Thursday 14 December 2017

The PR voting system has gifted us this electoral mess

The PR electoral system has produced an uncertain outcome. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The PR electoral system has produced an uncertain outcome. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Regarding the trouble forming a government, the root cause of the problem is our system of proportional representation (PR) in multi-seat constituencies. This system was adopted on independence from the British, who were sagacious enough not to adopt it themselves.

Our existing PR system in multi-seat constituencies, while ostensibly ensuring that representatives are elected in numbers proportionate to their support among voters, does not really secure this objective because of the vagaries of it - and certainly does not always produce majority-party government.

A much fairer, and strictly more democratically representative system, would be the PR system as used currently in by-elections but - and this is a crucial but - in single-seat constituencies. This arrangement would eliminate the corrosive practice whereby TDs in multi-seat constituencies are not only competing with members of their own party but also with opposition TDs. It thrives on, and gives rise to, localism and parochialism; it distracts TDs from their main functions as legislators, policy formulators, etc. It also duplicates the functions which local councillors should be doing.

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