Unformatted text preview: Political Models
Electoral Systems Political Systems
Political Systems Authoritarian: a form of social control characterized by strict obedience to the authority of a state or organization, often maintaining and enforcing control through the use of oppressive measures. Authoritarian regimes are strongly hierarchical. Totalitarian: modern regimes in which the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior. Oligarchy: is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small, elite segment of society (whether distinguished by wealth, family or military powers). Political Systems
Political Systems Aristocracy: a form of government where power is held by a small number of individuals from an elite or from noble families. Only this elite is allowed to compete for power and to hold the most powerful positions in state. The transmission of power is often hereditary. Monarchy: a form of government in which a monarch, usually a single person, is the head of state. Democracy: – Direct Democracy: Literally, ”Rule by the People”. a political system where the citizens participate the decision making personally, contrary to relying on intermediaries or representatives. The supporters of direct democracy argue that democracy is more than merely a procedural issue (i.e. voting). Political Systems
Representative Democracy: the selection of government officials by the people being represented. The most common mechanisms involve election of the candidate with a majority or a plurality of the votes. Representatives may be elected by a particular district (or constituency), or represent the entire electorate proportionally proportional systems, with some using a combination of the two. Some representative democracies also incorporate elements of direct democracy, such as referendums. A characteristic of representative democracy is that while the representatives are elected by the people to act in their interest, they retain the freedom to exercise their own judgment as how best to do so. Political Systems
Liberal (Constitutional) Democracy: a representative democracy along with the protection of minorities, the rule of law, separation of powers, and protection of liberties (thus the name liberal) of speech, assembly, religion, and property. Conversely, an illiberal democracy is one where the protections that form a liberal democracy are either nonexistent, or not enforced. Free Elections Right of Political Dissent Limits on Arbitrary Police Power Independent Judiciary as Arbiter of Rights Constitutional Democracy
– Expanded List: Freedom of the Press Public Space for Debate Free, Open, and Fair Elections Universal Suffrage Popular Sovereignty (the “people” are the original source of authority via granting their consent to be governed by a representative legislature (this infers a social contract) Majority Rule Balanced with Minority Rights Limited Government Institutional Checks and Balances The Rule of Law (this includes political processes) Tolerance (Pluralism). This includes freedom of religion and of speech. Individual Political and Economic Rights A conception of Natural Law (or at least some objective source of rights) Constitutional Democracy
Constitutional Democracy –
– Criticism of Constitutionalism: Constitutionalism comes from an ancient struggle between an all
encompassing state and the selfinterest of citizens
That in order to maintain control over their selfinterests, citizens have managed to limit the power of the state (from the Magna Carta on through to the American Constitution). This creates a conflict between the concepts of popular sovereignty and limited government. In effect, in order to protect individual economic and social rights, Constitutions take away the power of government to enforce laws that a majority of citizens might otherwise have empowered it to enforce (given the idea of popular sovereignty). That there is an inherent conflict between the right to political dissent and the rule of law (sometimes dissent takes the form of actively disobeying the law).
There is a contradiction between the civic virtue of participation and the institutions and procedures of Constitutional Democracy that actually inhibit or discourage participation.
The question of “original intent” and judiciary interpretation of the Constitution (as in the case of McCulloch vs. Maryland). Electoral Systems
Electoral Systems Plurality, or SMDP: a singlewinner voting system often used to elect executive officers or to elect members of a legislative assembly which is based on singlemember constituencies. the USA uses a first past the post or winnertakesall, a voting system in which a single winner is chosen in a given constituency by having the most votes, regardless of whether or not he or she has a majority of votes. – Westminster Model
– Presidential Model (federalism) PR (Proportional Representation) An electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates (grouped by a certain measure) obtain in elections and the percentage of seats they receive (usually in legislative assemblies). Various Democratic Models
Various Democratic Models –
– – The Majoritarian (Westminster Model) The first, and one of the most important characteristics, of the majoritarian model is the high degree of concentration of the executive power (authority derived from Parliament).
The second important feature of the Westminster model is the fusion of power and cabinet dominance. The Cabinet and the Parliament are dependent upon each other. The majority in the parliament backs the cabinet and at the same time the cabinet is controlled by the Parliament and can even be voted out.
The system of asymmetric bicameralism is the fourth majoritarian characteristic. The House of Lords in England has limited powers. The very word "parliament" is often referred to as The House of Commons. In the majoritarian system the bicameralism is often fictional, for in reality it comes much closer to being a unicameral legislature. Various Democratic Models
Various Democratic Models
– – The two party system, which is usually onedimensional (i.e. the lines of cleavage are organized along the socioeconomic, leftright differences).
The majoritarian system is also characterized by plurality system of elections.
The form of government is unitary and centralized.
Local governments are strongly financially dependent upon the central government.
Finally, majoritarian democracy in exclusively representative and founded in unwritten constitution and notion of parliamentary sovereignty. No room for direct (referendum) democracy exists in the Westminster system of government.
Courts that stay out of politics. Various Democratic Models
Various Democratic Models The Presidential (Federalist) Model –
– Divided power between the various branches of government.
Independent Cabinet bureaucracies.
Symmetric bicameralism (both houses have separate powers). Example: all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives, the Senate has the role of advise and consent. The two party system, which is usually one
dimensional (i.e. the lines of cleavage are organized along the socioeconomic, leftright differences). The majoritarian system is also characterized by plurality system of elections. Various Democratic Models
Various Democratic Models Deliberative Democracy –
– The form of government is divided and power is shared between the central and local governments.
Local governments are somewhat financially dependent on the central government (types of grants in aid: categorical grants, block grants, general revenue sharing).
Written contistutions, with some provisions made for referda in local politics.
Independent courts that set public policy via interpretation of the constitution via judicial review. Various Democratic Models
Various Democratic Models
– Democracy should be based upon the shared values and conceptions of the good that unite people into a community.
The individual self is formed through community interactions and values.
The common life of a group comes before the interests of a private individual.
Media involved in a process of community interaction, democratic participation, education, discussion and consciousnessraising. Democratic deliberation – rational, free, open, equal discussion of issues of common interest. Various Democratic Models
Various Democratic Models
– – – Attempt to come to an understanding, keep an open mind, try to understand the other’s position, be ready to modify your preexisting position, exchange rational arguments, let the best argument win (pluralism).
Care about the common good, not just individual interest. The common good is not known in advance, it emerges out of the democratic deliberation.
Deliberative democracy relies on public spaces which in modern society are provided by the communication media: from the Greek agora, the New England town hall; 18th c. cafes, salons, etc. to Internetdemocracy projects. Various Democratic Models
Various Democratic Models – –
– Consociational Democracy Coalition Cabinets, where executive power is shared between parties, not concentrated in one. Many of these cabinets are oversized, they include parties not necessary for a parliamentary majority
Balance of power between executive and legislative; Decentralized and federal government, where (regional) minorities have considerable independence
Asymmetric bicameralism, where it is very difficult for one party to gain a majority in both houses. Normally one chamber represents regional interests and the other national interests
Proportional representation, to allow (small) minorities to gain representation too; Organized and corporatist interest groups, which represent minorities; Various Democratic Models
Various Democratic Models
– A rigid constitution, which prevents government from changing the constitution without consent of minorities; – Judicial review, which allow minorities to go to the courts to seek redress against laws that they see as unjust; – Elements of direct democracy, which allow minorities to enact or prevent legislation – Proportional employment in the public sector – A neutral head of state, either a monarch with only ceremonial duties, or an indirectly elected president, who gives up his party affiliation after his election; – Referenda are only used to allow minorities to block legislation: this means that they must be a citizen's initiative and that there is no compulsory voting. – Equality between ministers in cabinet, the prime minister is only the primus inter pares – An independent central bank, where experts and not politicians set out monetary policies. ...
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- Fall '05
- Popular Sovereignty, political systems, Various Democratic Models