The First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system in which the candidate with the largest number of votes becomes an automatic winner of an election (Jess, M.S., 1998). This can happen even if their fail to get an absolute majority votes cast. It is practiced in the United Kingdom and other countries world over.
Alternative Voting (AV) on the other hand refers to a voting system in which the candidates are ranked numerically based on the amount of votes garnered in an election (Jess, M.S., 998). It means that the number of seats got by a party is proportional to the votes. It is practiced in countries like Germany.
The FPTP system is preferred because it is simple and easy to understand. It is therefore, cheaper to manage. For instance, in 2009, Germany used only US $. 5 trillion was u8sed in electing the 650 MPs. gives rise to single party states; enhances a cohesive link between the Members of Parliament (MPs) with the electorates. At the same time, it really minimizes the possible chances of electing extremists to the government. Lastly, it gives the electorates an ample opportunity to elect individuals without an unnecessary party euphoria.
However, the FPTP has received a lot of disapproval due to the fact that it can lead to the splitting of votes; encourages the formation of ethnic parties and regional fiefdoms (Amy, D. J., 1993). Meanwhile, it’s unfair to the minority groups like women who may end up not being elected in the male dominated parties.
The AV on the other hand, is gaining popularity because, it usually lead to election of the minority groups like women. For instance, in Germany, in 1994, 13% of the MPs elected was women (Chu, Henry, 27 September 2009). It also promotes centrist politics and eliminates chances of electing extremists to the parliament. Finally, it helps in giving a permanent remedy to the MPs who may be intending to cling to their seats for life.
However, it is not perfect because it often leads to vote splitting and wastage. In Germany, in 1.2 million of the total 43,357,542 votes were wasted on losing candidates. In the 2009 Germany elections, a total of 25 million votes were wasted. It is also not applicable in dynamic societies (Amy, D. J., 1993). It also requires a high degree of literacy amongst all the involved individuals.
I would therefore like to say that I prefer the British FPTP voting system to the German’s AV because of the above merits it has over the AV system of voting.
Amy, D. J. (1993). Real Choices/New Voices: The Case for Proportional Representation Elections in the United States. New York: Columbia University Press.
Chu, Henry (27 September 2009). German election a yawner for voters. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times.
Jess, M.S. (1998). Making Votes Count: The Case for Electoral Reform. London: Profile Books.