OPINION

The nightmare of simple proportional representation

the-nightmare-of-simple-proportional-representation

Just imagine for a moment that this country is being governed under a system of simple proportional representation. It would be a nightmare.

The threats and the challenges Greece is faced with are huge and unprecedented: From the coronavirus pandemic, to the migration crisis, to relations with Turkey and managing the money from the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund, Greece is faced with an unprecedented conundrum that will not go away anytime soon. 

Greek political culture is regrettably imbued with a your-loss-is-my-gain mentality. Polarization, amplified by a cannibalistic social media, has brought down bridges of communication. Trading slurs and insults between political foes has become the norm. Consensual decision-making, a political culture that is mostly prominent in the countries of Northern Europe, is absent here. 

Meanwhile, another big danger lurks. Amid the rife anti-systemic sentiment, a system of simple proportional representation would open the gates of Parliament to political parties and deputies that represent the most incredible and irrational ideas. To be honest, it wouldn’t be too hard or expensive for a minor party to enter the House under that electoral system, essentially paving the way for a political environment of cacophony and discord.

One might ask: Why not imitate countries that have for years been ruled by coalition governments? The answer is we cannot do that because, first of all, Greece has a weak state. There is no such thing as a solid state apparatus which can guarantee that the state will operate on autopilot mode regardless of what party is ruling the country, or if we go to elections every few months. Nor is Greece a country that can tolerate technocratic governments. 

A simple proportional representation system could be the surest way to a new bankruptcy. It is simply a wrong recipe for this country.