LETTER: Democracy brings bewildering results

Proportional representation around the world has some bewildering mechanisms, most of which result in coalitions with tiny interest groups exercising power even when their agenda runs counter to that of the government. Forty-nine per cent of voters may have their wishes denied or countermanded by a mere handful of legislative members. Setting a minimum voting percentage, for example 3.25 per cent as in Israel, has led to as many as 10 parties in the Knesset. Israelis vote for a party and the party chooses its representatives. So, democracy has many faces.

For readers in a hurry, consult ‘Election Threshold’ in Wikipedia. One of the best books on the subject is “Gaming The Vote” by W. Poundstone, available at GVPL. Whatever the source, prepare top be baffled. Poundstone’s conclusion is that every system has its good and bad points and in the end, a democratic government, whatever its stripe, is only as good as the people in power.

George Fraser

Victoria

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