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#1 Ry4n

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 07:39 PM

I have looked at all the questions in this study theme, the only electoral systems in the past 4 years mentioned are First past the post and the additional member system.

Do you think it would be a safe bet just to stick with revising these two or should I cover some of the other ones, its just its getting close to the exam and I dont wanna overload on information lol

If you think I should cover the other ones, any ideas which? =)

** I just remembered that we only use thoose 2 systems lol


Theres a site for anyone needing help with electoral systems

#2 George

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 08:39 PM

That's a great link, I would recommend reading that if you plan to answer the Study Theme 4 questions.

As for which systems to learn, we were taught:

First Past the Post (FPTP)
  • Used in UK General Elections
  • 659 constituencies each elect a single MP by simple majority
  • Simple for voters; cheap and quick to count; fast result
  • Strong democratic link with elected representative - you should know your MP's name, to slip into an essay
  • Votes don't equate to seats - in the 1997 General Election, Labour received 44% of the vote but won 64% of seats
  • Since WW2, no government has had more than 50% of the vote; governments claim they have a mandate from the people, which they do not truly have
  • FPTP favours the two main parties, to the detriment of smaller parties like the Lib Dems - it also means that anyone wanting to be successful in politics (ie become Prime Minister) has to join Labour/Conservatives
  • Many people feel their votes are wasted; FPTP could be to blame for declining voter participation
List Systems
  • Voters select a party; parties are then allocated seats proportional to their share of the vote
  • No country uses a National List, since this would destroy the constituency link
  • Regional Lists are widely used; they break the country into regions in order to maintain a form of constituency
  • National List is the only truly proportional system
  • Regional Lists are still proportional, so are fairer for smaller parties
  • List Systems are criticised for giving Party Leaders too much power, as they decide which candidates fill the seats
  • The democratic link is weaker than with FPTP, as there may be several representatives for a region
Additional Member System (AMS)
  • A complex hybrid system, with some members elected under FPTP and the rest through Regional Lists
  • Used in Scottish Parliament elections; 73 MSPs elected from normal constituencies under FPTP, the remaining 56 returned from 8 regional lists
  • Makes FPTP more proportional, since parties which do badly under the FPTP part are 'topped up' in the List part
  • Gives voters more choice, which they are keen to use - eg Greens and Socialists elected to Scottish Parliament
  • Retains the worst aspects of both systems - the FPTP seats are mainly won by the big parties (in Scotland Labour gain the vast majority of constituencies)
  • Confusing for voters - in Scotland we are all represented by 8 MSPs; 1 constituency and 7 list. You should know a few of the names representing you.
  • Creates two classes of representative - the FPTP-elected members are often considered more important (can you name all your list MSPs?)
  • Causes coalition governments; the parties have to agree on a new manifesto which is different from those selected by voters - so voter choice is reduced
Single Transferable Vote (STV)
  • A form of Preference Voting; favoured by groups like the Electoral Reform Society
  • Used in Northern Ireland with elections for the European Parliament (and there are plans to introduce it for Local Government elections in Scotland)
  • Voters rank candidates in order of preference, so can consider aspects other than Party (eg gender, age, etc)
  • Likely to improve representation for women and ethnic minorities
  • Again, an improvement for voter choice over FPTP
  • Producing the result is highly complicated, and voting is more confusing (unfamiliar for voters used to an 'X' in the box)
  • Not fully proportional; can cause strange results such as the second most popular party forming the government
OK, if you're still awake tongue.gif , I hope that was useful. As you can see, the bit on AMS is the most involved. I think this is where the exam is likely to focus, and it's great to bring in knowledge about the way it is applied in Scotland.

If you want more depth, I would recommend the Electoral Reform Society pages linked to above. If there's anything in this post you don't agree with, or want more details on, just ask and I'll try to answer you smile.gif

#3 _*_Keith_*_


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Posted 17 March 2005 - 07:37 PM

Amazing notes, very helpful. My teacher left us mid Feb for another school, so I need all the help I can get!

Thx George!

#4 superstar

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 09:17 PM

Make sure that you add examples to George's notes and you will be flying to full marks!

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