first past the post

Topics: Plurality voting system, Voting system, United Kingdom Pages: 2 (579 words) Published: December 2, 2013
The United Kingdom’s electoral system is the single-member district plurality voting system. It is part of the British political culture and consequently predominately used in the UK as well as former British colonies, e.g. the United States, Canada, Nigeria, and India (Electoral-Reforms.org.uk, n.d.). However, throughout the past decades, criticism of the system especially in the United Kingdom has become more substantial and focused. The plurality system is considered an effective and simple voting system, which results in a stable government (Bale, 2008, p.169). However, it can be argued that it does not fairly represent the electorate’s diversified political opinions. A more accurate display of political diversity in the legislature is achieved by proportional representation (Gottfried and Lodge, 2011). It is a more representative voting system that allows for consensus politics to take place and favours coalition governments. Critics might question the stability of a coalition government; however, an introduction of a PR voting system would result in a fairer representation of the British electorate’s political views in the legislature.

Britain’s current electoral system is known as the plurality or first-past-the-post system. A single-member district plurality voting system is used to elect members of parliament. Parties can chose one candidate for each constituency and voters are allowed to cast one single vote on one candidate (Gottfried and Lodge, 2011). The candidate who receives the plurality; the majority of the votes, is elected for the constituency. However, the elected Member of Parliament does not have to gain a total majority of over 50%, he or she just has to have more votes than the candidate with the next-highest amount of votes (Bale, 2008, p.169). The party with an absolute majority, or if that is not the case, the party with the most seats in Parliament, is assumed to form the government.

The first-past-the-post electoral system...
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