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Electoral Systems Of Germany And Finland

1184 words - 5 pages

Two Countries and governments that have electoral system similarities are those of Germany and Finland. They both use systems of the proportional representation model. Proportional representation, also called "full representation" is the voting system used in most Western democracies and is widely considered to be fairer and more democratic than the current U.S. system.THE FINNISH SYSTEMHistoryThe Finnish system came into being in 1906. Elections then were held the next year. These elections were the first free proportional elections for both men and women. Since 1906, all women and men have been eligible to vote and to be nominated in elections. The age requirement to vote has been steadily ...view middle of the document...

The system slightly favors larger parties.The SystemIn the 1980's, the country of Finland was divided for national elections into fifteen electoral constituencies. Fourteen of them sent between seven and twenty-seven representatives to the Eduskunta, according to their population. This favors the electorates in the rural north and east. The constituency for the Aland Islands sends only one member. Constituencies correspond to the provinces except that Hame Porvince and Turku ja Pori Province were each divided in tow, and Helsinki formed one electoral district itself.The election of candidates from the party list is not predetermined. It depends entirely on the number of individual votes cast for each candidate. Most candidates do come from a political party, but a 1975 amendment to the election law allows the candidacy of a person sponsored by a minimum of 100 Finns united in an electoral association. The voter will then pick the allotted number of his candidate, and writes it down on the ballot. As a result, the election is not exclusively a race between parties, but is a race between individuals, who are each sponsored by a party. Since 1978 a secret primary among party members has been required if a party has more candidates than places on its party list.The Finnish system is distributive in many ways. There is no electoral threshold. The system also favors parties with well-defined support in certain areas, rather than those with a thin nationwide presence. Parties are not obliged to contest Eduskunta elections in every constituency. The practice of voting for a candidate rather than for party means that voters can record their dissatisfaction with a party's policy or headship by voting for one of its junior candidates. This attribute of the Finnish system means that no candidate, no matter how senior, is assured election.Elections for the 200-seat Eduskunta are held every four years in March. The only time this does not happen is when the president has dissolved the body and has called for an early election. Municipal elections take place every four years in October.The presidential election occurs every six years in the month of January. Since the 1988 election, it has been carried out on the basis of direct universal suffrage. This means that if none of the candidates receives more than half the votes, then the 301 electors...

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