Mixed Member Electoral Systems in Transition Contexts: How Has the System Worked in Albania?
Title: Mixed Member Electoral Systems in Transition Contexts: How Has the System Worked in Albania?
Author: ELBASANI, Arolda
Citation: CEU Political Science Journal, 2008, 3, 1, 72-92
Among the many factors that crucially shape democracies, electoral design holds a special fascination for both scholars and practitioners. The third “wave” of democratisation has spurred new interest on electoral engineering as closely related to issues of effective democratic design. Yet, a substantial body of the literature warns that miracles hardly follow from the change of the electoral system and it is but one of the factors that bears on the electoral results. This article subscribes to the body of literature, which questions whether electoral models can work in the same way in the new post-communist settings as in the old ones. The analyses draws on the case of Albania, which since the very beginning of the transition has borrowed almost by letter Germany’s successful post-war mixed system. In order to analyse the working of the new electoral design in operational detail, the article focuses on the 2005 parliamentary poll. The article suggests that the Albanian elections have failed to reproduce the promised qualities of the original system mainly due to a plethora of electoral rules outside of the contours of the system itself and the application of parties’ tactical strategies that ultimately worked to circumvent the spirit of the system. The article puts forth that electoral studies need pay more attention to the plethora of broad rules as well as the corrupt or semi-corrupt practices that infiltrate the process at various points when considering the consequences of systemic configurations to particular countries.
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