[EM] The Global Fight For Electoral Justice: A Primer

Richard Lung voting at ukscientists.com
Mon Jan 2 10:45:36 PST 2017

Below account from james Gilmour tallies with Enid lakeman: How 
Democracies Vote. She was a contemporary and world authority on the subject.
As I also remember from that book, Lakeman observed that proportional 
elections tended to be introduced with a transition to multiple parties. 
Instead of a duopoly, there is instability and uncertainty in the FPTP 
results. Since her time, the events in her country, the UK have 
confirmed that trend, up to a point. And look likely to further do so.
  In the UK, the Labour party has been the main engine of introducing 
party-proportional elections. Their in-house preliminary Plant report 
laid bare their motives: anything but STV and its "intra-party 
competition" (that is effective primaries within the general election.) 
They observed that AMS (akaMMP) would be lesss likely to affect their 
incumbency. However, Labour have been shattered in Scotland both with 
FPTP and AMS. About which (and much else), James Gilmour could inform 
you much better than I.

Richard Lung.

On 02/01/2017 15:52, James Gilmour wrote:
> I don't know where the US academics story came from, but the facts are that the Additional Member System (AMS, a.k.a. MMP) was
> devised for the 1946 elections in the British Occupied Zone of Germany.  The comparable elections in 1946 in the American Occupied
> Zone and in the French Occupied Zone used the old Weimar voting system (closed-list party-list).  AMS was adopted for the first
> Federal Bundestag elections in 1949.  ("Federal" = British Occupied Zone + American Occupied Zone + French Occupied Zone).
> I have always understood that the British civil servants who administered the British Occupied Zone after WWII had a large hand in
> devising AMS, by combining the British FPTP system (with single-member electoral districts) with the old Weimar system, in the
> (mistaken) belief that this would introduce a significant element of personal choice to what had been an impersonal closed-list
> party-list voting system.  Originally electors had only one vote; the two-vote ballot paper was introduced for the Federal Bundestag
> elections in 1953.
> The predominance of closed-list party-list voting systems in continental Europe is a hangover from the defensive actions of the
> threatened political elites as referenced by Kristofer Munsterhjelm (second below).  Many of those countries had a different
> political history and a had (and have) a different political culture.  Political parties were legally registered entities in many
> continental countries before the (defensive) introduction of PR, so "the party" was the obvious unit on which to base
> proportionality.  If the voting system "worked", the politicians elected by it would have little incentive to change it and
> certainly the party machines would not want to change for closed-list.   In contrast, in the UK, political parties have been legally
> registered entities for electoral purposes only since 1998: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/48/pdfs/ukpga_19980048_en.pdf
> The 1998 Act was superceded and repealed by later legislation, PPERA 2000: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/contents
> (plus amendments in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011).
> James Gilmour
> Edinburgh, Scotland
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Election-Methods [mailto:election-methods-bounces at lists.electorama.com] On Behalf Of ElectionMethods
>> Sent: 01 January 2017 18:06
>> To: election-methods at lists.electorama.com
>> Subject: Re: [EM] The Global Fight For Electoral Justice: A Primer
>> Regarding introduction of PR in Europe, many years ago a German housemate told me that PR for post-war West Germany was partly
>> designed by academics in the United States who wanted to overcome the unfairnesses of U.S. elections (i.e. two-party dominance,
>> and unfairness of gerrymandering).
>> (I presume closed-list PR is dominant in Europe because many members of parliament would be unlikely to get re-elected under
>> open-list PR.)
>> Richard Fobes
>> On 12/31/2016 3:51 AM, Erik Moeller via Election-Methods wrote:
>>> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 3:50 PM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
>>> <km_elmet at t-online.de<mailto:km_elmet at t-online.de>  >  wrote:
>>>> (I just stumbled across a possible explanation for European introduction
>>>> of PR - that it was a reaction to the increasing popularity of socialist
>>>> parties, where the old parties came to the conclusion that it's better
>>>> to be a smaller fish in a proportional pond than to be wiped out
>>>> entirely if the socialists were to gain enough support to become the
>>>> majority party. See e.g.
>>>> http://web.stanford.edu/~jrodden/wp/rodden_jan10_workshop_final.docx . I
>>>> don't know if this is the true reason, but if so, the US would be
>>>> different since there was no such great threat of socialist majority.)
>> ----
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Richard Lung.
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