : 
> Kevin,
> Even with no rankings, this system (which I think is used in Finland on a regional
> basis,
> I do not know if it is used on a national basis in Brazil) allows the voter more control
> over which other candidates you're helping to elect than closed list.

Brazil uses it by state, but members-per-district is quite high (I read the average is
18).  I have little doubt the results would be ludicrously bad if Brazil used a
single national district (imagine an SNTV district with hundreds of seats).

Brazil's system gives the voter more ability to elect a SPECIFIC candidate, but 
less assurance that "surplus" will be used in a way he would like.  The emphasis
is on individual candidates, but the proportionality is among parties with weak

> With closed list I have to help to elect all candidates of the same party before
> I can contribute to the one I like. With the Brazilian method, I directly go to my
> favourite.

Yes, although with closed-list the parties have strong discipline (because candidates
need parties to win), so you at least know what kind of candidates you're electing.

> Now to continue your discussion about "surplus", I would need first to understand
> if one voter is supposed to elect one single candidate or severals. It was not clear to
> me
> reading your previous descriptions...

Only one.  The system would be better if you could give a ranking, or maybe even
"approve" candidates within one list.

I am using the word "surplus" although there is no transfer.  Let's say party X wins
5 seats in a district because it got 10,000 votes: 9,000 votes for candidate A, 500
for B, 250 for C, 125 for D, and 125 for E.  People who voted for A essentially get
their "surplus transfered" to the other four candidates.

So the people who voted for A were able to elect their favorite candidate, but they
also elected four other people who may be losers (or unknown candidates) as far as the 
voters feel.  (It would be better if those others were responsible to A, somehow; maybe
A could fill those seats with his own picks.)

> Finally, I cannot understand your analysis of the Brazilians political parties'
> behaviours.
> It seems clear to me that a "neo-liberal" that attracts votes should still be kicked out
> of
> a comunist party, or see it differently, (s)he should kick out the rest of the party!

First, it seems that most parties are not very partisan.  They're tools to get
elected.  So perhaps the neo-liberal is inadvertently running with communists. But 
let's say there is a communist party (and I'm sure there is):

If the "neo-liberal" is getting the communists seats (and possibly denying one to a less
leftist party), the communist party has no reason to fire him.  Particularly if the
neo-liberal is getting votes, but not getting himself elected!

The neo-liberal could leave the communist party.  There are many parties in Brazil.  (I
suspect there would be more consolidation if Brazil were parliamentary, because
voters would have to be concerned about who can form the government.)

> Else the system makes it very obvious which parties and politicians are rotten
> and it is in the hand of the public to vote or not for them... No system can cope
> for rotten voters.

But the Brazilian system makes it easier to be a rotten voter.  You need to know
a lot more than with, say, closed-list PR.  And STV wouldn't force you to use a
"surplus" vote to elect candidates accidentally.

Kevin Venzke
stepjak at yahoo.fr

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