What governing institutions and which electoral system should the state of Newbie adopt?
In this assignment, taking on the role of a consultant, you will demonstrate your understanding of how the choices of governing institutions and electoral systems affect accountability, stability, policymaking, and representation in democracies based on information provided in presentations in Modules 08 and 09 and Chapters 5 and 6 in Introducing Comparative Politics: Concepts and Cases in Context.
(Note: To a lesser extent, you may find useful material in Chapters 4 and 7 and Modules 07 and 10 as they relate to relative stability and potential conflicts among groups in society.)
What to Create and Submit (the outcome)
Prepare and submit a written report of approximately 500-750 words that describes and explains your recommendations to the leaders of a constitutional convention for the new state of Newbie about the governing institutions and electoral system they should adopt.
Your report should demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the options for democratic governing institutions and electoral systems, including the advantages and disadvantages of each option with respect to stability, accountability, effective policymaking, and representation, and reflect your ability to apply these options to the case of Newbie and it’s main goals.
- Include a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph that clearly states your recommendations for each of the following:
- The executive-legislative governing institutions: Presidential or parliamentary national executive-legislative system?
- The electoral system for members of the national legislature: Single-member district (SMD) or proportional representation (PR)?
- Included in your consideration should be the types of political parties and party systems likely to result.
- A federal or unitary system with respect to the relationship between the national and sub-national governments?
- Briefly summarize and describe each of the recommended institutions.
Explain and support your recommendations.
- Acknowledge how the choice made about one set of institutions may affect the choices or outcomes of others and how the combination you recommend would create a coherent political system for Newbie.
- Explain why you believe the institutions you recommend will provide a framework and structure to help Newbie achieve its main goals.
- Support your recommendations with sound reasoning, theoretical logic, and empirical evidence about Newbie (which might include comparisons to actual case examples).
What To Do (the process)
Review the information below about Newbie, a new (fictional) state.
- The state of Newbie came into existence approximately one year ago, after seceding from the Republic of Oldie. Its transitional leadership is currently hosting a Constitutional Convention and is deliberating about which institutional arrangements to adopt and include in their new constitution. Specifically, they are seeking your recommendations based on the merits of different governing institutions and electoral systems.
- In choosing and establishing its governing institutions and electoral system, the transitional leadership of Newbie has the following main goals
- Establish a stable political and social system and solidify its place as an independent sovereign state within the international community.
- Maintain a democratic regime accountable to and representative of the interests and preferences of the people living within the state.
- Create a system that will effectively make and implement public policies and provide public services desired and expected by its citizens.
Mitigate potential ethnic conflict within its borders among several existing ethnic groups to maximize stability and representation.
- Members of each of the groups tend to live in distinct and identifiable geographic regions within the new country’s territory. Each group has approximately the same total population size.
- There is a history of distrust between the groups such that many members of each group fear that the other groups may take over control of the state and impose their culture and institutions on the whole population. Despite these misgivings, each group feels they have more in common with the other groups within Newbie than they have with those in the state of Oldie or other countries in the area.
Consider the options and develop recommendations for Newbie’s governing institutions and electoral systems.
- Take into account Newbie’s situation and main goals when evaluating options for governing institutions and electoral systems.
- Use your knowledge and understanding of the options for democratic governing institutions and electoral systems, including the advantages and disadvantages of each option with respect to stability, accountability, effective policymaking, and representation.
- Be sure you are able to both describe and explain your recommendation for each of the following:
- The national executive-legislative governing institutions: Parliamentary, presidential, or semi-presidential system? What should this system look like for Newbie? Why is this set of institutions best for Newbie?
- The electoral system for members of the national legislature: Single-member district (SMD) or proportional representation (PR)? What would this look like for Newbie? What are the likely outcomes in terms of participation, representation, types of political parties, and party systems with the electoral system you are recommending? Why is this best for Newbie?
- A federal or unitary system with respect to the relationship between the national and sub-national governments? What should this system look like in Newbie? Why is this system best for Newbie?
- If you believe you do not have sufficient information about Newbie, state the assumptions and/or limitations under which your recommendations are being made.