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"Recent general election results have shown the need for electoral reform." Discuss.

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Introduction

Politics and Electoral Systems - Questions "Recent general election results have shown the need for electoral reform." Discuss. Whether or not you think there is a need for electoral reform depends on your political view. For instance if you follow the Liberal Democrats then you would certainly agree that there is need for electoral form. However if you were a Conservative supporter you would not agree with that viewpoint as they had an advantage under FPP (First past the post) for a majority of the 20th century. Labour are doing very well out of FPP at the moment and it looks like we may be in a Labour hegemony so they would to disagree with the statement above. Ultimately the need for electoral form depends on your situation in the 'House of Commons.' One of the greatest flaws with FPP is that is very unfair to the third party, in this case the Liberal Democrats. In 1983 the Alliance got 25% of the vote and only 4% of the seats. That's 23 seats out of a possible 659 on 25% of the vote. Whereas Labour got only 2% more in votes but 209 seats. ...read more.

Middle

Open list systems are used in Luxembourg and Sweden. STV is used in the Australian Senate and the elections for the Republic and Northern Ireland Assembly. STV is not strictly proportional as Fianna Fail in1987 got 43% of the seats on 44% in the Irish elections. If STV had been used in the 1997 elections Labour would have only had a majority of 25 whereas under FPP he had a majority of 179. Under STV voters rank the candidates for their constituency in order of preference, and seats are won under a quota system. In order to get into Government you need to get above a certain amount of votes (quota). It works with multi-member constituencies, which represent everyone's views much better, constituencies are much bigger, so the argument that larger constituencies breaks down the relationship between candidates and the people comes in again. There are no wasted votes compared to the 70% of wasted votes under FPP. There are two types of list systems; closed and open. Closed list systems give the voter no choices, to which candidate to vote for, only which party. It gives immense power to the Central party Bureaucracy as the candidates are listed in order of preference by the party leadership (putting candidates, which they like nearer, the top of the list) ...read more.

Conclusion

The country is split into regional constituencies like under FPP. Parties must gain at least 5% (in Germany) to get any seats, this is called the Threshold and is used to keep out extremist's parties. Finland and Israel do not have a threshold and this would explain the extremist's parties, which have power there. For example a party with less than 1% of the vote held up the peace process for years in Israel. AMS still does have in flaws, like PR systems it produces coalitions, which can cause many problems. In Germany in 1982 the FDP pulled out of a coalition with the SPD and went into coalition with the CDU without consulting the electorate. The Voters were furious, as they were not consulted. In conclusion to this question I believe that it purely depends on your situation within the houses of commons or which party you follow. FPP does produces strong, effective, stable governments even if it does not represent power fairly from all aspects. But then again do any of the systems I have been through. FPP marginalises the third party, PR gives power out of all proportion to the smaller parties. Switches in marginal constituencies determine much of the political agenda under FPP. The voters do not get to choose the government under PR; the parties do through horse-trading. ...read more.

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