Lecture 4 - Democracy GREAT NOTE ON DEMOCRACY!!!
SchoolUniversity of Waterloo
Course CodePSCI 110
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Lecture 3 - Democracy
Exercise your power through the public.
ORIGINS OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY
Direct democracy (Athens)
Separation of Power
Republicanism (Rule by law In contrast to kingdom).
King’s rights curbed by legislature.
King was obliged to consult.
People given “due process” (Legal Rights).
State autonomy becomes limited.
Early unification issue of statehood solved.
Island = A smaller army.
Port taxes No heavy tax extraction by the state.
A strong, but not to coercive state.
PARTICIPATION IN DEMOCRACY
1. Indirect (representative) democracy.
2. Direct Democracy
Single – member district (Geographically closer votes which deem more successful).
Candidate with plurality of votes wins.
Competition between individual candidates.
Biased against minor parties.
Wasted Vote: Only 1 candidate can be elected from each district; if you lose you lose
all your votes.
The reward for winning of bigger parties and loss for minor party is exaggerated.
You have to win more seats rather than the actual votes.
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Once you split, you have no way to survive, as you will all be a bunch of small
The United States uses this type of system along with Canada.
In Canada, the liberals and conservatives will always benefit.
Multi-member district (More than 1 seats in each district).
You have lists (Liberal Conservative, NDP, etc), and each candidate on every list.
The percentage of votes you get should roughly equals to the percentage of seats.
E.g. 30% of votes = 3 seats. Percentage of seats is proportional to number of votes.
Competition between parties (lists).
This system is not biased against minor parties, and is not necessary in favor of
This system is completely neutral to all parties.
Threshold often imposed to preventing fringe parties. Once you move beyond a
certain percent, you have a threshold let’s say of 4%.
COMPARING FPP AND PR
Number of parties: PR would have more parties and under FPP it only adds up to
Sectarian (party for business, farmers, etc) vs. catch-all parties (Parties cater to ass
many people as possible): FPP = Catch-all parties and PR = Sectarian
Representation of Parties: PR = Parties are much more representative in
composition of society under FPP
Accountability of candidates (The ability to punish the cop orate): FPP gives you
greater accountability because only 1 candidate is elected but under PR you have
multiple candidates who could be held responsible. Accountability is much weaker
under PR than FPP.
Turnout: Under FPP turnout will be lower; supporters of minor parties will not vote,
as it will not change the election turnout. Therefore, higher under PR than FPP.
Referendum: Public is directly involved in regards to your position on specific
Public vote on particular issues.
Direct decisions (one-step).
This referendum has to be called by the government.
Initiative: The proposal comes directly from the population.
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