The quality of a democracy is regulated by the electoral system that awards seats in democratic assemblies to those seeking office. This paper will compare the electoral systems of the parliaments of the United Kingdom (herein called Britain) and Sweden in order to determine which country has the preferred electoral system. The quality to be measured is the fairness of democratic representation, which is to say, how properly the various public interests are represented and how much control voters have over their government. The first part of the paper will study each electoral system separately, looking at the mechanics of how the members of parliament are elected, what kind of political party system can participate in the parliament, and how the parties go about setting up the executive branch of government. The second part will compare and contrast the two parliaments, and afterwards it will be shown how one of the parliaments represents its electorate more fairly and democratically. These two countries have been chosen because Britain?s electoral system is characterized as a system of single-member districts, and Sweden?s system is considered to provide proportional representation, which strives to elect members of political parties in the proportions in which votes were cast.
The Electoral System in Britain
Voters in Britain elect members of the House of Commons, the more powerful lower house of the Westminster Parliament, for maximum terms of five years. Each one of the 659 electoral districts sends one member to the House of Commons after being chosen on the basis of plurality. Candidates obtain their places on the ballot by being nominated by their party. Frequently the w...
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Kavanagh, Dennis (2000). British Politics: Continuity and Change. New York: Oxford University Press.
Mattila, Mikko and Tapio Raunio (2002). "Government Formation in the Nordic Countries: The Electoral Connection," Scandinavian Political Studies. 25(3): 259-280.
Metcalf, Michael F (1987). The Riksdag: A History of the Swedish Parliament. New York: St. Martin?s Press.
Nation Master (2003). "British House of Commons." St. Petersburg, Florida: WikiMedia.
Nation Master (2003). "Elections in Sweden." St. Petersburg, Florida: WikiMedia.
Petersson, Olof et al. (1997). Report from the Democratic Audit of Sweden 1996. Stockholm: SNS F�rlag.
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