Written by Jeffrey S. Ram, Toronto, Canada, September 7, 2021
Canada, India, and Pakistan have multiple parties and have a plurality election system, popularly known as the First Past The Post (FPTP) system. THE PLURALITY ELECTION PROCESS is the Simple Majority Voting System. The candidate who receives more votes than any of the other candidates gets elected. The winner does not have to obtain the majority votes. In the MAJORITY SYSTEM, the winning candidate must receive more votes than all other candidates combined.
In the plurality and bare majority system, all the votes of the losing candidates have no value and become useless. However, In the PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION (PR) electoral system, each vote is valuable because parties win the number of seats roughly in proportion to the votes cast in their favour
EXAMPLES OF FPTP UNFAIR ELECTION RESULTS
CANADA: In the 2019 Canadian federal election, the Liberal Party received 33.1% votes and won 157 seats. The Conservative Party received 34.3% votes but won only 121 seats. The Bloc Québécois received only 7.6% of the votes but won 32 seats, while the New Democratic Party received 16.0% votes yet won only 24 seats. The Green Party received 6.6% votes and won 3 seats. The People's Party received 1.6% votes and won no seat. The Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, retained power as a minority government.
INDIA: In the 2019 general election of the lower house (Lok Sabha), the Bhartiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance received nearly 45 % of the total votes but won 353 seats out of 542 seats. Although 55% of people voted against the ruling BJP, they still won only 189 seats. The Indian National Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance won 91 seats and others 98 seats. Narendra Modi, leader of BJP, retained power as prime minister.
PAKISTAN: In Pakistan's National Assembly 2018 Elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won 149 seats out of 342 with 31.82% votes. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won 82 seats with 24.35% votes. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won 54 seats with 13.03% votes. Other parties won 57 seats with 30.80% votes. Imran Khan, leader of PTI, formed a government in a coalition with some smaller parties.
TEN REASONS WHY PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION IS BETTER FOR CANADA, INDIA, AND PAKISTAN
1. Equal value to each vote empowers voters in PR and makes the government more accountable, leading to increased voter satisfaction. In FPTP, the winner-takes-all. The votes of the losing candidates and the surplus votes of the winning candidate are wasted. In PR, each vote counts and adds to the final tally of votes.
2. A more comprehensive range of views gets represented in the legislature in PR. More parties have a chance to represent their voters even if they are not concentrated in a small area. FPTP offers only limited choices of political parties and candidates.
3. PR leads to multi-party coalition governments enabling input in the government decisions by more than one party's leaders. Cooperation, greater consensus with other parties, and consideration of the diversity of interests and views become necessary to form a coalition government.
4. In PR, smaller parties also wield influence. In FPTP, only the ruling party and the main opposition party play significant roles, and all other parties become less important.
5. In PR, the ruling party or the ruling coalition has to care for all areas, even where they do not have much support. In FPTP, the ruling party serves only those areas that support it. It ignores the interests of those areas where it does not enjoy support.
6. In PR, smaller parties with less financial resources can still manage to have a voice. In FPTP, the major parties, especially the friends of business and industries, can raise and spend large amounts of money. The financial handicap keeps the smaller parties politically weak.
7. In PR, there are reduced chances of more significant political shifts that take place in FPTP when a politically opposite party succeeds a government. In Canada, Harper's Conservative government reversed the decisions of the previous Liberal government. When the Liberals got elected in 2015, they undid Harper's Conservative budget cuts.
8. PR nations do better than FPTP nations in government effectiveness, the rule of law, and the level and control of corruption [Arend Lijphart's research (2012)].
9, PR governments set higher environmental standards. Darcie Cohen (2010) found that countries with proportional systems ratified the Kyoto protocol more quickly, which led to a decline in their total carbon emissions.
10. More women and minorities get elected in PR. In FPTP, the most winnable candidate is usually selected as a candidate. In PR, parties can safely include minorities and women in their list and promote their representation and participation in the democratic process. Countries that have over 30% women in government all use proportional representation.
PR CAN USHER REAL DEMOCRACY IN CANADA, INDIA, AND PAKISTAN
The PR system is considered the best, and most democratic countries use this electoral process. Smaller parties and weaker groups in Canada, India, and Pakistan should lobby for the proportional representation system in the federal, provincial, and local legislative bodies. PR will enhance democratic participation and representation in Canada, India, and Pakistan.
[Toronto, Canada-based, ReformAdvocate.com encourages the Christian minorities, immigrants, women, elderly, and other weaker groups to empower themselves. Only two blogs per month. The subscription is free. Please visit ReformAdvocate.com and subscribe. THANKS]
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