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View Diary: BREAKING: Canadian Government Falls (updated with poll) (243 comments)

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  •  More of function of voting systems (4.00)
    than of having Parliamentary systems, which in general seem to work better than American style systems worldwide.

    1. Italy and Israel have proportional representation with low minimum vote barriers. This means a lot of small parties with representation, and a lot of horsetrading to make a governing majority. They're also ideologically much more divided than any English-speaking country with a Parliamentary system, but that's neither here nor there in terms of your point.

    2. Japan hasn't reapportioned its seats since shortly after WWII, when the population was MUCH more rural than today. If cities had representation equal to their population, the political map of Japan would be very different (I think that rural votes are worth on average something like 10 to 12 urban votes at this point.)

    As a counter-point, I'd like to point out that the most faithful copy of the U.S. system, in the Philippines, doesn't work very well (the landholders have pretty much captured the system), and the Filipinos are thinking of dumping it in favor of the Parliamentary model. This may be just as dysfunctional, given the feudal nature of Philippine politics, but the Filipinos themselves do seem to think the presidential system is a contributing factor to their problems. Elsewhere, the French have both a president and a prime minister, the system has worked only spottily in Latin America and in many places the strong-president system is either a dictatorship or pretty damn close.  

    In the future, everyone will have a blog, and none of them will be read. My unread blog will be Symmachus

    by gracchus on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:34:53 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  My Point Is That Parliamentary Systems... (none)
      ...themselves aren't a pancea, or inherently better than other systems, be they ours, or Germany's, or France's.  (Actually, Germany's system, with strong states, is probably one of the best systems for actually governing and avoiding small factions holding the rest of the system hostage).  As you point out with those excellent examples, the way the government looks on paper is important, but it's only one important factor among many, including voting systems, demographics, political traditions, types of non-electoral power in the country, the legitimacy of the government and the system, etc.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:43:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Italy and Germany's (none)
        constitutions were written after WWII by the victorious Allies specifically to force coalition government, so that fascists could never return to power again.
      •  Looking worldwide, historically (none)
        It seems to me that strong-president systems are inherently problematic, even given the differences in local conditions. I have a number of possible explanations, but they're all pretty speculative. I think a lot of Americans get a little defensive about the presidential system because it's been touted to them since childhood as the best possible arrangement, which it pretty clearly isn't.

        And say what you will about Israel and Italy, the range of debate and representation is much wider than in the U.S., with everybody from Communists to ultrarightist nationalists (and in Italy neofascists) represented in the legislature.

        In the future, everyone will have a blog, and none of them will be read. My unread blog will be Symmachus

        by gracchus on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:00:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But See, I'm Not Sure... (none)
          ...the voices in the national governing body should range from Communists to ultraright nationalists and neofascists.  If the system is that malleable that those extremes (to say nothing of porn star Ciccolina) I don't think that's much of a virtue.  

          I'm not arguing the virtue of our system.  I'm just saying the other systems aren't necessarily heads and shoulders above ours, especially when combined with the other factors such as historical, cultural, social, economic, etc issues.  Many of the problems and virtues of our current system would still exist if we had a different system.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:09:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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