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For me, pluri-selected candidates sound a unique aberration. Some other elements of why the Italian election system works as bad as it does exist elesewhere, though not necessarily as a problem.

Lots of small parties allowed by a lack of a 5% limit can be a problem (Poland) or not (Netherlands, some Scandinavians, New Zealand?). Pre-lection coalitions are limited in various ways in most proportional-voting countries, e.g. a higher percentage threshold or you must form an actual party union. But that big loose pre-election coalitions of a lot of smaller parties can, and for power must, be formed may happen elsewhere (France, at one point in Slovakia, in a way Spain), but the trend (and pressure) seems to be strongest in Italy, only I am not sure what makes a difference. Two political blocks (be them big tent parties like in the US or coalitions like you have) are usually the result of winner-takes-all, not proportinal elements of election systems (e.g. when there is some extra gain in becoming the biggest party/coalition), the need to bring in splitter parties to gain majority doesn't require more than the formation of smaller pre-election coalitions (miriad of examples across the new EU members).

Assured seats on party lists is a standard feature of proportional voting (of which I am an advocate), and one often held against it. But this is counteracted elsewhere when there is a choice of more than two parties, and (less often) when a wide party base or voters themselves are given some say in which persons get elected (single tansferable votes from Ireland through Hamburg to Australia, parallel direct and proportional voting as in Germany, local primaries).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 31st, 2008 at 02:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the need to bring in splitter parties to gain majority doesn't require more than the formation of smaller pre-election coalitions (miriad of examples across the new EU members).

I realise the current Hungarian parliament exhibits an example that can be (and many did) consider a short-circuiting of democracy. In the last elections, the main opposition party Fidesz actually ran as one element of a pre-election coalition, with the Christian Democrats. By the 21st century, the latter became a micro-party with unmeasurable (<1%) popular support, but for whatever propaganda and split-percentage reason Fidesz thought they need them, thus giving them a lot of both list places and direct mandate candidacies. Once in parliament, the Fidesz-piggybacking Christian Democrats were so numerous they had the numbers to form a faction, and local laws permit the separation of election coalitions. Due to extra seats in parliamentary commissions, that's what they did.

The differences with the voes of the Italian Left are that (1) right-wing voters never had much trouble with any candidate endorsed by their voters, anywhere in the world, (2) at least in the open, these spineless Christian Democrats are über-loyal to Fidesz, they don't backmail like UDEUR et al (though who knows, maybe there's more to Fidesz's occasional clericalism than propaganda considerations).

*

A stranger example of proportional voting not reflecting people's real choices, but that wil full cooperation of the voter, is when voters of a larger party 'save' a minor coalition partner from falling under 5%, to keep coalition majority. This was a frequent feature with CDU (Christian Democrat) voters and the FDP (FRee Democrat) party in Germany, and also happened here (with Socialists saving the local Free Democrats), but I don't know of any other countries.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 31st, 2008 at 02:43:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the helpful feedback on this. I'll discuss tomorrow some of the mechanisms in Italy that I see appear elsewhere as well as what may be unique in the Italian system.

One point you've mentioned

[...](1) right-wing voters never had much trouble with any candidate endorsed by their voters, anywhere in the world, [...]

is of particular interest (I think you meant endorsed by their party). The differences in mentality between the right and the left.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Mar 31st, 2008 at 04:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Before 2005, a voter could express preferences for single candidates in either a proportional system ( before 1993) or the mixed majority- proportional system (1993-2005). A candidate had to work the tarmack and meet citizens. As of 2005, a voter has a choice between two names, the rest is handled in the backrooms.

Since the new system has only been used once, the agreements between parties within a coalition are mediated by showings in previous elections. However, were this system to continue over several elections one wonders what sort of criteria would be used to determine the relation of forces within a coalition.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Mar 31st, 2008 at 04:22:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assured seats on party lists is a standard feature of proportional voting (of which I am an advocate), and one often held against it.

Finland has proportional voting but then seats are distributed on basis of personal preference voting (mark your prefered candidate, an the most prefered gets your lists first seat). Sweden has the same, but to a much lesser extent as  candidates has to pass a significant threshold to change position on the list, leaving power mostly in the hands of the party establishments.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 31st, 2008 at 05:01:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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