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Electoral systems and voting behavior.

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Introduction

POLITICS EXAM Q'S- ELECTRAL SYSTEMS AND VOTING BEHAVIOR 1 The FPTP electoral system usually enables strong and decisive government because one party (in England - Labour or the Tories) gain a big majority. Decisive government is formed when one party gains such a large majority it is able to carry out all of its policies without being outvoted by other parties. Using the table you can identify that even if all the other parties join and vote together they will only have the backing of 246 seats in comparison to Labour who have 413 seats. This allows them a huge majority of 167 seats (63% to 43%). This means that even if a few of Labours Mps vote against a particular policy it will still easily pass. In fact 84 Labour Mps (14%) would have to vote against a policy for even a chance of being overruled. Thus making a very strong and completely decisive government, so much so it could even be described as an elective dictatorship. Therefore the government is able to carry out all of its policies in accordance to the electorates' demands. 2 There are many arguments for and against a PR system being introduced in England. ...read more.

Middle

Any PR system would benefit minor parties; you can see this by using the example of AV+. Using this system in England would mean minor parties would double up on votes. This would be beneficial in some ways as parties like the green parties would obtain more power and are able to press the government on environmental issues more. However this also means small, separatist parties like BNP would gain more power, this is a definite argument against a PR system. Another advantage of introducing a PR system is that it increases voter choice, there will be less wasted votes and its less likely tactical voting will be needed. The turnout at general elections in England is deceasing quickly. The main reason being that people don't think there votes count for anything. This can be seen by comparing turnout in England to Germany who use a PR system: Turnout UK Germany 97 71.4 98 82.2 01 59.4 02 79.1 Difference -12.0 -3.1 If the 40% of the UK that didn't vote, all voted for the green party then they would be in power!! Its clear from the table that a PR system increase turnout and voter choice, but if a coalition occurs then the policies you may have voted, will probably change or be completely overturned so what in fact did you vote for, doesn't; this mean voter choice is severely distorted? ...read more.

Conclusion

Many people would argue ifs is working why change it? And if we use New Zealand, as an example should we give up a strong and decisive government in order to try and achieve better social and political representation? Is it even worth taking the risk? In conclusion I think I should answer the questions I proposed at the start, I think of the 4 principals: Political representation, social representation, decisive government and voter choice, having a strong, stable and decisive government is the most important, therefore I am against changing FPTP to a PR system in the UK. I do not believe its possible to strike a balance between fairness and decisive government because of the human nature. I don't agree that decisive government or elective dictatorships are necessarily always correct, but in the right hands they are best. I have come to this conclusion because I feel that most of the arguments against FPTP have big faults anyway, but most importantly I am firmly against coalition governments as it causes so many arguments and problems, as well as the fact that humans are incapable of finding a middle ground. This is magnified by the NZ 1sts in New Zealand who forgot about everything they had campaigned for just for a slice of power! No electoral system can ever cater for the characteristics of human nature ...read more.

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