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  1. #11
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    For the most part, yes. Thank you.

    Now how about France?
    :17026:

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    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    But seriously... I think in the rest of Europe (including France) the proportional representation systems they use can make a big difference. Assuming the stuff about needing to be on good terms with the party leadership to become a candidate is correct (wouldn't surprise me), I think that it is nevertheless significant that not only is the full range of the political spectrum represented in the electoral politics of most major European countries, but that even a party which gets only 5% of the regional or national vote can typically translate that into parlimentary/senate seats, and therefore influence. This also tends to diminish the influence of the big political parties relative to the fringe ones, who often are in a good position to hold the balance of power when the nearly inevatable coalition has to be formed. In Britain and the US we seem to conduct an election with the aim of deciding an outright winner, whereas on the European mainland they mostly seem to be trying to accrue votes to strengthen their bargaining power in the nearly inevitable negotiating to build a coalition that will follow. Even extreme parties such as Greens, Communists and Nationalists (depending on the country) can all have a part to play in this process, and are usually pretty satified when they manage to negotiate a couple of senior members into influential positions in the incoming government in return for their party's allegiance in the coalition.

    I think it might therefore be fair to say that although it might theoretically be harder to vote for the person of your choice if they do not have support from the party heirarchy, it is eminently possible to vote for the political views you most identify with, and have a realistic expectation of them being represented in the national government. Most mainstream European politicians seem to be notably uncharismatic anyway - I wonder if this is partly because they don't NEED to be to the same extent as those in an effective two party system where candidates need to stand out from the crowd in order to make clear what they actually stand for. Or maybe they are just more interested in measures than men, so to speak.

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