Tuesday, July 16, 2013

PR: beginning of real majority government

Andrew Coyne has a great insight on Proportional Representation:

“It’s true, as opponents point out, that PR would make majority governments unlikely, given how rarely a party wins more than 50 per cent of the vote. But would it really? It would certainly make one-party majorities less likely.
“But nothing would prevent the formation of stable multi-party majorities—real majorities, that is, not the phoney ones we have today—as is the norm in the dozens of countries around the world that use some form of PR. In this sense, PR would not mean the end of majority government, but the beginning of it.

Minority majority fallacy

FPP supporters say PR is flawed because it makes majority governments improbable. Of course the fallacy is they believe minority parties should get majority power — specifically, their minority party.

But when we dole out absolute power to a minority party, it leaves the actual majority of voters out in the cold — the literal opposite of democracy.

In the rest of the developed world (29 of 34 countries use PR — 85%,) multi-party coalitions are the norm. They form stable majority governments that serve out the entire election term.

German grand coalition

Germany provides a compelling example. In 2005, the two largest parties — the left-leaning Social Democratic Party and the right-leaning Christian Democratic Union — formed a grand coalition. That would be the equivalent of the Conservatives and Liberals forming a coalition government. But unlike minority governments in Canada that last on average 18 months, this seemingly-impossible coalition lasted the entire 4 year term.

Better government with PR

So PR puts an end to the cutthroat, hyper-partisan politics that plague Canada under FPP. It ends frequent minority government elections. And it fosters inter-party cooperation and compromise, ensuring true democracy and real majority rule.

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