Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

EU politics

Many of the democratic aspects of the EU are based on proportional representation, in order to give some power to less than majority or near-majority groups.

However, there's always a problem when allocating the fractional parts of the voting results. Who gets the last seat in the legislature when no party has enough votes to win it outright?

Thomas Jefferson designed a system for the U.S. Congress back in the 18th century. Belgian mathematician Victor D'Hondt designed a similar system in the 19th century. The EU claims to use the D'Hondt system. But cooperation among the largest parties can negate the results of the D'Hondt system.

Big three EP parties gang up to block eurosceptic committee chair
As expected the eurosceptic group Europe of Freedom & Direct Democracy (EFDD) failed on Monday to win the chairmanship of the petitions committee of the European Parliament (EP).

EFDD, which is led by the UK's Nigel Farage… should have been awarded the chairmanship under the D'Hondt system, which is designed to award posts in proportion to the number of MEPs in each political grouping.

But an agreement between the three largest groups in the EP - - the European People's Party (EPP), the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) and the Liberal ALDE - resulted in a majority of the votes going instead to Cecilia Wikstrom, a Swedish ALDE MEP…

EFDD co-president UK MEP Nigel Farage said: "The Federalist fanatics have shown their true anti-democratic colours. They hate scrutiny and opposition and therefore hate the EFDD Group with a passion - which I suppose, should make us proud.

"The Europhile groups have again demonstrated their fear of democracy, their hatred of minority views, and their clear rejection of transparency. EU Federalists are a disgrace but the public should realise their views and their dirty dealings are emblematic of the European Parliament."…

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