The United Kingdom uses First Past The Post ('FPTP') voting. Highlight some advantages and disadvantages of this system.

First Past The Post is considered a 'pluralist' voting system, in that all eligible voters have a single vote to cast, and the recipient of the highest number of votes (a 'plurality') wins outright. For example, if candidate A has 35% of the vote, and candidates B, C, and D, each have approximately 21/22% of the vote, candidate A will ascend to the seat. This is advantageous in that it makes sense to voters -- as opposed to more complex systems, like Ranked Choice Voting -- which increases civic engagement and turnout. It also tends to create a more obvious link between the members of a constituency and their representative, as first past the post sees voters pick individuals as opposed to parties, and there is only one winner. Consider the European Parliament as a contrast, where there are multiple seats per constituency. Here, turnout is lower and it is harder for the individual constituent to know who to contact with regard to their political qualms.That said, the system is far from ideal; in the aforementioned example, we see that approximately 65% of a constituency were denied a voice in parliament. A system like the Alternative Vote, which lets voters list preferences, is 'majoritarian', meaning that the winning candidate must receive at least 50% of the vote, either initially or through the collection of a sufficient number of second preferences. So, we can see certain electoral structures can lead to the selection of candidates with more voters behind them. However, the more a system empowers individual voters, the more it risks empowering extremist parties. If a fully Proportional System was put into place, where every 1% of the vote equaled 1% representation in parliament, fascists could get elected with even a small amount of support. This could lead to them being involved in coalitions and thus the cabinet, as we'd expect the makeup of the parliament to be more fractured. So, First Past The Post has a tendency to lead to more centrist governments. So perhaps one should conclude that First Past The Post sacrifices absolute democracy in favour of more effective governance.

Answered by Rory H. Politics tutor


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