• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is the purpose of elections and do they guarantee a democracy?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

IP 10410 - Comparative Politics Coursework essay: "What is the purpose of elections and do they guarantee a democracy?" (1569 Words) Benjamin M. Unsworth (010800186) What is the purpose of elections and do they guarantee a democracy? The term 'democracy' derives from Greek, translating to "the rules of the people". However, in modern times the definition of 'democracy' has been expanded, to describe a (Liberal) philosophy that insists on the right and the capacity of a people, acting either directly or through representatives, to control their institutions for their own purposes. This ethos insists on the right and the capacity of a people, acting either directly or through representatives, to control their institutions for their own purposes and insists that necessary restraints be imposed only by the consent of the majority and that they conform to the principle of equality. The aim of elections must, therefore, be to form a polity as close as possible to this model. However, it is impossible to compose a totally pure democracy due to several constraints - not allowing convicted criminals in prison to vote is a common social constraint for example. ...read more.

Middle

It would be impossible though to use a pure national list system though, because if one political party took 3.7% of the vote, they can not be awarded with 3.7% of seats, as each seat is a whole number. This is why it is almost impossible to ensure a pure democracy, as if they were awarded 3% of the seats they would still not be represented fully according to voting, but if they were awarded 4% they would be over-represented. The only way to get around this is by using 'top-up' MPs, but this by its very nature is undemocratic - unelected representatives is a key feature of authoritarianism, not democracy. To try and counter this problem there is a proportional representation system which 'transfers' votes so that unelected representatives do not have to be used. The "Single transferable vote" system is based on multi-member constituencies, and each voter ranks candidates (1,2,3 etc.) and is based on quotas. In a five member constituency parties This system, however, would penalise independent candidates who can not take 2 seats, as they stand alone. As independents are the epitome of democracy - they can not be pulled into line by party whips and go against the interests of their constituents in favour of the party line - then this system is favourable against the whole ethos of democracy. ...read more.

Conclusion

deciding which electoral system to adopt, rather it must way up the costs and benefits of each different system, and choose whichever it attaches the most value to by the benefits presented by both/all the systems. Bibliography[BMU1] Clark, A. (1999) The Tories (Orion). Denver, D. (1989) Elections and Voting Behaviour in Britain (Philip Allen). Heath, A., Jowell, R. and Curtice, J. (1985) How Britain Votes (Oxford: Pergamon Press). Heath A., Jowell, R. and Curtice, J. (1987) 'Trendless Fluctuations: A Reply to Crewe', Political Studies, Vol. 35. Heath, A., Jowell, R., Curtice, J., Evans, G., Field, J. and Witherspoon, S. (1991) Understanding Political Change: The British Voter 1964-1987 (Oxford: Pergamon Press). Platt, S. and Smyth, G. (1994) Bite the Ballot In New Statesman & Society (29 April 1994) Roberts, D. (Ed.). (1995) British Politics in Focus (Causeway Press) i http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1181000/1181844.stm ii http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1938000/1938190.stm iii Clark, A. (1999) The Tories:433-34. iv See In Search of Stability in The Guardian, UK, December 24th 1999. This is available online at http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3944933,00.html. v Plant, R. (1999) Constitutional Reform:412-415. vi Roberts, D. (ed.). (1995) British Politics in Focus:346. vii See www.mori.com as at 18:32 21/04/02. viii Plant, R. (1999) Constitutional Reform:366. ix Plant, R. (1999) Constitutional Reform:289-91. x Plant, R. (1999) Constitutional Reform:396. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Compare and contrast the purpose of elections in the political systems of Britain and ...

    In Britain we elect the party of our choice, be it Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem or other; the party that gains most votes wins power and holds the majority of command over law making, domestic and foreign policies. A stark contrast to America where no one institution for example, the

  2. Serfdom – Emancipation, etc

    This system, however, was not introduced into the Russian provinces of the Empire. The prominent measure of the reign (1842) was little more than a repetition of the law of 1803. Once again, the government insisted that voluntary emancipation must be accompanied by a land-grant to the peasants; once again,

  1. Consider the arguments for and against retaining first-past-the-post for general elections

    This gives parties a certain degree of accountability, as an unpopular government can quite easily be voted out of government at the next general elections. Proportional systems can see a minority party remain as part of the government election after election.

  2. HUMANITIES COURSEWORK

    (Can the Palestinian/Israeli conflict be solved by peace talks?-Keeping the peace in the world by Watts 2006). Nevertheless, a lot of Palestinians are not in favour of the wall. They thought it would bring a lot of problems: economically, socially and politically.

  1. Influences on Voting Behaviour

    Two-part decline: The two major parties, Conservative and Labour, have gradually lost support at elections in terms of the percentage of the electorate voting for them. In the 1950s, the two main parties shared the bulk of votes. In 1951, 96.8% of votes were cast for either Labour or the Conservatives.

  2. Minority Rights, Identity Politics and Gender in Bangladesh: Current Problems and Issues

    Victims also confirm that armed personnel together with Bengali settlers took part in the gang rape. Two people were killed, and an eight month old baby strangled to death. People were beaten and mentally and physically tortured and their houses burnt.

  1. Define Politics and democracy in your own words

    My view is that politics is how different parties believe the county should be run, how different political views change how different people feel on politics, e.g. The old labour party had the views for the working man and the unions, and the conservatives was for the business man, but

  2. Notes on Citizenship and Democracy.

    The possibility of having NGO?s that can protest against lack of commitment from the government. 1. Still democracy has its challenges like corruption or majority can be wrong or motivated by inappropriate reasons. Also the government might be afraid to take good actions against groups of people because he will loose votes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work