Monday, November 21, 2011

The right wins in Spain

Spain went to the polls yesterday, and gave the right-wing People's Party an absolute majority. The reason? Because the alternative, the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE), had betrayed its base by inflicting ECB-driven austerity without regard for the consequences. As a result, one and a half million more voters stayed home, while millions more abandoned PSOE to vote for parties further to the left, where their votes were discounted by the unfair Spanish electoral system. Spain uses proportional representation, but over absurdly small regions, with the result that the outcome is not in fact proportional. As an example, the People's Party got 44.6% of the votes, but 53.1% of the seats, while the Union, Progress and Democracy Party got 4.7% of the votes, and 1.4% of the seats. If Spain's electoral system was fair, they'd be looking at a coalition, not a majority government.

All of which is a nice demonstration of how electoral systems matter. A fair electoral system gives us power, and allows us to register our discontent with the major parties, and thus force them to change. An unfair system doesn't. You might want to think about that on Saturday.