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Why the return to proportional parliament is the high road to follow

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Commentary. Over the last few weeks, the Democratic Party has seen the rebirth of an incomprehensible nostalgia for the ‘majoritarian’ system. But what does that mean, exactly?

written by Antonio Floridia

Topic Italy

October 22, 2019

After “cutting” the number of MPs, the majority has signed a political document in which, among other things, they commit to a December deadline for initiating a joint project for electoral reform. It is doubtful that this deadline is a plausible one.

Most likely, this will take much longer. However, it’s still possible to use this time productively to try to make some progress in the debate, clearing the ground of the imprecise notions, commonplaces and sheer nonsense muddying up the discussion on the issue of elections, which contribute greatly to the fact that public opinion has become fed up with discussing these issues. For example, one might start by pointing out that talking about a “proportional” or “majoritarian” system means literally nothing without further clarification.

We must start from a core premise: that the proponents of a particular electoral reform presuppose—often implicitly—their own view of ​​the future structure of the political system, a view which they consider to be desirable and possible. It’s not just immediate, short-sighted considerations that come into play (or rather, those who think only in such terms will very often find themselves forced to deal with the adverse or unexpected effects of reforms that they thought would accomplish only what they wanted): it is important to consider the medium- to long-term scenarios that the advocates for a certain reform would be encouraging, and the role that they think they can play within them.

It is worth........

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