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What impact has the use of PR had on parties in the UK?

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Rose Szarowicz Thursday 7th January 04 What impact has the use of PR had on parties in the UK? Proportional Representation (PR) is an alternative to the Plurality system. It works by having a government made up of different parties, who form a coalition, and share the responsibility of ruling the country. They must compromise their views to form laws and policies which will represent the views of the people supporting both/every party. This produces a much more representative government. There are three types of PR available; the closed list system, the single transferable vote (STV) and the hybrid system (AMS)- a mixture of PR and plurality. The closed list system is used in European elections. In the closed list system the electorate for each multimember constituency, votes for one party. The party's candidates are ordered by preference, and seats allocated in proportion to the vote. The more votes a party gets, the more candidates they send off as MEP's to sit in the European Parliament. ...read more.


PR has allowed more independent parties to have a chance e.g. in the Scottish 2003 elections, green party gained 7% votes from the list system, giving them seats in the assembly and allowing them to represent the views of their supporters. Using PR effects the workings of political parties in many ways, PR forces coalition on government; where two governments must some together to rule a country. This can be very useful, as it installs cooperation between two views existent in the country. For example the STV system was brought to Northern Ireland in 1998 to try to resolve the troubles. It worked to begin with, as the UUP + SDLP were in coalition, and both approved of the good Friday agreement, but the two parties ideas conflicted, and they disliked each other. On two occasions power was handed back to Westminster. By the 2003 elections, the system had produced an unworkable coalition with the DUP and Sinn Fein who had huge disagreements, so for now power has been handed back to Westminster once again. ...read more.


and the Green party (6.3) did much better than could be achieved in the General election using the plurality system. This allows the views of more people to be represented. Although those figures are all based on the low turnout of 24%- the lowest in Europe. This was partly due to the controversial decision to use the closed list system at the EU elections. So using PR can affect political parties in many ways. It makes it more difficult for them to make decisions as everything must be agreed with the other party, and a lot of time is wasted in debating, and often schemes and programmes often don't leave the ground. PR can cause a lot of problems for parties in comparison to plurality, but overall its a lot more representative and can make a big step in merging two views and bringing people together in countries which have conflicting ideas. As long as it's held in the right conditions; two workable parties, with flexible mandates in a country that accepts coalition, PR can be the best voting system available. ...read more.

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