Mixed Member Systems By Mike Allen Mixed Member Systems • These are hybrid systems that seek to combine some of the advantages of the simple majority system with PR. • Essentially part of the legislature (parliament) is elected by the simple majority system and these are "topped up" by another system, usually the list system in order to make the final result proportional. • It is sometimes called MMP short for Mixed Member Proportional Representation, The German system 1 • Half the Bundestag (their Parliament) is elected by the simple majority system and the other half of the seats are elected by the list system. • The voter in Germany has two votes, one for an individual candidate and one for a party. The German system 2 • The parties win seats in the Bundestag in proportion to their votes. • The first to be elected would be those elected under the simple majority system • The remainder from the party list which would be used to top up the totals. • Thus a party might have an allocation of 30 seats according to its share of the vote but had only won 3 seats under the simple majority system. It would receive the other 27 seats from its list. The German system 3 • To win any seats a party must win at least 3 seats in the simple majority election or 5% of the vote nationally. • It has produced a highly stable system. • This is the system that has been used for the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the London Assembly elections. The Jenkins Report 1998 1 AV Plus • Set up in December 1997 by the Labour government with the support of the Liberal Democrats, to investigate alternatives to the single member plurality (or "first past the post") electoral system used for British general elections. • A referendum was planned on whether to change the voting system. The Jenkins Report 1998 2 AV Plus • Around 500 seats to be elected by AV in single member constituencies. • Each elector would get a second vote to cast at a county (or equivalent) level. In Scotland and Wales, these areas would be the same as the ones used for the additional members in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. The Jenkins Report 1998 3 AV Plus • Each voter would choose either their favourite party, or their favourite candidate from the list proposed by their favourite party. This means that they do not have to accept the order of candidates set out by the party, i.e. the lists are 'open' rather than 'closed'. • These a votes are used to top up the constituency results to make the overall result PR. Advantages 1 • It has all the advantages of PR. • Elected MPs would have the support of a majority of their local electorates. • Being able to rank candidates increases voter choice, as does having both a constituency vote and a regional vote. • Nearly every elector would have at least one vote that would have an effect on the overall election result. Advantages 2 • Parties would have an incentive to campaign across the whole country, and not just in the marginals. • The final result will be fairer, with parties having a share of MPs based on their support among the electorate, rather than on electoral arithmetic and geographical oddities. • AV+ will produce majority governments when the voters express a desire for one, but will force them to work together when the electorate choose not to give any one party a clear majority. • Tactical voting is no longer necessary. Disadvantages •It has all the disadvantages of PR and since it is a very accurate system it would mean that there would always be minority or coalition governments if used in the UK. •All existing constituency boundaries would have to be redrawn. •Ballot papers would be more complicated than FPTP ones. •It creates two classes of representative, which in turn creates animosity between them and a confusion of roles. Adapted from http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/article.php?id=56 Summary 1 Simple Majority or FPTP • Simple system producing mostly clear decisive results with 1 party overall majority goverrnments. • Unfair in terms of seats won and votes cast. Summary 2 Alternative Vote • Preferential voting in single member constituencies. • Fairer to small parties especially the Liberal Democrats. • Would produce overall majorities most of the time. • Not PR although results slightly more PR. Summary 3 Single Transferable Vote • Preferential voting in multi-member constituencies. • Roughly PR. • Highly complex and confusing. • Would produce coalition or minority government. Summary 4 List System (Party List, Regional List) • Large multi-member constituencies. • Voter votes for a party. • Seats allocated to party lists according to proportion of votes. • Simple in concept complicated in practice. • PR therefore fairer. • Would produce coalition or minority government. Summary 5 • Additional Member or Mixed Member Systems • Half or three quarters of legislature elected by FPTP in single member constitutencies. • Remainder elected by another system –most popular the list system. • Produces PR whilst retaining advantages of single member constitutencies. • Would produce coalition or minority government. Conclusions • The Choice comes down to • Either the simple majority system which produces one party majority governments that are said to be strong and stable but which underrepresents small parties • Or to PR which is fair in seats that are won according to votes cast but which produces coalition governments where small parties may have unfair amounts of power Personal View 1 • For a long time I have thought that they arguments are finally balanced but I favoured FPTP. • I have changed my mind for 2 reasons. • The decline of the 2 party vote from around 90% 1945-1970 to 65.1% in 2010. • The decline of the turnout from an average of 76% 1945-1997 to 62% 2001-2010. Personal View 2 • There has been a major disillusionment with British Politics amongst the people and major reforms are necessary to try to re-engage people with the political process. • For that reason I favour PR with a mixed member system similar to that in use for the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. • I will vote in favour of AV in the referendum as a step towards further reform in the future.
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