• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Should the UKadopt a system of PR for General Elections?

Extracts from this document...


Should the UK adopt a system of PR for General Elections? In our current system, First-Past-The-Post (FPTP), there are only two parties capable of being elected into government, the Labour and Conservative parties, perhaps including the Liberal Democrats as a potentially influential party. In our 'democratic' society, if you do not vote for one of these three parties, your vote has been wasted. There are only about 250 seats in the House of Commons that regularly veer between parties out of the 650 available, therefore, for a Labour voter in Malvern or a Conservative voter in Ebber Vale your vote has essentially been wasted, either you move to a different constituency or you change parties, otherwise your vote will effectively not count. This raises the question whether a fairer proportional representation system would lead to a fairer government, but as past examples such as the Weimar Republic have shown, proportional representation also holds problems. The result of smaller parties gaining seats is that in order to gain a majority the larger parties must form a coalition government with the smaller who then gain a disproportionate say in government as the larger party needs their support to get legislation through. No government since World War II has been elected on more than 50% of the vote, even the recent 'landslide' victory of Tony Blair's New Labour won with only 41.9% of the vote. ...read more.


3 of every 5 said the current system for governing the UK needs to be improved 'quite a lot' or 'a good deal'. A reason for reforming the current electoral system of FPTP is that in recent years the turnout to general elections has fallen dramatically. At the 1997 General Election the turnout was 71.6%, which was the lowest since the Second World War and the 2001 General Election saw a turnout of 59.4%, the lowest since 1918's 57% (a year in which many voters had still not returned to their homes after military service). The dramatic fall in turnout is seen as a result of a number of contributing factors; socio-economic pressures, demographic changes, a decline in party identification (increased from 7% in 1997 to 10% in 2001) and the electoral system. The results of the 2001 election illustrate that a strong factor in turnout is the public's perception of the importance of their vote. In safe seats, where many voters may have felt that their vote would not count or make a difference, turnouts fell very low. For example, in 1997 in Liverpool Riverside there was a turnout of 34.1% and Labour won with a 21,799 majority, in Glasgow Shettleston the turnout was 39.7% and Labour won with a majority of 15,868. ...read more.


The List system gives the voter a degree of choice between candidate and party and leads to highly proportional results. However, the closed-list system also tends to give the party a great degree of control in deciding which candidates will be elected from the party list. Lists also encourage minority parties, but can make it easier for extremist parties to come into power. The AMS gives voters more say than FPTP because they can vote for a person and a party. It has been successful in Germany where a coalition government has been formed between the Social Democrats and the Green Party. Under this system more votes count making it more democratic and it removes the fact that some parties are over represented in Parliament. However, the UK could benefit from adopting a new electoral system that is not proportional. There are four main approaches the UK could take. The Alternative Vote ensures that no one can be elected in a constituency unless they have at least 50% of the votes. It means that there are less wasted votes and encourages people to vote for who they support, even if they are minorities. However, it does not lead to a nationally proportional result. The Suplimentary Vote system, used to elect the Lord Major of London, also ensures that the candidate recieves over 50% of the vote. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Describe the process by which MPs are elected to Westminster. What are the ...

    4 star(s)

    An example of this is the national elections of 1997 where the Labour party gained 43.2% of the total vote cast and won 63.6% of the seats in Westminster. The combined number of votes for the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats represents 47.5% of the total votes which is nearly 4% more than labour.

  2. personal exercis programme

    In each circuit I went to ten stations, exercising for thirty seconds with thirty seconds for a recovery period. I ran continuously for seven minutes. This is how I overloaded my body each session: Week 2 - I overloaded my body this session by applying the 'Time' principle to the training.

  1. Politics and Power notes on the UK system

    Through our involvement in a pressure group or protest movement, we can inform the government of our views in between elections. A pressure group and people whom joined it even decided to lift the tax that Africa owed the UK.

  2. Who would you vote for?

    How do we tackle this challenge when air travel is governed by long-standing international conventions? These are complex questions with no easy answers. But too often from this Government we see initiatives that are just superficial, short-term spin.' He then went on to talk about something else entirely.

  1. To what extent has Germany's party system evolved from a multi-party system to a ...

    concerned with so called quality of life issues for example the environment, peace and nuclear disarmament. However this was all to change "after first entering the Bundestag in 1983, the Greens were soon to experience the 'parliamentary embrace' and become a more conventional political party."7 The emergence of the Green

  2. Minority parties in Britain call for electoral reform whereas the two major parties tend ...

    Under PR systems, constituency boundaries would need redrawing making each constituency at least three times as large, with such expanded physical areas to cover the possibility of retaining such a link can be seen to be clearly diminished. The practicalities of redefining boundaries also present problems in geographical areas such

  1. British Electors are turning out to vote in declining numbers. Discuss the factors that ...

    Turnout may be decreasing due to the increase in opinion polls, if readers of a newspaper see an opinion poll & it is favoured either for the opposing party, they may not vote because they don't think they can make a change to the prediction or outcome, or if it

  2. Examine the significance of William Pitt, the younger's Government in reforming the British Parliamentary ...

    He was rarely emotive but was a very impressive speaker who used a wide vocabulary" (Biography of William Pitt, 2005. p2). In The House of Commons, Pitt became influenced by Charles Fox a leading politician, and a member of the Whigs.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work