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UK election implications for electoral reform

I’ve said before I’m cheering for the Liberal Democrats to do well in the UK general election on May 6, and I’m very thrilled obviously to see them turn this election into a 3 party horse-race with their leader Nick Clegg doing very well in the leaders debates so far (one more to go next week), and some polls indicating they’re actually leading – in popular vote percentage anyhow.

I should say I’d be delighted if they actually pulled off the biggest upset in UK electoral politics and actually formed the government, but failing that, there is another electoral result that is possible and which I wouldn’t mind seeing; the Liberal Dems finish 1st or 2nd in the popular vote, but last in seats, OR another scenario, the Labour Party finishes 3rd in the popular vote, but has the largest plurality of seats in the UK House of Commons.

If that scenario were to occur, it would almost certainly spark off demands for reform to the current electoral system in the House of Commons. Gordon Brown of the Labor Party has said he would propose Alternative Voting, another name for Instant Run-off Vote, or IRV. The Liberal Dems on the other hand, want Single Transferable Vote (The Conservatives would prefer things remain as they are now – which is First Past the Post). You can be assured in a “hung Parliament”/minority government situation, the Liberal Dems will extract electoral reform as a promise from either of the 2 main parties if they are looking for Liberal Dem support in forming a government.

It also might have some implications here in Canada as well. If the UK reforms it’s Westminster-style parliament to a fairer voting system, then perhaps Canadians will be less resistant to electoral reform here, if they see the “Mother country” where it inherited the Westminster parliamentary system from is open to doing so.


2 comments to UK election implications for electoral reform

  • Jordan

    Proportional representation will NEVER be introduced in Canada, unless there is some extreme crisis or catastrophe to bring the present first-past-the-post system down in flames. Look what happened with the attempts, feeble as they were, in B.C. and Ontario. The electorate is simply too stupid to understand the mechanisms and implications. There were plenty of people eager to admit at the time that it was all far “too complicated”. What else could be the difference between us and virtually everyone else among democracies? Another consideration is that corruption in politics has been so ingrained from day 1 of the Canadian federation (Sir John A. anyone?) that nobody will trust any kind of “list” system of candidates nominated by political parties, as exists, for example, in Germany. Hopeless case…

  • Greg

    Of course Brown would go for the system that would screw over the Liberal Democrats. It is DOA.

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