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Proportional Representation Essay

998 words - 4 pages

Proportional Representation

Proportional representation gives voters little say in the shape of a
future government, since political parties are usually reluctant to
talk about the possible structure of a coalition prior to Election
Day. And because all coalition members are as eager to take the praise
for government success as they are to blame other coalition members
when things go wrong, it's difficult for voters to ascertain which
party has done well and which ones haven't. It can be a destabilising
fragmentation of the party system. PR reflects and facilitates a
fragmentation of the party system. It is possible that such polarized
pluralism can allow tiny minority parties to hold larger parties to
ransom in coalition negotiations. In this respect, the inclusiveness
of PR is cited as a drawback of the system. In Israel, for example,
extremist religious parties are often crucial to government formation;
while Italy has endured fifty years of unstable shifting coalition
governments

Proportional representation also means that parliamentary candidates
are nominated by state or regional party conferences rather than by
local party associations. This leads to a situation in which the
executive committee is able to lever greater influence if necessary.
Under proportional representation, the voter does not cast his/her
vote for a single constituency candidate, but rather for an individual
party list on which the candidates are listed in a particular
sequence. Voters, then, do not have an individual member of parliament
for their constituency. Some of this system's disadvantages is that
you are choosing a party, not an individual, so you cannot be sure you
will approve of your representative's exact views. People who do not
like the Party System would not like Proportional Representation
because it strengthens political parties, and some would also argue
that it does not acurately show the majority view. Proportional
Representation is also a more complicated method of voting. It
generally demands more knowledge of party beliefs/manifestos etc and
greater activity of the voters (for example, to rank candidates in
order of preference such as in the single transferable vote system),
and hence may discourage participation. The procedure may simply prove
to be too complex for many voters.

In a list system electors choose from a list of candidates in large
multi-member constituencies. Seats are allocated according to the
proportion of votes won by each political party. In open list systems,
voters select from a list of individual candidates representing
political parties and independent candidates without a party
affiliation. In...

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