Representation, elections and political parties

The Representation, the Elections and the Political Parties

the great stake of the modern democracy lies in the search for an answer to the question: how to make hear the voices of all the citizens in increasingly vast communities, which in any case exceed the limits of the old Greek system. It acts, indeed, of the representative institution as solution in front of physical impossibility that all the citizens decide, that all legislate and apply the laws. It couldn't be deprived of importance to call upon the fact that the democracy, for most men imprisoned in totalitarian modes, is almost synonymous with free elections.

The democratic elections, of course, are controlled by electoral laws which constitute the legal framework between the margins of which the poll continues. Thus, the electoral law establishes the way in which the power is entrusted by the voters to representatives who are charged to decide on their behalf. This voluntary and free transfer of the power plays in component definition and fundamental of the democracy. The political parties are the main actors in political space and the elections form the requirement, though not sufficient, of the assertion and the dynamics of the organizations in the democratic system. In this manner, the elections are the forms of legitimation, by the recourse to legality, of the report of authority, in a system of representation.

To vote, it is the expression of the will of the" people" which choose his own leaders and representatives. This draft of definition of the act to vote proposes to underline the close connection between the election and the representation. The election, justified so well by the Roman proverb: " Quod omnes tangit, ab bus tractari and approbari debit balance", (" what touches everyone must be considered and approved by all")[1]. Nowadays, its principles conquered a great part of the world. The free election is considered as an indicating criterion, an indispensable condition of the democracy and sometimes the two terms even equivalent are confused by their unification in only one entity[2]. Nevertheless it should not be forgotten that to vote it is a new practice in the history of the world. Very few elections took place two centuries ago and very few people and in very can of places profit from the right to elect their representatives. Nowadays most States know various forms of election instruments, and the methods and the results obtained are very diverse.

It should be specified that there are elections with or without choice. One will concentrate on the elections where those which have to vote can choose among a number of candidates carrying the various options or ideologies: far right, conservatives, Christian Democrats, liberal, socialist, communist, ecologists, etc. In the countries where, for the election of the representatives or "leaders" only one candidate is proposed to fulfill an unspecified function by the party in power, the competition between candidates is not allowed and there is not a true choice.

This practice was followed, for example, in the Soviet Union where a not-marked ballot paper was regarded as a positive vote, the vote against being considered ballot paper where the name of the candidate subjected to the adhesion of the people was striped[3]. In this case it 'acts rather of technique of confirmation that of a choice based on a decision of the vote.

A very inventive example, could be presented because of his ingeniousness, The case of Taiwan before the last elections of 1996. The authoritative state of Taiwan found an artifice which enabled him to remain with the power while organizing elections with choice. The legislature which counted 314 seats was composed of only 72 elected seats, the remainder of the seats being occupied by nomination made by the government. This practice was justified by the party in power thanks to its claim to control all China. The 72 representatives were elected in the districts of the space subjected to the sovereignty of Taiwan (State which was not recognized by popular China). The others 242 seats represented the territories temporally found under the control of the Communist party of Beijing. As in these territories one cannot hold of the elections, the Taiwan government claimed to be able only to name the representatives of the occupied territories. Thus the party in power assured a comfortable majority, independent of the vote of the population[4]. It could be necessary to specify at this point that the electoral representation, that is the guarantees for the free exercise of the right to vote.

"The relentless walk of the democracy", to take the terms of Tocqueville. This term knows an expansion which seems to embrace everyone. This "walk" is also the results in the vote for all, by the right to vote granted to any citizen, independently of certain characteristics which could define it (the sex, ethnics group, membership of a certain social class, etc,). The answer to the question which votes, which has the right to vote was not always simple. Because of the representation Of the population. This answer varies according to the country and from the period taken into account. The articulation of the institutions and the operating rules of the system representative do not coincide with a direct transfer of being able of the king towards the people[5]. In the United Sates Of America for example, conditionally of the right to vote by the proof of elimination of illiteracy is suspended only in 1950 and the taxation for the inscription of the electoral lists in 1960.

The lottery was used in Florence and Venice, but it can deduce that the reason for its employment is not due to its qualities in oneself but for its indirect purposes, and in particular to prevent that the political life of the cities is dominated by clans which perpetuate their domination, and to eliminate the fights between citizens (or clans) in the electoral competition[6]. Thus, the elections involved large risks which should be avoided by very complicated elections. It can affirm that their goal was not only to make leave the representatives, the occupants of the loads but also to avoid the fight between the factions and to designate men who offer, as much as possible, of the guarantees of impartiality.

In the republic of Florence the selection of the magistrates comprised initially a secret poll of approval (squittinio). The names which took part in this first poll were selected by a formed committee by the people (nominatori), usually members of the aristocracy. The names which succeeded in obtaining a number of the favorable voices higher than a certain fixed threshold of front, took part at the second phase of the selection. The chance decided then which reached the magistrates and the representation of the people by the chance.

A very interesting aspect emphasized by Bernard Manin[7] it is that at the origins of the representative government, can notice the absence of the debate on the use of the fate in the designation of the public authorities. Neither in England, neither in America, nor in France the possibility of indicating the public authorities by pulling or fate was really taken into account. It is the period of the triumph of the election to the detriment of the lottery. The leading cause of the absolute victory of the election it is the principle even with the name of which the three modern revolutions were made. It is the following principle which any authority is legitimate if it derives from the assent expressly expressed of those on which it is exerted: the individuals are required to obey only those which they agree to entrust the power[8]. An author who influenced the" Founding fathers" of the United States but also the English and French personalities, John Locke expresses in his "Second Treatise of Government" his ideas relating to the legitimacy of the power in a made up company free men and equal. According to him, the political power cannot be exerted on the men, by their nature free and equal, without the assent of those. The civil society appeared by convention between the men to form a community.

The central claim of the American Revolution of 1776 was besides: " No taxation without representation", phrases which synthesizes the requirements of the American colonies to be imposed by their representatives. The political representation was seen like the only legitimate means to impose and decide the amount of the tax. The American colonists rejected the English principle of " virtual representation" to which each member of parliament represents the interests of all the country (or of all the empire) though he is elected only by one minority of the owners of a certain district (district). All the other subjects "of Royal House" was considered "represented" on the basis of assumption: all the members of the community share the same interests as the owners, the only ones who have the right to elect members of parliament[9]. Carl Schmitt, by using the distinction between identity and representation, affirms that any constitution starts from a certain design of the unit of the people and a certain idea of cohesion of the community, a spontaneous cohesion. The individuals who are perceived the ones the others as being similar create institutions which treat all the citizens like the equal ones. The same individuals have the same tendency towards their representatives, they want to erase any difference between controlling and controlled.

For Carl Schmitt "the democracy is the identity of dominating and dominated people, but also controlling and controlled people, who gives and received orders"[10]. In this manner the base of the pure democracy it is perfect the similarity between the representatives and represented. According to the German author, in a democratic State the difference is not a qualitative difference since this report cannot be founded on the inequality in a company of the equal ones. [11]Carl Schmitt thus insists on the idea that the democracy is a state based on the identity between controlling and controlled people. For him the election incorporates a nondemocratic element since it cannot lead to the selection of the similar one.

The traditional concept of representation is based on the idea that the support of sovereignty is the nation which, titular of all the powers delegates the exercise of it to its representatives. From this point of view, the acts of the representatives do not come from their own wills but are the expression of the national will. The mission of the representation is not to delegate to certain bodies the power to interpret the will of the community because far from being an interpreter, the representative must be a door word: " The purpose of It (the representation) is to authorize these bodies to say what the nation wants, That is. with being its will and its voice. The representation is creative national will. The body entitled to exteriorize it in is all at the same time the creative body"[12]. Thus, by considering the nation only one body equipped with only one will, one does not legitimate only controlling them but the representation also constitutes an instrument of the unification of the national will and strict identification between the will of the representatives and the will of the nation. The result is that one attends the introduction of the legal identity between the nation and his representatives[13].

The indivisibility of the sovereignty of the nation and the identity between the national will and that of the representatives led the classical theory of the representation towards a certain statute of the representative who, theoretically, is valid until our days. The main feature of this legal situation is the independence of the Parliament as a whole and taken deputies separately. Thus, the deputy represents neither of the citizens, nor of the social groups or another kind of associations but it represents the nation as a whole.

The consequence which sticks to this design it is mainly the prohibition of the mandatory instruction: " the deputy does not have to receive in mandate of his voters because those are unable of him to impose some"[14].

The representation, defined by Leon Duguit is " the demonstrations of will emanated by certain individuals and groups of individuals who have the same force and produce the same effects as they would have emanated directly from the whole body citizens"[15]. It cannot use the democratic legitimacy only in the case of the election of the members of the institutions representing the nation with the participation of all the citizens (the universal vote) who delegate their sovereignty. It is of that manner that is justified the representative mandate, that the deputies are the representatives of all the nation and not of the voters of a certain district.

The constitution announces how the decisions are made; the power of the demonstrations refers to what is decided. Within the space of the "will of the people" the cultural factors and the contingent elements produce a number of the variables in the specific decisions which are made at a given time[16]. It results from it that the universality and the ex portability of the democracy lie in the protection of the people, the element encapsulated in a political form, the constitutional form.

The representation through the election is not fixed like end to only make hear the sovereign will of the people[17] but also to devote the legitimacy of controlling. It is a clear question there: the legitimate authority is that which represents the community and to represent it must result about it directly or indirectly through elections.

It thus appears a distinction between the representation understood like dedication of legitimacy of controlling and that understood like having for object, through the procedures of vote, to determine the citizens to be formed designs on the social order and to specify these designs clearly so that controlling them : "The election of the representatives intervenes to express the wish of representatives : the direction of the vote exceeds that of a designation, it is the demonstration of a political thought"[18]. It can be specify here that the image of the voter, who in an active way systematizes, treats on a hierarchical basis and specifies his political options and its designs on the company, places in a central position, moreover flattering, the citizen who is seen like transmitting messages which, once arrived at the parties, are assimilated by their candidates who adapt the ideas of the voters. In the same manner there are voices which wonder whether the way is not reversed, if the voter is not the passive principle in this equation, a simple receiver of the messages and opinions which are transmitted to him by the parties. Under these conditions, it is the voter who assumes the program of the parties and not the parties which build their programs according to the "pulse" of the population. However, this last thesis is carrying a series of ideas difficult to accept since she affirms that the parties are realities in oneself, organizations independent of the will of the masses, and supports that the elections are not, at the bottom, that plays formal, the mass not being able to reflect on her own interests does not make, indeed, that quite simply to assimilate the ideas put in circulation by the parties.

But, Madison and, Tocqueville after step badly of asses, recognized the character impossible to circumvent of the phenomenon in favor. An index which comes to reinforce the idea that the political parties are indispensable conditions of the operation of the representative regime, it is the decision of all totalitarian regime, which comes to be established in a country governs until this moment there by a democratic regime, to abolish the multi-party system, to reduce to silence the factions and to prohibit the elections. The Idea which can make us think that the "party" its the other one (the adversary) and that we represent the unit threatened by the others. This identification of a part to the whole is dangerous because she denies even the reason of the existence of the other parts and tries to assimilate or change all that does not resemble "our unit". Moreover Hitler legitimated itself like "Fuhrer" of all German and the Nazi party transformed all the other organizations in its appendices even the organizations of the players of failure was organizations national-Socialists of the players of failure.

According to Giovanni Sartori there are two great types of representative systems. One which sacrifices the representativeness of the Parliament in favor of the effectiveness of the government and the other which sacrifices the governmental effectiveness for the representativeness of the Parliament. The cause is very simple, there is no alternative[19].

The Relations between political stability and majority poll, on the one hand, and the allowance of the seats according to a proportionality very close to the voices obtained and proportional representation, on the other hand, are not absolute. These two reports are not necessary, an element of one of these reports does not determine necessarily the other. There are countries which practice the proportional representation and which have stable governments; even governments mono partisans (" one-party cabinets")[20]. In the same way, there are countries which did not adopt the proportional representation but which does not delight either by stability. These empirical examples suggest that one should not grant an absolute credit.

But Leon Duguit is the partisan of the idea that the majority poll of which the direct effect is that the representatives of half plus one only of the population are present in the Parliament, contravenes the theory of "single and indivisible" national sovereignty. For the French lawyer the poll proportional, which ensures a representation founded on a report proportional which respect the true force of the parties in the whole of the electorate of a country, answers in a more adequate way to the theory of the representative mandate.

In conclusion, it is necessarily necessary to accentuate the close connection between the elections and the parties. The modern political parties appeared and developed at the same time as the organization of the free elections and the expansion of the right to vote. The elections are very important moments for the life of the parties very as the political parties constitute a very important element at the time of the elections. Because of the large representation of the people. The political parties represent, with the electorate, the main actors during the elections since the large majority of the options of the citizens are directed in the directions of the parties (except the votes for the independent ones), which are thus, beside the electorate, ones of the principal recipients of the elections.

The parties proved institutional supports with the representative democracy, while contributing to the structuring of the vote and the identification of the general will and the majority, basic principles for the good performance of the democratic regime.

The central function of the political parties is that representative: on the one hand they provide controlling and on the other hand, they legitimate all the system policies based on the election. More precisely controlled find acceptable the access mode to the civil services and, they choose with-even controlling among the offers of the various parties[21]. So that the political parties, through the elections, provide controlling (policy-makers) and confer legitimacy necessary to the achievement of the representative function. The relation between the citizens and the political parties - organizations which mobilize the voters in order to lead them to vote for their candidate and their programs at the time of the elections is thus fundamental for the representative democracy.

[1] Bernard Manin, Principes du gouvernement reprsentatif, Flammarion, Paris, 1997 p.117.

[2] Even the Soviet countries and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which were claimed democratic, organized elections, indeed true shows.

[3] Matthew Soberg Shugart,Seats and votes:The Effects and Determinants of Electoral. Systems , Yale University Press, New Haven and London,1989, p.09.

[4] Matthew Soberg Shugart,Seats and votes:The Effects and Determinants of Electoral. Systems , Yale University Press, New Haven and London,1989 p.11.

[5] Even the medieval kings reigned to some extent in a" representative" way since they was legitimacies by the hereditary right and the divine right. The majority of the dictators claimed that they represented and expressed the interests and the aspirations of the people and they justified their actions by calling upon a" mandate" which would authorize them to act for the good of the people, Roland Pennock, Democratic Political Theory, Princeton Univ. Near, New Jersey, 1979, p.309

[6] Bernard Manin, Principes du gouvernement représentatif, Flammarion, Paris, 1997, p.75-94.

[7] Bernard Manin, Principes du gouvernement représentatif, Flammarion, Paris, 1997, p.107-113.

[8] Bernard Manin, Principes du gouvernement représentatif, Flammarion, Paris, 1997,p 115.

[9] American History, United States Information Agency, 1994, pp.63

[10] Carl Schmitt, Verfassungslehre , Paris, 1928

[11] Carl Schmitt, Verfassungslehre , Paris, 1928

[12] George Burdeau, Traité de science politique, Paris, 1985 p.222-223.

[13] George Burdeau, Traité de science politique, Paris, 1985 p.223-224.

[14] George Burdeau, Traité de science politique, Paris, 1985 p.227.

[15] Duguit, Traité de droit constitutionnel,Paris, 1922, p.494

[16] Giovanni Sartori, How far can free gouvernement travel?, Journal of Democracy, vol.6, 1995, p.103.

[17] For Giovanni Sartori the will of the people does not want to say only the people is not mistaken or that it is right always, but which it has the right to be mistaken: "Even in the West, vox populi is not necessarily understood ace vox Dei; does and I for one hold not that the people are always right goal that the people cut the right to Be mistaken", Giovanni Sartori, How far edge free government travel? , Newspaper of democracy, July 1995, vol.6, p.109.

[18] George Burdeau, Traité de science politique, Paris, 1985 p.243.

[19] Giovanni Sartori, Parties and party systems: a framework for analysis, 1976

[20] Giovanni Sartori, Parties and party systems: a framework for analysis, 1976

[21] Often the election and the relation of the elected official to the voter at summer seen as a relation of market based on the offer of political parties dependent and modeled by the request on the voters.

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