First-past-the-post voting system.

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  • First-past-the-post voting system.
    • Features
      • It is a constituency system. There are 650 parliamentary constituencies currently.
      • Voters select a single candidate by marking their name with an 'x' on the ballot paper. Reflects 'one person, one vote'.
      • Constituencies are roughly equal in size - ensured by the Electoral Commission and Boundary Commission for Scotland and NI.
      • Each constituency returns a single candidate - 'winner takes all' effect.
      • Winning candidate only needs to gain a plurality of votes, it only takes 1 extra vote than the other candidate to win
    • Negatives
      • Not electoral fairness, a party's strength in parliament should reflect its support in the country
      • Not all votes count, there isn't much point in voting in a safe seat - if you oppose your vote is wasted but even if you support that party, they're still going to win regardless of your individual vote.
      • Votes don't equal seats - in 1951 Labour got more votes than Conservative, yet the Conservatives won due to having more seats
      • Not entirely accountable government - FPTP leads to executive domination as generally a single party has majority control of the commons,
      • Smaller parties have no chance of being elected in, there are two main parties that are elected in.
    • Positives
      • Clear electoral choice, FPTP clarifies the choices available to voters.
      • Constituency representation, FPTP establishes a strong link between the candidate elected and their constituency. People in the constituency know who represents their interests and area.
      • Mandate democracy, voters get what they vote for - winning party to carry out manifesto. This can only be carried out in a system that produces a single party government.
      • Strong government, FPTP helps to ensure that governments can govern - government of the day controls the majority of the House of Commons. Coalition governments are weaker as they have to seek legislative support
      • Stable governments, single-party governments are stable and cohesive and so can generally survive full term in office because the government is united by common ideological loyalties and is subject to the same party disciplines.


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