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Electoral Reform for a More Participatory Democracy

  • Proposed by: Green Party Korea, Trees Party Taiwan, and Partai Hijau Indonesia
  • Adopted at the 4th Global Greens Congress, Liverpool 2017

Preamble:

In 2016 the Republic of Korea experienced an unprecedented case of Presidential corruption and abuse of power. According to the statistics by the organizers of the public rally held in Korea, about thirty-four million people demonstrated on the streets on the issue over 19 instances from 12 November 2016 to 18 March 2017. These protestors filled public squares across the country to raise attention to the practice of democracy in the country. The protests grew beyond the call for the President's impeachment and into a call for a fundamentally different society. Demands for the alleviation of extreme inequality, overcoming ecological crisises, peace and the alleviation of military tensions in East Asia.

In many countries, National Assembly members are elected through a single-member district by simple majority electoral system which leads to a distortion in the distribution of seats in the National Assembly and a poorly represented citizenry. Simple majority, also referred to as first-past-the-post, electoral systems moreover tends to uphold politics centered on elites and patriarchy, and tends to be dominated by few political parties which negatively affects legislation diversity. On the other hand, in a country where seats are allocated in the parliament in proportion to the percentage of a electoral votes received by a party, voters’ opinions are able to be reflected better on their government.

Electoral reform is needed for the benefit of all living species. It is also important for the Greens to take responsibility for inter-generational justice by reducing age thresholds so that more members of society may actively contribute to its future development. All across the globe, green parties have made continuous efforts to ensure proportionality in electoral systems. Green Party Korea struggles to change the political system, despite being continuously disadvantaged by the current system.

Operative Text:

Recognising the value of participatory democracy, the Global Greens shall,

  1. Pursue political reform in order to raise the standard of democracy, improve citizens’ quality of life, and overcome the global ecological crisis;
  2. Advocate for proportional representation electoral systems in which elected seats are allocated according to a party’s percentage of votes received;
  3. Strive to lower the age threshold for the right to vote and the right to be elected, and ensure, in principle, freedom to run election campaigns, thereby leading the fight for the politically marginalized and excluded to be represented in society;
  4. Urge nation states to continuously undertake electoral reform to better suit the new era of democracy; and
  5. Develop a global Green campaign for Democracy to support change to more equal electoral systems

Background Text:

All across the globe, green parties have made continuous efforts to ensure proportionality in electoral systems.  The Green Party of England and Wales is raising its voice for electoral reform, criticizing the winner-takes-all system, under which it was not allocated enough seats although it had won more than one million votes in the general election of 2015. Now the petition for Proportional Representation in the UK has passed 100,000 signatures and the PR will be considered for debate in Parliament.

Elizabeth May, the leader of Green Party of Canada and the only member of parliaments emphasizes that electoral reform is “the single-biggest democratic reform since women got to vote.”

The Green Party of the United States points out that it was due to the flaw of their electoral system that a candidate, who denies climate change and is publicly hostile to minorities and the socially disadvantaged, could win the presidential election even with fewer votes by 2.8 million than the opposing candidate’s in popular vote.

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand made history by a real change. In solidarity with other political parties in 1993, it achieved the electoral reform into a system of mixed-member proportional representation.

In the Republic of Korea: In the year of 1987 when the democratization movement came across the country successfully, the direct election for president was achieved. However, Real Democracy was not reached due to the political system, First-past-the-post.  Since its formation, Green Party Korea has struggled to change the political system, while continuously affected by irrationality of the system. With the presidential election of 2017 approaching, it is raising the issue of political reform in full scale.  In 2014, GP Korea made an appeal again the current electoral system to the Constitutional Court, and the Court held that it was unconstitutional to cancel the registration of a political party with a low percentage of electoral votes, and that it was also unconstitutional to require a party to make a large amount of deposit to have proportional representatives. Subsequently in early 2015, the National Election Commission also suggested the Proportional Representation of Germany as a desirable system. In the 20th general election of 2016, seats for the proportional representation were reduced by 47 (54 in 19th election) whereas seats for the local constituency were increased by 253 (246 in 19th election).

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