Answer to Question #250431 in Political Science for Jooooo

Question #250431

Discuss the advantages of a first-past-the post electoral system and compare those with the advantages of the proportional representation system. Given this discussion, outline your preference of the two voting systems.

Expert's answer

Advantages of a first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system include:

Its concept is easily comprehensible and ballots can be counted and processed more easily than in preferential voting systems.

It gives rise to single-party governments thus providing cabinets that are not shackled by the restraints of having to bargain with a minority coalition partner.

It gives rise to a coherent opposition in the legislature; which advantages broadly-based political parties.

It often excludes extremist parties from representation in the legislature.

It promotes a link between constituents and their representatives and allows voters to choose between people rather than just parties. Also, it gives a chance for popular independent candidates to be elected.

Advantages of a proportional representation system (PR) include:

It offers minority parties and independent candidates a better chance of winning seats.

It ensures parties would have to appeal to their core supporters, rather than a small number of swing voters in marginal seats.

It delivers fairer treatment of minority parties and independent candidates.

It potentially offers greater and more representative choice for voters and may as well reduce apathy and encourage voter turnout.

Of the two voting systems, my preference is the proportional representation system. It offers a better chance of representation to smaller parties and groups unlike FPTP which tends to produce disproportionate outcomes and to have a bias in favor of larger political groups.

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