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Proportional representative system in U.K - Term Paper Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Proportional Representative System in the UK Proportional representation refers to a wide array of electoral systems in which parliamentary seats are apportioned according to the cast votes. In the UK, some form of this proportional representation has been practiced with devolution elections in Wales being a good example (Amy 22)…
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Proportional representative system in U.K
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Download file to see previous pages The reason for this has been partly likened to the failure by the plural form of elections to produce a clear winner after the 1974 election, which saw the formation of a weak government without an outright majority (Amy 23). Additionally, the additional vote from a third party in the 70s has also acted to highlight the disproportionate and distorted nature of a pluralist voting system. This paper provides a discussion on the way proportional representative system is better than plurality system in the UK. The Labor government, in 1997, made a promise to hold a referendum as soon as it got into power that would vote on the issue of introducing a representative voting system. However, this referendum was continually delayed and dropped off the labor party agenda. Additionally, the amount of choice that the voter would be given could also be limited. This is because there is an argument that the Labor Party and the Tories stand to lose the most if any changes are effected to the pluralist electoral system, which explains their reluctance to pursue the issue (Amy 25). Had proportional representation been used during the elections of 1997, it is possible that the big Labor majority would have seen a reduction with major gains by the Liberal Democrats (Connolly 31). This would have seen a gain from the forty six seats they attained to as high as one hundred and six members of parliament. The Lib Dems got 16.8% of all the votes cast, but suffered when it came to actual seats at Westminster, gaining less than ten percent of the total seats. Proportional representation would have altered their standing and greatly reduced that of the Labor Party. A similar incident would have occurred in the elections of 2001, a result that intimates the fact that pluralist electoral models are unfair and have the potential to be undemocratic, i.e., the number of votes that are cast for the government are not proportional to that the government’s popularity with the UK public (Connolly 31). All proportional representation forms tend to possess similar basic merits. These merits include the fact that the system is more representative of the voting public’s wishes as expressed during the voting process (Connolly 35). In addition, fewer wasted votes encourage better participation in the election. The pluralist electoral model could lead to some voters avoiding the voting process because they perceive it as a wasted cause. Additionally, the minority parties could end up with fairer representation in Westminster. Independent candidates will also have more opportunities at being elected with only a single one, Martin Bell, winning a seat in parliament during the 1997 elections. The candidate lost the seat during the second attempt where he used the pluralist electoral route. Another advantage of PR is that it removes safe seats that are characterized by perennial low turnouts. If people feel that their vote counts, then they may be more encouraged to participate in the elections. Using the PR system, the voter also has an increased variety of choice as far as candidates are concerned. Finally, a pluralist system can be eliminated by a proportional representation system ending up with a system that is “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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