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Back to Paper Details
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Legislative (In)capacity to Act: A Proposal for Dual Open-Secret Voting in Legislatures.

Democracy
Parliaments
Representation
Dorota Mokrosinska
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Suzanne Bloks
Universität Hamburg
Dorota Mokrosinska
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Dorota Mokrosinska
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden

Abstract

Legislative deadlocks lead to deficits in democratic decision-making. The paper focuses on legislative deadlocks in consensual parliamentary systems, showing that these may be caused by collective decision problems. We argue that (1) tactical voting reinstates legislative capacity to act and that (2) closed-door settings create conditions for tactical voting, leading us to conclude that (3) to ensure the legislative capacity to act, parliamentary decision-making mechanisms must include a two-stage voting procedure where an open vote is followed by one behind closed doors. Proceeding at the intersection between democratic theory, social choice theory, and a rational choice analysis of voting procedures, the paper contributes both to a discussion of the democratic potential of different legislative systems, which has largely focused on presidential and majoritarian systems, and a discussion of secrecy and transparency in democracy. The paper ends by considering the implications of secret voting for legislator accountability.