Advantages of FPTP
First Past The Post, like other plurality/majoriAdvantages and disadvantages of FPTP systemty electoral systems, is defended primarily on the grounds of simplicity and its tendency to produce winners who are representatives beholden to defined geographic areas and governability. The most often cited advantages are that:
It provides a clear-cut choice for voters between two main parties. The inbuilt disadvantages faced by third and fragmented minority parties under FPTP in many cases cause the party system to gravitate towards a party of the ‘left’ and a party of the ‘right’, alternating in power. Third parties often wither away and almost never reach a level of popular support above which their national vote yields a comparable percentage of seats in the legislature. It gives rise to single-party governments. The ‘seat bonuses’ for the largest party common under FPTP (e.g. where one party wins 45 per cent of the national vote but 55 per cent of the seats) mean that coalition governments are the exception rather than the rule. This state of affairs is praised for providing cabinets which are not shackled by the restraints of having to bargain with a minority coalition partner. It gives rise to a coherent opposition in the legislature. In theory, the flip side of a strong single-party government is that the opposition is also given enough seats to perform a critical checking role and present itself as a realistic alternative to the government of the day. It advantages broadly-based political parties. In severely ethnically or regionally divided societies, FPTP is commended for encouraging political parties to be ‘broad churches’, encompassing many elements of society, particularly when there are only two major parties and many different societal groups. These parties can then field a diverse array of candidates for election. In Malaysia, for example, the Barisan Nasional government is made up of a broadly-based umbrella movement which...
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