Electoral Systems in the Caribbean

1135 words 5 pages
Essay Question Number 4; The Electoral systems in the Caribbean needs to be changed. How real is this view?

An election as a political process serves as the single most important mechanism for citizens to participate in the selection of a government. When conducted to international standards, elections tend to confer legitimacy on a government. In the Commonwealth Caribbean, the electoral experience varies and tends to reflect not only the socio-political culture of the member state but also its particular electoral system.

The electoral system determines the difference between votes and seats; how votes are translated into seats. How many and what kind of votes are needed to get a seat varies from system to system. As a result,
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This is also a presidential system however the president is directly elected in national elections. There are three types of elections. There are elections to the lower house of the congress or the Chamber of Deputies. One hundred and forty nine members are elected for four years by proportional representation. This means that parties obtain a number of seats in proportion to the total votes they receive in a national vote. Another 30 members are elected to the senate for four years from each of the 30 provinces. These elections are held by the first past the post formula. Candidates from the parties contest seats for the senate and the one, who wins the most votes in a province, wins that seat.

Then there are national elections for the president on the basis of the majority formula. Each party puts forward a presidential candidate in May of an election year. If a candidate wins an outright majority of 50% plus one vote, he is the winner. If no candidate wins a majority then a second round of voting occurs in June. At this point, only the two candidates with the most votes in May remain in the contest and all others are eliminated. The candidate who receives a majority in the second round of voting wins. The Dominican Republic therefore uses proportional representation for election to the Lower House, first past the post for the Upper House and a majority system for


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