Though West Germany adopted PR, like the weak Weimar regime, it started with few parties and before long passed a law that parties with less than 5% of the vote would get no seats in parliament. (Our Canadian Greens got less than that in 2006, I note.)
The unification of West and East Germany in 1990 made a more complex nation-state. Federal German politics is now a constellation of five parties, and the FDP has struggled to meet the 5% threshold.
It is hard for ... [Angela Merkel's coalition] government to make strong decisions. Even the mildest measures to make labour markets more flexible, and thus reduce East German unemployment, are a struggle.
Andrew Coyne did not read Tuesday's Post editorial attentively. With inexact reasoning, he claims there is a contradiction between two consequences of PR alleged by the Post: party fragmentation and excessive consensus. If he followed the politics of Continental Europe with active interest, he would see the drift that results when those two factors collaborate.
PR is not good for countries as complex as unified Germany and Canada. It would mean endless and incoherent coalition governments.
Friday, April 20, 2007
PR - more evidence it's a bad idea
In today's National Post Gerald Owen rebuts Andrew Coyne in an excellent column discussing PR in relation to the German experience: