This book examines the importance of democracy as a system of government. Exploring various forms of democratic government throughout the world, the essays assess how democracy works in theory and in practice.
Chapters cover how to improve democracy using case studies from the Caribbean and Spain, how to make parliaments more effective through technology and the structure of parliamentary bodies. the comparative benefits of different electoral systems.
The contributors also examine problems thrown up by various recent elections including the American election in 2000, Sri Lanka, Poland and various African experiences.
Mary Anne Griffith-Traversy is former Deputy Clerk of the Canadian House of Commons and is the author of Democracy, Parliament and Electoral Systems (Pluto Press, 2003).
Foreword by Arthur Donahoe, QC, Secretary-General, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, 1992 - 2001 Preface 1. Introduction: Democracy, Parliaments and Electoral Systems PART I - BUILDING DEMOCRACY 2. Enhancing democracy: A Caribbean Perspective 3. Improving Transparency and Integrity in Political Processes 4. The Spanish Transition: Dictatorship to Democracy PART II - MAKING PARLIAMENTS MORE EFFECTIVE 5. Strengthening Parliament's Role 6. Do Unicameral or Bicameral Parliaments Function More Effectively? 7. Information Technology and Parliamentary Effectiveness PART III - ELECTORAL SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES 8. Alternative Electoral Systems 9. Mandatory Voting: Pros and Cons 10. Gender Equality and Electoral Systems 11. Holding Elections: The Mechanics 12. External Influences on Electoral Processes i) Exit Polls, Time Zones and Election Length ii) Opinion Polls and the Media PART IV - COUNTRY BASED INSIGHTS ON ELECTORAL ISSUES 13. Ethnically Divided Polities: The Case of Sri Lanka 14. The United States Presidential Election: Year 2000 15. Disputed Election Results: Various African Experiences 16. Evolving Electoral Systems: The Experience of Poland 17. The New Zealand Experience of Changing Electoral Systems Afterword Appendices