28th April 2018

Electoral Systems

For a new Consensual Presidential Democracy (CPD) to work there must be a new electoral system. What follows on is the result of the analysis of most electoral systems in the world. Although the criteria for the selection of the electoral system were firmly linked to the overall objectives of managing global existential risks by a de facto World Government – i.e. the federated European Union, they could be applied to individual countries.

According to the principles of CPD, the legislation at a federal (central) level will have to be passed with maximum consensus between the parties and between the chambers of the Parliament, somewhat similar to the system in use in Scandinavia and Switzerland. The whole electoral system is tuned with that objective, favouring the creation of coalitions, rather than a ‘strong’ single party rule.

The EF Parliament will consist of two Houses:

  • The Lower House – the Citizens’ Chamber, where the MPs will be elected by all citizens of the EF
  • The Upper House, consisting of two chambers. The first Chamber is the Senate, to which member states will elect their own representatives using the same system as for the election of MPs. The second chamber will be a Sortition Chamber, to which representatives from member states will be selected using a system of sortition.

The participation in the election will be mandatory, against a penalty equal, for example, to the penalty for a parking offence. Among the long-standing democracies that make voting compulsory in elections are Australia, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Other well established democratic nations – The Netherlands in 1970 and Austria more recently – repealed such legal requirements after they had been in force for decades. Mandatory voting is also used in Latin America. Examples there include Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. In some countries voting has been made compulsory at the discretion of sub-national governments, or is applied only to certain types of elections.

The most common objection on normative grounds is that citizens ought to have the right NOT to vote, as much as the right to vote, while the real reason why many people fail to vote is borne out of apathy. Some opponents of the compulsory voting in Australia claim that such voting frees political parties from their responsibilities to campaign and energize the voters. This state of affairs, they say, favours the established parties over the minor parties and independents, whose supporters are less likely to be motivated to vote. In addition, compulsory voting carries a significant administration cost for the state. Finally, there are arguments against compulsory voting questioning the accuracy of the voters’ list, voter information, and the mechanisms for the follow-up fine or punishment system for non-voting citizens.

These are rather poor arguments. First of all, if the voting is done digitally, as proposed below, then the administration and penalty involved would be cheap to execute. Secondly, on a moral ground, participation in elections should be considered not just a right but also an obligation as a kind of evidence of common heritage and common future that needs to be shaped by all of us for the benefits of the current and the future generations. After all, we are forced to do many things that the state requires us to do, like for instance to fight in the war, not to smoke in public places, etc. for an identical purpose, to keep us together safer and more prosperous.

There will be a multi-party system in the EF with four types of electoral systems: for the Citizens Chamber, the Senate, the President, and for referenda and petitions. No electable mandate can extend beyond two five-year terms.

Proportional representation will be applied for the election of the candidates to the Citizens Chamber of the Parliament of the EF, local elections and for the election of the President using Two-Rounds System. The MPs will be elected by the voters from one-mandate constituency (district). Party lists will not be allowed, in order to maintain closer link between the voters and their representative.

Direct democracy will be applied in the sortition system, described below and in petitions. No referenda will be carried out, since they will be substituted by Sortition Assemblies. Petitions will allow any group of citizens to challenge any law approved by the parliament at any time, and even propose modifications of the EF Constitution. For other matters, national or local Sortition Assembly would be called with a detailed explanation of pros and cons on a given matter, since matters at a local level are much better understood where the decision is to be applied.

For details on how the EF electoral systems might work in practice see the sub-tabs in this section.

 

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