plurality-based “First Past the Post” (FPTP)
- Tend to have
a larger district magnitude (the number of seats in one district) and this enables a greater number of contestants and parties
to compete, because seats are allocated proportionally, the larger the number of possible seats to allocate, the greater the
chances are for minorities, (particularly women candidates) to win seats.
- PR electoral
systems with low electoral thresholds enable more parties to participate in parliament, creating a large party system. With
a greater number of parties participating, achieving consensus and coalition building can be a challenge, and larger parties
may have to make concessions to minority fringe parties to form and preserve coalitions. This can encourage greater extremism
- Slower decision-making
with multiple parties could lead to infighting, deadlock and political instability.
systems can serve as a check against the abuse of political power by any one faction.
- Research on
the practical application of quotas shows that it is easier to implement quotas in countries with a PR electoral system
because the political costs for nominating a woman candidate would be lower in PR systems given that the party would have
several slots from which it could find room to do so.
Law: usually two parties dominate the party system.
- The winner-take-all
aspect of the electoral system discourages voters from “wasting” their votes for third parties that are unlikely
to win the plurality necessary. Instead voters resort to tactical voting in which individuals vote for the largest, more successful
party. This poses an unfair disadvantage to smaller, or minority parties
- Since the number
of cleavages tends to parallel the number of political parties in a system, this system would not be ideal for a divided society
that has many divergent cleavages
- The presence
of the “swing voter” or the moderate middle tends to moderate parties’ ideology, pushing them towards the
center. This prevents extremism, and tends to produce more stable governments.
Reilly, Ben (2002). “Electoral Systems
for Divided Societies.” Journal of Democracy. 13, 2
Lijphart, Arendt (1999). Patterns of Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press
Powell, Bingham (1982). Contemporary Democracies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
Shepsle, Kenneth and Mark Bonchek (1997). Analyzing Politics. New York: W.W. Norton and Company