Political Systems, Female Representation, and Voter
Unless otherwise noted, three sources were used
to compile the following graphs: CIA
World Factbook, Worldpolicy.org
In the top graph you can see the different political systems of
the world organized between those nations that elect their officials
collectively in districts (orange) and those nations that elect
their officials based on the individual choices in proportional
elections (green) as of 2005. Next, the group of proportionally elected officials
is divided into two, each with a different shade of green: one shows
nations with proportional elections and a prime-minister resulting
from those general elections, and one shows nations that
next to proportional elections also elect a president collectively
as if the nation is one big district where winner-takes-all. Note
that the former version is mainly found in Europe. Ceremonial presidents and kings and queens may preside as top figure in the darker green nations, but either have no political power
or were appointed by the elected officials, not by the people directly. The mixed version (blue) applies to those nations where (part of)
their representatives are elected in districts with multiple seats
available. Finally, the non-democratic nations are left blank, though
various nations received the benefit of the doubt (such as Pakistan). An update of the map may be in order for a few nations since this is based on data of 2005.
In this second map, the nations shown in dark green have the highest
percentage of female representatives in the world. Some nations
have set minimum levels for female representatives, some nations
saw a diminishment of their male population due to war (Rwanda);
both are reasons for a higher level of female representatives than
what the system normally would deliver. However, a strong resemblance
is found in general between the political system in place and the
level of female representatives. Nations electing representatives
from a preselected group are shown in white in this graph, such
as Cuba and China, which have high percentages of females elected
as representatives, but that as nations do not give the public a
free choice to elect their own representatives. Again, data of 2005 was used, and the world has changed some since (Rwanda is now in top). A map with more distinctions but without the presidential distinctions: WPmap
In the next graph, the nations are set apart in their own versions
of government and plotted against female distribution. Not only
does the proportional version without a president have the highest
level of female representatives (Sweden), this category also has
the highest nation that is lowest in its rank (Hungary). The opposite
is true for district elections with the highest number being the
lowest of all high numbers (Rwanda), while it shares the bottom
level of zero female representatives (Kuwait) together with various
nations found with the non-democratic category.
The following graph shows how much of the national distribution
of income ór distribution of consumption the top 10% in a
nation can call their own. Please note that the distribution of
consumption usually shows a lower level of inequality than the distribution
of income. Various aspects on this map may therefore be further
skewed than they already appear. Of great interest is the difference
found between the nations with proportional elections one
with and one without a president: they show almost opposite results.
Nations with proportional elections without a president all remain
below the level as found in the United States, while nations with
proportional elections that also elect a president show the tendency to remain above that level.
In the graph below, various well-known democracies are placed according
to voter turnout over a 55 year time-span. It gives an indication
which system delivers a higher enticement to participate. Of these
nations, the United States has the highest number on average of
elections, and voter fatigue may explain part of its low position.
Nevertheless, Italy with more national elections than any
other nation shows no voter fatigue, and is placed in top
position with 92.5% voter turnout on average. A few nations require
all its citizens to vote, such as Australia and Belgium, and may
therefore end up higher on this list. The colors for each nation
match the colors used in the map right below it.
Finally, one last look at the 'engines' of the two versions of
democracy, district elected and proportionally elected. On the left, in district
elections 40% of the eligible voters do not go to the voting booth (the example displays in this abstract the results for
the averaged US Senate election),
while 40% of the voters did not receive a representative (40% of
60% = 24% of the eligible voters). The majority in this example that resembles the 2006 U.S. Senate is based on 50% plus one
of the elected representatives; this equals to about 18% of the eligible
voters actually supporting the majority of Senators (in actuality, the result was 17%).
In proportional elections, to the right, more people turn out to vote,
and half of the representatives plus one equal about 40%
of the eligible voters. The abstract example shows strong similarities to Sweden's (single) House of Representatives.
What constitutes a majority in one system
differs significantly from what constitutes a majority in the other
system. How well politicians listen to voters is reflected in these abstract graphs, and it should be easy to understand which system puts better controls on the representatives, and which system puts more controls on what the voters really have to say. Proportional elections entice more people to vote and better
ensures that representatives are more representative of the population.
Read more about the two democratic engines.
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