[EM] Sociological issues of elections

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Sep 1 09:05:12 PDT 2013

On 1.9.2013, at 16.57, Vidar Wahlberg wrote:

> To answer your question Juho, «When you wrote about "a form of
> government that is elected by the people", did you mean that voters
> should have more say on what the government (coalition) will be like?»:
> My intention behind that statement was purely that the government should
> still be voted in by the population, not be decided by any other means,
> such as electing people based on skill and knowledge (i.e. technocracy).

I tried to outline some scenarios where the voters could more or less directly determine the composition of the coalition. I guess this is too "dynamic" for you, and you actually like the current Norwegian practice where there are two rather fixed government alternatives, and voters know exactly which coalition each candidate/party belongs to?

That approach is good in the sense that people know exactly what they will get. There are however also some possible problems. If there are only two possible alternatives, the dynamics of the system might approach the dynamics of a two party system. The problem is that voters may not be able to influence all the topics but only on some selected or most popular topics.

I mean that if grouping A says yes to X  and Y (two continuously popular questions), and grouping B says no to X and Y, then there may be third questions that will never be solved. Maybe both groupings say yes to Z (e.g. yes to money coming to the parties from some dubious sources) although voters do not like Z. The voters can not vote no to Z. A multiparty system is however better than a two-party system in this respect since it is possible that grouping A has party A1 that actually would not like to promote Z, but uít has to since other parties in grouping A do. In this case voters may one day influence on Z by first giving party A1 sufficient support so that A1 gains majority within grouping A.

The point thus is that voters may have more influence on what direction the country will take if there are more than 2 main groupings, and voters can decide which ones will be in power next time. If all parties that do not like Z (and who will sincerely announce their preferences before the election) will get more votes, those parties are likely to be in the government, and the country is likely to oppose Z (those parties may come from left, right and elsewhere). Of course this approach has the problem that the exact policy and parties that will be included in the government are not known before the election (unlike in the "fixed groupings" approach). The formation of the government and its policy may can however be guessed quite well, if large_and_rising_parties will form the govrnment, and all parties have clearly stated their opinion on X, Y, Z etc. More votes to "no Z" parties is likely to lead to a "no Z" government in these or next elections.

Different approaches have different benefits. One just needs to estimate how well these properties meet the needs of the country in question.

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