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How might the use of more proportional system affect the political process in uk?

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Introduction

How might the use of more proportional voting system affect the political process in the UK? The type of the voting system is important because the different methods of voting can produce different winners. For example, in winner-take all voting systems, only the candidate supported by the majority or plurality of voters in the borough wins seat in government. However, in proportional systems, many different candidates and parties win seats in a borough, and so many more voters win representation. UK uses a range of voting systems but in Westminster it is used the First past the post system. FPTP is a plurality system in which a candidate needs just one vote more than the others to win. It produces strong single-party governments, it is simple and easy to understand and has been proven to work as used for General Elections. However it has some disadvantages. It crates too many wasted votes, as 70% of constituency votes go to parties that do not win and the marginal seats become too important as they put Labour and Conservatives on the lead. Also the MP's cannot represent everybody from the constituency because they too are supporters of one or other political party. UK can choose from a range of voting systems including majoritarian, proportional or hybrid systems. The List system, used for the European Parliament, can be close or open. ...read more.

Middle

Even though the AMS system is hybrid, a mixture of winner-takes-all and PR system, it gives greater chance smaller parties to win seats and more people to be represented. This shows that the use of more proportional system could change the political process and lead to greater equality and representation as minorities would have voice. However, more political equality and representation of the minorities might not be that great. If it is thought carefully, political equality would mean that coalition government needs to be formed and parties should work in consensus because separately they cannot achieve much, as the opposition would be too strong. Like in Scotland where there is a coalition government, the Labour Party has the majority seats but they cannot put through a bill without the support of SNP or Liberal Democrats. This has some weaknesses. For example the party with the majority of votes cannot put through its manifesto, as the opposition is too strong. This means that the ideas which most people voted for would not be put into action. So although the PR system would be more democratic, it might not be that fair. The fact that minorities would have seats is also worrying, because it is possible these to be some extremist groups with radical thinking that may lead to many quarrels in Parliament. The political process then would be changed but probably in a negative way. ...read more.

Conclusion

However when there are so many people it is hard to come to consensus, the government is weak and unstable. In that sense a majoritarian system is better because it creates strong, single-party government and it is more likely to govern well over its full term in office. With this system the government is united by common ideology and the fact that they should show a manifesto means that the electorate knows what they are voting for. The first past the post system is not the most democratic one but so far it managed to create strong and stable government. Furthermore it is easy to understand and calculate, you vote once and the candidate with most votes wins it all. People got used to it and may be they accepted the inequality it creates. This is why it might be very difficult to change. The voters would have to be educated on the new system to understand it. However changing the system to a more proportional one will create a fairer system. This may decrease voting apathy as voters know their vote is not wasted. But it can only be guessed how this change would affect the political process because the proportional systems have not been tested on the GE and no one know what the turn out will be or how stable government it will create. It might be a decision that had to be made long time ago or it might turn out to be a mistake. How we can judge the final result without trying it? ...read more.

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