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How party systems Form: The Institutional, Historical and Strategic Foundations of the Post-War ... - page 25 / 42





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vote used in winner-take-all district races and a party vote applied to the state-wide party lists. The two separate votes permitted ticket splitting and thus have repeatedly created the impression that parties could make voters count more if they coordinated their ticket splitting. Leave out for now: Kathleen Bawn, for example, claims, without clearly demonstrating how, that ticket splitting in the 1950s could change as many as many as 17 seats. (Bawn 1993, 977) The first ballot only determines how many SMD, as opposed to list seats, a party wins and has no bearing on its overall seat share which is exclusively based on the second ballot. The first ballot, in other words, merely adds a personalizing element, permitting voters to express a personal preference for individual candidates. So given the centrality of the second vote for a party’s overall seat share, any additional SMD seats won through ticket splitting are inconsequential. This fact is frequently lost on voters and politicians alike who keep on believing that ticket splitting somehow can affect the overall seat distribution among parties. (Jesse 1985, 265-68)

The one instance, though, were ticket splitting actually can affect the seat distribution is when parties strategically withdraw candidates across districts to cross the secondary SDM electoral threshold. As we will see further below, the CDU withdrew in 1953 and 1957 candidates in a handful of safe SMD, thus artificially removing incentives for strategic voting, and instructed its voters to cast their ballots for one of their coalition partner (e.g. either the DP, Zentrum or FDP). The objective of such strategic withdrawals was to award these parties SMD seats so that they could clear the secondary electoral threshold even though they had little chance of crossing the national 5% electoral threshold. The double ballot made such strategic withdrawals far less costly for the CDU because its voters could still cast their decisive, second list vote for their party, thus assuring that ticket splitting would not reduce its seat share. (Jesse 1985, 261-65) Not surprisingly, the number of strategic withdrawals increased from 31 in 1949 to 77 in 1953 before dropping, largely because of the CDU’s absorption of many small parties, to 20 in 1957. The more general impact such strategic withdrawals had on party fragmentation is discussed in the paper’s final section. (Schindler 1984, 106-110)

Finally, in 1951, the SPD and CDU/CSU cooperated to raise the number of deputies required to form a parliamentary faction from 11 to 15. Their goal was to make

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