Saturday, February 25, 2006

Solving MMP somewhat

The great fallacy of proportional representation is that seats=power. Most of the time, this is not true. It would be if our system was different, but Parliament and democracy in general is majoritarian. A majority of seats is needed, so inherently power has to do with how you fit in there. This also forces a "left-right" divide, regardless of that's actually the way the population is divided. Governments being formed are the only way anything comes through, so if there were four parties, the "Right-Auth", the "Left-Auth", the "Right-Lib" and the "Left-Lib", some form of coalition is going to have to take place, so you must taken sides. It's far worse when someone like Dunne or Peters sits on the crossbenches, because then you have horrible balance of power issues that have nothing to do with how the electorate voted.

Therefore, I propose that parties contest the election under two broad coalitions, "Left" and "Right". They are still all individual parties, but they sit together. Inevitably this will need to happen after the election anyway, so it's best to do it beforehand. In some respects, the system will be very similar to FPP in the sense that the "coalitions are decided beforehand". However, you get to gauge what degree of support comes from what faction. If Labour elected 40 MPs under FPP say, you have no idea what degree comes from the "hard left" section, the "Green left" section, the "moderate" section. They're all bundled up into one coalition, just like they used to be, but now the voters can influence somewhat more how it turns out.

However, we've still got the Party List problem. Perhaps STV could assist here. Every multi-member constituency could have several different "strands" of the "Right Coalitian" to vote for. The electors also have somewhat more ability to vote someone out.

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