Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is there any difference between Obama and HVR?

The title caught your attention didn't?

The actual question to be deliberated is whether there is much difference in the way the US President and the President of the European Council are elected.

Not that much, after all!

And here is why.

When the American voters are voting for President, each state is "carried" by one of the candidates and all of that state's electors go to that candidate. Each state does of course elect a different number of electors, depending on its population. But the correlation is not linear.

It is thus possible for a candidate to lose in many states by let's say 20% or more and still get elected if he/she carries some of biggest states and get's 100% of their electors, with a mere 51.1% vs 49.9% margin! Why? Because all that matters, after all, is the number of electors each candidate has in the Electoral College.

The President of the European Council as well as the closest the EU has to a Secretary of State (aka Foreign Minister)) are selected by the European Council, ie the elected heads of state (eg the Pres of France) or government (usually Prime Minister)of the 27 member states. Unless they are acting in "IGC" capacity (eg when they decide on new EU Treaties) each member of the European Council has a different voting weight, roughly correlated with the population of that state.

So how different are the members of the European Council than the US Electoral College after all? If anything, in the EU, unlike the US, the Secretary of State is too (s)elected by the "electors". The fact that HVR the current Pres. of European Council is of EPP affiliation and the EU High Rep of PES affiliation(Party of European Socialists) is a reflection of the fact that when the election took place the majority of the members of the European Council were EPP members while there was a significant minority of PES members.

IMO neither of the systems are democratic enough, ie there is a certain deficit, but that applies, almost equally to both the EU and the US!

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Nick

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