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2008 | 1 | 1 | 74 – 93
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World electoral systems
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The article, presenting a preparatory study for the author´s New Book about Elections, has set two major objectives: to map current electoral systems and methods used in the early 21st century during the parliamentary elections and to identify the system preferred by most democratic countries of today. To describe electoral approaches, the author particularly uses the latest research results of the Swedish International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Support, specifically its classification into twelve methods within the four „families of electoral systems“ – the majority rule, proportional representation, mixed system and others. The study implies that political parties and power elites prefer the electoral system which they consider most advantageous for them with regard to their current position and popularity with voters. According to the studies by John Colomer, the „micro-mega“ rule holds here – while large parties tend to prefer small representative bodies and small constituencies with a small number of mandates, small parties tend to prefer large assemblies and large constituencies with a large number of mandates. When an old electoral system is replaced by a new one, this change tends to lead to less risky formulae: from indirect elections to direct voting, from a unanimous vote to majority rules, from majority rules to mixed systems and proportional representation – in other words, to larger representative bodies, districts and quotas. However, it is important to take into account a tendency towards „institutional self-reproduction“ – the change of rules is carried out by those who have been elected. The article concludes with a thesis that the fundamental compromise in the world tends towards the implementation of the system of proportional representation with a quorum for entry into representative bodies – which should ensure both relative reliability in reflecting the general public´s views and the stability of the government. This is also the road to the convergence of national voting systems for the elections to the European Parliament.
  • Ústav politických vied SAV, Dúbravská cesta 9, 813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic,
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