This post is a thought experiment that asks: if we had a global parliament, what would it look like? The basic idea consists of extrapolating the results of national elections onto a global chamber in order to see what sort of composition it would have.
A Global Parliament
In a global parliament with 1000 seats, this is what it might look like if only representatives from non-authoritarian countries were allowed to take their seats:
Left parties (49): This bloc would include Die Linke, SYRIZA, but would especially consist of representatives from India’s Third Front.
Centre-left (200): This includes the parties of the Socialist International, the Progressive Alliance, the Sao Paolo Forum, with the bulk of its representation coming from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance from India.
Greens (3): One representative each from Germany, Japan, and Mexico
Centrists (121): This group would include the parties of the Liberal International, various centrist formations, and its biggest contingent coming from the US Democrats.
Centre-right (222): This very broad category includes the mainstream European conservative parties, US Republicans, the Indian BJP, the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and various moderate Islamic parties. Members of the International Democratic Union or the Centrist Democrat International or EPP were assigned to this category.
Far-right (15): This bloc includes France’s National Front, the Turkish MHP and the Japan Restoration party, as well as Islamists from Indonesia.
Other (14): This includes Beppe Grillo’s M5S and Pheu Thai.
This is what a global parliament would look like if authoritarian countries were allowed to take their seats.
This is what a global parliament would look like with the authoritarian seats further broken down.
Kingdoms (7): The Saudi, Emirates, and Jordanian bloc
Theocracy (11): Iran
Other Authoritarian (125): Where Putin, the Central Asian Republics, Nigeria etc. come together
Communist Party (233): A Chinese-led bloc including representatives from Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba
The European Union as a whole, of course, would not have a very significant presence in a global parliament. And this tendency will only intensify. To give an example, when Mussolini’s Italy conquered Ethiopia, it more than doubled the African country’s population. By 2050, Ethiopia is predicted to have a population more than double Italy’s. Even the largest European countries are insignificant in numerical terms on a global scale.
The upcoming European elections might result in the most fragmented European Parliament yet. In spite of the consolidation of a European party system, the tension between voting on ideological lines and on national lines can be expected to grow. On the global scale, these trends would be even sharper.
It is interesting to think about how this global parliament would vote on issues like migration, trade, finance, or climate policy. Perhaps it would be overshadowed by a Global Commission taking its orders from a state-led Global Council?
Population statistics are from the World Bank, taking the number of people older than 14 as potential voters.
The number of seats for each country were allocated by diving the global electorate by 1000 and assigning them proportionally on the basis of the size of the different country electorates.
Seats for each party at the national level were allocated according to the d’Hondt method, with a 5% cutoff. In India the seats were assigned to the different coalitions rather than the individual parties on account of the complexity of the task.
Election results are taken generally from Wikipedia, focusing on the latest election results.
Where district and proportional results coexisted, the proportional results were used.
Countries are labeled as democratic or not on the basis of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2012, with the exception of Egypt, which I added to the authoritarian camp.
Parties obtaining representation at the national level were assigned to different blocs on the basis of the author’s judgment. Obviously there is much room for improvement and refinement.