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Electoral Systems and a Country’s Politics Essay


Democratic style of leadership is the most preferred form of leadership and therefore it is widely adopted because it provides for change of leaders and for this reason, people have the opportunity to choose the leaders they deserve. Elections provide the people with the opportunity to choose their leaders and therefore the system is crucial in most political systems around the world (Blaugh & Schwarzmantel, 2001).

Application of election process is not only in democratic style of leadership but the process will also find application in authoritarian form of leadership, where the rulers use it to prove their legitimacy to the people. Due to the differences in the society and the people, there are various electoral systems.

The choice of the electoral system applied in a country depends on several factors such as the leaders and the wish of the people and therefore electoral system provides the people with the system for voting and conducting elections and the single member plurality is one of the electoral systems. This system has been in use in Canada, US and also in Britain, India and in most of other common wealth countries.

The systems aims at creating a majority that will support the wining party in parliament while undermining minor parties. The second Ballot Majority-Runoff system is the second electoral system that is widely adopted where the countries that apply the system are Finland, Russia, Columbia and Austria.

In this system, if the candidates who stand for election get less than 50 percent of the total votes in the first round of election then the second round of election is held between the candidates with the majority of the vote where the candidate who wins in this round of election is therefore the winner of the election.

The alternative vote is also another kind of electoral system, where the candidate who gathers majority of the votes wins the election.

This system of election is in use in Ireland and Australian house of representative where in the effect that none of the candidate gathers more than 50 percent of the total votes, the leading candidates are considered and the votes of the lower ranking candidates are distributed to the leading candidates. This process will continue until one of the candidates secures the majority of the votes.

The main aim of conducting elections is to demonstrate the rule of democracy which is about political equality among all people (Saward 1998, p. 20). In the modern world, none of the leadership would like to be associated with undemocratic rule and although the ruling elite will sometimes prefer authoritarian style of leadership, the system is not sustainable.

For the purpose of sustainability and acceptance by the people democratic rule becomes the only way out though in most cases the ruling elite only masquerade as democratic while in reality they are not. Elections are a good way to demonstrate democracy and therefore the electoral system matters a lot (Dahl, 1998).

The system that fully demonstrate democratic rule is the second run-off majority system, which gives the people a bigger participation in choosing their leaders than all the other systems. For a candidate to gather above the 50 percent of the votes required to win the election then this candidate must have been the people’s choice.

Compared to other systems this system eliminates a case where a candidate can influence the election in their favour such as Voter bribery and influence of voter’s registration being some of the ways that the leaders use. Fabbrini (2008) stated that, the candidates can influence voters turn out in their favour.

In the alternative vote system, the rule of democracy does not hold and even if there is practice of democracy in this system then it is low-level democracy.

When a candidate does not gather more than 50 percent of the total votes then it means that the majority of the people did not choose that candidate and again distributing the votes of lower ranking candidates in order to induce victory to the other candidates is not a good way of determining the winner (Michels, 1999).

Issue of good governance is also another issue of great concern. As stated in Bank (2003) the objective of good governance is to enhance the well-being of the people. The electoral system should therefore enhance or induce good governance, which is concerned with the making of decisions and, which also involves the people’s priorities.

Of all the electoral systems discussed, none of them will enhance governance that is peoples focused than the second run-off majority system. A good electoral system should hold the elected representatives accountable for their action and this is what good governance is all about (Woods & Welsh, 2007).

The second run-off majority system therefore facilitates selection of leaders who are accountable to the people because the system provides for the re-calling of nonperforming candidates.

The class of political elite will always be present in any government and in most cases; they will play a big role in shaping the countries politics and governance where in most cases all political elites will manipulate the politics and governance of a country for their own interests (Ghosh, Gabbay & Siddique, 1999). It is also a fact that most of the electoral systems that are available promote the existence of such a class of people.

The second run-off system will eliminate the existence or reduce the power of the class of political elite by ensuring that the people elect a candidate of their choice. This system will also eliminate the chances of manipulation of voters by these elite through ensuring that the elected candidates gather majority of votes.

When the cost of making decisions is zero then the decisions made are irrational but economic models of democracy gives the public shareholder in any government the power of decision making that is above that of the minority corporate shareholder (Shapiro, 2003). “Competitiveness in acquiring of power is important in this model of democracy” according to (Malek 1997, p. 62).

The second run-off system promotes the interest of the public better than any other system and therefore it promotes economic democracy. This system ensures that for a candidate to succeed in securing of a political seat then the candidate must survive the competition and therefore leaves the public with the greatest power in the making of decisions compared to the other systems of election.

Although the corporate class controls the economic power of a country, the public that forms the majority will have a greater share of that power.

The second run-off system therefore allows the public to have the greatest economic power by electing leaders who promote the interest of the public and how the people elect the candidate of their choice through majority vote, demonstrate their economic power (Blaugh & Schwarzmantel, 2001)

Conclusion

Electoral systems are vital in shaping a country’s politics and there are several such systems that are determined by the people and the leaders. The second run-off system is the preferred system of election because it promotes democracy, the rule of majority and facilitates good governance giving the people greater power in making decisions in their country.

References

Bank, 2003, Better governance for development in the Middle East and North Africa, Washington, World Bank Publications.

Blaugh, R & Schwarzmantel, J 2001, Democracy: A reader, London, Columbia University Press.

Dahl, R, 1998 Democracy and its critics, Yale, Yale University Press.

Fabbrini, S 2008, America and its critics: Virtues and vices of the democratic hyper-power, Cambridge, Polity Press.

Ghosh, R Gabbay, R & Siddique, A 1999. Good governance issues and sustainable development: The Indian Ocean region, New Delhi, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors World.

Malek, A 1997, News media and foreign relations: A multifaceted perspective, New Jersey, Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Michels, R 1999, Political parties: A sociological study of the oligarchic tendencies of modern democracy, New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers.

Saward, M 1998. The terms of democracy. Cambridge. Pility Press.

Shapiro, I 2003, The state of democratic theory, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

Woods, N & Welsh, J 2007, Exporting good governance: Temptations and challenges in Canada’s Aid Program. Ontario, Wilfred Laurier Univ. Press.

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IvyPanda. "Electoral Systems and a Country’s Politics." August 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/electoral-systems-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Electoral Systems and a Country’s Politics." August 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/electoral-systems-essay/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Electoral Systems and a Country’s Politics'. 26 August.

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