An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the executive and judiciary, for regional and local government; this process is used in many other private and business organizations, from clubs to voluntary associations and corporations. The universal use of elections as a tool for selecting representatives in modern representative democracies is in contrast with the practice in the democratic archetype, ancient Athens, where the Elections were not used were considered an oligarchic institution and most political offices were filled using sortition known as allotment, by which officeholders were chosen by lot. Electoral reform describes the process of introducing fair electoral systems where they are not in place, or improving the fairness or effectiveness of existing systems.
Psephology is the study of other statistics relating to elections. To elect means "to choose or make a decision", so sometimes other forms of ballot such as referendums are referred to as elections in the United States. Elections were used as early in history as ancient Greece and ancient Rome, throughout the Medieval period to select rulers such as the Holy Roman Emperor and the pope. In Vedic period of India, the Raja of a gana was elected by the gana; the Raja belonged to the noble Kshatriya varna, was a son of the previous Raja. However, the gana members had the final say in his elections. During the Sangam Period people elected their representatives by casting their votes and the ballot boxes were tied by rope and sealed. After the election the votes were counted; the Pala King Gopala in early medieval Bengal was elected by a group of feudal chieftains. Such elections were quite common in contemporary societies of the region. In the Chola Empire, around 920 CE, in Uthiramerur, palm leaves were used for selecting the village committee members.
The leaves, with candidate names written on them, were put inside a mud pot. To select the committee members, a young boy was asked to take out as many leaves as the number of positions available; this was known as the Kudavolai system. The modern "election", which consists of public elections of government officials, didn't emerge until the beginning of the 17th century when the idea of representative government took hold in North America and Europe. Questions of suffrage suffrage for minority groups, have dominated the history of elections. Males, the dominant cultural group in North America and Europe dominated the electorate and continue to do so in many countries. Early elections in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States were dominated by landed or ruling class males. However, by 1920 all Western European and North American democracies had universal adult male suffrage and many countries began to consider women's suffrage. Despite mandated universal suffrage for adult males, political barriers were sometimes erected to prevent fair access to elections.
The question of who may vote is a central issue in elections. The electorate does not include the entire population. In Australia, Aboriginal people were not given the right to vote until 1962 and in 2010 the federal government removed the rights of prisoners serving for 3 years or more to vote. Suffrage is only for citizens of the country, though further limits may be imposed. However, in the European Union, one can vote in municipal elections if one lives in the municipality and is an EU citizen. In some countries, voting is required by law. In Western Australia, the penalty for a first time offender failing to vote is a $20.00 fine, which increases to $50.00 if the offender refused to vote prior. A representative democracy requires a procedure to govern nomination for political office. In many cases, nomination for office is mediated through preselection processes in organized political parties. Non-partisan systems tend to differ from partisan systems as concerns nominations. In a direct democracy, one type of non-partisan democracy, any eligible person can be nominated.
Although elections were used in ancient Athens, in Rome, in the selection of popes and Holy Roman emperors, the origins of elections in the contemporary world lie in the gradual emergence of representative government in Europe and North America beginning in the 17th century. In some systems no nominations take place at all, with voters free to choose any person at the time of voting—with some possible exceptions such as through a minimum age requirement—in the jurisdiction. In such cases, it is not required that the members of the electorate be familiar with all of the eligible persons, though such systems may involve indirect elections at larger geographic levels to ensure that some first-hand familiarity among potential electees can exist at these levels; as far as partisan systems, in some countries, only members of a particular party can be no
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments. Laws enacted by legislatures are known as primary legislation. Legislatures observe and steer governing actions and have exclusive authority to amend the budget or budgets involved in the process; the members of a legislature are called legislators. In a democracy, legislators are most popularly elected, although indirect election and appointment by the executive are used for bicameral legislatures featuring an upper chamber. Names for national legislatures include "parliament", "congress", "diet", "assembly", depending on country; each chamber of the legislature consists of a number of legislators who use some form of parliamentary procedure to debate political issues and vote on proposed legislation. There must be a certain number of legislators present to carry out these activities; some of the responsibilities of a legislature, such as giving first consideration to newly proposed legislation, are delegated to committees made up of a few of the members of the chamber.
The members of a legislature represent different political parties. Legislatures vary in the amount of political power they wield, compared to other political players such as judiciaries and executives. In 2009, political scientists M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig constructed a Parliamentary Powers Index in an attempt to quantify the different degrees of power among national legislatures; the German Bundestag, the Italian Parliament, the Mongolian State Great Khural tied for most powerful, while Myanmar's House of Representatives and Somalia's Transitional Federal Assembly tied for least powerful. Some political systems follow the principle of legislative supremacy, which holds that the legislature is the supreme branch of government and cannot be bound by other institutions, such as the judicial branch or a written constitution; such a system renders the legislature more powerful. In parliamentary and semi-presidential systems of government, the executive is responsible to the legislature, which may remove it with a vote of no confidence.
On the other hand, according to the separation of powers doctrine, the legislature in a presidential system is considered an independent and coequal branch of government along with both the judiciary and the executive. Legislatures will sometimes delegate their legislative power to administrative or executive agencies. Legislatures are made up of individual members, known as legislators. A legislature contains a fixed number of legislators. For example, a legislature that has 100 "seats" has 100 members. By extension, an electoral district that elects a single legislator can be described as a "seat", as, example, in the phrases "safe seat" and "marginal seat". A legislature may debate and vote upon bills as a single unit, or it may be composed of multiple separate assemblies, called by various names including legislative chambers, debate chambers, houses, which debate and vote separately and have distinct powers. A legislature which operates as a single unit is unicameral, one divided into two chambers is bicameral, one divided into three chambers is tricameral.
In bicameral legislatures, one chamber is considered the upper house, while the other is considered the lower house. The two types are not rigidly different, but members of upper houses tend to be indirectly elected or appointed rather than directly elected, tend to be allocated by administrative divisions rather than by population, tend to have longer terms than members of the lower house. In some systems parliamentary systems, the upper house has less power and tends to have a more advisory role, but in others presidential systems, the upper house has equal or greater power. In federations, the upper house represents the federation's component states; this is a case with the supranational legislature of the European Union. The upper house may either contain the delegates of state governments – as in the European Union and in Germany and, before 1913, in the United States – or be elected according to a formula that grants equal representation to states with smaller populations, as is the case in Australia and the United States since 1913.
Tricameral legislatures are rare. Tetracameral legislatures no longer exist, but they were used in Scandinavia. Legislatures vary in their size. Among national legislatures, China's National People's Congress is the largest with 2 980 members, while Vatican City's Pontifical Commission is the smallest with 7. Neither legislature is democratically elected: the National People's Congress is indirectly elected. Legislature size is a trade off between representation. Comparative analysis of national legislatures has found that size of a country's lower house tends to be proportional to the cube root of its population.
An electoral district, election district, or legislative district, called a voting district by the US Census is a territorial subdivision for electing members to a legislative body. Only voters who reside within the district are permitted to vote in an election held there. From a single district, a single member or multiple members might be chosen. Members might be chosen by a first-past-the-post system or a proportional representative system, or another voting method entirely. Members might be chosen through a direct election under universal suffrage, an indirect election, or another form of suffrage; the names for electoral districts vary across countries and for the office being elected. The term constituency is used to refer to an electoral district in British English, but it can refer to the body of eligible voters or all the residents of the represented area or only those who voted for a certain candidate; the terms precinct and election district are more common in American English. In Australia and New Zealand, electoral districts are called electorates, however elsewhere the term electorate refers to the body of voters.
In India electoral districts are referred to as "Nirvachan Kshetra" in Hindi, which can be translated to English as "electoral area" though the official English translation for the term is "constituency". The term "Nirvachan Kshetra" is used while referring to an electoral district in general irrespective of the legislature; when referring to a particular legislatorial constituency, it is referred to as "Kshetra" along with the name of the legislature, in Hindi. Electoral districts for municipal or other local bodies are called "wards". In Canada, districts are colloquially called ridings. Local electoral districts are sometimes called wards, a term which designates administrative subdivisions of a municipality. In local government in the Republic of Ireland voting districts are called "electoral areas". District magnitude is the number of representatives elected from a given district to the same legislative body. A single-member district has one representative. Voting systems that seek proportional representation inherently require multi-member districts, the larger the district magnitude the more proportional a system will tend to be Non-proportional systems may use multi-member districts, as in the House of Commons until 1950, Singapore's Group Representation Constituency, or the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Under proportional representation systems, district magnitude is an important determinant of the makeup of the elected body. With a larger number of winners, candidates are able to represent proportionately smaller minorities; the geographic distribution of minorities affects their representation - an unpopular nationwide minority can still secure a seat if they are concentrated in a particular district. District magnitude can sometimes vary within the same system during an election. In the Republic of Ireland, for instance, national elections to Dáil Éireann are held using a combination of 3, 4, 5 member districts. In Hong Kong, the magnitude ranged from 3 to 5 in 1998, when the current electoral system was introduced for Legislative Council geographical constituency elections, will range from 5 to 9 in the forthcoming election in September 2012; the only democracies with one single nationwide electoral district and no other territorial correctors are Fiji, The Netherlands, Mozambique, South Africa and Serbia.
Main articles: Apportionment and RedistrictingApportionment is the process of allocating a number of representatives to different regions, such as states or provinces. Apportionment changes are accompanied by redistricting, the redrawing of electoral district boundaries to accommodate the new number of representatives; this redrawing is necessary under single-member district systems, as each new representative requires their own district. Multi-member systems, vary depending on other rules. Ireland, for example, redraws its electoral districts after every census while Belgium uses its existing administrative boundaries for electoral districts and instead modifies the number of representatives allotted to each. Israel and the Netherlands avoid the need for apportionment by electing legislators at-large. Apportionment is done on the basis of population. Seats in the United States House of Representatives, for instance, are reapportioned to individual states every 10 years following a census, with some states that have grown in population gaining seats.
By contrast, seats in the Cantonal Council of Zürich are reapportioned in every election based on the number of votes cast in each district, only made possible by use of multi-member districts, the House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by contrast, is apportioned without regard to population. Malapportionment occurs when voters are under- or over-represented due to variation in district population. Given the complexity of this process, softwa
The Santomean passport is issued to citizens of São Tomé and Príncipe for international travel. As of 1 January 2018, Santomean citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 58 countries and territories, ranking the Santomean passport 77th in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index. Visa requirements for Santomean citizens List of passports
2011 São Toméan presidential election
A presidential election was held in São Tomé and Príncipe in 2011, the first round beginning on 17 July 2011 with a run-off held on 7 August 2011. Incumbent President Fradique de Menezes has served the maximum two terms and could not constitutionally seek a third term; the final result saw former president Manuel Pinto da Costa, aged 74, elected in a narrow victory against Speaker of Parliament Evaristo Carvalho. The first round was contested by 120 candidates; the candidate from President de Menezes' party, Force for Change Democratic Movement–Liberal Party, was Delfim Neves, who jointly represented the MDFM–PL and his own Democratic Convergence Party. Pinto da Costa, who ran independently, won the most votes but failed to receive the majority required to claim an outright victory. Carvalho, of the ruling party Independent Democratic Action, a former prime minister and the incumbent Speaker of the National Assembly, placed second. A run-off to be contested between Pinto da Costa and Carvalho was announced on the same day.
Pinto da Costa received the backing of the majority of eliminated candidates, he was expected to win comfortably. Pinto da Costa won the runoff, held 7 August, by five percentage points, he is scheduled to remain as president for a term of five years. Manuel Pinto da Costa served as São Tomé and Príncipe's first president from independence in 1975, he governed the islands as a one-party socialist state under the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe. In 1991, the legalisation of opposition political parties led to the country's first election under a democratic system. Pinto da Costa was not a candidate in that election and instead announced he would retire from politics; the MLSTP did not present an alternative candidate and Miguel Trovoada was elected unopposed. Despite his previous declaration, Pinto da Costa returned to participate in the presidential elections of 1996, but was narrowly defeated by Trovoada. In 2001, he ran against incumbent president Fradique de Menezes, was again unsuccessful.
Pinto da Costa resigned from the MLSTP in 2005. The party is led by Aurélio Martins, who placed sixth in the first round vote count. Other major candidates included former prime minister Maria das Neves and former defence minister Elsa Pinto, both independents. Pinto da Costa's main rival, represented the ADI, which won the parliamentary elections in August 2010 and is the ruling party of incumbent Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada. A total of 92,639 citizens were registered to vote. In the first round, the national electoral commission, headed by Victor Correia, recorded a turnout of 68%. Of the 120 candidates, Da Costa and Carvalho won the most votes, but neither candidate received enough support to claim a majority. Delfim Neves and Maria das Neves both won substantial vote counts, but only the first two placeholders went through to the run-off. After the results were confirmed, most of the eliminated candidates, including Delfim Neves, Maria das Neves and Aurélio Martins, endorsed da Costa's bid for the run-off.
Missions from the African Union, Community of Portuguese Language Countries and the Economic Community of Central African States sent observers to monitor the election, declared free and fair. The only major controversy observed was a boycott by around 30,000 from five small villages on São Tomé's northern shore, in protest over grievances with living conditions that had not been addressed; the polls were re-opened in these villages on 20 July. Several analysts have raised concerns that Pinto da Costa's victory may trigger a return to the authoritarian rule seen during his previous period in power. Pinto da Costa's campaign website
Proportional representation characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party roughly n% of seats will be won by that party; the essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats; the most used families of PR electoral systems are party list PR, the single transferable vote, mixed member proportional representation. With party list PR, political parties define candidate voters vote for a list; the relative vote for each list determines how many candidates from each list are elected. Lists can be "closed" or "open".
Voting districts can be as large as a province or an entire nation. The single transferable vote uses small multiple-member districts, with voters ranking individual candidates in order of preference. During the count, as candidates are elected or eliminated, surplus or discarded votes that would otherwise be wasted are transferred to other candidates according to the preferences. STV enables voters to elect independent candidates. Mixed member proportional representation called the additional member system, is a two-tier mixed electoral system combining a non-proportional plurality/majoritarian election and a compensatory regional or national party list PR election. Voters have two votes, one for their single-member district and one for the party list, the party list vote determining the balance of the parties in the elected body. According to the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, some form of proportional representation is used for national lower house elections in 94 countries. Party list PR, being used in 85 countries, is the most used.
MMP is used in seven lower houses. STV, despite long being advocated by political scientists, is used in only two: Ireland, since independence in 1922, Malta, since 1921; as with all electoral systems, both accepted and opposing claims are made about the advantages and disadvantages of PR. The case for proportional representation was made by John Stuart Mill in his 1861 essay Considerations on Representative Government: In a representative body deliberating, the minority must of course be overruled, but does it follow that the minority should have no representatives at all?... Is it necessary that the minority should not be heard? Nothing but habit and old association can reconcile any reasonable being to the needless injustice. In a equal democracy, every or any section would be represented, not disproportionately, but proportionately. A majority of the electors would always have a majority of the representatives, but a minority of the electors would always have a minority of the representatives.
Man for man, they would be as represented as the majority. Unless they are, there is not equal government... There is a part whose fair and equal share of influence in the representation is withheld from them, contrary to all just government, above all, contrary to the principle of democracy, which professes equality as its root and foundation. Many academic political theorists agree with Mill, that in a representative democracy the representatives should represent all segments of society. PR tries to resolve the unfairness of majoritarian and plurality voting systems where the largest parties receive an "unfair" "seat bonus" and smaller parties are disadvantaged and have difficulty winning any representation at all; the established parties in UK elections can win formal control of the parliament with as little as 35% of votes. In certain Canadian elections, majority governments have been formed by parties with the support of under 40% of votes cast. If turnout levels in the electorate are less than 60%, such outcomes allow a party to form a majority government by convincing as few as one quarter of the electorate to vote for it.
In the 2005 UK election, for example, the Labour Party under Tony Blair won a comfortable parliamentary majority with the votes of only 21.6% of the total electorate. Such misrepresentation has been criticized as "no longer a question of'fairness' but of elementary rights of citizens". Note intermediate PR systems with a high electoral threshold, or other features that reduce proportionality, are not much fairer: in the Turkish general election, 2002, using an open list system with a 10% threshold, 46% of votes were wasted. Plurality/majoritarian systems can disproportionately benefit regional parties that can win districts where they have a strong following, while other parties with national support but no strongholds, like the Greens, win few or no seats. An example is the Bloc Québécois in Canada that won 52 seats in the 1993 federal election, all in Quebec, on 13.5% of the national vote, while the Progressive Conservatives collapsed to two seats on 16% spread nationally. In the 2015 UK General Election, the Scottish National Party gained 56 seats, all in Sc
Districts of São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe is divided into seven administrative districts since 1980. Six are located on the main island of São Tomé. Since 1995, the Pagué District has been replaced by the Autonomous Region of Príncipe. List of cities and towns in São Tomé and Príncipe