Giving way to ‘Proportional Representation

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By Dr. Christopher A. Johnson

In recent years, there has been a gradual wane in the two-tier Party system as voters show frustration with levels of cronyism, nepotism, staleness and bland policy ideas. Essentially, traditionalism has given way to modernity with the influx of young and emerging sophisticated voters including women and young professionals who are longer hoodwinked by ‘political by-play’.

The ‘First Past-the-Post’ (FPTP) system is in crisis since its evolution centuries ago. There is clamour for ‘Proportional Representation’ or PR, to address what some see as “unfairness” or “inequity” in the FPTP system. The presence of multiple Political Parties with ‘sectional-subject’ interests is also challenging the historic electoral system which today is premised on two mainstream Parties vying for each other’s ‘ideological clothing’ albeit with different colours. Core supporters are often confused and disempowered by lack of choice. Apart from a wider ideological berth, PR offers voters greater prospects for choosing candidates from key constituencies (either ‘held’ or ‘vacant’) to campaign for the legislature.

Successive governments elected under the FPTP were deemed to be ‘presiding’ over ‘an elective dictatorship’ system. In cases where there are coalition governments, the situation is no different, since the majority Party can still wield sufficient power to veto or ‘outvote’ the minority or smaller Parties. Many countries including most European states use PR to elect representatives to the European parliament. As an electoral system, PR is reflected proportionately in the elected body. For example, if 30% of the electorate support a particular Political Party, then roughly 30% of seats will be won by that Party. The time for universal change to the electoral system is nigh; this will enable more citizens to exercise their franchise thereby contributing to genuine representative and participative democracy.

Dr. Christopher A. Johnson is an award winning Author, Business Management Consultant & Policy Strategy Executive at Global Enterprise Development Services Ltd. Email: cjguy580@yahoo.co.uk.

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