[EM] Parliamentary compromising strategy

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at lavabit.com
Fri Mar 15 02:22:47 PDT 2013

On 03/14/2013 11:26 PM, Richard Fobes wrote:
> On 3/11/2013 1:33 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
>  > Here's a scenario I've been thinking about lately.
>  >
>  > Say that you have a parliament using proportional representation, and
>  > the voting method is party list. Then say that the situation is
>  > so that after the election, either the left-of-center parties or the
>  > right-of-center parties form a coalition.
>  >
>  > Given this, you might get a compromising strategy. [...]
>  >
>  > But if enough people vote this way, then the right-wing wins, even if
>  > the polls were inaccurate and it would not have won if people had
>  > voted honestly.
>  >
>  > Is there any way of ameliorating this? [...]
> The need for a coalition -- which often occurs when PR is used --
> introduces an extra layer in the political system. The layer is between
> the elected representatives and the majority coalition (or ruling
> coalition).
> This extra layer can easily result in the opposite of what some voters
> want. As an exaggerated, simplified, and non-realistic example, suppose
> that half the voters in the Green party are women, and their votes for
> this party are based on the party's support for gender equality. And
> suppose that the Green party forms a coalition with another major party,
> and in the backroom negotiations a majority of the Green party leaders
> are men and agree to compromise on gender issues, in exchange for
> increased focus on environmental issues.
> Of course, in reality the backroom compromises are both unknown and
> intertwined. Yet this example illustrates the underlying problem.
> I see two ways of resolving this dilemma.
> One way is to eliminate the need for coalitions. This is the purpose of
> VoteFair negotiation ranking, which allows the elected representatives
> to rank various proposals on various (hopefully-at-least-somewhat)
> related issues. Based on these rankings the software calculates which
> proposals would produce a proposed law that is "best" supported by the
> elected representatives -- including support by small (but not tiny)
> opposition parties. (Details about VoteFair negotiation ranking are at
> www.NegotiationTool.com.)

I suppose that making every government a minority government would also 
work here. The cost would be greater instability, though. How would the 
negotiation ranking handle the instability (or general delay and 
gridlock) that might appear?

> The other approach is to replace traditional PR with an election method
> that gives no advantage to strategic voting. This is what the full
> VoteFair ranking system is designed to do. Specifically, each district
> would use VoteFair representation ranking to elect one "majority" MP
> (member of Parliament) and one "opposition" MP, and the remaining
> parliamentary seats are filled using VoteFair party ranking (to identify
> party popularity) and VoteFair partial-proportional ranking (to choose
> which district-losing candidate wins each party-based seat). The result
> does not allow even a group of well-coordinated voters to meaningfully
> and predictably alter the results.

How would that method solve the left/right scenario I mentioned? Would 
it give the right-of-center parties (or people) position if they had a 
majority, and otherwise let the left-of-center voter's vote go to a 
left-of-center candidate?

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