Thursday, May 12, 2005


PR Elections

I am a lot less convinced about the benefits of PR than I once was as a result of some of the voting behaviour in this general election.

It is my opinion that, in a divided society such as our own, the constitution should be encouraging alliances and voting accross the divisions rather than, GFA-style, institutionalising them.

In the STV system there is no incentive to vote accross the divide as all groups which get a quota will be represented. I haven't seen much recent data, but older studies tended to show that the number of voters who give their preferences accross the divide are minimal.

Ironically the much maligned first past the post system actually encourages more cross-community voting. Because there can only be one winner, in many seats the individual elector can decide either to vote for a no-hoper from his own "side" or to vote tactically for the least bad of two candidates from the other side. It seems that the very majoritarianism that is much decried by critics forces the voter himself to make compromises that the comunal party he might usually vote for would never consider.

In many ways a system that has too many guarantees simply reinforces the existing divisions.

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