Electoral systems of the world have traditionally fallen in to two major categories

Electoral systems of the world have traditionally fallen in to two major categories

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THESIS STATEMENT: Government accountability, stability and social representation are vital aspects in determining the success of government electoral systems. However, when focusing on new democracies, the importance of social representation will outweigh the benefits of accountability and stability in a government. When evaluating governments of the world, politicians have taken into account the success of accountability, stability and social representation within a government. Different electoral systems are responsible for voting a government into power which leads to varying outcomes in a state. In this essay I will discuss the benefits and disadvantages of the two major electoral systems used in states around the world and attempt to identify the system that is most beneficial to a new democracy. Electoral systems of the world have traditionally fallen in to two major categories: proportional and majoritarian electoral systems. Firstly, the proportional representation electoral system that allocates seats of parliament accordingly to the number of votes cast. This system can be further divided into two protocols of voting, namely, the open or closed list system (Norris, 1997: 303). These systems refer to how the vote for a political party is cast. In an open list system, such as in Finland and the Netherlands, voters are presented with a list of candidates put forward by political parties involved in the election and are then required to choose and express their preferable candidate. However, in a closed list system voters are only presented with the relevant political parties to select as candidates are selected by the political party itself, as in South Africa, which is represented by a proportional electoral system which is inclusive of minority parties (Norris, 1997: 303 . The party or candidate with absolute majority vote will be allocated the most amount of seats in parliament and thus be granted power. However, the minority parties will still be included and allocated parliamentary seats in proportion to their votes received. Due to history of apartheid South Africa, the proportional representation system best fits the ideals of a rainbow nation. By using this system, all racial and ethnic groups that were once suppressed can now be included in the political system as seats in parliament are divided according to the number of votes received per party. This creates a sense of equality among the nation which is imperative to the countries endurance (Barkan, 2001). However, this system may be vital towards South Africa’s transition towards a fully functioning democracy, but it may not be the answer to the consolidation of democracy.
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The second system is the oldest of all the electoral systems and is seen as the simplest. the majoritarian electoral system is primarily divided into two major opposing political parties
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This note was uploaded on 02/28/2012 for the course POL 1004F taught by Professor Zwele during the Spring '11 term at University of Cape Town.

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Electoral systems of the world have traditionally fallen in to two major categories

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