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The case for and against PR FPTP or PR?. Possible criteria for a new system Ease of voting Does each vote have an equal weight? High level of proportionality.

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Presentation on theme: "The case for and against PR FPTP or PR?. Possible criteria for a new system Ease of voting Does each vote have an equal weight? High level of proportionality."— Presentation transcript:

1 The case for and against PR FPTP or PR?

2 Possible criteria for a new system Ease of voting Does each vote have an equal weight? High level of proportionality Stable govt able to govern effectively MP-Constituent link maintained/improved Allow voters to express preference between and within parties

3 Representativeness PR will give a fairer reflection of how the nation voted. Smaller parties will receive fairer representation End the dominance of the two main parties It is not the purpose of a system to offer a perfect reflection of votes cast. If smaller parties kept working instead of pursuing sour grapes reform they might one day be able to enjoy the benefits of FPTP.

4 Complexity Whilst some of the maths behind the PR systems is complex, filling in the ballot paper is straightforward. Are we less able than the Irish?! Easier than filling in a lottery ticket! Forms of PR are too complex. FPTP is well known and understood. Can the disruption that would be caused be justified by a campaign led by those with a vested interest in change?

5 MP-Constituent Relationship Single member seats are not a sacred institution – multi-member seats functioned into the 20 th Century. Multi-member seats may strengthen the relationship. Is the relationship really that strong? Traditional close relationship risked. Groups of MPs won’t have the same feeling of responsibility for enlarged constituencies. Closed Lists: we have no say over who we get.

6 By-elections Some PR systems allow for this test of opinion. Local elections and regular opinion polls provide barometers. Some PR systems do not allow for this traditional means of testing public opinion between elections.

7 Extremism and proliferation of parties State a specific threshold below which parties are not awarded seats 4% in Sweden 5% in Germany PR lets extremist parties win seats eg Nazi Party Causes the proliferation of small parties.

8 Party power Under FPTP a small minority of party faithful choose candidates. Under STV, voters can rank candidates within a party. PR Lists system puts more power in the hands of already powerful leaders, They determine the list order. Eg Christine Oddy, 1999.

9 Democratic legitimacy Under FPTP safe seats lead to apathy. Under PR systems all votes count. Currently Lib Dem voters may abstain: all voters should be encouraged. Turnout under FPTP was high until 2001: the decline is not the fault of the system. No evidence from other UK elections that PR increases turnout.

10 Coalitions Rare in UK and we are suspicious of them. You must know the arguments for and against coalitions and examples of how they have worked/are working

11 Further Reading:


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