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This is how PR works.

by Colman Wed Sep 21st, 2005 at 04:34:39 PM EST

There seems to be some confusion among our friends from first-past-the-post systems about the nature of politics in a mature democracy using proportional representation systems.

Complicated coalition negotiations are normal. It's how we try to avoid giving arrogant fools and arrogant liars free rein1 to carry out policies that they have no mandate for. Twice. What Germany has avoided here is punishing the SPD for unpopular reforms by giving power to a faction committed to even more unpopular reforms. Sounds like democracy is working. Having a result immediatly is not always a virtue.

Anyway, coalition building is a wonderful spectator sport.

Bob has a much more temperate diary along these lines.

  1. Or "reign", as the case may be.&uarr

Perhaps best to refrain from comment until we see what the resulting coalition is--or the outcome of the follow-up election in a couple of months.
by asdf on Wed Sep 21st, 2005 at 04:53:39 PM EST
That too is how the system works.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2005 at 05:07:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm an American who believes that this would be a politically healthier country, and the world would be a safer place, if we had some form of PR. Germany is what democracy looks like.
by GreenSooner (greensooner@NOSPAMintergate.com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2005 at 05:00:53 PM EST
Just to point out that Britain's FPTP system doesn't preclude a hung parliament, coalitions, etc.

See what Fran found here, in which the Tories speak of a possible coalition with Lib Dems in the event of a hung parliament next time round.

And, iirc, there was a possibility of a hung parliament in 1992. Opinion polls predicted a very close election, though, in the end, the Tories got a clear majority.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 04:41:39 AM EST
I think the presently non-two-party systems in Britain and Canada show that only strong local traditions can keep alive a third party, strong local traditions that mean majority in some districts.

Labour in Britain could only break the previous two-party system that ruled for two centuries only because there was a massive expansion of the circle of eligible voters (adding poor people and women).

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

by DoDo on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 07:30:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ummm.......you do realize that the Christian Democractic party ruled uninterrupted for over fourty years under PR in Italy?? There were close to fifty governements over those forty years; absoluely extraordinary instablity combined with corruption, mafia-influence, prolifereation of parties, ad infinitum. All of this led ultimateley to Tangentopoli (probably the biggest corruption scandal in the history of Western civilization).

Italian voted overwhelmingly (about 86% in favor) to change to a predominaty majoritarian FPTP system. Things havenìt been perfect, but they have substantially improved as a result.

It is no coincedence that right now, at this very time, Berlusconi and the ex-CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS are trying to pass a law to go back to PR!!

by gilgamesh (expat at 6719 dot it) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 05:29:14 AM EST
Italy seems to be a special case. It often is.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 05:52:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Things havenìt been perfect, but they have substantially improved as a result.


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

by DoDo on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 07:25:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Politics in Israel has also been pretty screwed up due to influence by small extremist parties needed to make up a majority coalition.
by asdf on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 09:19:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a FPTP system, those small parties would be embedded in major parties as party wings, and could have a weight well above their popular base by taking over positions within that party.

Witness the US Republican Party in the last six years (or sixteen).

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

by DoDo on Fri Sep 23rd, 2005 at 08:09:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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