A report of a study by participant observation of the decision-making process in the Free-Democratic Party in the Berne Canton in Switzerland from Jan 1969 to Sep 1970. In May 1970 the parliament of the Berne Canton was elected. It is investigated whether the time distance to election day has any influence on the decision-making process in the Free-Democratic Party. The starting hyp's are: (1) The more the decision-makers anticipate the reactions of the voters, the more they anticipate that the result of the election will change their balance of rewards & punishments in a positive or negative way. (2) The more the decision-makers anticipate that the result of the election will change their balance of rewards & punishments in a positive or negative way, (a) the more they perceive their pol'al role as important, (b) the more they perceive their pol'al role as depending on the result of elections, (c) the more they anticipate that the next election could change their pol'al role, & (d) the more they perceive their pol'al party as an important group of reference. Further hyp's deal with the question of whether the time distance to election day has a conservative or a progressive influence on the decision-making process. Because the coding of the data is still in progress, the paper presents only the preliminary hyp's without any data. However, the hyp's are discussed re their relevance for democratic theory. AA.
A new election approach has been tried out: not an electorate motivation study, but the analysis of how the general elections are a process of power achievement in the pol'al system. The method is qualitative & quantitative: (1) delimiting the diff moments of power distribution; (2) proving that these diff moments are effectively power distributing; & (3) determining the amount of power distribution in each moment. For the Belgian case study, the data are provided by participant observation, exploration of electoral statistics, & 3 ET's (mixed type, by mail, N=100, N=70, N=1,716). There are 5 effective moments in the power distribution by the Belgian general elections: the composition of the lists of candidates, the electoral figure, the electoral behavior, the motivation of the vote, the 'vote to seats transformal calculations.' As the Belgian electorate does not use all the power that it can, a question mark has been put to the antithesis of herrschende Klasse (Rc) & beherrschte Klasse (ruled class), to the 'rulers' & the 'onlyvoters' (Dahrendorf & Lange). By not choosing from the candidates, a possibility the electorate has, the voters give more power to the oligarchic composers of the lists. The voters are only co-actors in the electoral process. Their power is limited to the division of the seats among the several parties. AA.