Publisert av: Yngve Sætre | juli 4, 2012

Studiebrev fra Harvard 06/12


Boston, Cambridge, 03.07.12.

Idag har ett av temaene i komparativ politikk vaert valg av demokratiform for nye demokratier. Dette basert paa en interessant artikkel ved navn «Constitutional Choices for New Democracies» av Arend Lijphart. Artikkelen konkluderer med at parlamentarisme kombinert med proporsjonal representasjon er det beste styresettet for nye demokratier. Dette er identisk med det norske styresettet.

Lijphart sin ellers gode artikkel belyser ikke alle sidene ved parlamentarisme like grundig, og det har jeg gjort meg noen tanker rundt:

Lijphart concludes relatively clear that the combination of proportional representation with parliamentarism is the most attractive design for constructing a democracy. He’s main argument is that this model «almost invariably post the best records, particularly with respect to representation, protection of minority interests, voter participation, and control of unemployment» (Lijphart, Constitutional Choices p. 11).

Lijpharts conclusion is based largely on empirical findings that is hard to criticize. But I believe that there are at least three other factors than those already mentioned that strenghtens the combination of proportional representation with parliamentarism.

1. Political debate: Parliamentarism means basically that the government needs support in the parliament at all times, but generally it does not need to be a steady constellation of support. The goverment can get support from different political parties depending on the situation. This gives dynamic to the political prosess, and will to a larger degree include the opposition in the political debate. I believe that this also creates a more vibrant and open political debate, and this could be a contributing factor to the high vote participation in these systems. In constructing a democracy a broad political debate that includes both position and opposition should be a positive factor.

2. Balance: When you to a larger degree include the opposition in the political prosess you will get more political balance between political parties. You will also probably get more political compromises that to a larger degree takes into account the rights of minorities and underrepresented groups. I think that different political parties – when working together -often can come up with solutions that are more moderate, balanced and solid than that of a single political party.

3. Long term policy: When you have a more vibrant political debate with more inclusion of the opposition in the political prosess the entire political system will get more ownership to the political decisions. This makes it more difficult to depart from these decisions later, and it makes it easier to make decisions based on long term policy.

Of course the counter – argument to this is that the combination of proportional representation with parliamentarism could lead to a sometimes chaotic and ineffective government, and that it is ultimately better with a strong president that can make effective decisions. I think this argument is largely based on a believe that more effective decisions will lead to an advantage in economic policy making. Lijphart claims that this is not the case. In fact he says that proporsional representative combined with parliamentarism performs slightly better in terms of economic policy making (Lijphart, Constitutional Choices p. 10).

As a conclusion I will say that in constructing a democracy proporsional representative combined with parliamentarism is superior. But this should not undermine existing democracies of other models in other countries. Culture, tradition and other factors can be of vital importance for their continuing legitimacy.

Yngve Saetre


Responses

  1. Hallo Yngve!
    Arti lesning.

    Høres ut som om du har interessante dager.
    Asgeir

    • Hei, Asgeir!

      Ja, dagene her er meget interessante! Som du kanskje leste byttet jeg ut kurset i politisk filosofi med komparativ politikk. Derfor går det mye i demokrati og utvikling om dagen, og det trives jeg godt med.

      Fortsatt god sommer!

      Yngve


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