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The Advantages and Disadvantages of the First Past the Post Voting System

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Introduction

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the First Past the Post Voting System The First Past the Post System is the voting system used in Britain during a General Election. Britain is made up of 659 constituencies and a single Member of Parliament (MP) represents each constituency. These MP's are voted in using the First Past the Post System and the Political Party with the most constituencies and therefore the most seats in the House of Commons becomes the Government. The First Past the Post System is easy to understand and that is one of its advantages. In each constituency the candidate with the largest amount of votes wins and gets a seat in the House of Commons. Once all the votes have been counted and the results collated the Political Party with the most seats becomes the Government. ...read more.

Middle

One of the main disadvantages with the First Past the Post System is that a party may have a large proportion of the votes but may have only a small amount of seats or possibly none at all. An example is that in Scotland in the 1997 General election the Conservatives had 17.5% of the votes but gained no seats whereas the Liberals had only 13% of the vote and got 10 seats. This usually happens because their support is spread throughout an area such as the Conservatives support in Scotland. The Proportional Representation system is one voting system that eliminates this problem. It is also possible to win the election and become the government even though one of the other contenders got a larger share of the votes than you. ...read more.

Conclusion

This can lead to constituencies being won by small amounts. This happened in the Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber constituency where in the 1992 General election the Liberal Democrats won the constituency with only 26% of the vote. Labour trailed the liberal Democrats by a mere 0.9% but they did not gain anything for coming close second. And the other 74% of the voters votes did not count for anything. In fact their views are not really being represented because their vote was in effect wasted. In my view it seems that the First Past the Post system does have some advantages but in actual fact these advantages are outnumbered by the disadvantages of the system. I don't think it is fair that we can end up with a minority of people being represented by the person they chose and a majority being represented by some one that they didn't chose. ...read more.

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