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Democracy, Part I

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  1. Democracy, Part I Definitions and Directions

  2. Defining Democracy: Your own ideas What are the essential characteristics of democracy?

  3. Sources: • Robert Dahl, Polyarchy (1971) and On Democracy (1998) • Samuel Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the late Twentieth Century (1991) • Arend Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy (1999) • Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation (1996) • Freedom House – • The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index

  4. General Point #1:Democracy is gettingmore popular • 1900 – no democracies (by standard of universal suffrage for competitive multiparty elections). • 1950 – 22 democracies • 2002 – 121/192 countries classified as electoral democracies.

  5. Map of world’s political systems, 1900 L. blue=limited democracy pink=absolute monarchy; purple=constitutional monarchy gray & green =colonial authority orange=empire

  6. Map of world’s political systems, 2000 Dark Blue=democracy; light blue=limited democracy; yellow=authoritarian regime; red=“totalitarian”; purple=hereditary monarchy

  7. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2007: the lighter the color, the more democratic the place

  8. Caveats:Not all democracies are equally free • 89 Free countries • 55 Partly Free countries • 48 Not Free countries (Source: Freedom House, 2003)

  9. General Point #2:Mass democracy is modern Distinctions between earlier and later democracies: • 1. direct democracy (vs elected representatives) • 2. exclusion (vs inclusion) • 3. civil and political rights? Greek voters, picture from National Geographic, 1944

  10. Ways of Defining Democracy • what it SHOULD be (“normative”) • (“government by, of, for the people”) • institutional characteristics -- by its PROCEDURES (approach favored by CP)

  11. What is a democracy? One basic definition: “A system in which the most powerful decisionmakers are selected through fair and periodic voting procedures in which candidates freely compete for votes, and in which virtually all people have the right to vote.” (Samuel Huntington)

  12. But is this enough?8 essential components of a full (liberal) democracy: • the right to vote • the right to be elected/eligibility for public office • the right of political leaders to compete for support and votes • free and fair elections • freedom of association • freedom of expression • alternative sources of information • institutions that make government policies actually depend on votes and other forms of (voter) preference (Robert Dahl)

  13. “Levels” of democracy (based on “degrees” of democracy): • Full (liberal) democracy • Electoral democracy, semi-democracy, pseudo-democracy, “Illiberal” democracy

  14. Democracy, Part II: Institutional Variations The ’80s Kids: From left to right, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Francois Mitterand, Helmut Schmidt. Source:

  15. Variation #1: degree of territorial & political centralization Federal System vs “Unitary” System

  16. Federal system: • Decentralized authority • sovereignty constitutionally split between at least two territorial levels • units at each level can act independently of the others in some areas. • Citizens have political obligations to two (or more) authorities • Examples: U.S., Canada, Germany

  17. Unitary System: • Authority & sovereignty centralized in one place (the capital) • Policies largely set by “the center” • No (or weak) intermediary layer between local and central government • Local govt subservient to central govt • Examples: Turkey, France, Britain

  18. What are the pros and cons of federal and unitary systems?

  19. Variation #2: Powers and processes of leadership Presidential VS parliamentary systems

  20. a. Title & power of head of state • Presidential system: • head of govt – always called the president – is elected for a prescribed period and generally cannot be dismissed unless guilty of severe wrongdoing. • Parliamentary system: • head of the government usually (but not always) called the Prime Minister. His/her cabinet responsible to the legislature (Parliament); can be dismissed through a vote of no confidence.

  21. b. How head of state is chosen • In Presidential System, presidents are popularly elected by populace • In a Parliamentary system, head of state (president) selected by the legislature. • Head of government (prime minister) usually is the leader of the ruling party.

  22. How the people voted in Chiapas…

  23. c. Status of the head of state • In a presidential system, president appoints the cabinet and they are considered subservient to him. • In a parliamentary system, the prime minister serves as one among equals

  24. d. selection of the cabinet… • In Presidential system, cabinet appointed separately by president • In a Parliamentary system, cabinet drawn in part from legislature

  25. e. Length of term in office • In a presidential system, legislators and presidents serve fixed terms • In a parliamentary system, legislators and presidents serve a maximum time in office but a ruling party can call early elections if it wants to

  26. Notes: • it is common in parliamentary systems to have a president or monarch who is the CEREMONIAL head of state, and a PM who is in charge of the government • Examples of Parliamentary systems: Britain, Turkey, South Africa, Germany • Examples of Presidential systems: U.S., most of South America • Many countries have “mixed” systems, i.e. France

  27. chief of state: President Abdullah Gul head of government: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN (since 14 March 2003) cabinet: Nominated by Prime Minister, confirmed by President elections: prime minister selected from majority party, confirmed by president . President elected by parliament. Examples: Presidential or Parliamentary? Turkey Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, 2003

  28. Example: Brazil • chief of state: President Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA (since 1 January 2003) • note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government • elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms

  29. United Kingdom • chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II • head of government: Prime Minister Gordon Brown • cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the prime minister • elections: monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister Gordon Brown, British PM (photo from the Birmingham Post)

  30. + Strengthens parties over individuals + Encourages policy-based voting rather than voting based on individual charisma or $$ + Fusing of legislative & exec. branches can promote efficiency - Gives the public less choice over leadership - Flexible election terms can = less stability - Fusing of executive & legislative branches can concentrate too much power in one place parliamentary system: pros and cons?

  31. + Gives the people more choice over leadership + “strong” government- president more insulated and can act with daring + higher levels of government accountability + Greater stability + Clear separation of powers - Power of presidency can be abused - Can encourage deadlock between legislature & executive - Encourages charisma, $$, rather than substance & policies - Set terms= rigidity (bad leaders can’t be easily removed) Presidential system:pros and cons?

  32. Institutional variation #3: Electoral systems (how voting works: who gets elected, and how)

  33. Electoral systems: 2 main types • 1- Plurality System (“Winner-take-all” system) • Single member districts; whoever gets the most votes wins the seat • used by about 54% of world’s countries • 2- Proportional Representation (PR system) • Multi-member districts; # of reps. determined by % of vote • Used by about 35% of world’s countries, by most of western Europe

  34. Plurality Systems • Single-member electoral districts (usually) • Also called “winner-take-all” • Simplest & most common form: “First Past the Post” : winning candidate is the one who gains more votes than any other candidate, but not necessarily a majority of votes. • Alternative: Ranked Choice/Instant Runoff Voting • Encourages 2-party systems • Examples: U.S., U.K, Canada, Rwanda

  35. Proportional Representation(PR) • Multi-member electoral districts • Seats in legislature divided by % of votes. • Most common type: “List system”: parties select candidates, who goes to legislature depends on what % that party gets • “preferential voting” - voters rank preferences on party list • encourages multi-party system • Min. threshold (barrier): parties have to get a certain % of votes to enter legislature • Examples: Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Norway, Turkey, Brazil

  36. Sample ballot from Sonoma Co., USA (Plurality system)

  37. Sample ballot from S. Africa’s national elections, 1994 (PR system) Source:

  38. Example: TurkeyHow power is distributed • Central government • Sets rules & policies • Appoints officials • Government spending • In Turkey, 15% of funds to local government • In Europe, 50% • Municipal funding base • In Turkey, 75% of city revenue from central govt. • Investment plans • Road maintenance • Social & cultural services • Caring for cemeteries • waste disposal

  39. Turkey: Top leadership • Prime Minister • (usually) from majority party • Officially “appointed by the President of the Republic from among the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.” • (cabinet) ministers nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Turkish Grand National Assembly • “The Prime Minister, as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, shall ensure cooperation among the ministers, and supervise the implementation of the government’s general policy.The members of the Council of Ministers are jointly responsible for the implementation of this policy.”

  40. The PM’s duties: • 1)To provide cooperation among ministries, to supervise the execution of government general policy, to take necessary measures with a view to providing public services as listed in the constitution and laws, • To develop the principles required for an efficient administration of state affairs, to supervise the implementation of the government program as well as the development of annual plans, • 3) To examine acts, regulations and recommendations on decisions in terms of compliance with the constitution and other regulations, and to maintain relations with the legislation organ, • 4) To set and improve the principles on the preparation of regulations, to ensure the codification and publication of active regulations, • 5) To provide efficiency in administration, simplification of administrative processes and procedures, to follow developments in state organization systems, • 6)To set principles for a more efficient system of supervision and inspection in the state organization, and to carry out supervision and inspection if deemed necessary, • 7)To collect, evaluate and regulate important documents for Turkish Nation and State, to set up archive laboratories, to present archive documents to scientists and scientific activities, • 8)To take necessary measures for an efficient crisis management at the time of natural disasters, migration and other important events threatening national security, and to ensure efficient coordination among public establishments in the crisis management. • Source:

  41. Turkey: The president • “ARTICLE 101. The President of the Republic shall be elected for a term of office of seven years by the Turkish Grand National Assembly from among its own members who are over 40 years of age and who have completed their higher education or from among Turkish citizens who fulfill these requirements and are eligible to be deputies.… The President-elect, if a member of a party, shall sever his relations with his party and his status as a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall cease.ARTICLE 102. The President of the Republic shall be elected by a two-thirds majority of the total number of members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and by secret ballot.”

  42. Turkey: How Votes are Counted • 550 seats in Parliament • 85 electoral districts • Districts have from 2-26 representatives in the Parliament • PR List System (Closed List) • 10 percent threshhold

  43. Who won which provinces in Turkey, 2002 and 2007 compared

  44. France • 577 deputies in the National Assembly • 577 legislative districts • single-district, plurality system (2 rounds of voting) • Candidates that win more than 50% in the first round win seat • If no one does, 2nd round: the candidate that wins the most votes wins the seat

  45. + gives voters clear choice + maintains close geographic link between voters and elected officials + creates effective government -- clear majority party and unified opposition - Not very representative; many votes “wasted” - Excludes smaller & minority parties from representation Pros & Cons of Plurality Systems: