Down With Free Elections! Part 2

Part 2 of a post by Campbell Wallace. Part 1 is here.

There are some matters that were not touched on, or were skimmed over, in my first article.

(Note: I shall continue to refer to the members of legislative bodies as MPs, which you may translate “representatives” or “deputies” or whatever. Similarly for “House”, “Chamber”, and “Parliament”; translate to what is appropriate in your country.)

One House or Two?

This will depend on the circumstances of the country involved. In a very small country, a city-state for instance, it might be adequate to have a single House chosen from all the community with no geographical circumscriptions. In a large country one might have one chamber chosen from the entire population, with a second chamber, chosen by geographic regions like today’s electorates, in order to protect local interests. Although I am not convinced of the absolute necessity of this latter approach, a good case can be made for an Upper House or Senate as a “House of Review” with powers limited to referring legislation back to the lower house with amendments. The fact that this slows legislation down is generally regarded as a good thing; laws should not be rushed.

Number of MPs

Again, this will depend on the circumstances of the country. There is nothing magical about the number 500 which I have suggested; more might be appropriate for a large country. For a small country some smaller number might be chosen, but it would be a false economy to make the number too small. It should be noted, though, that with a new ballot every six months, even a number smaller than ideal should give reasonable fairness; even if the representation is a bit skewed at any one moment, over a period of time things will even out. I think 200 might be a reasonable lower limit for a very small country.
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