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Outline the workings of three electoral systems currently used in the UK.

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Introduction

Outline the workings of three electoral systems currently used in the UK. The system used in general elections throughout the UK is the First Past the Post (FPTP) system. Candidates in a constituency are listed along with the name of their party with the candidate that wins a plurality of votes in a constituency winning a single seat in the House of Commons, regardless of whether the majority of his constituency supports him. Voting is open to everybody over 18, as long as they are registered in a constituency and are not disqualified. The UK is divided geographically into around 650 single-seat constituencies of roughly equal size. A general election must be called at some point within five years of the previous election and takes place about four weeks after the date is announced. After the polls close the votes are counted with the winning candidate from each constituency invited to take a seat in Parliament. ...read more.

Middle

The two countries are divided into single seat constituencies. Voters mark a cross against a named party candidate for that constituency with the candidate receiving the plurality of votes taking a seat. As well as this, there are top-up seats that are voted for using a closed list system, in Scotland these amount to 43% of the total seats and in Wales 33%. On the ballot papers, voters also choose a party from a list. These top up seats are allocated by dividing the number of list votes a party has received by the number of constituency seats won, + 1. The party with the highest score receives the first top-up seat. This calculation is repeated until all top up seats are allocated, with each top-up seat a party gains being added to their constituency seats in the formula to allow the top-up seats to partially counter disproportionality in the constituency voting. How have Proportional Voting Systems affected party representation in the UK elections? ...read more.

Conclusion

results. Using only the first past the post system Labour would have won 72.6% of seats despite only winning 38.8% of the vote. The SNP would have received only 9.6% of seats despite having only 10% less of the total vote than Labour. The Tories would have won no seats despite a 15% share of the vote. The Lib Dems would have gained 2%more seats than representative of their 14.2% share of the votes. However, Labour won only 3 top up seats giving them 43.4% share of the total seats (5% more than proportional). They increased SNP seats by 400% and gave the Tories 18 seats. Overall, all parties bar Labour won a share of seats roughly within 2% of being proportional. The same system was used o elect representatives for the Welsh assembly, except with a lower proportion of top-up seats. Labour's 67.5% of constituency was reduced to 46.7% of total seats, in comparison to 37.6% of constituency votes. Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives won almost a proportional number of seats compared to the number of votes they received after they gained 40% each of the top up seats. ...read more.

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