This article examines the impact of the Richard Commission in prompting change to the powers, structure and operation of the National Assembly for Wales. It uses new research to assess the extent to which new legislation (specifically the Government of Wales Act 2006) followed the Richard trajectory of greater autonomy. The Commission's recommendations were designed to establish a sustainable, longer-term settlement, which means that they offer a standard by which to measure recent incremental changes in Wales's evolving constitution and also by which to gauge the longer term future of devolution.
Allocating seats to parties and apportioning seats to geographic areas are equivalent processes mathematically. The Hamilton method, or method of largest remainders, provides one approach. The five ‘divisor’ methods—Adams, Dean, Hill-Huntington, Webster (Sainte-Laguë) and Jefferson (d'Hondt)—provide another. Either is imperfect: the former observes quota but allows paradoxes, whereas the latter allows quota violation but avoids paradoxes. A fresh approach introduced herein had its genesis in 1911. Illustrations use Macedonian and Portuguese proportional-representation elections and US House apportionment scenarios.
Participation in legislative debates is potentially an important tool for Members of Parliament (MPs) to communicate policy positions and exert influence on the policy process. Yet there are few studies of legislative speech behaviour, and specifically gendered analyses are sparse. This article examines how gender and gender quotas affect speech activity measured in terms of how much MPs speak on the floor of the Ugandan parliament. An original dataset constructed from transcripts of parliamentary debates spanning a ten-year period (1998–2008) is applied in the analyses. Controlling for other possible determinants of speech activity, it is found that, contrary to expectations, there are no significant differences by gender in overall speech activity, but female MPs who hold parliamentary leadership positions speak significantly more than any other group. Differences between female quota MPs and their counterparts in parliament are also ruled out, countering common expectations in the quota literature.
Mobile phones have the potential to foster political mobilization. Like the Internet, mobile phones facilitate communication and rapid access to information. Compared to the Internet, however, mobile phone diffusion has reached a larger proportion of the population in most countries, and thus the impact of this new medium is conceivably greater. The Spanish general election of 2004 occurred in the wake of an unprecedented terrorist attack, but its outcome reflects the potential that mobile phones have to provide the user with independent information and bring about voter mobilization. The impression – whether true or not – that the government was withholding information about the attack outraged a small number of voters who, empowered with mobile phones, sent text messages (known as SMS), resulting in an unprecedented flash demonstrations on election day eve. Traditional media outlets contributed further to a growing chorus of citizens who felt misled. Those who tend not to vote, young voters and new voters, were galvanised to go to the pools, and they disproportionately favoured the opposition party. While it is too early to determine the political effects of mobile phone diffusion, the events in Spain suggest that mobile technology may come to play an important role in political participation and democracy.
The first elections to the newly created 41 posts of Police and Crime Commissioner in England and Wales were held in November 2012. The results show all the main characteristics of second-order elections. Turnout was low. The two unpopular coalition parties in the national government lost vote share compared to the outcome of the most recent general election, whereas the main opposition party's share increased substantially—as did that of a minor party (UKIP). Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates all performed better than expected, the more that they spent on the campaign—although spending was in general low compared to the legal maxima. A number of independents were elected, all in areas where the Conservative Party performed well in the 2010 general election: almost all of the independents who reached the second round of the supplementary vote system gained a clear majority of the second preference votes.
The German election of 22 September 2013 saw Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU return triumphantly to office. Merkel's party won as she is widely admired and, most importantly, she is widely trusted to lead Germany through potentially challenging times. So, all much as was. Yet beneath the surface the tectonic plates of German party politics are shifting. The Social Democrats appear to be stuck in an electoral trough, whilst the number of politically relevant smaller parties is increasing. Although the liberal FDP failed to re-enter parliament for the first time in post-war history, and both the Pirates and Alternative for Germany (AfG) also fell at the final (5%) hurdle, the era of multi-party politics is now well and truly with us. The CDU/CSU and SPD will lead Germany until 2017, but the story of what happens then really is anyone's guess.
This article explores the bizarre circumstances that produced a change of government in Australia at the September 2013 federal election. The Labor government led sequentially by Kevin Rudd, then by Julia Gillard (Australia's first female prime minister), and again briefly by Rudd, was consigned back into opposition. After a turbulent six years in office marked by the Global Financial Crisis (2008), successive policy scandals and almost four years of leadership tension, Labor was punished electorally, regarded as divided, unstable and unfit to govern by many. Victorious at the election was the Liberal-National Party Coalition led by Tony Abbott, a former minister in John Howard s government. Yet there was no great warmth for the Abbott conservatives from a largely disaffected electorate. While Abbott managed to secure a handsome majority in the lower house, his government's control over the Senate was actually eroded, meaning he will have to win the support of cross-bench senators hostile to many of his government's policies.
This article examines the 2014 French municipal and European elections, which were effectively mid-term contests for President François Hollande and the Socialist Party, held in the context of a poor economic situation and low levels of popularity for the president and his government. The municipal election was won by the main opposition party, the UMP, while the extreme right Front National emerged as the leading party in the European contest. The Socialists were heavily defeated in both elections. In the wake of these contests both the Socialists and the UMP are facing significant problems (leadership, strategy and voter confidence), while the FN has strengthened its position as a significant third force in party competition.
How can we understand interactions and relationships between party elites and activists? We argue that social exchange theory (SET) provides a useful framework to understanding interactions and relationships between party actors. This article develops a SET framework to analyse intra-party relationships and marshals the framework (in addition to interview and observation data) to analyse one set of relationships, those between Canadian Members of Parliament and the party activists in their constituencies.
This article explores the underlying motives for ensuring the political inclusion of marginalised groups. More specifically, it analyses whether laws guaranteeing representation are designed differently for women and minorities and, if so, whether these differences correspond to normative arguments for group representation. We use a novel research strategy by comparing quota designs in all countries that have adopted quotas for both groups. Theoretically, we reconceptualise the relevant distinction between quota types by focusing on whether a special constituency is created or not. We identify substantial differences in quota design between the two groups. Minorities tend to be guaranteed representation through the creation of special constituencies, whereas gender quotas more commonly imply integration into pre-existing constituencies. The analysis largely supports those who argue that quotas for minorities aim to increase the autonomy of the group in question while gender quotas are adopted with the intention to integrate women into the political system.
Drawing on the work of Dahlerup and Freidenvall (200516.
DAHLERUP, DRUDE and LENITA FREIDENVALL. 2005. Quotas as a ‘fast track’ to equal representation for women: why Scandinavia is no longer the model. International Feminist Journal of Politics 7 (1): 26–48. doi: 10.1080/1461674042000324673[Taylor & Francis Online]View all references), this article considers how the implementation of the French parity laws in the Pacific collectivities fits in with established discourses of quota adoption. It proposes that there is another axis of quota adoption—the ‘exogenous’ and ‘endogenous’ track models. In France, the parity laws, introduced in 1999, have had mixed results, with a large increase of women councillors at municipal level, significant changes at regional and European levels, but a disappointing impact on the gender make-up of the National Assembly. The impact of the parity laws, however, stretches well beyond the borders of mainland France. While the Pacific region has one of the lowest levels of women's representation in the world, the parity laws have dramatically increased the number of female legislators in the French territories. The introduction of the parity laws in the French Pacific territories constitutes an example of ‘exogenous’ track quota adoption, in which quotas can truly be defined as exogenous shocks to the local political systems.
This article argues that the raucous reputation of the Labour Party's annual conference, which led to a major restructuring of the event in 1997, has been partly driven by the impact that the single member plurality (SMP) electoral system has had on the party's organisation. The article compares Labour's experience of working under SMP with that of the Danish Social Democrats under list PR. It argues that SMP has created a significant internal opposition within Labour, something that the SD leadership, working under list PR, has not had to deal with.
Australia's long experience with the alternative vote suggests that it is an improvement on first‐past‐the‐post voting but it too can produce perverse results.Australia is unique in its use of the alternative vote in democratic elections over a period of many decades. Preferential voting, as the alternative vote is commonly called in Australia, was introduced at the federal level in the election of 1919, having been brought into use for elections in some of the individual states before then. By the early 1960s, preferential voting in single‐member constituencies was in effect in all Australian states save Tasmania, where the single transferable vote (STV) is used. In national elections, preferential voting is used in the House of Representatives, while the Senate is elected via STV.
Gender quotas change the rules of candidate selection, reflecting a demand-side solution to women's underrepresentation in politics. In contrast, limited attention has been given in the literature to possible supply-side solutions, which would equip women with resources to make them more attractive to selectors—in conjunction with, or separate from, gender quotas. Proposing a new research frontier for quota scholars, this article examines the ‘50–50 campaign’ ahead of the 2009 elections in Malawi, in which donors and the government assisted women aspirants with financial resources and publicity. Although these elections witnessed a 9% rise in women candidates from 2004, some of the increase represented a rise in women running as independents, suggesting that the campaign failed to sufficiently address the role of weak and biased party organisations. While electoral financing can avoid certain disadvantages of gender quotas, it may not be possible to overcome negative perceptions of women in politics.
The battle to introduce proportional representation into the UK has reached an uneasy draw, with PR systems apparently well-established in the two devolved nations, Scotland and Wales, as well as in the Greater London Assembly (GLA). These three systems are the most important mainland ones and share some common institutional features. In addition Northern Ireland has a well-established tradition of using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) for its distinctive party system. New institutional forms also remain possible locales for an extension of PR systems. The GLA pattern will be replicated in any English regional assemblies established in the next two years. Scottish local government may shift over to STV elections. And if direct elections for the House of Lords are ever brought in, some form of PR seems inevitable (see Dunleavy and Margetts, 1999b). So the UK has decisively entered on a possibly protracted phase of co-existence between PR and plurality rule elections, of which the core are the three British AMS systems. Here we examine how they have fared in terms of delivering proportional results, representing the votes cast by electors without artificial distortion, and reflecting or distorting the pattern of alignments. We sketch the devolved systems key features and examine how deviations from proportionality might be applied to them. The experience of British AMS systems so far has some key implications for the future reform of Westminster voting system.
Leading approaches in the literature on women's representation have studied the effects of gender quotas in their interaction with the national electoral system. Two aspects of Mexican law have been understudied thus far, but provide important insights for understanding the degree to which quotas empower women in politics. First, quota enforcement at the subnational level depends on state-level laws, which in some cases dictate partial or no enforcement at all. Second, the joint ticket system has created a two-nominee system in which two elected figures run; the first occupies the seat (propietario) while the second is elected as a substitute (suplente). Quotas in some states may apply only to suplentes, resulting in women's entrapment in substitute and powerless positions. The analysis is based on new aggregated dataset on the nomination and election of women in a sample of 12 states' elections covering the period of 1998 to 2010.
Mixed-member proportional systems (MMP) are a family of electoral systems which combine district-based elections with a proportional seat allocation. Positive vote transfer systems belong to this family. This article explains why they might be better than their siblings, and examines under which conditions full proportionality is reached. A formal model shows that full proportionality depends on the number of compensation mandates available, and on the degree of coordination among voters and parties. The model is applied to six elections in Hungary.
For an electoral system that is so rarely used, the Single Transferable Vote is prone to considerable variation both in its mechanics and in how parties and voters operate strategically under it. The objective of this article is to examine how such variations can affect the proportionality of electoral outcomes. Our findings indicate that they can have quite powerful impacts.
Belgium is one of the world leaders with regard to gender quotas, with strict rules for gender parity being imposed on political parties. Nonetheless the question remains as to whether these requirements for gender-equal list formation have led to women-friendly candidate selection procedures. Noting a gap in research on this topic, this article proposes a definition of ‘women-friendly’ candidate selection procedures and then analyses nine Belgian political parties along two axes: who is in charge of selections and how the selection process is organised. Using data from interviews as well as party statutes, the article seeks to explore the broader meaning of gender quotas for candidate selection processes, above and beyond increasing women's representation in parliament.
Among the large family of mixed electoral systems, systems with a majority bonus have been largely overlooked. Based on a comparison of regional elections in France and Italy, this article shows that these systems fit well into the typology as mixed systems. Their impact on the patterns of electoral competition can be viewed as mixed, leading to a bipolar but fragmented competition and to intermediate levels of disproportionality in between proportional and majoritarian systems.
Candidate selection in proportional representation systems is rarely conducted by primaries. We describe and examine primary elections where primaries have been used extensively to produce party lists. The electoral system employed is unique and provides candidates and voters with distinct incentives for strategic behaviour. The primaries also provide a unique opportunity to consider the effects of gender on candidate. As the elections we study involve party lists via preferential vote rather than the selection of individual candidates we can also examine whether primary voters seek to produce balanced lists.
Although parliaments are usually perceived as the political institutions responsible for the functioning of representation, it is not out of context to expect cabinets to also be representational of society. This applies especially to parliamentary democracies, where ministers are not only heads of executive portfolios but also the voting members of a decision-making organ, the cabinet. It also particularly applies to countries divided by multi-societal rifts. This article explores the social representativeness of cabinet ministers in Israel, a multi-cleavage society with a parliamentary system of government. Based on an original dataset of the 230 individuals who have served in Israeli cabinets since 1949, it aims to find whether the demographic characteristics of cabinet ministers have changed over time. It also investigates whether the current population of ministers reflects Israeli society today in terms of various social characteristics. It finds that the under-representation in cabinet of some social groups, such as women, Mizrahi Jews and young people has decreased. On the other hand, the representation of the Arab minority in cabinet has not improved and remains at an extremely low level.
Mixed-member proportional systems have been implemented assuming a mandate divide. Using individual-level voting data from the 15th to 17th Bundestag (2002–13), this article argues that the divide occurs according to candidacy strategy (pure district, pure party list or dual) and re-election probability rather than the type of electoral mandate obtained. Emphasising votes of constituency interests, it questions the assumption that the motivation behind deviating from the parliamentary party group line is rooted in serving the respective MP's constituency.
The exceptional empowerment of the judiciary, in formal terms, throughout post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has followed an institutional design the uniformity of which is explained by its common origin in a network of transnational legal professionals who constitute both an epistemic community and a community of interest. This origin, however, does not adequately explain the success of their design template. An equally important but far less observable cause is the 'dormancy' of CEE parliaments; in particular, the puzzling lack of resistance by the majority of elected representatives to their own correlative disempowerment. This article makes a start at investigating parliamentary dormancy as a causal factor, three aspects of which are explored: dormancy of origination of judiciary design norms; of oversight of the designers; and of vetoing transfers of power from parliament to the judiciary.
Utilising the major urban regeneration project launched by government in east Manchester in 1998, our aim is to evaluate the nature and extent of the involvement of local residents in the project and to use our findings to review democratic theory. We invert the normal theory and practice relationship to argue that it is sometimes valuable to build on existing practice in assessing democratic involvement rather than to proceed simply on the basis of normative theoretical ideals.
This article charts a new direction in gender quota research by examining whether female legislators in general, and quota recipients in particular, are accorded respect and authority in plenary debates. We measure this recognition in relation to the number of times an individual member of parliament (MP) is referred to by name in plenary debates. We use a unique dataset from the Ugandan parliament to assess the determinants of MP name recognition in plenary debates over an eight-year period (2001–08). Controlling for other possible determinants of MP recognition, we find that women elected to reserved seats are significantly less recognised in plenary debates over time as compared to their male and female colleagues in open seats.
Electoral systems provide incentives for legislators to either go it alone pursuing personal votes or to rather cooperate in teams seeking partisan votes. How does the German mixed system function in this regard? This article theoretically and empirically addresses this question with regard to the 17th German Bundestag and in light of most recent severe cutbacks in defence budgets providing incentives to pursue pork. The article draws from a newly collected database enclosing structural, behavioural and policy related information on individual legislators and the districts they represent.
Direct democracy is currently flourishing in the American states. The mechanisms of direct democracy, specifically the initiative, affect issues of representation in two fundamental ways. In reviewing the scholarly literature on direct democracy, we first highlight the instrumental outcomes of ballot propositions and how they directly or indirectly shape governance and public policy. We then examine the spillover or educative effects ballot measures have on the broader electoral landscape and political processes. We suggest the educative effects of the process on civic engagement, political participation, interest groups and political parties may prove to be equally, or more, important than any policy resulting from its instrumental use.
Spectacular forms of politics are proliferating and a reappraisal of political spectacle is underway. This article intervenes in debates about the constitution and value of contemporary spectacles by analysing how three, ostensibly very different, governmental, popular media and social movement participative experiments were set up and enacted. To explore the public value of making democracy spectacular, the article considers some of the fraught (but not always insidious) ways these participative events tested-out novel forms of democratic practice.
This article introduces the special issue and places the contributions in context. It begins with a brief discussion of main trends in quota research to date, focusing on major findings in relation to gender quotas and women's political representation. It then presents an overview of the articles in the special issue, detailing their research strategies and theoretical and empirical findings. The final part of the section addresses the implications of these studies – and work on gender quotas more generally – for forging new research agendas on political representation.
The electoral quota passed in Spain in March 2007 stipulated at least 40% candidates of either sex for all elected offices. Seeking to explore how effective this measure has been in generating conditions of political equality in a broader sense, this article analyses the degree to which this regulation has resulted in a rise in the number of female MPs, as well as to their presence in leading positions and their nomination to a wide range of parliamentary committees. Comparing trends in 18 national and regional legislatures before and after the quota was introduced, the analysis concludes that the quota led to a modest increase in the numbers of women elected, but did little to reduce vertical and horizontal segregation or bridge the gap between nominations to traditionally ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ portfolios.
This article asks whether, by what mechanisms, and with what strength 'wrong winner' elections—in which a party coming second in votes wins a majority of seats—trigger pressure for electoral reform. It does so through detailed process tracing of the New Zealand case, where wrong winner elections in 1978 and 1981 preceded reform in 1993. It argues that the wrong winner results did facilitate the reform process in New Zealand, but that they were far from sufficient to generate the reform outcome: other factors had to be present too. The additional factors that spurred reform in New Zealand were unusual, suggesting that reform following wrong winner elections is likely to be rare. But caution regarding this conclusion is required: it cannot be excluded that such elections might facilitate other reform paths too.
What institutional factors influence turnout among mixed member electoral systems? Mixed systems have increased in popularity over the past 20 years, yet no study evaluates variation in turnout within these systems. While the main distinction in mixed systems—MMM versus MMP—is salient regarding other outputs, it remains unclear if this distinction is salient regarding turnout. In addition, debates endure as to how best to measure turnout. Through statistical analysis of an original dataset of all mixed system legislative elections from 1990 to 2010, this article finds that the electoral threshold consistently correlates with an increase in turnout while the sub-type of mixed system does not consistently correlated with turnout. Ultimately this analysis suggests salient differences in both how we measure turnout and the institutional choices within mixed systems.
The study of strategic behaviour and the impact of institutions on elections has mainly focused on simple and conventional electoral systems: list-proportional electoral systems (PR) and the plurality vote. Less conventional systems are not on the agenda of comparative studies, even though no less than 30% of countries use unconventional electoral systems for their national parliamentary elections, such as the Single Transferable Vote, PR with majority bonuses, or mixed electoral systems. Often, they provide for unusual combinations of different institutional incentives, and hence to particular actor strategies.
In Germany's compensatory mixed electoral system, alternative electoral routes lead into parliament. We study the relationship between candidates' electoral situations across both tiers and policy representation, fully accounting for candidate, party and district preferences in a multi-actor constellation and the exact electoral incentives for candidates to represent either the party or the district. The results (2009 Bundestag election data) yield evidence of an interactive effect of closeness of the district race and list safety on candidates' positioning between their party and constituency.
Recently, the behaviour of individual legislators as a response to electoral systems has been a main objective of research on representation. However, as indicators of electoral incentives have been bound to particular electoral systems, comparisons across systems are hindered. This article solves the problem by presenting a unified way of measuring electoral incentives through re-election probabilities. Using the example of Germany, it is shown how such probabilities are estimated and how their analysis contributes to our understanding of representation.
We depart from the argument that policy congruence between the national and the EU parties has a role in bridging the democratic deficit of the EU. We assess it for the difficult case of Italy, where the issue of parties' transnational affiliation is incredibly divisive, and the party system is in a state of flux. Using the EU Profiler data, we are able to show that its parties are remarkably congruent. Yet, we suggest that congruence might overestimate the parties' representative capacity.
We have estimated the changes in parties' behaviour following the introduction of quota regulations in Belgium. We expected to find a curvilinear effect: shortly after the introduction, women candidates would be worse off due to, amongst others, reluctance of the party elite to support women in the electoral contest. But after some time, their situation would improve—we hypothesise—either because parties become more convinced of women's qualities or because of strategic considerations. Our results do show an initial setback followed by a modest increase, but this increase takes longer than we initially assumed.
In December 2012, for the first time, the Italian Partito Democratico held primary elections for the selection of candidates to run for the general election—the so-called ‘Parlamentarie’. The event has received far less scholarly attention than it deserves. Although the relevance of these elections in terms of numbers of participants and candidates is obvious, as well as their impact on Pd internal relationships, systematic studies on how they worked and their consequences are still missing. This article aims to respond to this gap, providing a first brief analysis of the Parlamentarie that focuses on the two main dimensions: participation and competitiveness.
The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has emerged as a successful environmentally focused party with a solid base. The 2011 General Election represented a high-point for the party, distancing it from the other minor parties. This article explores examples of factors affecting the success of Green parties, and examines the strategy of the New Zealand Green Party prior to the 2011 election. The findings indicate that the party has developed stable support through the development of a consistent policy base and pragmatic approach to its role in parliament. This has allowed the Greens to establish a position following the 2011 election as the third party in New Zealand politics.
More than one third of the Israeli voters changed their vote from the 2009 elections to the 2013 elections, yet most stayed within ‘their’ camp (either the right-religious or the centre-left). But it was the few who changed their vote that made the difference. Likud kept its control of the pivotal position and leads the new government, but an unprecedented alliance between the centrist-secular Yesh Atid and the right-religious Jewish Home—based on socio-economic issues, not the predominant security factor in Israeli politics, and personal relations between the party leaders—forced Likud to establish a coalition that excluded the ultra-religious parties it had sat in government with since the 2009 elections.
The landscape for ‘judicialisation from below’ is changing in Scotland. The environmental movement has harnessed the provisions of the Aarhus Convention—an international agreement guaranteeing procedural rights in matters of environmental decision-making—in litigation efforts. In doing so litigants have begun to significantly challenge the structure of opportunities for contesting and overturning decisions of the state when it comes to environmental policy. Rather than undermining representative democracy this article argues this process constitutes a democratisation of access to justice.
The 2012 round of Scottish local elections, held as a stand-alone contest, under STV provides a clearer indication of how STV has impacted on political behaviour than the previous round in 2007 which was held concurrently with elections to the Scottish parliament. Utilising aggregate ward-level data, this article presents a preliminary analysis of how parties and voters have adapted to the new system. It finds that voters have adapted well to STV, and that party loyalties remain important under the new system even if voters have considerably more choice.