“PR produces coalition governments”

So runs a frequent argument against PR and it was deployed in the recent New Statesman debate onhttp://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/05/2015-election-could-revive-… but it is spurious for two reasons:

• It assumes that coalition government is bad but it is bad only for a party that wants to govern, unchecked, on its own like a collective dictatorship. It works well in most of Europe and it works for voters by imposing a check on the largest party that might otherwise govern on its own even though it represents only a minority of voters.

• First Past The Post can also produce coalition governments. We have had one since the 2010 general election and opinion polls suggest that we shall probably have another from 2015. The difference is that, with PR and especially STV, the coalition is more likely to represent most voters.

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One Response to “PR produces coalition governments”

  1. I should add that PR for the Scottish Parliament has produced a one-party (SNP) Government there. So FPTP does not necessarily produce one-party government and PR does not necessarily produce coalition government.

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