The Electoral Systems of Britain and Sweden Essay

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The Electoral Systems of Britain and Sweden The quality of a democracy is regulated by the electoral system that awards seats in democratic assemblies to those seeking office. This paper will compare the electoral systems of the parliaments of the United Kingdom (herein called Britain) and Sweden in order to determine which country has the preferred electoral system. The quality to be measured is the fairness of democratic representation, which is to say, how properly the various public interests are represented and how much control voters have over their government. The first part of the paper will study each electoral system separately, looking at the mechanics of how the members of parliament are elected, what kind of political party…show more content…
choice (Nation Master, 2003: "British House of Commons"; Kavanagh, Dennis, 2000: 116-19). British voters have traditionally been motivated by party ideology when casting their vote, but some votes are cast for incumbents with favored personalities (Kavanagh: 125). The mechanics of such an electoral system have generally supported the domination of Britain?s parliament by two parties, allowing one party to form a governing majority on its own. Currently, the Labour party holds a majority of seats with the Conservatives in opposition. Historically speaking, though, at times party factions and regional interests have undermined the two-party system as well as the players that dominate it. In the early part of the twentieth century, the two-party system was dominated by the Conservatives and the Liberals (today known as the Liberal Democrats), though it was threatened by the Irish Nationalists. The 1920s saw a three-party system as the Liberals factionalized and the new Labour party solidly gained power, with the Labour party at times forming minority governments by entering coalitions with smaller parties. Since 1945, a two-party system has been maintained by the Conservative and Labour parties, with the Conservatives holding a majority for much of the twentieth century (Kavanagh: 140-72). The plurality, single-member-district system in use effectively discards votes for third parties and frequently awards a
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