How Far Does the Westminster Electoral System Ensure Strong and Stable Government?

Topics: Plurality voting system, Elections, Election Pages: 3 (912 words) Published: February 18, 2013
Westminster is the location of the Houses of Parliament, where the majority of political decisions (other than those for devolved states) are made for the nation. The current Westminster electoral system is First Past the Post (FPTP) which is used for general elections every 5 years (due to the new fixed-term parliaments brought in by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.) The FPTP system is constituency based, each person votes for a representative for their constituency and whichever party wins the most constituencies gains governmental power. First Past the Post works on the basis of a plurality of votes, that is, that the winning party need only gain the most votes out of all parties to gain power, they do not need an overall majority (50%+.) The need for a strong and stable government is through the need for a government to easily be able to pass legislation and for them to be able to withstand a full term in office. The FPTP system firstly creates a strong government as it greatly reduces the risk of coalition governments. Single party governments are strong as they have a majority of seats within the House of Commons which means it is easy for the party to pass legislation and make decisions. As the winning party in an election only needs a plurality of votes to win constituencies and so gain a majority in the House of Commons, it is easy for a single party to gain substantial political power. Coalition governments are however, weak and ineffective as there are two parties conflicting desires to be weighed up, this means that the passing of legislation can take a long time and mean that some parties may not get what they had wished to carry out in their manifesto, which will lose them popularity with the public. In FPTP there have only been two coalitions in the last 70 years, which shows its ability to create majority party governments, this means that generally the party with the best policies (in the voter’s eyes) will be able to pass these...
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