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Lecture 1

POLI 212 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Far-Left Politics, Proportional Representation, Ballot


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 212
Professor
Hudson Meadwell
Lecture
1

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Topic 6: Coalitions
Recap
- Regimes
- Parties: How is political competitions organised
Coalitions
- What happens the “morning after”?
- Why are coalitions more common in Europe than in North America?
- How do parties with different priorities come together and govern effectively
In the news : Merkel wins CDU party’s backing for German coalition deal
- The Social Democratic and the Christian Democratic Union, they come together to form a union/electoral
alliance
Italy: coalition talks
- Far-right leader refuses to accept any prime minister other than him
- Not clean, who will come to power? Who will form the coalition?
Type of Electoral Systems
Parties → Elections → Coalition
Mechanism for translating votes into seats
Single-Member Plurality(SMP) → FirstPastThePost
Proportional representation (PR) → big debate in political science
Majoritarian systems
Mixed systems
SMP electoral systems
- Also known as first past the post system
- Commonly used in British Influenced Systems
- Canada, India, England, US
- But not: Australia, Ireland
- Involves getting the most votes for a single seat to be filled
Tendencies
- Easy to understand and easy to count
- Direct lines of accountability between representatives and electors
- Tends to return majority governments
SMP Electoral Systems
No majority (just plurality) necessary to win
- Is this really democratic?
Results in fewer political parties
- Median voter → need to get more than others to win → SMP systems → most of the voters in the middle →
convergence towards the moderate middle → centrist and fewer political parties
- Is this a good or a bad thing?
Can distort the translation of votes into seats
- May encourage “strategic votes” → my true choice is to vote from someone from the Green party → vote
sincerely but looking at my predictions Liberals or Conservatives will win → perception of wasted votes
Leads to the perception of wasted votes
- My votes doesn’t count → paradox of voting → educate themselves to the platforms (waste of time, why
bother?)
- Linked to the issue of low turnout
SMP Distorsion
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