Promises you can't keep: the self-betrayal of mixed-member proportional electoral systems

29.04.2013 - 12:00
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Daniel Bochsler
Lecturer affiliation: 
University of Zurich, Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau
There is a fascination with mixed-member proportional electoral systems (MMP), both in the academic and in the political world. They allow for the direct election of representatives in small, local constituencies, but still promise to deliver proportional representation at the national scale. This paper examines these promises, and finds that the proportional character of MMP systems is restricted by tight assumptions, and often illusionary. In many elections, MMP systems do not deliver a proportional seat allocation, either because they do not assign a sufficient number of seats for the proportional compensation, or because of strategic behaviour by the political parties. This paper provides a theoretical proposition, in the footsteps of Rein Taagepera's predictive logical modelling. The logical model is tested in an analysis of all 35 national parliamentary elections, which have ever been conducted under an MMP system.