Electoral Systems and Hung Parliaments
One title suggested for this book was Life After PR. It is, after all, an exploration of the problems that would necessarily follow if proportional representation were adopted. Proportional representation would virtually guarantee that there would never again be a clear majority for one party. But Life After PR as a simple and arresting title for the book would have been misleading because, despite popular belief, even the existing electoral system does not guarantee clear majorities. Proportional representation is a sufficient but not a necessary condition for hung parliaments. Indeed, as this chapter will argue, first-past-the-post elections are increasingly likely to produce them. The book’s central focus is on governing without majorities and not on the mechanics of the electoral system. Yet a consideration of how the existing electoral system currently operates to translate votes into seats, and of how a proportional system might work is essential to the argument.
KeywordsElectoral System Proportional Representation Cent Lead Clear Majority Proportional System
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