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[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” quote=”Richard C. ABITBOL” link=”” color=”#993300″ class=”” size=””]

No, Mr. Christian De Moliner, the proportional system, which you make a caricature of, is not the worst of systems, quite the contrary!

It is true that it is fashionable in this country to criticize everything that distances us from absolute monarchy. The parricide complex, since the execution of Louis XVI, is very strong in this country!

With all due respect, your analysis is totally flawed and totally biased.

First of all there is not one but several proportional voting methods! Just as there is not one but several uninominal voting methods!

In a future article, I will develop a comparison between the voting methods in more detail, but it is imperative not to let the reader be misled by a hymn to the single-member ballot, which is fundamentally anti-democratic and, what is more, does not in any way guarantee a stable majority the last election in the United Kingdom is clear proof of this!

First of all, it is good to remember that, although the majority vote is the oldest, the proportional vote is by far the most widespread, since only France and England have not adopted it in Europe. The proportional vote is also very strongly recommended in the Constitution of the European Union.

The main ambition of the proportional vote is to have an assembly which reflects the state of opinion as closely as possible, which is, it must be said, the very essence of a representative democracy.

But that is not its only virtue.

The enemies of the proportional ballot evoke on every occasion the Fourth Republic and its "throes" to reject this voting method.

This means first of all forgetting the context of decolonization which did not spare the beginning of the 5nd; on the other hand, the stability of the 5nd is more linked to a rationalization of parliamentarism than to the voting system. Some, moreover, will consider that this rationalization has been excessive, which has led to intense debates on the form that the 6th.

On the other hand, it is totally false to say that the majority vote creates "a clear majority" while the proportional would not bring any majority.

Thus, in France, in 1986, a proportional vote defined a clear majority whereas in 1988, just after a triumphant presidential election, there was really no majority.

Moreover, we have not very often raised the case which could arise of a weak majority (1967, 1986) which could easily be overthrown in by-elections, which of course cannot be the case with proportional representation because when there is a vacancy it is the next candidate on the list who is elected.

On the other hand, a “so-called” advantage that supporters of majority voting put forward is that of proximity. While we believe this is precisely the biggest and most dangerous of its drawbacks.

Indeed, the legislative ballot is a national ballot and any elected representative of the Nation represents a part of the totality of the Nation. A parliamentarian must have in mind the general interest and not the particular interest; we know that everyone wants more airports, more TGVs, etc…; but that, above all, it does not disturb the environment close to home.

Moreover, this method of voting stifles the debates of ideas and program, which led us inexorably to April 21st. Personal quarrels, low blows, defamation become the major issue of the campaign, and the 2017 campaign is a perfect illustration of this; we are reduced to 577 small presidential elections, the harmfulness of which we know very well.

Another fallacious argument, the proportional vote would lead to "combinations" between parties.

This argument is totally fallacious, because the proportional vote implies a desired coalition, negotiated and presented to the voters, whereas the majority vote implies 577 petty shenanigans, often underground, having resulted in shameful agreements (as in Dreux in 1983) that are could camouflage under the pretext of "local slippage". And what about the 2017 campaign where opportunism was king and where, more than mediocre unknowns, populated the ranks of our National Assembly!

Finally, the last argument raised, the constituency ballot, allows brilliant strangers to emerge! We think this is wrong, and in several respects:

•  On the one hand, nothing prevents in a proportional ballot to opt for a preferential mode which would allow a brilliant candidate to be at the end of the list and to be elected.

•  On the other hand, the bitter fight to be "knighted" in the constituency, the blackmails, etc. show how important the role of the political staffs is. Thus when a "brilliant" or "esteemed" candidate finds himself stripped of his "partisan logo", he was sent back to his beloved studies (there are many examples). Negotiations between small and large parties (for so-called “reserved” constituencies) are done with the intention of gaining places, not of passing on ideas. It is enough to see how the Communist Party and the Greens negotiate their support for the Socialist Party, and how they obtain reserved constituencies when they are extremely in the minority in terms of votes, to understand the harmfulness of the system.

•  As for those who think that the proportional vote would allow the emergence of extremist deputies, that seems curious. Either we are dealing with a party considered to be "democratic" and then it has every right to express itself in a democracy worthy of the name, and it therefore has the right to represent its voters, or it is not democratic and it must be banned. In a democracy, this type of criterion must be clear and well defined.

•  This is why we are proposing to adopt for our country a proportional legislative voting system, which will make it possible to breathe new life into our democracy, to relaunch the debate of ideas and to allow everyone to express their feelings, even in the minority, without believe obliged to take refuge in abstention, which is the refuge of those who think (rightly) that their vote will be useless.

While guaranteeing a clear majority that the single-member ballot does not in any way guarantee.

We defend an adapted proportional voting system which should make it possible to determine clear majorities and to choose not only between parties but even between party currents while voting “useful”.

We propose a proportional voting system but with new modalities. It should be noted that this voting method can advantageously be applied to any form of election.

This is a poll list on a national constituency with threshold and majority bonus.

This threshold should be of the order of 5%, too high a threshold could lead to drifts of the type of what happened recently in Turkey, too low a threshold would allow parties of convenience to enter the assembly.

It would be a preferential list ballot, each voter being able to “reclassify” the list in order to minimize the impact of the choice of the staffs. Mixing would be prohibited.

But a new element would be introduced: the notion of a federative list.

A list could be made up of sub-lists, and the voter would have a "triple trigger" vote:

• First he chooses the list he wants to favor (this is the notion of "useful vote")

• then, in the list, he chooses the sub-list of his choice

• finally, in this sub-list he designates the preferential order of his candidates.

This “federative” list could be made up of allied parties or currents of the same party or even a combination of the two. Thus, the importance of a current within a formation would no longer be determined solely by the militants but by the voters of the party, which is all the same fundamental for the future of a party.

The seats obtained by the list would be distributed in proportion to each sub-list.

Some will see a return to the matching system, but this is absolutely not the case because on the one hand there is no possible mixing, on the other hand the sub-lists are supposed to be of a certain proximity political since they will then be obliged to sit in the same group at the assembly.

Example of federative lists:

• UMP list, with sub-lists: UDI, DL, REPUBLICAINS, etc.

• Left list, with sub-lists: PS (Courant1), PS (Courant 2), …, Greens, PC

• List PS, with sub-lists: Courant 1, Courant2, …

The distribution of seats on the lists would be proportional to the highest average.

The list that comes first if it does not reach 50% will have 51% of the elected, the remaining 49% being distributed in proportion to the votes obtained by the other lists.

So if the top list gets 36% of the vote, it will automatically have 51% of those elected. Thus, with this system, Mrs Thérésa May or Mrs Merkel would have had, with their only party, a stable majority.

This system has the advantage of creating binding alliances before the election and no longer after.

This is a democratic, stable and clear system.

You will find below the article by Mr. Christian De Moliner, subject of this comment

Richard C. ABITBOL

Chairman [/perfectpullquote]

Proportional is the worst system by Christian de Moliner (Talker)

It is fashionable to praise the proportional and even that which is integral without threshold effect. For its supporters (often on the left!), it would be the most democratic system, the one where the opinion of the “people” is best taken into account. But many counter-examples nevertheless show the dangers of this type of ballot.

The institutionalization of disorder

In Germany, the parliament is fragmented and no majority is possible, because the parties are too far apart. In the Netherlands nearly a year of sordid negotiations were necessary before painfully forming a government united on the lowest common denominator. We can, without going too far, bet that it will be ineffective. The record for the duration of negotiations had been beaten by Belgium during the previous legislature. The Belgian parties had discussed for two years before agreeing, two years during which power was in the hands of a resigning government, powerless and beaten by the ballot box.

In Spain, no majority emerged despite two popular votes. In desperation, Madrid has a minority government that must negotiate piecemeal to pass the slightest bill. He is totally helpless.

In Iceland, parliamentary instability is at its peak. We successively try all the possible combinations without a government really having the means to run this small country.

In Israel, in order not to be overthrown, the powers of the right or of the left systematically ally themselves with the religious parties. As a result, civil marriage has never been implemented, although the vast majority of Israelis support it.

Nevertheless, there are countries where proportional representation more or less works. This is particularly the case for nations where the number of parties does not exceed three, such as Eire, Austria or the German Federal Republic (FRG) of the 1970s. Other nations such as Switzerland, Northern Ireland or New Caledonia slice up the government and it is an exact reflection of the composition of the chamber, which avoids discussions between parties. But that does not exclude tensions. New Caledonia is plagued by internal dissension between loyalists and separatists. Ulster (Northern Ireland) no longer has a government following major disagreements between the IRA and the Protestant Unionists.

Not so democratic

With the proportional system, the voter is dispossessed of his decision-making power. He votes for a party, because his proposals please him, but these are not applied, even if the movement which issued them has won the elections by far. Once these have passed, the haggling, which has nothing to do with democracy, begins. We form an insipid whole from small bits of programs and it is politicians, admittedly elected, but whose legitimacy is weak, who decide in place of the “people”.

I much prefer the first past the post system. That of the United Kingdom, in one round, seems to me less democratic than ours in two rounds, because, with us, in the first we eliminate and in the second we choose.

President Macron proposes to introduce a proportional dose (25%) but what would be the point of this reform? Above all, it risks making it more difficult to obtain the necessary majority. I don't like Mr. Macron, but he is legitimate to lead France. He has precisely set out his program and he is applying it, since he obtained the greatest number of votes. Nothing seems more democratic to me.

To the happiness of the Islamists?

In addition, the introduction of proportional representation in France would lead to the emergence of Islamist deputies (10% of the seats?). They will follow the same tactics as the Israeli clerics; they will support the government, whatever it may be, in exchange for the passing of specific laws: support for private Koranic schools, laws on blasphemy and even recognition of polygamy. The large number of far-right deputies (infrequent!) will make these Muslim extremists unavoidable.

The desire to represent all political sensitivities without ruling out any can be respected by modifying the Senate's voting system. The current one is antiquated, unsuitable and undemocratic. Why not elect the second chamber on the same day as the first, proportionally with no threshold effect? It would take 0.4% of the vote to get a senator. Let us also modify the constitution, to limit the number of back and forth laws between the two chambers and facilitate the work of the parliamentary commissions of inquiry by creating, for those they question, a severely punished offense of lying. Beyond the principle of the majority (those who have obtained the most votes decide) democracy is measured by the ease with which the scandals inherent in any society are denounced, hence the importance of the commissions of inquiry opened on the maximum number of parties.


Source: Proportional is the worst system – Talker

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