First Past The Post or Proportional Representation?

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Ren-Ryan
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FPTP VS PR

Should our electoral system be amended?
Why?
Advantage/ Disadvantage?
How other Countries use PR or FPTP?
Many Thanks!
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sleepysnooze
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AS politics student?

PR is in line with the purpose of a parliament - to (fairly) represent the people, and from that, make the law moulded from their influence. the sole function of a system like FPTP is to create an artificially strong government which very usually does not have the support of the people it purports as having; the conservatives got 37% support this year in the election, yet got 50%+ of the seat for legislation. imagine an election where 37% of the people wanted something, but 63% wanted something else, yet the 37% still won the election - does that make sense in a democracy? what is the definition of a democracy other than majoritarian (in the 50% sense) rule? if people want a system which grossly overrepresents a particular minority via massive procedural inadequacies, then they're not looking for democracy, but rather a powerful government. the problem here is that it is the election of parliament that we're talking about in terms of elections (as we elect MPs, not ministers) - to elect a parliament in a way in favour of a form of who's going to government makes parliament, which is the sole democratic institution of our country, completely irrelevant and pretty much a rubber stamp. if you turn it the other way around, where the parliament, fairly elected, dictates who is going to govern the country, you don't get these massive flaws where the losers can win, even if they're the "most popular losers".

TLDR?
PR coalitions have been proven to be successful all over Europe, in the face of people claiming they are unstable; the most stable democracies are very often PR systems
higher turnout and therefore higher electoral legitimacy
more consensual legislation in line with public opinion
a lack of bipolarity and sporadic change
two party entrenchment/duopolism, giving voters no choice in reality other than "established party 1, or established part A"
no wasted votes
pretty much no chance for gerrymandering
a satisfied electorate
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balanced
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Hopefully this helps.


Alternative Vote (AV)
The Alternative Vote (AV) is a preferential system where the voter has thechance to rank the candidates in order of preference.

The voter puts a '1' by their first choice a '2' by their second choice, and soon, until they no longer wish to express any further preferences or run out ofcandidates.

Candidates are elected outright if they gain more than half of the firstpreference votes. If not, the candidate who lost (the one with least firstpreferences) is eliminated and their votes are redistributed according to thesecond (or next available) preference marked on the ballot paper. This processcontinues until one candidate has half of the votes and is elected.

In a UK-wide referendum in 2011 the British public were asked if they wanted toreplace First Past the Post (FPTP) with the Alternative Votingsystem for electing members of parliament. The referendum produced a definitiveno vote against AV.


Pros and cons of the Alternative Vote
The case for AV The arguments against All MPs would have the support of a majority of their voters. Following the 2010 General Election, two thirds of the MPs elected lacked majority support, the highest figure in British political history. AV is not proportional representation and in certain electoral conditions, such as landslides, can produce a more disproportional result than First Past the Post(FPTP) It retains the same constituencies, meaning no need to redraw boundaries, and no overt erosion of the constituency-MP link. In close three-way races the “compromise” candidate could be defeated in the first round even though they may be more broadly acceptable to the electorate than the top two candidates. It penalises extremist parties, who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes. Lower preferences can potentially throw up a “lowest common denominator” winner without much positive support of their own. It encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the need for negative campaigning (one doesn't want to alienate the supporters of another candidate whose second preferences one wants) and rewards broad-church policies. A voting system that allows voters to rank candidates is prone to so-called 'Donkey voting', where voters vote for candidates in the order they appear on the ballot It reduces the need for tactical voting. Electors can vote for their first-choice candidate without fear of wasting their vote. It reduces the number of “safe seats” where the election result is a foregone conclusion
Alternative Vote Plus (AV+)
The Alternative Vote Plus (AV+) wasinvented by the 1998 Independent Commission on the Voting System, commonlyknown as the Jenkins Commission. The Commission was asked to recommend a votingsystem that fulfilled (or best fulfilled) four criteria:
  • The maintenance of a geographical link between MP and constituency
  • The need for stable government
  • The desire for broad proportionality
  • An extension of voter choice
The Commission described thesystem as a "limited" form of AMS aimed at achieving a balance between therequirements of "broad proportionality" and "stablegovernment".AV+ wascreated with the intention of being the alternative to First (FPTP) in Labour's promisedreferendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. The referendum never came and AV+ has,for now, been confined to the parliamentary archives. How theAlternative VotePlus worksAV+ has, as the name might suggest, two parts. The AV part, and the 'plus' part. AV part, about 500 MPs would be elected insingle-member constituencies, but rather than voters simply putting an 'X' bytheir preferred candidate, they would be asked to rank them in order ofpreference. On top of these constituency MPs, each electorwould get a second vote to cast at a county (or equivalent) level. In Scotlandand Wales, these areas would be the same as the ones usedfor the additional members in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. Each voter would choose either their favouriteparty, or their favourite candidate from the list proposed by their favouriteparty. This means that they do not have to accept the order of candidates setout by the party, i.e. the lists are 'open' rather than 'closed'. The county votes will be used to decide how manyadditional seats each party should get within the county. The constituency seats are then taken into accountand the county seat or seats are allocated to the party or parties mostdisadvantaged by the share of constituency seats (the party or parties with thehighest ratio of votes to seats). The individual appointed as County MP will be theperson from the winning party list who gets the most individual votes. About 100 (up to 150) MPs would be elected in the'plus' part, and would help correct the imbalance between seats and votes oftenproduced by FPTP. AV+ is thus a crude cross between AV and AMS. Arguments used in support of AV+
  • 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.
  • 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.
Arguments used against AV+
  • 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.

Additional Member System
AMS is a hybrid voting system. It is part First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) and part closed party list. The partylist element is added on to make the result more proportional, overcoming (to agreater or lesser extent) the distortion inherent in FPTP. Supporters ofAMS claim that it combines the best of both; its detractors say it combines theworst of both.The exact proportion ofconstituency representatives and list representatives varies from country tocountry; the constituency element usually makes up between 50 and 80 per cent.Under AMS, each voter typicallygets two votes – one for a real person, and one for a party. Under certainvarieties of AMS, the two votes are merged into one, with the vote for thecandidate counting as a vote for their party as well. This doesn't happenvery often, however.When all the votes are in, eachconstituency returns a winner, in the traditional FPTP style. If acandidate was standing in a constituency as well as on a party list, their nameis taken off the list, with everyone below them moving up a place.The additional members are thenallocated with the aim of tallying the number of seats won by each party totheir share of the vote. Some systems do this solely on the basis of theparty vote, others include the constituency vote too.Finally, some variants of AMSinclude a 'threshold', such that a party must gain, say, 4 per cent of the voteif they are to have any seats.Also known as:Outside of the UK, AMS is morecommonly referred to as Mixed Member Proportional (MMP).Real-world application of AMSArguments used in support of AMS
  • It is broadly proportional.
  • Each voter has a directly accountable single constituency representative.
  • Every voter has at least one effective vote.
  • It allows a voter to express personal support for a candidate, without having to worry about going against their party.
Arguments used against AMS
  • Many representatives are accountable to the party leadership rather than the voters.
  • Having two different types of representative creates animosity between them. In Wales and Scotland, for example, AMs and MSPs elected via the regional lists have been seen as having 'got in via the backdoor' or as 'assisted place' or 'second class' members. This is especially marked in Wales, where Labour has no list AMs.
  • AMS sometimes gives rise to 'overhang' seats, where a party wins more seats via the constituency vote than it is entitled to, proportionally speaking. In Germany and New Zealand, but not in the UK, extra seats are allocated to the other parties to redress the balance. This can get complicated and lead to further bickering and animosity.
  • AMS can lead to the problem of 'decoy lists'.
  • Some people get confused over exactly what they're supposed to do with their two votes.
The SingleTransferable Vote (Northern Ireland Assembly elections)
The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is a form ofproportional representation which uses preferential voting in multi-memberconstituencies.

Candidates don't need a majority of votes to beelected, just a known 'quota', or share of the votes, determined by the size ofthe electorate and the number of positions to be filled.

Each voter gets one vote, which can transferfrom their first-preference to their second-preference, so if your preferredcandidate has no chance of being elected or has enough votes already, your voteis transferred to another candidate in accordance with your instructions. STVthus ensures that very few votes are wasted, unlike other systems, especiallyFirst Past the Post, where only a small number of votes actually contribute tothe result.


Pros and cons ofthe Single Transferable Vote The case for The arguments against STV gives voters more choice than any other system. This in turn puts most power in the hands of the voters, rather than the party heads, who under other systems can more easily determine who is elected. Under STV MPs' responsibilities lie more with the electorate than those above them in their party. In sparsely populated areas, such as the Scottish Highlands, STV could lead to massive constituencies. This was one of the reasons cited by the Arbuthnott Commission for not recommending STV for non-local Scottish elections. Fewer votes are 'wasted' (i.e. cast for losing candidates or unnecessarily cast for the winner) under STV. This means that most voters can identity a representative that they personally helped to elect. Such a link in turn increases a representative's accountability. The process of counting the results takes longer under STV, meaning that results cannot usually be declared on the same night as the vote took place. With STV and multi-member constituencies, parties have a powerful electoral incentive to present a balanced team of candidates in order to maximise the number of higher preferences that would go to their sponsored candidates. This helps the advancement of women and ethnic-minority candidates, who are often overlooked in favour of a 'safer' looking candidate. A voting system that allows voters to rank candidates is prone to so-called 'Donkey voting', where voters vote for candidates in the order they appear on the ballot STV offers voters a choice of representatives to approach with their concerns post-election, rather than just the one, who may not be at all sympathetic to a voter's views, or may even be the cause of the concern. Voters only tend to come into contact with candidates at election time, whereas people in the party know them much better. It could be argued, therefore, that a system that allows a political party to parachute its preferred candidates into safe seats is better than one that leaves the choice more in the hands of the voters. Competition is generally a good thing and competition to provide a good service to constituents is no different. In large multi-member constituencies, ballot papers can get rather big and confusing. Parliament is more likely to be both reflective of a nation's views and more responsive to them. Parties are broad coalitions, and can be markedly split on certain key issues, such as war. With only one party person per constituency, the representatives elected may well not reflect the views of their electorate. Many voters in the UK general election of 2005 were faced with a dilemma, as they wanted to support a certain party, but did not want to support the war in Iraq. STV would have helped them express these views much more clearly. Under STV, as opposed to hybrid systems such as AMS, all MPs are elected on the same basis, thus lessening the chances of there being animosity between them. There are no safe seats under STV, meaning candidates cannot be complacent and parties must campaign everywhere, and not just in marginal seats. When voters have the ability to rank candidates, the most disliked candidate cannot win, as they are unlikely to pick up second-, third- and lower-preference votes. By encouraging candidates to seek first-, as well as lower-preference votes, the efficacy of negative campaigning is greatly diminished. There is no need for tactical voting. There is a more sophisticated link between a constituency and its representative. Not only is there more incentive to campaign and work on a more personal and local level, but also, the constituencies are likely to be more sensible reflections of where community feeling lies. For example, there is more of an attachment to the City of Leeds or the City of Manchester, than there is to, say, Leeds North East or Manchester Withington, whose boundaries have a habit of changing fairly regularly anyway.


The SupplementaryVote (used in London Mayoral elections)
The Supplementary Vote (SV) is a shortenedversion of the Alternative Vote (AV).Under SV, there are two columns on the ballot paper – one for voters to marktheir first choice and one in which to mark a second choice. Voters mark one'X' in each column, although voters are not required to make a second choice ifthey do not wish to.

All the first choices are then counted, and if acandidate has a majority, they are elected. If no candidate receives amajority, the top two candidates continue to a second round and all othercandidates are eliminated. The second-choice votes of everyone whose firstchoice has been eliminated are then counted.

Any votes for the remaining candidates are thenadded to their first-round totals. Whichever candidate has the most votes afterthese second-preferences have been allocated is declared the winner.



Pros and cons ofthe Supplementary Vote The case for The arguments against To some extent, SV encourages conciliatory campaigning, as gaining second-preference votes is important. Unlike the Alternative Vote, SV does not ensure that the winning candidate has the support of at least 50% of the electorate. It is a relatively simple system to understand. SV strongly promotes voting for only candidates from the main three parties. If there are more than two strong candidates, voters must guess which two will make the final round, and if they guess incorrectly, their second-preference vote will be wasted. In such circumstances it may even be possible for voters to defeat their preferred candidate The system can lead to a lot of wasted votes as many of the votes cast in the first round end up not transferring and being counted in the second round SV does not eliminate the likelihood of tactical voting.

Party List System(British elections to the European Parliament, Israeli elections)There are two different types of Party List-PR,Closed List and Open List.

In both cases parties present lists ofcandidates and seats are awarded according to their party’s share of the vote.This is usually done using an electoral formula or a quota which prevents toomany small parties from winning seats


.Open List:Voterschoose individual candidates from the list provided by each party andindividual candidates are elected according to the popular vote.
Closed List: Votersvote for the party and therefore the list as a whole. Candidates are elected inthe order they appear on the list (as decided by the party) until all the seatshave been filled.
Semi-open lists: This gives voters some influence over who iselected, but most of the candidates will be elected in list order.Pros and cons ofParty List PR The case for The arguments against Party-list systems guarantee a high degree of party proportionality. Closed party lists are completely impersonal, weakening any link between the representative and a regional area. Every vote has equal value. Closed party lists offer very little in the way of voter choice: all the power, save that of choosing a party for government, resides with the party leaders. It couldn't be simpler: voters have to make one choice out of a small selection. As candidates are selected by the party leaders, they are likely to put 'safe' candidates near the top of the list, at the expense of traditionally under-represented groups. List systems tend to involve large multi-member constituencies, which give more opportunities for women and minority groups to gain representation. Also with Closed party lists parties can stifle independent and minority opinion within their ranks. As all the power over who gets seats lies with the party machine, so too does the power to voice opinions. Open lists offer voters more choice and control over who is elected Part lists discriminate against those not willing to be part of the party structure, and it is impossible to stand as an independent candidate Closed lists are more amenable to measures that can increase the representation of women, such as gender quotas. Highly proportional systems with minimal thresholds can result in a fragmented parliament, and produce unstable, multi-party governments. ,".a����
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username878267
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PR. The fact that UKIP got one seat for 4 million votes while tories +labour get a seat for every 30,000 odd is an utter joke. And I hate UKIP.
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TheNote
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(Original post by Ren-Ryan)
FPTP VS PR

Should our electoral system be amended?
Why?
Advantage/ Disadvantage?
How other Countries use PR or FPTP?
Many Thanks!
FPTP vs PR vs AV If you want true representation you would have PR every year and then every 4th or 5th year the averages are added up. The best voting system is the Alternative vote proposed previously.

Should it change Yes the Alternative vote should have won the referendum, it is the best voting system, in my opinion, that we have come up with to date.

Advantages AV gives you the power to vote for who you really want without having to worry about if your vote will count, this argument also applies to PR but not to the extent that it applies to AV.

Disadvantages AV and PR give more extreme or less popular parties a larger say in the government, in theory, and will require more coalitions to form stable government.
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saayagain
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(Original post by Ren-Ryan)
FPTP VS PR

Should our electoral system be amended?
Why?
Advantage/ Disadvantage?
How other Countries use PR or FPTP?
Many Thanks!
Yes. Legislative branch should be made up of the electorate. Executive branch should be elected by the electorate. No more representative dictatorships. Direct democracy for the win.

'Representative democracies' are really dictatorships. You vote once every 5 years for who you want to dictate over you. You have virtually no say in the legislative processes of parliament which is where the power lies.

Advantages of Direct Democracy is that it is a real democracy. Fully representative. Fully transparent. Power is retained by the people.

Disadvantages: Might be slow at the start but once society is used to it it will be fine. Relies on the knowledge and intelligence of the population.

The closest country to direct democracy is Switzerland. There are some mechanisms in place which allow the electorate to challenge legislation and present new legislation and/or amendments. Certain laws can only be passed via referendum etc etc...
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AndyJn
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(Original post by Ren-Ryan)
FPTP VS PR

Should our electoral system be amended?
Why?
Advantage/ Disadvantage?
How other Countries use PR or FPTP?
Many Thanks!
You didn't mean how many countries use PR or FPTP did you?
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Rakas21
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While i previously supported proportional representation the increased support for Ukip and the Greens has put me firmly in the FPTP camp. One contains sexist extremists and the other contains amateurs.
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Davij038
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What Rakas said.


Democracy, if such a concept even exists, is the least bad system of government currently on offer.



Plato was right.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by TheNote)
FPTP vs PR vs AV If you want true representation you would have PR every year and then every 4th or 5th year the averages are added up. The best voting system is the Alternative vote proposed previously.

Should it change Yes the Alternative vote should have won the referendum, it is the best voting system, in my opinion, that we have come up with to date.

Advantages AV gives you the power to vote for who you really want without having to worry about if your vote will count, this argument also applies to PR but not to the extent that it applies to AV.

Disadvantages AV and PR give more extreme or less popular parties a larger say in the government, in theory, and will require more coalitions to form stable government.
But there was a referendum on the issue and the electorate said no.
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(Original post by Davij038)
What Rakas said.


Democracy, if such a concept even exists, is the least bad system of government currently on offer.



Plato was right.
Bit hypocritical though. We invade a bunch of countries to tell them why our way of life is so brilliant and how they need to become democratic yet we don't uphold that standard back home.

I don't care what anyone says, UKIP winning 4 million votes and 1 seat is incredibly undemocratic.
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(Original post by Bornblue)
Bit hypocritical though. We invade a bunch of countries to tell them why our way of life is so brilliant and how they need to become democratic yet we don't uphold that standard back home.

I don't care what anyone says, UKIP winning 4 million votes and 1 seat is incredibly undemocratic.
And this is why I disagree with the PR crowd- they seem to think we've been , living in a dictatorship for the last hundred years :P

The on,y way to have a pure democracy would be if every member had a direct say in all matters and crucially was well educated in them


And we don't invade countries because they're up democratic we invade because they commit genocide (in modern times)
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jamestg
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PR maybe more democratic, but IMO it doesn't really help democracy function.

I'd rather a lesser-democratic but functional legislature and parliament, rather than an ultra-democratic but less functional legislature and parliament. Coalitions also don't have a mandate to govern, PR gives coalitions - therefore the results of PR can raise questions as to how democratic PR actually is.
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Proportional representation means some constituencies have to have someone they did not vote for. It means the end of local representational democracy and a switch to pure national-level party politics. The constituency concept may as well be scrapped and just let the parties prioritise the MPs they want (which they do already) in a long list and when we allocate our votes to parties they put in whichever corrupt cronies they want. Much like they do now only worse.

And it will be almost impossible for us to get rid of a bent MP that the party wants to keep.
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
But there was a referendum on the issue and the electorate said no.
AV isn't a proportional system so no their hasn't. In fact if we had had AV in the last election the conservatives would have had an even more disproportionate representation in parliament. Why do you think Cameron made that, in the words of Nick Clegg, "pathetic little compromise".
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(Original post by Davij038)
And this is why I disagree with the PR crowd- they seem to think we've been , living in a dictatorship for the last hundred years :P

The on,y way to have a pure democracy would be if every member had a direct say in all matters and crucially was well educated in them


And we don't invade countries because they're up democratic we invade because they commit genocide (in modern times)
Of course we haven't been living in a dictatorship and of course we can't have a pure democracy,
But just because it can't be perfect doesn't mean we shouldn't try. We should aim for a system that best represents people's wishes. I despise UKIP and the people who vote for them, but they should still be represented. 4 million votes for 1 seat is a disgusting affront to democracy.

And it's not exactly a lefty thing is it. PR would lead to a UKIP-Tory coalition most likely, (makes a pure tory government look great!)


But still, we should have it. It would also stop the gerrymandering of borders to fix elections.
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(Original post by Bornblue)
Of course we haven't been living in a dictatorship and of course we can't have a pure democracy,
But just because it can't be perfect doesn't mean we shouldn't try. We should aim for a system that best represents people's wishes. I despise UKIP and the people who vote for them, but they should still be represented. 4 million votes for 1 seat is a disgusting affront to democracy.

And it's not exactly a lefty thing is it. PR would lead to a UKIP-Tory coalition most likely, (makes a pure tory government look great!)


But still, we should have it. It would also stop the gerrymandering of borders to fix elections.
We already have that.


The current systems allows Government to govern.
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(Original post by Rakas21)
While i previously supported proportional representation the increased support for Ukip and the Greens has put me firmly in the FPTP camp. One contains sexist extremists and the other contains amateurs.
so you want to deny people representation because you disagree with them? wow. :/ so you're justifying anti-democratic values based on what I can only detect is your arbitrary selfishness/self-importance. what even is the point of a democratic and fair parliament if you shut out the people whom people like you disagree with? why not just have a dictatorship that you happen to agree with? why even have this parliament if it is rigged like you're wanting it to be? your suggestion that we should havve FPTP in order to shut some people out of the power that they obviously (in a democracy) deserve, it basically the same thing as rigging an election result in a dictatorship...
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
We already have that.


The current systems allows Government to govern.
Dictatorships allow 'governments to govern' too.
All people being represented should trump a party winning 25% of the electorate's vote from having all control.

UKIP won 16% of the vote, they should have 16% of the seats.
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(Original post by saayagain)
Yes. Legislative branch should be made up of the electorate. Executive branch should be elected by the electorate. No more representative dictatorships. Direct democracy for the win.

'Representative democracies' are really dictatorships. You vote once every 5 years for who you want to dictate over you. You have virtually no say in the legislative processes of parliament which is where the power lies.

Advantages of Direct Democracy is that it is a real democracy. Fully representative. Fully transparent. Power is retained by the people.

Disadvantages: Might be slow at the start but once society is used to it it will be fine. Relies on the knowledge and intelligence of the population.

The closest country to direct democracy is Switzerland. There are some mechanisms in place which allow the electorate to challenge legislation and present new legislation and/or amendments. Certain laws can only be passed via referendum etc etc...
These are pretty much my thoughts on the issue, supporting real democracy. I think there needs to be some slight modification of pure direct democracy(at least in the beginning) though because it
Relies on the knowledge and intelligence of the population.
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