Armenian MPs Debate Pros and Cons of Majority vs. Proportional Representation Voting System
The majority electoral system is a suitable mechanism for election fraud; the Free Democrats party was always in support of proportional representation, said party representative and Armenia’s former foreign minister Alexander Arzumanyan (pictured).
However, according to Republican Party of Armenia MP Artak Davtyan, proportional representation has its shortcomings — for instance, the views of political parties are not taken into account.
“First, it forms fairly weak governments. For example, in Italy, in a very brief period of time, proportional representation resulted in a change of 52 governments. Second is the very weak connection between the MP or candidate and voter. Third, it’s the rather low level according to district representation, and the most important drawback, in my opinion, is when the move to a 100% proportional voting system is finally made, it leads to certain partisan phenomena — parties view their role in the state governing system above the functions of the state.”
The MP asserts that the mixed electoral system that was called to eliminate the drawbacks of the majority and proportional systems also doesn’t fully serve its purpose.
“In my opinion, the most acceptable is the relative majority electoral system which works in 43 countries in the world, including the US, Great Britain, Canada and so on,” he said.
Alexander Arzumanyan, however, countered that the press conference is turning into a theoretical seminar, noting that he too could speak of general abstract systems, but the goal of today’s press conference is to speak of Armenia today, about what needs to be done now.
“In developing countries like Armenia the government’s only purpose is to be re-elected, through rigging elections, putting to work the entire mechanism of election fraud. One of these is the majority electoral system. Let’s accept that the opposition has achieved a landslide victory in the elections and received 70% of the votes (with our system this amounts to 63 places), while the current authorities get 27 places. Added to this 27 are the 41 oligarchs elected through the majority system; as a result, the ruling authorities get the vast majority of votes and consequently, election victory is ruled out. The same picture also happens in reverse,” Arzumanyan insisted.
The former foreign minister is convinced that since parties are unable to establish themselves, and in 41 electoral districts those who win are exclusively “nicknamed” oligarchs and representatives of the ruling authorities, no one can trust in fair elections.
“If the government is speaking of free and fair elections, well, serious proof of this is needed, and the election fraud carried out by the government itself has to be reduced,” he concluded.
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