Assess the advantage of using proportional representation electoral systems

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Assess the advantages of using proportional representation electoral systems?

The Labour government in 1999 paved the way for the use of proportional representation (PR) in elections in the UK. By the turn of that century PR had been used in elections to European parliament, the Scottish parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Greater London Authority Assembly and for the Mayor of London elections. Proportional representation is the principle that parties should be represented in an assembly or parliament in direct proportion to their overall electoral strength. There are many electoral systems that are PR in the UK, such as; additional member system, single transferable vote, and regional party list, supplementary vote and alternative vote (both SV and AV are seen as middle ground between PR and majoritarian systems such as FPTP). In 2011 there was a referendum to change the Westminster electoral system from First pass the post (FPTP) to alternative vote, 68% said no, meaning that we are better off with a majoritarian system.

There has been a strong case presented in favour of PR, many argue that it creates a multiparty system. Minor parties that are denied representation by FPTP are more likely to win seats in the other voting system. This broadens the basis of party representation and creates multiparty system. For example, until 2010 when the Green party only one seat, it had no representation at Westminster, despite having gained more than a quarter of a million votes in some previous general election. However, the Greens were represented on most other bodies: two sit in the Scottish parliament, two sit in the Greater London assembly, and three sit in the European parliament. The UKIP party won almost 4 million votes in the 2015 general elections but gained only one seat, comparing this to SNP who won only won 1.5 million votes and still achieved 56 seats, that 55 more the UKIP who had more votes than SNP. This clearly shows that PR electoral system will produce a more reflective and accurate outcome for smaller parties who under simple plurality system will suffer, in reality this may mean growth and fair representation. However it may mean that some extremist parties would gain a foothold in parliamentary politics which might have racist or un-democratic views and this could de-stabilise society.  

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The adoption of PR would probably decrease the power of the PM and increase the influence of cabinet government. The PM would no longer have the ability to dominate the House of Commons by virtue of the parliamentary majority which is almost guaranteed by the present simple majority (FPTP) system e.g. in 2005 the Labour party gained55% of the seats in the commons from a vote of 35%. The cabinet, however would be more powerful as it would contain minsters from more than one party who could bring a government down by resigning if they were unhappy at Prime ministerial ...

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