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Plurality/Majority System vs. Proportional Representation

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Presentation on theme: "Plurality/Majority System vs. Proportional Representation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Plurality/Majority System vs. Proportional Representation
Electoral Systems Plurality/Majority System vs. Proportional Representation

2 Classification of Electoral Systems 1
Plurality Classified separate from Majority by Blais and Massicotte in Comparing Democracies 2.

3 Classification of Electoral Systems 2
Majority Systems

4 Classification of Electoral Systems 3
Mixed Systems

5 Classification of Electoral Systems 4
Proportional Representation

6 Classification of Electoral Systems 5
Pippa Norris in Electoral Engineering:

7 Classifications of Electoral Systems 6
Can Plurality and Majority systems be considered similar enough to group them together as one? Or should they remain separate as in the first example? Which classification is the most effective, the prior, considering districts, or the latter just considering the types of electoral system?

8 Plurality System After votes have been cast, the party/individual with the most are declared the winners. First Past the Post (FPTP)-”outperforms all other options in terms of its pristine simplicity”. FPTP is very simple and is applied in single member districts and is largely candidate centred voting. Primarily found in the UK and countries that have been historically linked with Great Britain. It is the most votes that wins an election not the majority of the votes. E.g. The Labour Party of the UK won only 35.3% of the vote in 2005, with a majority of over 150 seats, while the Conservatives managed 32.3% of the vote.

9 Majority System Not quite as simple as FPTP
There is the possibility of having no winner at all in this supposed “winner takes all system” in single-round voting. Therefore, runoff’s are introduced where the two strongest parties/individuals will go against each-other in a second round of voting (Seen in the US). This system is utilized by 19 out of 32 countries with a direct presidential elections. Alternative voting is less costly as voters rank candidates on preference and said candidates win if they have a majority in the preferences.

10 Proportional Representation
PR is literally translation of votes into a corresponding proportion of seats in the legislature. By definition, PR can only be used in multimember districts. District magnitude has a significant bearing on the result i.e. More representatives elected mean the system is more proportional.

11 PR List System Lists may be open or closed, in a closed list voters may only select the party they wish to vote for, whereas, in an open list voters can express preferences for particular candidates. The rank order of candidates on the party list determines who is elected to parliament.

12 PR Single Transferable Vote
Provides voters with more freedom than party lists. Members are elected in multi-member districts. However, candidates are grouped into a single ballot to be ranked in order by voters. There is no obligation for voters to express preferences for the candidates of a single party, which provides more choice. Only first preference votes are considered for election and once the quota for the candidate has been filled, their excess votes are then transferred to remaining candidates based on the preference list.

13 Advantages of FPTP Its simplicity and tendency to produce winners that are representatives obliged to defined geographic areas. It is a very simple ballot count. It provides two clear cut choices for the voter. Single Party governments mean that cabinets are not usually restrained by weaker coalition minority party. FPTP gives rise to respectable opposition to legislature to act as a ‘critical checking role’ and presents itself as an alternative.

14 Advantages of FPTP cont…
Single Party governments mean that political parties have to be broad in their appeal. Excludes anti-systemic or extremist parties from representation in the legislature because of geographical spread of voters. Promotes a link between constituents and their representatives in parliament as cities, towns and councils have their own parliamentary representatives.

15 Disadvantages of FPTP Excludes parties and minorities from ‘fair’ representation-could it be that it is democracy failing? Can exclude women. Evidence suggests that women are less likely to be elected to the legislature under plurality/majority systems than under PR ones. Can encourage the development of political parties based on clan, ethnicity or region. There are a large number of wasted votes which do not go towards the elected party.

16 Disadvantages of FPTP cont…
Vote splitting can occur. Two similar parties or candidates in policy can gain a split of the same ideological votes thus allowing a less popular party through. Would a ‘less popular’ party be the minority and thus in extreme cases, would that minority being represented? Is this a good or bad thing? FPTP can be insensitive to swings in public opinion. It is dependant on drawing constituency boundaries and thus gerrymandering can occur. There is a ‘winning/seat bonus’ with FPTP which can be a disproportionate votes to seats ratio.

17 Advantages of PR Translating of votes to seats can avoid the ‘unfair’ results that can arise in FPTP systems. Avoids the ‘winning bonus’ as votes are directly translated into seats. It encourages or requires parties to formulate policy lists which can be voted upon thus clarifying ideology and policy. PR does not allow votes to be wasted so is it democracy in a purer form than FPTP?

18 Advantages of PR cont… Low thresholds mean that almost every vote is counted and will be represented. PR can facilitate minority parties’ access to representation thus more democratic. Encourages parties to campaign beyond their districts as every vote counts. It can provide a stability to Policy and makes power sharing more visible.

19 Disadvantages of PR Gives rise to coalition governments thus fragmented executive can cloud policy making and provide obstacles. Factional splits can arise which, again, cause instability in the legislature. PR can be a platform for extremist parties and potentially anti-systemic parties. Governing coalitions will undoubtedly share too little common ground to make strong policies.

20 Disadvantages of PR cont…
PR can give a disproportionate amount of power to minority parties. Accountability could be lost with a coalition government as voters lose the power to throw a party out because of the coalition. It can be difficult for voters and the electoral administration to implement complex rules of the system.

21 FPTP vs. PR Which electoral system is more effective and which provides the best party system? Does PR, despite its apparent democratic nature, damage democracy? Is party self interest present in both systems? Or can it be avoided? Is PR more unstable than it is stable and can FPTP be considered a viable alternative or a more stable system?

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