MESOP TODAYS OPINION : “Brawl in Turkish National Assembly Indicates Deeper Trouble” (Christopher Gandrud, Political Violence at a Glance)

“We tend to see more legislative violence in parliaments where legislators find it difficult to make credible commitments to follow peaceful legislative bargains. Just like in international conflict, when one side doesn’t believe that the other side will uphold their peacefully bargained commitments, MPs may choose violence as a last-ditch effort to achieve their goals. There are many reasons why legislators may think that their opponents will not stick to their peaceful commitments.

One condition is a disproportionate electoral system (i.e. when some parties receive a much larger proportion of legislative seats than their vote shares), while others receive much less. These situations create opportunities for large power shifts as simple electoral rule changes to improve proportionality will greatly benefit one side and hurt the other. Those hurt by unfair rules have strong incentives to change them. On the other hand, beneficiaries of status quo rules have strong incentives to prevent these changes. They might use violence to protect the status quo. More generally, credible commitment problems tend to be prevalent in new democracies. In new democracies, legislators have less information about whether or not their opponents are likely to follow rules to peacefully share and alternate power instead of permanently seizing it for themselves. ” Read all*Mideast%20Brief