Comparative Political Party and Electoral Systems

In a few weeks, we will conduct an in-class exercise that simulates a German national election.  This will give you a good idea of the specifics of the German political party and electoral systems, which you will then be able to compare to other systems around the world.  The German system is fairly complicated in that each citizen casts two votes, one for a member running in a single-member district, while the other is cast for a party via a proportional system.

Elections are, of course, the conditio sine qua non–and the minimal institutional requirement–of democratic political systems.   A great web site dedicated to keeping track of elections around the world is electionguide.org They do not as of yet have the results from the most recent national elections in Spain, (they will shortly) but they do have election results for countries around the world going back decades for some countries.  You should check them out.

The Christian Science Monitor  on the incumbent Spanish government’s re-election this past week:

oresults_p1.jpgAided by a near-record turnout, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the Socialist Party won the Spanish national elections – suggesting further changes toward diversity in a young democracy whose older generations cut their teeth on the Franco dictatorship and the moral authority of the Roman Catholic church.

The Socialist victory suggests Mr. Zapatero’s party has broken out of the longtime secondary status it has labored under, despite winning the last election in 2004.

Now, say analysts, the Socialists’ more liberal appeal to young people, women, and immigrants – along with its contemporary style of campaigning – must be taken seriously by the conservative Popular Party (PP), which ran on an older message of Spanish traditionalism and antipathy toward the feisty Basque and Catalonia regions.

Do the cited paragraphs remind you of any other electorate?

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