The United Kingdom is known for its single-member plurality or the first-past-the-post electoral system (McGarvey, 2017). The British government has two major leading parties namely the center-right Conservatives and the Centre-Left Labour Party (Doorey, 2005). Furthermore, there are other parties that are primarily linked to other countries within the UK and they also take part in the elections. As such Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, Eurosceptic UK independence Party and four other parties which based in Northern Ireland.
Through the UK has several parties, electoral systems and the presence of multilevel governance, it still riles under the governance of FPTP (Herro & Shugart, 2018). According to the UK’s general electoral process, it’s divided into 650 electoral constituencies. Each constituency has the same number of representatives and with each constituency been represented by a member of parliament (Garnett & Lynch, 2013). Thereby, the MP must be validly elected with a valid seat in the House of Commons, which happens to be UK’s lower chamber in parliament.
Before any general members election, the competing political parties must choose their preferred candidates to vie for the seats.
Additionally, candidates who are not affiliated to any political party, they can contend for the seats as independent candidates. For a party to take over the government and govern, they must win more than half of the vacant 650 seats (Garnet & Lynch, 2013). In situations where none of the competing parties wins half of the seats required to take over government, the resultant parliament is termed as a hung parliament.
In such an instance, the party with the highest number of seats usually has two options to choose form. The party can either govern without any informal support from the smaller parties or they join hands with the other parties to form a coalition government.
Once the party has garnered the required seats, the leader of the winning party is personally appointed by the Queen as a Prime minister and subsequently forms a cabinet (ibid). The UK government usually holds elections after every five years. However, in case of political instability, snap elections can be held (Watts, 2018). For instance, Theresa May called for a snap election after the Brexit debate and subsequent withdrawal. During the elections, voters are considered to have voted for the party the moment they vote for their preferred candidate. The candidate who garners the most votes in the constituency that he/she vied for his/her considered winner. When it’s come to drive an opinion about the undergone shift toward country’s electoral system, according to the latest evidences that, in 2005 the general election results in the UK have been offered some essential aspect about the problem of achieving turnouts in the election system (Helen Margaret, 2005). There is an argument that undermines lack of evidence to rely on Duverger law.
On another view, Josep Colomer said that there is a decisive increase within the number of established parties that will dramatically affect the plurality electoral system” (2005). This point of view helps to understand that if there is any risk for the power of established party, it will lead the incumbent majority party elites to be willing moving towards proportional system. The defensive behaviour of incumbent majority party elites can trigger with FPTP system. If the PR system is suitable for the electoral process, for instance, it defines that, the PR system is one whereas it allocates the proportion of seats for the UKIP party with the same proportion of votes which won by them. That is why, each votes carries the same value of importance.
It’s obvious that, in the House of Commons, the election system structured by the winner take all, which has not been an objective decision for the smaller parties from taking a handicap by the Parliament. If it will possible to implement the PR system, then it will take several forms such as Single Transferable Vote in the NI Assembly (Dunleavy Patrick, 2005). Psychologically, the two-party system makes the smaller parties to feel that they do not have any chances to be represented in the political participation. Thus, whilst safe seats are an issue at the end of spectrum, the winner at the end can produce a tiny importance. For instance, the SDLP candidates for South Belfast gained only 24.5% of the vote in 2015 with 8MPs having seats less than 35% of the votes cast (J. Colomer, 2004).
On the other hand, the government of Canada recently established a special parliamentary committee whose primary role will be consult different entities on matters concerning electoral reform, proportional representation and mandatory voting. In general, the Canada’s electoral system was inherited the same system by the UK government. According to Duverger Law, the electoral system only tends to favour a two-party political system, unlike the double ballot which tend to only to favour the multiparty political system (Grofman, Blais & Bowler, 2009). Under the first-past-the-post each province and territory is given a certain number seats in the popular House of Commons as stated in section 51 of the Constitution Act of 1867. The allocation of houses in the House of Commons is determined by the size of each province and its general population (Joyal, 2014). The higher the population and the larger the size of the province, the higher the number of seats in the House of Commons. The current allocation number pf seats in the House of Commons stands at 338.
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