Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

New electoral system is less proportionate, but democratic

November 23rd, 2011

A centrist political analysts finds the new electoral law meets democratic requirements, even though under the new system the winner seems to take all. He notes that if the  popularity of Fidesz declines, the new rules would make it easier for the opposition to undo the reforms of the current government.

The electoral bill submitted to Parliament by Fidesz will rewrite the rules of the allocation of parliamentary seats. As the total number of seats will be almost halved, a massive redrawal of electoral districts is also necessary. The new system will favour the winning party. Opposition parties claim that Fidesz wants to entrench its power by introducing disproportional distribution, and also accuse the governing parties of gerrymandering. Nézőpont Institute, a pro-government think tank, however, maintains that the new system will make it easier to form a stable government.

There is no ideal electoral system. … Just to take one example, proportionality and government stability are both important values, but there is a clear trade-off between them. The more proportional a system is, the harder it is to form a government; the easier it is to secure a majority in the House, the less proportionate the system becomes,” remarks political scientist Gábor Török.

Török acknowledges that the new proposal will favour the party that receives most votes, which will make it easier for it to secure a majority in Parliament. This, however, does not mean that the new system would violate democratic norms.

Though the proposed changes would, at this particular moment, clearly favour Fidesz, there is no guarantee that party preferences will remain the same in the future, Török adds. If Fidesz loses public support, the reformed system will also make it easier for the next government which replaces Fidesz to secure two-thirds of the seats in the House, which would enable them to undo the Constitutional reforms initiated by Fidesz and so resented by the opposition.

Tags: ,