When are Majoritarian democracies more representative than Consensual democracies?
The past twenty five years has seen the rapid proliferation of democracy. Notably, the areas of Eastern Europe and Latin America have experienced both the demise of autocratic and dictatorial regimes and in turn their replacement with Democratic forms of government. The two most common forms of democratic government are firstly majoritarian democracy, often associated with either presidential systems or Westminster style parliamentary regimes, with single member district or 'first past the post' systems, and secondly Consensus democracies, which are mostly associated with proportional representation electoral systems in parliamentary government.
When looking at when majoritarian democracies are more representative than Consensual democracies it is important not only to centre on the electoral or legislative side of democracy, but in addition, the executive representation of the electorate, an equally crucial dimension of the political process and furthermore, other attributes of the electoral system such as district magnitude and the influence of presidential elections on legislative elections.
Firstly, by using the Sainte Lague index , from which the formulae is similar to the one utilized in Lijphart's table of average electoral disproportionality (1999) , it is visible that Westminster systems have higher values of disproportionality than systems of proportional representation. For example, Lijphart's table illustrates the countries of Sweden and The Netherlands, both consensus democracies, as scoring an average electoral disproportionality of 2.09% and 1.30% respectively. When comparing this to The United Kingdom and Canada, both majoritarian democracies, who score 10.33% and 11.72% respectively, it is clear that Consensus democracies demonstrate greater levels of representation than majoritarian democracies in the c...
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