Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spain receives a failing grade for electoral fairness

An eight-person FDA audit team met last night to audit electoral fairness in Spain's parliamentary monarchy electoral system.

After two hours of discussion, the FDA auditors gave Spain the following scores:

Political content of media (including broadcasters and the press):  53.75 percent

Candidate and party influence:  40 percent

Electoral finance:  11 percent

Voter say:  64.3 percent

Total:  42.25 percent (Rank: 6 out of 26 countries)

The Spanish electoral system has areas of electoral fairness including proportional representation and free public airtime to all registered parties. However, these areas are more than offset by legislated bias to parties successful in the previous election, weak regulation of the political content of media, and poor transparency of electoral finances.

Since the fall of the Franco dictatorship, the Spanish electoral system has had only two parties in power. (People's Party and the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party) In the FDA's opinion, the Spanish electoral system is legislated to produce a two party system (though not as significantly as the US federal system). Although such an approach maintains a status quo, the Spanish democracy is weakened by a narrow electoral discourse, which deprives Spaniards of electoral choice. An entrenched status quo can also undermine a democracy and society by stifling progressive ideas and allowing a minority to control the country.

An optimal democracy will encourage broad electoral discourse and create an equal playing field for registered parties.

The FDA Report of Spain will be completed by September 28.

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