Saturday , May 30 2020
Home / Project Syndicate / The UK’s Electoral System Failed

The UK’s Electoral System Failed

Summary:
First-past-the-post voting has been praised for promoting political stability by producing two-party or nearly two-party systems. Yet, as the outcome of the United Kingdom's recent election shows, that supposed benefit comes at the price of a government in which a minority can ride roughshod over the interests and preferences of more than half of the population. NEW YORK – On the most important issue in the United Kingdom’s modern history – whether to leave the European Union or remain – the UK’s electoral system produced an absurd result. A majority of the UK public wants to remain in the EU, and actually voted accordingly in the parliamentary election on December 12. Yet the election produced a large majority for

Topics:
Jeffrey D. Sachs considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Miles Kimball writes Econolimerick #4

John H. Cochrane writes Podcast and Goodfellows

Bradford DeLong writes Not Aged Well

Bradford DeLong writes A Very Strange White House Indeed…

First-past-the-post voting has been praised for promoting political stability by producing two-party or nearly two-party systems. Yet, as the outcome of the United Kingdom's recent election shows, that supposed benefit comes at the price of a government in which a minority can ride roughshod over the interests and preferences of more than half of the population.

NEW YORK – On the most important issue in the United Kingdom’s modern history – whether to leave the European Union or remain – the UK’s electoral system produced an absurd result. A majority of the UK public wants to remain in the EU, and actually voted accordingly in the parliamentary election on December 12. Yet the election produced a large majority for the Conservative Party, which backs a quick Brexit. The reason is as simple as it is troubling: the failure of the first-past-the-post electoral systems to translate public sentiment into reasonably representative outcomes.

In a first-past-the-post electoral system, each legislative seat goes to the candidate who wins the largest share of the vote, regardless of whether it is a majority. Thus, when majority opinion is divided among several parties, the minority view prevails with a minority of votes.

As a simple illustration, suppose that there are three parties: Remain-1, Remain-2,...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *