Debating Electoral Systems: Getting Majoritarianism Right

Issue Date January 2012
Volume 23
Issue 1
Page Numbers 155-63
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Read the full essay here.

In a response to Carey and Reynold’s “Comparing the Arab Revolts: The Impact of Election Systems,” Timothy Meisburger argues that in the special case of developing or emerging democracies, PR may not be the most appropriate election system, and that majoritarian or plurality systems may do a better job of ensuring effective representation and promoting democratization. He asserts that while PR may be a good choice for the mature democracies of northern Europe which already have such key prerequisites as parties with clear ideological profiles, well-defined platforms, and democratic internal-governance rules, emerging democracies might be better off with a system that is more likely to aid the development of democratic attitudes and the emergence of fully democratic parties and states.

About the Author

Timothy M. Meisburger is director for Elections and Political Processes at the Asia Foundation. He wrote this essay while on sabbatical as a World Learning Democracy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed here are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asia Foundation, USAID, or World Learning.

View all work by Timothy M. Meisburger