1 April, 2010 — Communist Party of Great Britain
What sort of electoral system should communists advocate? Moshé Machover – mathematician, lecturer in philosophy and leftwing activist – examines the alternatives to ‘first past the post’
In what looked suspiciously like a deathbed conversion, Gordon Brown has pushed through the House of Commons a Constitutional and Governance Bill, one clause of which provides for a referendum on electoral reform, to be held within a year following the forthcoming general election. In the referendum, voters will be asked to decide whether the present plurality procedure (popularly known as ‘first past the post’, or FPTP) for electing the House of Commons would be replaced by the alternative vote (AV) procedure.
AV is a special case, or an adaptation, of the single transferable vote (STV); but, whereas under full-fledged STV each constituency elects several MPs, under AV there is just one MP per constituency, as under the present FPTP.
AV, like STV, is a preferential system: instead of putting an ‘X’ against your preferred candidate, you rank the candidates in order of preference, marking them with ‘1’ for your favourite, ‘2’ for your second choice, and so on.
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