Who Wants Proportional Representation?

Is it the case that election losers invariably blame the voting system?

The Green Party election candidate John Puddifer suggests “We need Proportional Representation to #MakeVotesMatter! Here’s who’s standing up for PR in West Lancashire. Find out which of your candidates promise to ChangeTheVotingSystem if they’re elected!”

In England, Scotland and Wales the voting system for the European elections is the d’Hondt system of proportional representation, regional closed list. In Northern Ireland the system is Single Transferable Vote. The ballot paper lists the name of each candidate and their party name. Rank the candidates in order of preference, a 1 next to your first choice, a 2 next to your second, and so on, ranking as many as you wish. 

Since 1999 voters in Britain have elected MEPs under a proportional representation system. The European Parliamentary Elections Act of that year introduced a regional list system with seats allocated to parties in proportion to their share of the vote.

In 2014, all MEPs in the European Parliament were elected under some form of proportional representation. Differences exist between Member States for example in the methods used (eg. Droop quota, d’Hondt system, Single Transferable Vote) or in the constituency unit (regional or national).

Of the 43 countries most often considered to be within Europe, 40 use some form of proportional representation to elect their MPs. The UK stands almost alone in Europe in using a ‘one-person-takes-all’ disproportionate voting system. If we exclude the authoritarian state of Belarus “Europe’s only remaining outpost of tyranny” France is the only other European country to use a ‘one-person-takes-all’ system (the Two-Round System).

Party List proportional representation is the most widely used form of PR in Europe, 31 countries use it to elect their MPs.

Might we assume that the “Green Party remain” candidate is naturally inclined to PR by virtue of his lack of confidence in the “UK Democratic system”? Votes DO matter so long as political parties persuade people to do so.

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