First Past the Post

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  • Created by: Niamh
  • Created on: 17-11-12 12:14
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  • First Past the Post
    • How the system works
      • Each constiuency returns one member of Parliament
      • One candidate per party per constituency nominated
      • One vote per voter
      • Candidate with largest number of votes elected
        • Simple  Majority/plurality
          • Winningcandidate doesnt need overall maj, needs more than other candidate
          • ILLUSTRATION : 2010 D.Cameron won most votes, needed 326 to become PM - only achieved 307, led to hung parliament
    • Effects
      • Favours 2 biggest parties; Labour & Conservative
        • 2010
          • Conservative:- 306 seats from 36.1% of votes
          • Labour:- 258 seats from 29% votes
          • Lib Dems:-  57 seats from 23% of votes
      • Advantages
        • Strong, unique relationsip between MP & Constituency
        • Simple
          • Frank Doran elected MP for Aberdeen North with 42.5% of votes - Simple for voter and easy to count    
          • Results known within 24-36 hours. no complication of order of preference.
            • New govt in place quickly
        • Generates outright Winners
          • Last 7 elections produced ruling majority - no uncertainty
          • Coalitions can happen - John Major with Ulster Unionists
          • Almost always get govt with overall majority
        • Stable, one party govt
          • Leads to decisive govt.
      • Disadvantages
        • Can lead to wasted votes - most votes cast don't directly affect outcome
          • Estimated 19 million in 2005 (70% of those who voted)   Labour elected in 2005 with only 36% of vote – only 1 in 5 eligible to vote actually voted for government
          • Independent Newspaper described 2005 general election as “the most unfair election result of all time”
          • People may not vote because they think their vote will just be wasted
        • Doesnt always produce produce results where share of seats reflects share of votes
          • 2005: Labour 32.5% of votes - 356 seats.
        • Out -dated
          • No representation for parties such as Green or UKIP
          • Smaller parties better represented in other assemblies
        • Leads to tactical voting
          • Voting for a party other than voters preferred party to prevent another party getting elected.
          • Example:  Labour supporter in marginal Lib/Tory seat votes Lib Dem in order to keep Tories from winning    
          • Can distort final election results and give misleading impression    


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