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Proportional Electoral Systems Cause As Many Problems As They Solve

1038 words - 5 pages

A proportional electoral system is a system which produces a close fit between votes and seats. A formula is used to match the percentage of seats won by each party to the percentage of votes they won. Simply put; the number of votes that the party receives determines the number of seats in parliament they achieve. Examples of a proportional electoral system included the Additional Member System as used in Wales and the Single Transferable Vote as used in the Republic of Ireland. There are however alternative systems that don’t use proportional representation – these include First Past the Post – a system which means the winner only needs 1 more vote than its closest rival – not an absolute ...view middle of the document...

There are several advantages to proportional electoral systems, these include; the Additional Member System balances the desirability of constituency representation with that of fairness in election outcomes therefore making it a fair and effective system. Voters also have a greater choice with the Additional Member Service – the split ticket system means that constituents vote to support a candidate from one party and their list vote to support another – this ensure there is a wide range of parties represented. Another advantage from a proportional electoral system, this time the Single Transferrable Vote is that only a party or a group of parties that wins more than 50% of the popular vote can form a government therefore ensuring that the government is being run by a party which won the majority of votes. The Single Transferrable Vote also means that voters can choose between a large range of candidates, including different candidates from the same party meaning that they can vote for the politician they believe will best represent their needs in parliament.
Despite there being advantages to Proportional Electoral Systems there are also several disadvantages which go some way in proving the statement that “Proportional electoral systems cause as many problems as they solve” One disadvantage caused by the proportional electoral system Single Transferrable Vote is the fact that it is likely to produce a coalition government that may be unstable and give disproportional influence to minor parties that hold the balance of power. A key example of this is the 2010 general election whereby there was a hung parliament which resulted in the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats entering into a Coalition government- a government made up of more than one party. Issues from the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition government include both parties having to compromise on their ideologies thus letting down their supporters. Another disadvantage from the Coalition Government of 2010 is that conflict within governance due to differing ideologies makes for a fractious government whilst also weakening government.
It is clear that Proportional Electoral Systems create both advantages and disadvantages and do create as many...

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