AS Government & Politics - Additional Member System

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    09-May-2015

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<ul><li>1.Round 5 Additional Member System </li></ul> <p>2. Its Complicated The Additional Member System (AMS) is the name given to a hybrid electoral system in which a proportion of the representatives are selected using the good old First-Past-The-Post system, and the rest are allocated on the basis of Proportional Representation. While this all sounds a bit foreign, its used with great success in Scotland for the Holyrod elections. So to recap AMS= FPTP + PR 3. How Does It Work? The First-Past-The-Post Bit This would operate the same way as FPTP in the UK. However crucially not all the seats in Parliament are available under FPTP. So if we use the UK as an example: Overall Seats: 650 Seats Under FPTP: (e.g.) 325 The Proportional Representation Bit What's different is that the rest of the seats are allocated under PR. 1. Voters fill in 2 slips, 1 for their MP and a second for their preferred party. 2. The second slips are counted and the remaining seats are allocated based on their share of the vote. 4. DHondt If You Love Voting To allocate seats under the AMS system each seat is allocated in rounds. In each round we use the following formula is: Extra Seat = Total Votes For Party +1 Total Seats Owned So for all the 325 seats up for grabs we would use this system EVERY single time and for every single party. The party with the highest figure for each round wins the seat. * However to qualify for this the party must reach a threshold (percentage) of the overall votes cast. (E.g. In Germany and Scotland its 5%). 5. Bear With Me.. DHondt If You Love Voting No. Extra Seats= Total Votes for Party Total Seats Owned + 1 (Say we want to add a further 3 seats) Consider the following from the General Election 2010 Conservative- 10,726,614 (306) Labour- 8,609,527 (258) Lib Dem- 6,836,824 (57) DUP- 168,216 (8) SNP- 491,386 (6) Plaid Cmyru- 165,394 (3) Under the DHondt system the Lib Dems would accumulate a large number Of extra seats. Round 1 Tory= 10,726,614/307= 34,940 Labour= 8,609,527/259= 33,241 Lib Dem= 6,836,824/58= 117,871 SNP= 491,386/7= 70,198 DUP= 168, 216/9= 18,691 Plaid= 165,394/4= 41,349 Round 2 Tory= 10,726,614/307= 34,940 Labour= 8,609,527/259= 33,241 Lib Dem= 6,836,824/59= 115,873 SNP= 491,386/7= 70,198 DUP= 168,216/9= 18,691 Plaid= 165,394/4= 41,349 Round 3 Tory= 10,726,614/307 Labour= 8,609,527/259= 33,241 Lib Dem= 6,836,824/60= 113,947 SNP= 491,386/7= 70,198 DUP= 168,216/9= 18,691 Plaid= 165,394/4= 41,349 6. Its Grim Up North (Of The Border) The most obvious example of AMS in action is for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections. Lets look at how they roll and see if we can learn anything. Scottish Parliament- FPTP- Part 1 In Scotland 73 of the Parliamentary seats are decided using FPTP system. The results are below. SNP- 53 Labour- 15 Conservatives- 3 Liberal Democrats- 2 Scottish Parliament- PR- Part 2 In Scotland 56 of the Parliamentary seats are allocated using the PR system. Results below: Labour- 22 SNP- 16 Conservatives- 12 Liberal Democrats- 3 Greens- 2 The big winners here are the SNP who are the largest single party and the Conservatives who treble their share of the vote! 7. II Love AMS, Put Another Vote In The System Baby! Here we go its Strengths of the Additional Member System time! 1. Proportional 2. Representation 3. Choice 4. Simple-ish 5. Threshold 8. Your All In Proportion Finally you now have a system which has all the stability of FPTP, but also has the proportionality of PR. It takes account of the wider political mood of the nation rather then a narrow campaign amongst swing voters. So whilst the FPTP system still operates, we also have a second vote on much broader terms in which voters say who they want NATIONALLY! For the P.R. Part of the system each party puts forward a list of candidates and depending upon how many seats they are allocated under the P.R. a number of candidates from each list are sent to Government. 9. The Representation Of The People Under P.R. there are no individual communities only areas which vote for a party and that party produces a list of people they want. Depending on that parties share of the vote a specific number of candidates on that list will be selected as representatives. The most obvious example of this in practice is the European Parliamentary elections. However with AMS we still keep our constituencies.Yehy! 10. Choice Your Words Carefully You get two voting slips: 1. Vote for your regional representative. 2. Vote for your party of choice. Whilst this does allow an element of the Safe Seat culture we get under FPTP, it allows a cheeky outlet for voters to express themselves properly in the second vote. Not only that but the system deliberately rewards parties that struggle to get seats under FPTP (I.e. the Liberal Democrats). 11. Simple-ish Politics Most people understand First-Past-The-Post. Most people understand the basic principle of Proportional Representation. As a hybrid system AMS seems to get the best out of both systems. If selected it would be relatively easy to explain to the electorate. The only issue of complexity would be calculating who had won seats through the DHondt formula. 12. Take The Bad With The Worse Yep Its that time were we criticise the system now. These are some of the issues which arise with an AMS system. 1. Two-Tier 2. Weaklings 3. Under-Representation 4. Uncertainty 5. Accuracy? 13. Uncertain and Inaccurate Uncertainty There is no certainty to this system. As my mini presentation shows a large number of seats quickly fill up for Liberal Democrats. As this stands it seems ok, but as the seats start to move amongst the smaller parties it creates instability. Accuracy If we start tinkering with constituencies is it fair to say they start to become a bit artificial and that the people chosen to represent them are less significant to the constituency? 14. 2nd Class Constituencies This is almost a tale of 2 cities. If you constituency is electing using the FPTP part of the system, then your representative will generally be known locally and will have connections to the community they represent. However.... If your constituency is allocated a representative under the PR bit of the system then they will be chosen by a party list system and allocated to you. They will be unlikely to know the constituency and will simply be selected on the basis of how highly the party rates them. So some constituencies have dedicated representatives (i.e. Labour in Scotland are very good at this), whereas others are given representatives under PR who may not be in the interests of that community (the overall growth in the SNP and Conservative vote is a concern). 15. Weaklings Weak Representatives This ties into the last point about party lists. Each party will have a list of potential candidates for the PR seats before the election. That list is ranked in order of who the party think is best. So MR/MRS no.1 spot its looking promising. MR/MRS no.325 slot might not have it so easy. As such if they get elected these people owe their career to the party NOT to you! Weak Government If we look at the systems which use AMS (Scotland, Germany, Italy and Russia) one feature is that the PR element creates political uncertainty. With the exception of Russia all these countries either have a coalition Government or a minority rule Government which has to bargain for every issue or face loosing a vote of no confidence. 16. Underground Over ground Representation Free If PR is all about a fair representation, then why does the AMS version mean we need a threshold to even qualify. If we apply this to our elections then for a party to qualify for the threshold we need to look at a few things. Total number of votes = 29,691,380 Threshold 5% Voters for you needed = 1,484,569 17. The End.. Now comes the test </p>

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