According to the 2017 Lowy Institute Poll in Australia, “60% of Australians and 52% of 18–29 year olds agree that ‘democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’ Over a third (36%) of Australians say either that ‘in some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable’ or ‘for someone like me, it doesn’t matter … More The value of democracy
According to the annual Democracy Index, compiled and published by the Economist Intelligence Unit, New Zealand has been ranked fourth worldwide, after three Scandinavian countries (Norway, Iceland and Sweden). The Democracy Index collects data in five categories: electoral process; civil liberties; government function; political participation; and political culture. Accordingly, a country can be said to … More Design digest: democracy in New Zealand
Let’s say that you are called upon to design a new state. Those of us who live in democracies engage in this sort if activity more frequently than we realize, whenever we amend our constitution or vote in a referendum. Where do we start? Google has an answer. It’s called Constitute. It works, too, according … More Drafting your own constitution: where to start
In chapter 1 of The Joy of Politics, I define politics by what it is, what it is not, and what it might be. I also seek to elucidate, and defend, what one means when one says, after Aristotle, that humans are political animals. My purpose, self-announced, is to encourage my reader to think a … More What more might politics be?
An analysis in last week’s The Economist casts light on coming “state” elections in Mexico, and illustrates two themes discussed in The Joy of Politics. To whit. Mexico is a federal state, the units of which are called “states,” or, in Spanish, estados. Elections take place at varying intervals at both the national, or federal, … More Design digest: state elections in Mexico
If you read the international news with any degree of frequency you will find stories about the design of political systems more often than you might have anticipated. For instance, in Britain in 2011 the government held a referendum on changing the electoral regime used in parliamentary elections. The referendum failed. More recently, in Greece, … More Design matters: what’s at stake?
New from Oxford University Press — Reforming Democracy. When, why, and how are democratic institutions reformed? This is the broad question guiding this research, rooted in a context of crises of representative democracy. Core democratic rules can be understood as the formal political rules regulating the direct relationship between elites within the political system, parties, … More Why democratic systems change
Representation is of paramount importance in most modern democracies. In many countries quotas are set to encourage participation among women, minorities, and other traditionally underrepresented social groups. Kenya is an interesting case in this regard. In August 2017 Kenyans will vote for their president and deputy president, and members of both houses of a bicameral … More Design digest: election quotas in Kenya
Presidential elections were held in South Korea in May 2017, in which Moon Jae-in emerged victorious in one round of first past the post voting. The outgoing president, Park Geun-hye, was impeached by the national legislature in December 2016; this decision was upheld by the Korean Constitutional Court in March 2017. It has been reported … More Design digest: presidential election, South Korea
The relationship between the legislative and executive branches is an important element in the design of a political system. Witness France, where voters elected a new President, the independent Emmanuel Macron, in two rounds of voting in April-May 2017. France is a unitary republic with a bicameral legislature and a fairly unique, elaborately interconnected “semi-presidential” … More Design digest: elections in France, 2017