Democracy has given rise to different voting systems within electoral reforms for Great Britain


This is in continuation of our last entry on the subject of electoral reforms for Great Britain.

  • Advantages of FPTP system

The advantages of FPTP are the ability to form governments quickly, while results are declared immediately after the voting. In addition, casting a vote for any candidate belonging to a certain party is the vote for the party to form the government. However, there are many disadvantages of this system, which is the reason to debate over the issue of overall electoral reforms for Great Britain.

The major drawback with FPTP is that the votes cast for other candidates by the voters, in a constituency that is a stronghold of a particular party, would become meaningless as the winning candidate has the required number of votes. Therefore, votes cast in favor of loosing candidates have no affect on the result outcome. Accordingly, smaller parties and other independent candidates are sidetracked, which in turn means the government and parliament would have lesser representation of overall people.

  • PR system

Under the Proportional Representation system, the number of candidates elected to parliament is directly related to the percentage of votes received by the party. Accordingly, the list system adopted for this purpose requires that each party publish a list of their candidates. Thereafter, the number of candidates elected to the parliament would be equal to the overall percentage of votes received by the party. However, more complex system would include the listing of first, second and third choice of the voters, in a certain constituency, which would determine the overall number of winners.

  • Advantages of PR system

The advantages of this system, derived from electoral reforms for Great Britain, include the essence of voting, as every vote counts, which contributes to the overall percentage of votes polled for a particular party. Thus, the system has more affect on the outcome of the poll results. The governments can be formed by real consensus method, while smaller parties get a say in the parliament and government. However, since this results into the formation of coalition governments, in most of the cases; certain parties joining the coalition may have to give up their electoral manifesto, while extremists can employ pressure tactics on the majority party to get through their own agenda.

As an ideal example of the wasted votes can be the 1989 European elections, in which the green party could not get a single seat in the parliament although it received a significant 15% of the total cast votes. This would mean that 15% of the electorate did not have any say in the proceedings of European parliament. However, with the PR system in place, the situation would have been different with green party representing the electoral percentage voted in their favor. Therefore, with the PR system, the voter has a flexibility of choices to select a person from any of the parties, either big or small, as well as any independent individual contestant. This reflects the true electoral process as required in a democratic set up.

While we will continue with more info-tips on electoral reforms for Great Britain, readers should also go through “UK electoral reforms” by Richard Smith. Additionally, they can also look at our other topics, to gain knowledge on varied issues.



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