Electoral Systems in the Caribbean

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Essay Question Number 4; The Electoral systems in the Caribbean needs to be changed. How real is this view?

An election as a political process serves as the single most important mechanism for citizens to participate in the selection of a government. When conducted to international standards, elections tend to confer legitimacy on a government. In the Commonwealth Caribbean, the electoral experience varies and tends to reflect not only the socio-political culture of the member state but also its particular electoral system.

The electoral system determines the difference between votes and seats; how votes are translated into seats. How many and what kind of votes are needed to get a seat varies from system to system. As a result, different electoral systems give politicians incentives to organize and campaign in different ways. Some electoral systems may even create barriers for certain types of candidates. Different electoral systems give voters different kinds of choices, which can then affect the decisions voters make.

They are three main types of electoral systems; Plurality-candidates are elected with a plurality (i.e. not a majority) of votes cast. Main models include: Single Member Plurality; Multi-Member Plurality (also called Block Vote), Majority-candidates are elected with a majority (i.e. more than 50%) of votes cast and Proportional Representation- candidates are elected based on the total percentage of votes cast for their party. Main models include: List; Mixed Member Proportional; Single Transferable Vote; Single Non-Transferable Vote; Parallel. The electoral system used in Barbados for election to the House of Assembly is the single member constituency with simple majority, also known as the first-past-the-post system

Most countries in the Caribbean region have kept a version of the Westminster model ever since colonial times. However, more and more countries are reviewing and revising their electoral systems. One of these such...
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