Peace making power sharing .pdf
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Title: Peace-making power-sharing.
Author: Richard Lung
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(Democracy Science, 1.)
Copyright © 2015: Richard Lung.
Table of Contents.
Canadian Citizens Assemblies on election methods:
British Columbia chooses a voting system.
Citizens Assemblies of Canada choose a voting system.
STV elections, not single member exclusions nor list appointments.
Ontario Citizens Assembly and due process for future assemblies.
"One Ballot. Two Votes." as a premature report... (And Ontario CA "Democracy At Work.")
Party leaders sabotaged the BC Citizens Assembly and referendum experiment.
The Straw Man Referendum on the Alternative Vote in the UK.
The duncing of a nation: How misrepresentation won the AV referendum.
When knowledge fails belief: referendums.
Choice Voting America? (Proportional Representation by Single Transferable Vote: STV/PR.)
Power in the European Union and English regions.
The Ashdown Diaries 1997 - 1999: lessons for electoral reform.
The Two Cultures and electoral lawlessness in Britain...
Open letter to the Speakers Conference on Parliamentary Representation.
Consultation on Scotlands electoral future.
Simple examples of election counts by the single transferable vote (STV).
En français (In French):
Modèle Scientifique du Procès Electoral. (Scrutin Transferable: Single Transferable Vote.)
Guide to five volume collected verse
by Richard Lung
Guide to two more book series:
Democracy Science series.
To Table of Contents
Reflecting on his rich experience in the Duma, Vasili Maklalov stressed that the most durable achievements of a democratic system
derive from the agreements between the majority and the minority, rather than from a preponderance of the former over the latter.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Rebuilding Russia.
The meetings would continue until some kind of consensus was reached. They ended in unanimity or not at all. Unanimity, however,
might be an agreement to disagree, to wait for a more propitious time to propose a solution. Democracy meant all men were to be heard,
and a decision was taken together as a people. Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority.
Nelson Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
Canadian Citizens Assemblies on election methods.
To Table of Contents
As one commentator notes, ‘how can it make sense to …place the … wisdom [resulting from an assembly] at the disposition of a feckless
and ignorant majority’ (French, 2012, p.67) via referendum? Put another way, why place so much emphasis on the learning and education
of citizens and the value of their reasoned opinion and then place the final decision with a process which clearly does not meet those
The other possibility, as in the Dutch case, is for an assembly to make its recommendations directly to Parliament. This ushers in a second
problem the assembly sought to avoid, of self-interested politicians making the final decision and ignoring an assembly’s recommendations
(as was the Dutch experience).
Citizens Assemblies and Policy Reform in New Zealand.
The following chapters on Canadian Citizens Assemblies were written whilst they were happening. I have decided to leave them as
responses to those events, in a living present.
This work edited and augmented pages originally appearing on my Democracy Science web-site.
British Columbia chooses a voting system.
To Table of Contents
Links to sections:
The bug-bear of bad voting methods.
First past the post.
Instant run-off voting (alternative vote).
Party list systems.
Additional/Mixed Member system.
Single transferable vote (STV).
The bug-bear of bad voting methods.
The government lets a random selection of the public review the options in a Citizens Assembly. The voters then make the final choice, in a
referendum on the voting system British Columbia should use.
The politicians or any other special interests are not allowed to pre-empt the decision, because their interests might conflict with the public
interest. General elections are supposed to serve the general interest.
All credit to the British Columbian government for this enlightened and disinterested attitude for the good of the community as a whole.
In the past thirty years, there has been a revision of voting methods, even in the English-speaking countries and more change is likely. This
essay is just a period snap-shot of that process, but at an important stage of change.
Up till now, other governments have not been so generous towards the public in letting them decide the rules of their own elections. It is
true that the New Zealand government allowed a referendum on different voting methods. Unlike the BC government, they pre-empted the
decision with the recommendation of a government commission. And this official recommendation narrowly won the referendum.
It was also the case that most of the big money went into persuading the New Zealanders to keep the first past the post voting system.
The money bias in favor of the traditional system doesn't alter the fact that there was an official bias in favor of the new system.
Yet New Zealand allowed far more open consultation than in Britain, until a couple of recent exceptions, such as the Kerley report and the
Sunderland report. They had explicitly democratic terms of reference -- notably elusive from some previous official studies of elections.
The citizens of British Columbia are fortunate to be allowed to freely decide their democratic destiny. With that freedom comes
responsibility. The people will not only test the best voting system for their country. Their decision will also be a test on their soundness of
Solon, the founder of Greek democracy, was asked whether he gave the Athenians the best laws. He replied: No, only the best they were
capable of receiving.
Here follows a simple guide to the serious contenders for voting system of choice.
First past the post
First past the (trading) post.
This is the traditional voting system, that has resisted change longest in English-speaking countries, such as Canada. It certainly has the
advantage of being familiar to the voters. As a student, many years before reform was an issue, I remember being awoken reluctantly
from my "dogmatic slumbers" by having to do an essay on voting methods.
This is just the situation faced by the voters of British Columbia, especially those lucky enough to win a lottery ticket for a seat in the
I took the first past the post system completely for granted. I didn't see anything wrong with it. There was a contest. Some candidates got
the most votes and were elected. Simple!
Well, I doubt there are too many people so uninformed nowadays.
The reform campaigners point out that first past the post elections may not elect a party, to govern, that had the most votes in the country
for its candidates. First past the post elections of candidates may not translate into first past the post elections of parties to governments.
This happened in Britain in 1951 and february 1974; in Canada in 1979; in New Zealand in 1978 and 1981; and in India in 1991. The
system may be familiar but it is defective.
This is the main test applied here, to all the voting systems reviewed. Does the voting system give the voters what they ask for? Does it
even allow them to ask for what they may be entitled?
First past the post is also called the "simple majority" system. This is another way of saying that the winner takes all. The candidate with
more votes than any other candidate, in a constituency, takes the seat. When several candidates each take substantial shares of the
votes, the winner may take the seat with quite a small percentage of the constituency vote.
Winning with a third of the vote is not unusual. First past the post in the twenty-some per-cents is not unknown. Victories on percentages of
votes in the low forties, are typical. This may be said of parties winning the government, as well as of individual candidates, who make up
Well, it's not democratic. The majority of the votes, in the so-called "simple majority" system are actually wasted. This is disproportional
The 1993 Canadian federal election saw the governing Conservatives reduced to one seat, or 0.7% of seats for 16.1% the national vote.
The Liberal party won 60.3% the seats for 41.6% the votes.
This near twenty per cent over-representation of a ruling party is also a familiar feature of British elections.
In 1998, nearly 20% under-represented, the Quebec Liberals won 44.2% votes for 25.8% or 46 seats. Parti Quebecois won over 61% or
77 seats for 43.2% votes. They won two-thirds more seats, in the Constituent Assembly, for less votes. PQ would, if propitious, hold a
third referendum to secede from the Canadian federation.
Supporters of FPTP allege it gives decisive results for strong and stable government. Especially when more than two parties get a look-in,
simple majorities become indecisive and unstable. Canadas 2011 elections were the fourth in seven years.
(PRSA Quota Notes.)
You wouldnt be very pleased if you were short-changed like that, as a customer, and you wouldnt put up with it. So why let their majesties,
the politicians get away with it?!
Most voters never get to choose a personal representative. Supporters claim the system gives individual representation. Actually, one
representative monopolises the representation in a single member constituency. Most of the voters usually don't want him but are stuck
This fact, that first past the post doesnt do its job for so many people, has been blamed for the falling turn-outs at elections in America,
Canada, and now Britain. Governments are responding by trying to make voting easier, as if present generations are unable to find their
way to a polling station, should they wish.
In UK elections, 2001, turn-out was 10% higher in marginal constituencies than in safe seats.
This so-called democratic system may allow the government to be hi-jacked or usurped by a minority. So much for "strong and stable
government." Even a two-party system can produce inequities encouraging and establishing dangerous extremism in government.
The classic example is how Apartheid was introduced into South Africa. Two first past the post elections allowed the minority to win,
because the majority vote piled up in constituencies, where it was largely wasted, electing representatives with many more votes than they
Fear, of a minority usurpation of the government, was largely behind the growth of an all-party campaign for Fair Votes in Britain, from the
last quarter of the twentieth century. Conservatives feared that a left wing Labour government might be elected with less than forty per
cent of the voters. They didn't want British industry and the banks to be nationalised
In 2005, Labour was elected with 35% the votes [P.S. And banks were nationalised in Britain (also in America) not to their damnation but
to their salvation, not ours, in the 2008 credit crunch!]
Labour won a 55% majority of seats. This 20% inflation of representation, thru FPTP, was mainly at the expense of third and lesser
parties, the agents of much-needed change, rather than the Conservative opposition.
Nearly 20% was also about the over-representation of the Tories in 1983.
1987 saw Mrs Thatchers third election victory. The opposition part of the establishment, "the sub-establishment" (as E P Thompson called
it) feared the winner-takes-all game was too loaded against them. The opposition vote was always split between Labour and the Liberals,
or Liberal Democrats, as they became.
As a consequence, in the early 1990s, the Labour party Plant report recommended a Supplementary Vote.
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