cohabitation

  • Consequences of the Electoral System in Polish Municipalities – Pathologies and Abuses

    Pathologies and abuses accompany elections and are connected with the electoral system both in its narrow and broad sense. Moreover, they stem from a human nature and a degree of democratic principles consolidation. Cohabitation is conditioned by the electoral system and, in the case of the proportional allocation of seats, it arises more often than in the majority system with single member constituencies. The phenomenon itself is not always pathological. However, such an adverse situation develops when it comes to clashes, neither substantive nor creative, between the municipal bodies and, in consequence, the interests of the local community are jeopardised. Elections at the municipal level are also accompanied by other pathologies and abuses including: coercing votes when voting by proxy, adding voters to an electoral roll, bringing residents to a polling place, paying for one’s votes, preying on the naïvety of voters which can take grotesque forms or brutalising an election campaign caused by the mediatisation of local policy. The above-mentioned phenomena were examined and presented in the paper based on the analysis of statistical data, articles from the local press and, most essentially for the discussed subject, a rich material collected thanks to the in-depth interviews conducted by the authors.

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