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Electoral Systems 20 How to get elected in a Democracy First Past the Post.

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Presentation on theme: "Electoral Systems 20 How to get elected in a Democracy First Past the Post."— Presentation transcript:

1 Electoral Systems 20 How to get elected in a Democracy First Past the Post

2 First Past the Post (FPTP) In FPTP systems, the winning candidate is simply the person who wins most votes. In theory, a candidate could be elected with two votes, if every other candidate only secured a single vote. (FPTP) systems are found in the United Kingdom and those countries historically influenced by Britain. Along with the United Kingdom, the most analyzed cases are Canada, India, New Zealand, and the United States of America.

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4 Advantages of FPTP It provides a clear cut choice for voters between two main parties. The built-in disadvantages faced by third and fragmented minority parties under FPTP in many cases makes the party system gravitate towards a party of the "left" and a party of the "right", alternating in power. Third parties often wither away, and almost never reach a threshold of popular support where their national vote achieves a comparable percentage of parliamentary seats. (NDP)

5 Advantages of FPTP It gives rise to single party governments. The "seat bonuses" for the largest party common under FPTP (i.e., where one party wins, for example, 45 percent of the national vote but 55 percent of the seats) means that coalition governments are the exception rather than the rule. This state of affairs is praised for providing cabinets unshackled from the restraints of having to bargain with a minority coalition partner.

6 It gives rise to a coherent parliamentary opposition.  In theory, the flip side of a strong single-party government is that the opposition is also given enough seats to perform a critical checking role, and present itself as a realistic alternative to the government of the day. It benefits broadly-based political parties.  In severely ethnically or regionally-divided societies, FPTP is praised for encouraging political parties to be "broad churches", encompassing many elements of society, particularly when there are only two major parties and many different societal groups. (Reform Alliance)

7 It excludes extremist parties from parliamentary representation.  Unless an extremist minority party's electoral support is geographically concentrated, it is unlikely to win any seats under FPTP.  This contrasts with the situation under straight PR systems, where a fraction of one per cent of the national vote can ensure parliamentary representation. It retains the link between constituents and their Member of Parliament (MP).  Perhaps the most often quoted advantage of FPTP systems is that they give rise to a parliament of geographical representatives: MPs represent defined areas.

8 It allows voters to choose between people, rather than just between parties.  voters can assess the performance of individual candidates It gives a chance for popular independent candidates to be elected. Finally, FPTP systems are particularly praised for being simple to use and understand.  A valid vote requires only one mark beside the name or symbol of one candidate, and the number of candidates on the ballot paper is usually small, making the count easy to administer for electoral officials.


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