15. village elections
What: the only form of direct elections in the PRC (contrast with indirect elections system in the People’s Congress). This is a form of grassroots institutionalization, grassroots political participation. These elections occur for village councils in designated rural areas, and for the local People's Congress in all areas. All other levels of the People's Congress up to the National People's Congress , the national legislature, are indirectly elected by the People's Congress of the level immediately below. When: In 1978, Deng Xiaoping experimented with this direct democracy at the local level – the lowest level of governance. In the early 1980s, a few southern villages began implementing "Vote for your Chief" policies; chiefs hold a lot of power and influence traditionally in rural society. 1998, national village election law passed. How the election worked: Many of these elections were successful, involving candidate debates, formal platforms, and the initiation of secret ballot boxes. The suffrage was universal, with all citizens above age 18 having the right to vote and be elected. Such an election comprises usually over no more than 2000 voters, and the first-past-the-post system is used in determining the winner, with no restriction on political affiliation. The elections, held every three years, are always supervised by a higher level of government, usually by a County Government. Who and where: Under the Organic Law of the Village Committees first implemented in 1997, all of China's approximately 1 million villages are expected to hold competitive, direct elections for sub-governmental village committees. A 1998 revision to the law called for improvements in the nominating process and enhanced transparency in village committee administration. The revised law also explicitly transferred the power to nominate candidates to villagers themselves, as opposed to village groups or CCP branches. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, as of 2003 the majority of provinces had carried out at least four or five rounds of village elections. Why were they implemented: after the Maoist era, it was harder to recruit villagers to join the party. Also, there was too much collapse of old village government – cadres and officials during the Maoist era were not required to have leadership qualities, educations, but rather were merited based on their ideological purity or family lineation. Government saw this as a way to recruit new officials, including village entrepreneurs, leaders, and people with some competency and popular support. Significance: a. Elections allowed more transparency and directness in choosing a leader, open nominations, more candidates than positions, candidates speak, secret ballots, counted that day in front of villagers b. These elections got a lot of attention from political scientists all over the world, because they signified a potential transition into democracy. This reminds us of Taiwan’s non-government elections at local levels, and eventually the competitive lection faction rose to rebel and brought democracy. Political scientists are
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- Summer '19
- Government, People's Republic of China, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao