Coaliciones que paralizan

La reelección de Tony Blair en Gran Bretaña el año pasado fue una victoria apabullante para el nuevo laborismo, y le dio a su partido una mayoría invunerable en la Cámara de los Comunes. Gerhard Schröder apenas alcanzó la mayoría en el Bundestag alemán gracias a la ayuda de sus no muy apreciados compañeros de coalición, los verdes, y a unos cuantos "escaños adicionales" que otorgan las reglas del sistema electoral.

¿Cuál de esas aseveraciones es cierta y cuál falsa? Curiosamente, ambas son tanto verdaderas como falsas. Un hecho sorprendente acerca del Partido Laborista del primer ministro Blair es que en 2001 obtuvo un 2% menos de los votos que consiguió en 1997, para terminar con un poco más del 40% de los votos totales. Los socialdemócratas de Schröder también perdieron 2% del voto popular en comparación con 1988 y tuvieron poco menos del 40% del total. Además, al ganar el 38.5% de una participación electoral del 80%, Schröder podría alegar que obtuvo el apoyo de la tercera parte del electorado, mientras que Blair fue electo apenas por la cuarta parte (40% de una participación del 60%).

La diferencia entre estos dos líderes de centro-izquierda no es su éxito electoral, sino el sistema bajo el que operan. El sistema electoral británico de mayoría simple le dio a Blair una posición sólida, mientras que el sistema alemán de voto proporcional modificado dio a Schröder y a sus aliados verdes una escasa (y tal vez tambaleante) mayoría.

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