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Reform in European Union Elections

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Introduction

Reform in European Union Elections The first election to the European Parliament was in 1979 under a non-uniformed voting system. This was because at the point of the 1st election there was still no decision on the system that would be used by all countries, so it was decided as a temporary measure that all countries would just use decide on their own voting system to elect their representative. Since the 1st election there have been attempts to reform the system, there were proposals that were blocked in 1783, 98 and 1999. Because keeping in line with the Treaty of Rome a voting system would have to be decided by the council unanimously. The exact wording from the treaty is: "the Assembly shall draw up proposals for election by direct universal suffrage in accordance with a uniform procedure in member states. The council shall, acting unanimously, lay down the appropriate procedures which shall recommend to the member states for adoption in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements". But still you would imagine that by now after 22 years that there would have been a consensus, it doesn't seen that way and it doesn't look as though anything is likely to happen anytime in the very near future either. Well considering that it took 16 years to decide on what format the elections should take then you can hardly be surprised. The voting systems used by the countries in the European Union are not necessarily the same systems that they use for the elections to their own parliamentary elections. ...read more.

Middle

If you look at Britain's national elections no one party has received over 50% of the vote in any election since the Second World War. But in the case of the European Parliament either way there is always going to be a coalition, no one party is likely to get a big enough share of the vote to result in them forming the government, in other words either way there will probably end up being a coalition government anyway. Because of the likely hood of a coalition forming the result from this system is likely to be a stable government because there will be no adversarial politics i.e. there is less chance of huge changes to the governments policies. Whereas systems that have one party in control tend to have huge swings in government policy, which can lead to a weaker government. Not only that, but within the constituency the majority of the voters will be represented because it is very likely that there will be at least one person that they gave one of their votes to. Out of all of the systems STV gives the voter the greatest choice, not only the get to chose the candidate they can specify preference between candidates in the same party. This is this freedom of choice is unique to STV and is a reason to why politicians dislike this system. They feel that it gives the voter too much power and feel threatened by it. Because in a system like FPTP if an representative has a safe seat the voter doesn't really have anyway of getting them out because ...read more.

Conclusion

First Past the Post is unfair to smaller parties because it is a case of winner takes it all there is often not enough support in a single constituency for the candidate to get elected for a smaller party. But on the country as a whole there is a significant support that should in some way be represented for e.g. in the 1997 general election in the UK the Conservative Party won 17.5% of the votes in Scotland but didn't receive any seats at all. I think due to the fact that there is little correlation between the votes and the actual representative using FPTP in the EP would just be silly! To conclude, do we really need reform in the European elections? Well, duh of course we do! Because not only there is inconsistency there is different levels of representation in Luxemburg there is an average of 72,000 inhabitants per MEP in comparison Germany has 829,000 inhabitants per MEP surely this cannot be fair that the people in Luxemburg are better represented than the people in Germany, after all shouldn't everyone in the European Union be equal? There is also the case that there is severe voter apathy in the EP elections, for the 1999 election there was a 24% turnout in Britain, which is well below par. Could this be anything to do with the fact the voters are uninterested because they are un-represented? It could also be something to do with the fact that people are uninformed, perhaps what we need is everyone to show a little more interest in Europe and we might start getting somewhere. ...read more.

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