Principles of Electoral Reform

Principles of Electoral Reform

Principles of Electoral Reform

Principles of Electoral Reform

Synopsis

Electoral reform is currently an extremely significant political issue in many countries, yet there is little real understanding or systematic discussion of it. In this timely and accessible new book, Professor Dummett, one of the most distinguished scholars in the field, analyzes the main forms of electoral systems used in legislative systems around the world, and generates a set of criteria that help to explain how we should decide which system we should have.

Excerpt

Electoral reform is much in the air in many countries: in Italy above all, but also in France and in Britain. in Britain, the smallest of the three national political parties has long advocated it. the British Labour Party set up the Plant Committee to report on it, and hints that, once in power, it might hold a national referendum on it; and it promises proportional representation for a Scottish Parliament. There is widespread dissatisfaction among the Italian electorate with the system that for decades produced corrupt political regimes, and uncertainty over what should replace it. and yet nowhere is there much understanding of the topic, still less sensible discussion of it. Why this paradox?

Like so much that is to be deplored, it is due to prejudice. in this case, the prejudice is to the effect that the topic is so simple that no thought or discussion is needed. You do not even have to stop to think whether any thought is needed: it is just obvious that it isn't.

Actually, to make a sensible choice of an electoral system, quite a lot of thought is needed. It is thought of which almost all those who have a vote are capable, once they have grasped the issues involved; but the issues are virtually never put to them by politicians or journalists. the issues are not put to them by those who ought to do so for two different reasons. One is that many of the politicians and . . .

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