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Comparative Politics Assignment

Winditya Safira / IHI 6/ 165120407121020

Comparing Elections System in regards of Social Conflict

This paper will try to compare types of electoral systems in different countries
and relate it with social conflict, in which whether a certain indicators of the electoral
system type will cause an indicator in a certain country to provoke a social conflict, if its
compared to the other type of electoral systems in other country. Thus the election system
will play the role as the independent variable where it explains a phenomenon; whether
or not it provokes conflict and if they do so, what conflict they provoked and to what
extend the conflict may occurred. Thus we shall call the electoral system as the “ cause
variable”. While the social conflicts will play the role as the dependent variable; where
it is something that was explained due to the existence of the independent variable, thus
we shall call the social conflict as the “ effect variable”.

a. Cause Variable ; Election System


1. District Election system ; Plurality and Majority Election System
In this electoral system, a country is divided into several districts or
constituencies where the number of elected representatives is equal to the number of
districts. If a country consists of 50 districts, then the number of representatives
representing them is also 50. In this system, the winner takes all, namely the elected
candidate is he who gets the most votes in an election without taking into account the
difference in vote acquisition.1 In other words, the voice of the losing candidate is
considered lost, how small the difference in the vote. Originally, this district election
system is the same with plurality in a sense that there are no minimum amount of votes
a candidate shall get in order to be declared a winner, with the notion disregarding those
votes who lost. While The majority election system is pretty similar in a sense that the
winner did also takes all, but in the majority system, there is a minimum amount of votes
a candidate should get in order to win, which is 50%+1 votes.
However, simply requiring a majority of the vote, with no further stipulations,
creates the possibility of an election with more than two candidates producing no

1
https://www.fairvote.org/plurality_majority_systems accessed through 12th of March 2019
winner at all. Countries with majority electoral systems have adopted one of two
solutions for this problem which are a second round election or the alternative vote.

The two round system is held when the first round of election did not produce
a winner yet, meaning there is no candidate who received a majority vote yet. The only
candidates in the second election are the two candidates who received the highest
number of votes in the first election. While in the Alternative system, which also
called as the majority preferential system, the voters did not only put the candidate they
preffered but also rank them in numbers of prefential. This sytem also is applied in
Australian presidential election system. In order to win, a candidate must receive a
majority of the vote. To determine the winner, the number of first preference votes is
tallied. If a candidate wins a majority of first preference votes, he or she is declared the
winner.2 However if no candidates received the number of majority vote, the candidate
with the fewest first preference votes is eliminated. The second preferences of voters
who made this candidate their first choice are then distributed among the other
candidates. If this redistribution does not produce a majority for one of the remaining
candidates, the process of elimination and transfers continues until a majority is
produced for one of the candidates.
The downfall of this system is that its less representative or represents the
voice of minority groups because it does not have a representative due to the
enactment of the winner's principle takes all of that. The elected candidates were also
worried that they only prioritized the interests of the people in their districts to secure
votes in the next election, so that the hope that representatives of the people could be
concerned with the interests of the people in other districts was getting smaller. Aside
from that, small parties have no chance to win a mandate unless there are some
constituencies with a population having political views differing much from those in the
rest of the country. With the size constituencies in big nations do have (some 100,000
voters) this is rather unlikely. Therefore the majority election system will inevitably
lead to parties uniting or building blocks (tight alliances) until only two major
players remain on the political scene. So voters are forced to select between the
candidates of two big parties basically. While the this tends to create a stable
parliamentary majority for the government it is not likely to represent a pluralistic

2
https://ballotpedia.org/Plurality_voting_system accessed through 12th of March 2019
modern society adequately. While the majority election system seems to be
straightforward and simple at first glance, it leads to rather complex decisions that are
not transparent to voters. This is definitely not a basis to create trust in democracy.

2. Proportional Representative System


The basic principles underlying proportional representation elections are that all
voters deserve representation and that all political groups in society deserve to be
represented in our legislatures in proportion to their strength in the electorate. In other
words, everyone should have the right to fair representation. One of the characteristics
from proportional representative system is that, the percentage of offices seats awarded
to candidates reflects as closely as possible to the percentage of votes that they received
in the election. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party, then
roughly n% of seats will be won by that party. How it works is legislators are elected in
large, multi-member districts. Each party puts up a list or slate of candidates equal to the
number of seats in the district. Independent candidates may also run, and they are listed
separately on the ballot as if they were their own party . On the ballot, voters indicate
their preference for a particular party and the parties then receive seats in proportion to
their share of the vote.
There are 2 types of this proportional representative system, closed party list system
and open party list system. Under a closed party list system, the parties themselves
determine who will fill the seats that they have been allocated; voters only for a particular
party, and then it is up to the party to decide which party members will actually serve as
representatives. Voters are not able to indicate their preference for any candidates on the
list, but must accept the list in the order presented by the party because the voters could
only vote for the parties as a whole. Under an open party list system, voters are given
some degree of choice among individual candidates, in addition to voting for entire
parties. Voters are presented with unordered or random lists of candidates chosen in party
primaries. 3Voters cannot vote for a party directly, but must cast a vote for an individual
candidate. This vote counts for the specific candidate as well as for the party. So the order
of the final list completely depends on the number of votes won by each candidate on the
list

3
https://www.fairvote.org/how_proportional_representation_elections_work accessed 12th of March 2019
3. Mixed Election system
Mixed electoral systems attempt to combine the positive attributes of both
plurality/majority (or other) and PR electoral systems. In a mixed system, there are two
electoral systems using different formulae running alongside each other. The votes are
cast by the same voters and contribute to the election of representatives under both
systems. One of those systems is a plurality/majority system (or occasionally an ‘other’
system), usually a single-member district system, and the other a List PR system.
The advantages from this system is it retains the proportionality benefits of
Proportional Representation (PR) systems, it also ensures that voters have geographical
representation. They also have the luxury of two votes, one for the party and one for
their local MP. However the disadvantages from this system is that Mixed Member
Proportional System (MMP) make it seems as if the vote for their local MP is far less
important than the party vote in determining the overall allocation of parliamentary
seats, and voters do not always understand this. Furthermore, and akin to the difficulties
inherent within Parallel systems 4. One reason why MMP is sometimes seen as less
preferable than straight List PR is that it can give rise to what are called 'strategic voting'
anomalies like what happened in New Zealand in 1996

b. Effect Variable ; Social conflict and condition in particular country


Chosen country ; Namibia and Azarbaijan
1. Namibia ( PR system )
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa where in
it’s election they use the proportional representatives system by the party list system.
Namibia is considered a stable country in various aspects, and these are the indicators
that indicated so;
Politics and Government : The Politics of Namibia takes place in a framework of a
semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President
of Namibia is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-
party system. The Constitution of Namibia guarantees the separation of powers
similar to Indonesia; Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary5.
Economy : The Namibian economy has a modern market sector, which produces

4
https://aceproject.org/main/english/es/esf03b.html accessed through 12th of March 2019
5
https://www.pambazuka.org/governance/namibia-ethnic-tension-presidential-succession-race accessed
through 12th of March 2019
most of the country's wealth, and a traditional subsistence sector. Namibia is a higher
middle income country with an estimated annual GDP per capita of US$5,828 but
has extreme inequalities in income distribution and standard of living.
6Election : Until 2014 the National Assembly had 78 members of which 72 were
elected by direct popular vote using the proportional representation and a maximum
of 6 non-voting members are appointed by the president. The members are elected for
a five-year term. Since their independence, the number of elected seats to the National
Assembly was increased to 96 to allow for wider representation of the population.

However Namibia still faced problems in implementing the democratic in their election
in terms of their citizen participation.
Problems regarding election ;
Problem regarding election in Namibia is not related towards ethics or certain racial,
however it’s more on the citizen participation. The problems are not as major as the
other African countries faced, however it heavily impacted on the inequality of
income. The problems includes;
- Decreasing Youth Participation
Namibia does not fare well in terms of the participation of young people in politics
compared to other countries in the sub- Saharan region. While the desire for change and
improvement is strong, youth political participation is uneven across the electoral cycle.
Namibian youth are generally disillusioned with electoral politics. Many factors drive
youth apathy in Namibia. These includes perceptions that political activism and
engagement does not yield results l the distrust of political parties; and the lack of
access to political leadership.7

2. Azarbaijan ( District – Plurality Election )


Politics and Government : The Constitution of Azerbaijan states that it is a presidential
republic with three branches of power – Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Azarbaijan
also is considered a stable country and not likely to have a separation movement.,8
However in the practice of democracy and election, it still lacks of a lof of things.
Economy: Businesses contend with very high corruption risks when dealing with the

6
http://thecommonwealth.org/our-member-countries/namibia/economy accessed on Monday 12th of March
7
http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/em/elections-and-youth/the-case-of-namibia/mobile_browsing/onePag
accessed on Monday 12th of March 2019
8
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17043424 accessed on Monday 12th of March 2019
judiciary. Courts are inefficient and suffer from corruption; judges routinely accept
bribes for favorable verdicts, and the country performs poorly in regards to judicial
independence This also happened with Police and many public services. Azerbaijan’s
oil and gas sector lacks transparency and is considered as the greatest source of
corruption in the country (NiT 2015). State revenue in Azerbaijan heavily depends on
the extractive industries, with oil and gas making up 74% of government revenue in
20119
Election system ; Azerbaijan elects on a national level a head of state – the president,
and a legislature. The President of Azerbaijan is elected for a seven-year term by the
people; before a constitutional referendum changed this in 2009, the position was
limited to two terms. The National Assembly (Milli Məclis) has 125 members.
Azerbaijan is a one party dominant state and the presidential election is done through
plurality vote, whoever have the most / majority vote compared than other states, win.
10Problems regarding the election ; Election monitors from the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) say Azerbaijan's October 9 presidential
election was "seriously flawed."According to preliminary results, incumbent President
Ilham Aliyev won a third term in a landslide. The OSCE monitors told a news
conference in Baku on October 10 that the poll was marred by a "restrictive media
environment" and allegations of intimidation of candidates and voters11. Tana de
Zulueta, the head of the long-term observer mission from the OSCE's Office for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said that during the whole
election process there were limitations placed on the fundamental freedoms of
assembly, association, and expression, which amounted to the lack of a level playing
field. "Our observers received allegations of intimidation [and] witnessed even physical
attacks on journalists in the lead-up to an election day which we found seriously
flawed," de Zulueta said12. Michel Voisin, special coordinator for the OSCE's short-
term mission, praised the large number of candidates and citizen election monitors, but
emphasized the shortcomings of the process13

9
https://www.heritage.org/index/country/azerbaijan accessed on Monday 12th of March 2019
10
https://www.rferl.org/a/azerbaijan-election/25132214.html accessed on Monday 12th ofMarch 2019
11
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-azerbaijan-election-monitors/azeri-presidents-supporters-heckle-as-
observers-declare-election-unfair-idUSKBN1HJ1GW
12
Ibid
13
https://www.business-anti-corruption.com/country-profiles/azerbaijan/
c. Analyzation of relations between cause and effect variable

In this part, the relation between cause and effect variable will be analysed in
determining which election system is more likely to produce conflicts and why, and
what indicators are those based on. In here the comparation will focus on between
district system ( plurality ) which is done by Azarbaijan and the proportional
representatives system ( PR ) which is done by Namibia, where both parties are
developing countries. The indicators to measure this comparation will be 1. Citizen
participation, 2. Fairness of representatives, 3. Political party involved, 4. System of
check and balances, and the comparation data and percentage will be based on the
previous explanation above and it will look as follows;

Indicators Namibia ( Proportional) Azarbaijan ( District/Plurality )


Citizen participation 80% ; High but on not equal 80% ; high.HOWEVER the
; recent years, the youth’s are process of counting them are
decreasing not fair; restrictions on media
resulting predictable result
Fairness of 85% ; 72 out of 78 of 30% ; the principle is lacking of
representatives legislative bodies was voted transparency as there are threats
directly from popular vote and various media restriction on
through proportional by the the process of election;
citizens; assembly was able government and elites working
to represent 95% of the together to maintain the power;
citizens however citizens are being
given a right to vote as if they
have a choice but actually the
result was already planned (
40% of national assembly are
pointed by president )
Political party involved 65% ; medium; multiparty 20 % ; low; since it’s a one
systems though 2 party are dominant party system; there
dominant each year, but its are no choice for other parties to
very open for even even compete
independent candidates
Check and balances 60% : medium; separation 30% ; low; it proven by the high
powers are implemented rate of corruption done by
equally, little rate of officials, lack of law
corruption, however high enforcement from judiciary
gap of income bodies ( every branch of
government are easily bribed )

Analysis ; from the table above, it was concluded that the election system that is more
democratic and less likely to produce conflict is the proportional election system, because
it gives equal chance for minority and majority people to be represented in political
activities. That also lead to the fulfilment of public services, rate of the GDP, economy
and transparency in political process. It is viewed however in Namibia, youth
participation became a problem due to distrust towards government, this is also caused
by the high gap of income between the rich and the poor. But if its compared with the
district / plurality election system, this is at least better. The district/ plurality is quite
controversial due to the reasonings of low amount of representatives representing the
minority groups. Due to how a candidate are able to win without any mechanism of seats
for the legislative to represent each of the minority groups, the votes that was lost will be
disregarded. In this case, Azarbaijan is only dominated by one political party resulting in
the problems of check and balances. Because there’s only one political party dominant,
and how the citizens are being okay with the lack of transpaerency, this impacts the result
of the election, causing it already predictable even before the official result is out. It is
also proven to creates unstability due to the high level of corruption. Because of the first
factor of how in order to win, all you have to do is just get the higher votes, the minority
group are not being equally represented, meaning the political process revolved around
those people who have power, making it easier to conduct corruption. Worse even the
corruption is embodied in almost every branch of government in Azarbaijan.
However still, proportional representatives here in Namibia is still far from
perfect seeing it also faces participation and economy problem, proportional
representatives, the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia has in place measures that
ensure accountability on the side of government. These measures include good
governance, democracy, the rule of law and many others. The sub-vision on democratic
governance states that, “Namibia maintains, consolidates and extends the good
governance practices of a multi-party democracy with high levels of participation, rights
freedoms and legitimacy (under the constitution), which continue to serve as a model for
other countries, and thus the conclusion believe that the proportional representatives
election is an election that is more likely to avoid conflicts and create stability within the
country if it compared to the other election system. However it is also important to
remember, country domestic factors such as geography, ethnic groups, population,
national interest and etc also a key factors in influencing the success of the
implementation of the election process.
REFERENCES

1. https://www.fairvote.org/plurality_majority_systems
2. https://ballotpedia.org/Plurality_voting_system
https://www.fairvote.org/how_proportional_representation_elections_work
3. https://aceproject.org/main/english/es/esf03b.html accessed through 12th of March
2019
4. https://www.pambazuka.org/governance/namibia-ethnic-tension-presidential-
succession-race
5. http://thecommonwealth.org/our-member-countries/namibia/economy
http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/em/elections-and-youth/the-case-of-
namibia/mobile_browsing/onePag
6. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17043424
https://www.heritage.org/index/country/azerbaijan
7. https://www.rferl.org/a/azerbaijan-election/25132214.html
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-azerbaijan-election-monitors/azeri-presidents-
supporters-heckle-as-observers-declare-election-unfair-idUSKBN1HJ1GW
8. https://www.business-anti-corruption.com/country-profiles/azerbaijan/