[EM] it's pleocracy, not democracy

raphfrk at netscape.net raphfrk at netscape.net
Tue Mar 6 03:33:31 PST 2007

  From: abd at lomaxdesign.com
 > At 06:00 AM 3/5/2007, Jobst Heitzig wrote:
 > >Do you mean to say that the will of a consistent faction of 49% of the
 > >electorate, who will never get their way under a majoritarian system,
 > >is "noise"??
 > No. But that condition is essentially impossible. There is *never* a
 > consistent faction of that size in a majoritarian democracy, indeed,
 > I think I wrote, there is no faction of *any* size of which this is
 > true, since the vast majority of choices made in real societies enjoy
 > almost total consensus.
 It happened in Northern Ireland. The nationalist faction is around
 45% of the population. They want NI to be part of the Republic. The
 other faction is the unionist faction. They wanted to remain part
 of the UK and represented around 55% of the population.
 In fact, the original split of the island into NI and the Free State (as
 the Republic was then), was designed to give the unionists as much 
 territory as possible, while still giving them a majority.
 This was the single most important issue in every election, and the
 unionists won every time. The end result was that the UK government
 decided to administer NI directly, due to civil disorder issues. The
 unionists went from having a permenent majority to being a relatively 
 small party in the UK parliament. This highlights the problems with 
 ignoring a large segment of the population.
 The peace process is an attempt to restore local government in NI.
 The rules that they intend to use are not rule by majority. 
 They use PR to elect the assembly. Each candidate must say if they
 are a nationalist, a unionist or neither. No bill can be passed by
 the assembly unless it majority support from both the nationalists
 and the unionists (and probably overall majority support). This is
 obviously subject to abuse. Once, some of the independents redesignated
 themselves as unionists so that a bill could be passed.
 The executive is headed by a First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
 The larger faction picks the First Minister and the smaller faction
 picks the Deputy First Minister. (I am not sure how non-aligned
 members are involved, perhaps they are ignored).
 The ministries are then shared using the d'Hondt system. This gives
 larger parties an advantage, due to the bias in d'Hondt, but
 also because they get first choice, so can get the better/more
 powerful ministries. However, it means that executive power is
 shared between the two factions in proportion to their number.
 I think their solution is also problematic due to institutionalising
 the factional divide. A better solution would be to pick the First
 and Deputy First Minister by PR-STV (or maybe sequential approval).
 The assembly could then by majority vote make one of the 2 winners
 the First Minister and other the Deputy. If both of them had veto
 rights for bills, then each faction would effectively have veto rights
 without having to specifically split the assembly between factions.
 Interesting site
 "what if anyone could modify the laws"
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