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Discussion and Review #3 Discussion & Review 3 - Questions 1-11

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University of Waterloo
Political Science
PSCI 110
Jingjing Huo

Discussion and Review #3: Democratic Regimes/Advanced Liberal Democracies 1. How do we evaluate whether a regime is democratic or authoritarian? Participation, competition, liberty Participation: citizens direct voice on who governs and what policies are implemented Democratic: behaviour of citizens and politicians o Citizens: genuine participation voting Indirect voting party or representative Direct voting yes or no Referendum politicians issue Initiative citizens issue Must be competition power cannot be concentrated in one act o Power must be separated o Competition describes role of politicians Encourage competition through multiple political parties Discourage competition to make sure that the outcome is not overwhelmingly in favour of one party separate the power Need to look at participation of the population as well as the competition to determine if a country is a democracy Naturally, need a level of social, civil, and political liberty to determine if a country is democratic Example: Russia o Participation: they can vote, meet the criteria o Competition: multiple parties o Power separation: separated between President, court, etc. o Semi-democratic nation o Problems associated with competition more dominating parties, electoral fraud, power is not equal These conditions reduce how democratic the country is Example: China o Participation: do not have a vote, no direct election, nominal universal suffrage o Competition: only one party no competition between politicians o China is not a democratic country By definition, countries that do not meet the participation and competition criterion will be considered authoritarian 2. What is the first-past-the-post electoral system? What is the proportional representation system? Compare their characteristics as well as advantages/disadvantages. First past the post: vote for individuals, specific candidates o More likely to get wasted votes o Vote for actual candidates o One seat per riding single seat districts Proportional representation: vote for parties/lists o Vote for the list List of politicians that are selected to represent many seats for the region o To be on a list multiple candidates o A list is selected many seats are selected per riding o If you pick a list, this list ends up winning a certain percentage of votes in that district (i.e. 30%) and there are 10 seats, get 3 seats First 3 candidates get the seats o Slow decision making processes Differences: who you vote for (person or party), amount of seats (one seat or more) Impact on minor parties: biased against in the first past the post system o Have to win in one district do not have resources to win more ridings therefore beat out by major parties o Can have many votes but if not first will not get a seat Proportional representation is neutral to all parties o Percentage of votes you get is similar to percentage of seats you get o Are not over or under represented First past the post closer number of parties to 2 o Actual number of parties is close to 2 Proportional representation - can be a large amount of parties Voter turnout o First past the post: lower voter turnout People who support minor parties wont vote because they know their party will not win any seats Even if they vote their party is unlikely to win in the region o Proportional representation: higher voter turnout Representing the interests of society (variety) o Proportional representation is able to represent variety of interests More parties that can accommodate to your concerns Representation of minor social interests is more complete Accountability of the candidate o Ability for the constituents to vote out the politician if he is not working o Better accountability under first past the post Easier to determine who gets punished and then gets voted out Higher accountability between politician and constituents o PR has too many candidates hard to determine who should be punished3. What are the main ways of exercising direct democracy? Every citizen can go in and make a decision about an issue Every citizen can participate in a process The difference is who you vote for Direct: vote for positions on issues, vote for your opinion o People directly vote for issues o Ballot: yes or no Indirect: vote for political parties/people represent you o Within Parliament: mini referendum Private citizen: initiative referendum that is implemented by a private citizen People vote directly on specific issues fundamental way of exercising direct democracy o Referendum o Initiative 4. What is the earliest origin of liberal democracy in general? For representative (indirect) democracy, how was it first established? Direct democracy was earlier states/societies were much smaller and did not involve a lot of people (Athens) o Simpler time issues were simple o Practicality direct democracy was much easier to carry out with small societies When democracy first emerged direct democracy When population became so large impossible to conduct governments through direct democracies, move to indirect Direct democracy was chosen (i.e. Athens 500 B.C.) despite having both options o People prefer this because they can make their opinions o When the skill of decision making became too big switch to indi
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