Electoral systems may endlessly differ in number. The main reason is that none of the electoral systems correspond all the criteria chosen for evaluation. While choosing a system, people obtain some values by losing others. Due to this, every government chooses the system which more corresponds to it that offers opportunity of effective work of government, economic progress and stability of the country.
Parliamentary elections in the Republic of Azerbaijan including elections to Milli Majlis in the same year until 2000 elections have been held on mixed electoral systems. It means that 100 seats from 125 in Milli Majlis are formed on pluralist-majority system and 25 seats of them on proportional representation system. But after 2000 the parliamentary elections held in 2005 was on pluralist majority system. November 2010 elections will also be held on pluralist-majority system. Some opposition parties offer to restore proportional representation system and to hold parliamentary elections fully on this system. But on the contrary, the ruling party in Milli Majlis states that pluralist-majority system corresponds to Azerbaijan’s reality and creates circumstances for more effective functioning of it in comparison with previous years. In order to see closely which of these suggestions are more important, we should look through international experience in this sphere.
There are different categories of electoral systems in international experience which are as follows:
• Pluralist- majority systems (All go to the winner- AGW)
• Proportional representation systems (PR)
• Sub proportional systems
The pluralist-majority system applied in the Azerbaijan Republic is also used in such democratic countries as United States of America and Great Britain. 150 seats from 235 in Georgian Parliament are formed on pluralist-majority and 85 seats on proportional representation system. In Ukrainian Parliament, elections to 250 seats out of 450 were held on pluralist majority system and to 200 seats on proportional representation system. All 550 seats in Turkey Grand National Assembly are formed on proportional representation electoral system. In order to get detailed information on above mentioned electoral systems there is need to give an explanation to them.
According to pluralist-majority system (AGW) the candidate who gained relative majority of votes wins the elections. For example, if one candidate gains 51% of votes and the other 49%, the candidate gained 51% of votes is considered a winner and almost all votes (100%) goes to him. This system, contrary to the proportional representation system (PR) allows the party gained majority of votes to increase number of seats in the Parliament. For instance, in this system the party gained 53% of votes can occupy 60% of seats. According to this system one candidate is chosen from each district and the candidate who gained majority of votes, wins the election.
Pluralist majority system allows the party which has majority in the Parliament to implement its program, even if some members of that party went to opposition. This system closely corresponds to efficiency criterion of the government.
Proportional representation systems (PR). According to this system, the number of votes given to each party coincides with the number of seats that party occupied in the Parliament. For example, the party gained 52% of votes in the elections gets 52% of seats in the Parliament. This system seems to be attractive because due to the given votes to the parties over the country do not disappear, they go to the parties. However, the system contributes to have large number of parties being in hostility and competing in the Parliament and this makes difficult the formation of coalition majority. Even if such a coalition is formed, there is a little hope for its stability. As a result of this, efficiency of the government sharply decreases.
Sub proportional systems. As seen from its name this system considers holding elections on mixed system basis.
Together with these systems there is alternative vote (AV) known as preferential voting and two round systems applied in France. Both of them allow eliminating potential defect of AGW system. This defect is that when 2 candidates run for one mandate the winner unexpectedly will be that one which would be refused by voters if they have been given an opportunity to vote again. AV system offers this opportunity to voters. Though alternative vote (AV) is used only in Australia and in modified form in the Nauru Island states in the Pacific Ocean, some experts support it. According to this system candidates are chosen from one-mandate constituencies (as in AGW). But the difference is that the voters form the list of candidates on their wish. 1 point is given to the candidate taken the first place on the list; two points are given to candidate of the second place, etc. when none of the candidates could gain majority of votes, candidate who collected minority of votes is excluded from election. This process continues until one of the candidates collects 50% of votes. In this case, while recounting votes, sum of the “second places” given to the candidates is taken into consideration.
Two round run-off systems applying in France is directed to obtain analogical result.
The new staff to be elected to Milli Mejlis (Parliament) of the Republic of Azerbaijan this year will be formed on the majority election system. We think, this system is more convenient for Azeri reality, as well as it offers a good opportunity for the stability development in the country and realization of government’s programs.