[EM] Request comments on MMP?

Olli Salmi olli.salmi at uusikaupunki.fi
Tue Jul 29 00:53:55 PDT 2003

>  > (In politics, I'm a great admirer of many aspects of the  Swiss system.)
>Me too.

And me.

>But remember the Swiss system is highly devolved and they also make 
>much use of referenda.
>Also they use PR to determine the composition of the Federal Council 
>(government cabinet).

They use the so called magic formula, an agreement between the main 
parties, to achieve PR. The election in the Federal Assembly, a joint 
session of the legislature, uses the exhaustive vote a.k.a sequential 
runoff. The members of the Federal Council are elected one by one for 
a four-year term after parliamentary elections. It's a convention to 
re-elect the councillors who are willing to continue and the election 
takes place in order of seniority, first the incumbents, then the new 

Sequential election ensures that all things, sex, domicile, party, 
language, are taken into account.  The councillors have the 
confidence of the majority of the council and it has happened that 
the Federal Assembly not approved of a candidate nominated by the 
party that's entitled to th seat.

I think the method has many good features. The presidency rotates, so 
the media are not so much interested in the president's private 
affairs and eventual stains on assistants' clothing. There's no vote 
of no confidence or dissolution so that the head of government cannot 
blackmail Parliament. One person doesn't have near absolute power. 
Majorities can be different for different issues.

A similar system is used for electing judges, but they are not 
elected one by one.

Here's the election regulation

Some results.
Total renewal
Election of Mrs Dreifuss's successor
Election of Mr Ogi's successor

Cantons use popular elections for the election of the executive, two 
rounds, simple majority sufficient in the second. Only Ticino uses 
PR. An initiative to introduce PR was recently rejected by the voters 
in Luzern. There's usually voluntary PR on this level as well.

Olli Salmi

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