Question: Do Electoral Systems Effect The Type And Form Of Government Resultant From The Election? Contrasting France And England

2172 words - 9 pages

Electoral systems are the methods a country uses to select its officials. They are rarely drastically altered but are constantly changed to reflect shifting values. The reason for this is that electoral systems are very reflective of the entrenched cultural political ideals of a country. The system being used by a country reflects the values most held by the populace and their leaders. By enhancing minority representation, increasing stability, or encouraging debate the structure of elections affects the governmental style that results.The differing results of single-member plurality (commonly referred to as "first past the post") and proportional representation highlight the potential of an ...view middle of the document...

In Germany, a party must receive over 5 % of the popular vote to get a seat in the Bundestag . This system gives smaller parties without concentrated support an opportunity to gain representation. It also creates a more consensus based system of government. Parties must form coalitions to create majorities. In Germany in 1998 the SPD and the Greens formed a coalition to become the governing party .British democracy traces its roots back to the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is a document that was drafted to protect the feudal landlords from heavy taxation by the monarch . It required that a parliament be called every time the monarch wished to implement special taxes. In the fifteenth century the parliament gained the power to make laws. Since the seventeenth century Britain has had the foundations of a constitutional monarchy in place. The growth of British democracy may have been divisive and difficult but it created a political climate that celebrates continuity, gradualism and tolerance.The electoral system that is best suited to the British political climate is its single member plurality. Each constituency elects a member to represent them. The party with the most seats forms the government and appoints the Prime Minister from its ranks of elected officials. In all the countries in which a first past the post system exists they have governments composed of a relatively small number of parties. Thus the system tends to over exaggerate victories and result in majority governments which require no cross-party voting to pass bills. Since 1945, the British government has gone back and forth between Labour and Conservative . Only during a nine-month period in 1974 was there a minority government.Majority governments result in swift and effective methods of passing legislation. Voting is traditionally done on party lines and therefore adds to the stability of the government. In this way the British electoral system fulfills the ideas of those who founded it. Majority governments and an appointed Prime Minister result in a government that has little controversy attached to it . Policy tends to be dictated by the Prime Minister and the members of parliament use their voting majority to implement it.The British parliament fulfills classical traditions by being composed of members of parliament who tend to be white males. In a country with such a large number of Black and Asian citizens it is surprising that there is only nine Black and Asian MPs. In 2000 woman won a record breaking 120 seats in parliament .Current British political culture clearly resembles the visions the feudalists had when they set off the tide of British democratization eight-hundred years ago. They envisioned a weakened monarch who is accountable to an assembly of their peers. Through the electoral system that has evolved to implement their ideas, they have perpetuated their values long after their passing. The British Parliament is one of the most stable in the world. The...

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