Reform Overseas

23 Feb 2016

Obvious Route for Australian Senate Reform Ignored

Interest in the Australian political system has been building over the last couple of weeks over a proposal to make some notable reforms to the electoral system for the Senate. Each of Australia’s six States elects 12 senators, regardless of population, and there are two senators for each of the two ‘autonomous territories’ (the Northern Territory and Canberra). Normally half of the Senators are […]
26 Jan 2015

'Reinforcing' Syriza

Much excitement in the European press today as Greece’s left-wing, Eurosceptic and anti-austerity Syriza has come two seats short of an absolute majority in the Greek parliamentary election, allowing them to form a coalition with the right-wing, Eurosceptic Independent Greeks. Yet Syriza won only 36.3% of the vote, giving them 49.7% of the seats. And together the two parties have only 41.1% of […]
17 Nov 2014

Friends, Romanians, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Votes...

Turnout has been in the news once again, with a report from the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee advocating bank holidays on election days, votes at 16 and other structural changes to increase turnout. Structural and institutional changes are, of course, a vital component of making it easier and more desirable to vote. Yet, voting is also a social act, and not just about our personal […]
5 Aug 2014

Democracy in Malawi

This is a guest blog by Liam McArthur, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Orkney. The views, opinions and positions expressed within are those of the author alone and do not represent those of the Electoral Reform Society. When former Malawian President, Joyce Banda, addressed the Scottish Parliament in March 2013, the visit appeared to symbolise a new spirit of hope and optimism for the future of this […]
12 Jun 2014

A true democrat

Today marks the 50 th anniversary of the end of the Rivonia trial, and the sentencing of Nelson Mandela to life imprisonment on charges of sabotage, and acting to ‘further the aims of communism’. It goes without saying that the regime Mandela opposed was profoundly undemocratic. The apartheid regime systematically excluded 85% of the population from political power. What makes Mandela such an […]
10 Mar 2014

The veneer of democracy

This weekend the North Korean 'election' took place. Of course, it wasn’t exactly democratic; it wasn’t really even an election. Each seat had only one candidate, and voters had the choice of voting either for them or against them. There is no secret ballot, votes are carried out in the full view of the authorities and those voting 'against' even have to place their ballots in a separate box. […]
18 Dec 2013

'We want to take a chance on more democracy'

Today marks the 100 th anniversary of the birth of Willy Brandt, the legendary Social Democratic Chancellor of Germany. A titan of democracy, Brandt was born Herbert Ernst Carl Frahm, adopting his name as a pseudonym to escape Nazi persecution during his years as a left-wing activist. Brandt was mayor of West Berlin between 1957 and 1966, witnessing the construction of the Berlin Wall. As […]
30 Oct 2013

The rise of 'Babisconi'

Another election, another signal that people are fast falling out of love with mainstream parties. Last weekend saw the Czech Republic go to the polls. The Czech Social Democrats’ victory was widely expected in an election marked by the fragmentation of the right. But the real surprise came with the success of a new party, ANO 2011 (Action of Dissatisfied Citizens, a backronym for ‘Yes’ in Czech […]
26 Feb 2013

The Italian Impasse

On Sunday, and yesterday Italians went to the polls to elect their new parliament after the fall of the technocratic Monti government at the end of 2012. The election result has resulted in an impasse. The centre-left coalition of Pier-Luigi Bersani has won a solid majority in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, but the Senate is split in such a way that it is almost impossible to see a […]
12 Nov 2012

The US election shows why ‘equal boundaries’ will not fix the bias in the electoral system

Like, I suspect, most election geeks I was glued to the election coverage on Tuesday night as Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney apparently winning with 332 Electoral Votes to 206. US Presidents are elected by a system called the electoral college whereby every state gets as many ‘electoral votes’ as its number of representatives in Congress. For instance, California has 53 members of the House of […]