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Erik Moberg ã:
A Theory of Democratic Politics
 
 

20 - PRESIDENTIAL CONSTITUTIONS WITH PROPORTIONAL ELECTIONS: THE MAIN ACTORS AND THE VOTERS

When discussing the relation between the main actors and the voters in this case it is, at first, necessary to distinguish between the presidential elections and the elections for the legislature.

The position for which presidential candidates are striving is, of course, even if the candidates belong to political parties, an individual main actor position. According to the final conclusion in part 9 we should therefore expect the presidential candidates to strive for a relation of delegation, rather than instruction, with the voters. In their campaigns they will therefore concentrate on their own personalities and personal qualities rather on detailed political programs. Furthermore, since a candidate in order to win has to win a majority of the votes, or, depending on the circumstances and the exact rules, at least almost a majority, he or she has to treat all members of the electorate as potential supporters. The campaign messages are thus not likely to offend any voters, for instance by attacking their interests.

The nature of the election campaigns for the legislature will depend on whether we are dealing with pure list elections or not. In the case of list elections, for the reasons explained in part 6.3, the party leaderships are likely to do a main part of the campaign work. Furthermore, for the reasons developed in part 9, the campaigning will mainly be about instructions or political programs. These conclusions are valid, I think, independently of the extent to which the party leaderships choose to discipline their "troops" in the legislature. Thus, if we have pure list elections, the party leaderships will dominate the campaigns, and the message will be about instructions and programs, even if, after that, the party leaderships give the individual legislators a considerable amount of freedom in their activities in the legislature.

If, however, we are not dealing with pure list elections, but with some other proportional method which makes it possible for the voter to choose, to some extent, among individual candidates, things become different. If so we will also see some individual campaigning and consequently, also, more of delegation and less of instruction.

Taking everything into account we are thus likely to see, side by side, very different kinds of campaigning in this constitutional setting, in particular if pure list elections are used for legislature. If so the presidential campaigns will emphasize delegation and personal qualities, whereas the campaigns for the legislature will emphasize instruction and party programs.