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Lesson Objectives: • What are they? • How do they work? • What are their strengths & weaknesses?
GENERAL ELECTIONS ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS (Westminster 18 MP’s) (NI Assembly 108 MLA’s) EUROPEAN ELECTIONS (For NI’s representation in EU [3 MEP’s]) COUNCIL ELECTIONS (NI’s councils eg Belfast City Council) REFERENDUMS Vote on one issue Eg Scotland becoming independent
Northern Ireland has 3 Electoral systems: 1. First Past The Post – (MAJORITARIAN) 2. STV (Proportional Representation) 3. D’Hondt (For allocating Assembly positions) Each has a different role and function to play in Northern Ireland democracy.
• This is also called a MAJORITARIAN system • It is used in GENERAL ELECTIONS (Westminster) to elect Members to the House of Commons • Northern Ireland therefore selects its 18 MP’s using this method.
FPTP – How does it work? • This is based solely on the principle of the person with the most votes wins. • Voting takes place in a CONSTITUENCY • A SINGLE MEMBER will be chosen for EACH CONSTITUENCY • Voting is carried out by simply putting an X in the box for the preferred candidate
FOR THE TITLE OF FIRST MINISTER OF LAGAN COLLEGE PLACE X BESIDE CHOICE FOR THE TITLE OF FIRST MINISTER OF LAGAN COLLEGE ETHAN PAUL CONOR MEGAN NIAMH SACHA JODI LEWIS OSSIAN PETER SARAH CURTIS DUNCAN JOSH PLACE X BESIDE CHOICE
WINNER (Yet 4 out of the 6 votes went to other candidates
1. It allows for strong decisive Governments in Westminster 2. It therefore (usually) avoids the problems of Minority or Coalition Governments. 3. It is SIMPLE and very easy to operate and understand 4. It creates a strong bond between the MP and Constituency.
1. It does not convert votes into seats fairly or proportionally. 2. Smaller parties without concentrated support are at a great disadvantage 3. The system exaggerates support for larger parties.
4. It creates a number of SAFE SEATS meaning many votes are wasted. Why vote? 5. There is very limited voter choice. Voters cannot choose between candidates of the same party 6. There is a high number of WASTED VOTES as Second and subsequent preferences are ignored. 7. The system exaggerates support for larger parties. 8. In NI it created Majority Protestant rule helping create discontent.
SINGLE TRANSFERRABLE VOTE (STV) • This is a form of PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION • It is used in NI Assembly, Council & European Union Elections • Northern Ireland therefore selects its MLA’s, Councillors & MEP’s using this method.
STV – What is it? • This is designed to make sure the candidates elected, represent accurately the opinions of the voters • Therefore the Strength of each party in the LEGISLATURE is directly proportional to the support of the people.
9, 300 1, 006 1, 113 9, 315 1, 300 1, 998 4 113 14, 834 Voted AGAINST Let’s Party but they still win! WINNER!
1. It allows for a much more representative form of Government. 2. It provides greater choice and over more issues 3. It benefits smaller parties such as the Greens, Women’s Coalition, Alliance 4. It helps dissolve partially the ‘Traditional’ divisions and introduces Real issues
1. It creates an Executive based on artificially working together- Does it work? Peter Robinson / Martin Mc. Guinness? 2. Is it stable? Does it provide effective leadership? 3. Does it give opportunity to Minorities and women? 4. Is it Representative? Does it not break down the strong bonds with MPs to their Constituency?
Key Points from latest 2011 Assembly election results in NI • The majority of Unionist transfers were from Unionist parties while the majority of Nationalist transfers were from Nationalist parties. This was also the case in the previous Northern Ireland Assembly election in 2007. • The total number of transferred votes was lower compared with 2007, due to the smaller number of candidates in this election. Of the five main parties: Ø The UUP received the highest number of transfer votes from other parties Ø Alliance received the lowest number of transfer votes from other parties Ø The highest number of transfers to other parties were from UUP candidates; and, Ø The lowest number of transfers to other parties were from SDLP candidates • Thirty four of the 108 successful candidates were elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly on first preference votes only. • The remaining 74 successful candidates were elected on the basis of first preference votes and vote transfers. Source: Analysis of Transferred Votes in the Northern Ireland Assembly Election 2011 Robert Barry and Barbara Love
D’ Hondt • This is solely used to allocate Executive positions and Chairs of Committees in the Northern Ireland assembly • This is based on the highest average method • It assures proportional allocation of Ministerial positions at the Assembly • It differs from STV in that it does not use a Quota to allocate seats. They are seats allocated singularly and one after the other
• You are going to debate ‘The Best Electoral System’ • You are to research both sides of the argument and form compact and strong notes with good examples. • You’re in two teams: This side FOR FPTP This side FOR PR