The drafters of the constitution may have stipulated a new type of electoral system for Thailand – a mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system – but Mahidol University professor Gothom Arya has doubts. He believes an MMP system would lead to a coalition government. More importantly, he says, is the question: are Thai people ready to accept it? A seminar held on Sunday by the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP) on “Election System Reform in Thailand: MMP or another system?” discussed the system along with invited international communities who had adopted it.
MMP has enjoyed more than a two-decade tenure as New Zealand’s voting system. But three months out from the general election, cracks are showing. Cassandra Mason investigates the prides and pitfalls of MMP and whether there’s room for change. New Zealand’s mixed member proportional system (MMP) ousted first past the post (FPP) when it was voted in in 1993. The change answered calls from an increasingly diverse New Zealand that Parliament more closely resemble its population. With September’s election on the horizon, the system’s more controversial characteristics are fuelling debate.
MMP has enjoyed more than a two-decade tenure as New Zealand’s voting system. But three months out from the general election, cracks are showing. Cassandra Mason investigates the prides and pitfalls of MMP and whether there’s room for change. New Zealand’s mixed member proportional system (MMP) ousted first past the post (FPP) when it was voted in in 1993. The change answered calls from an increasingly diverse New Zealand that Parliament more closely resemble its population. With September’s election on the horizon, the system’s more controversial characteristics are fuelling debate. Many maintain that MMP is the only truly democratic way to represent a population, while critics say it gives minor parties disproportionate power and influence, putting politics before people. So who’s right?
The Electoral Commission’s recommended changes to MMP must be put to voters in a binding referendum. That’s the only step left now the government has decided they can’t be implemented because there isn’t a consensus among the parties represented in parliament. It’s blatant self-interest on National’s part and there’s no assurance the situation would be any different if Labour and the Greens were running the show. The commission, after a lengthy review and thousands of public submissions, recommended abolishing the single seat “coat tails” rule and lowering the threshold for list seats from five per cent of the party vote to four per cent.
Opposition parties say the government should adopt all the Electoral Commission’s recommendations for MMP reform. Labour leader David Shearer said it was “well and truly time to ditch the so-called ‘coat-tails clause’ to avoid stitch-ups like the deal done over the tea cups by John Key and John Banks last election”. The clause wasn’t actually used because ACT did not get enough party votes to bring another MP into parliament, however, the party benefited from the clause in 2008. Shearer said Labour was keen to see the government move quickly on the recommendations. The comments came after the government today tabled the commission’s final report in parliament.
Former and current election regulators and academics were divided yesterday over a proposal to switch to a new national electoral system. While most former regulators and academics favour changes to the system, a current member of the Election Commission believes the format in place now should be retained. Former election commissioner Gothom Arya said the current electoral system was being blamed for contributing to political conflict, and needed to be amended. The system has led to two major political parties dominating parliament, he said, and they were competing for power often at the expense of national interest. Mr Gothom was speaking at a seminar on electoral system reform organised yesterday by the Election Commission. He proposed three alternative options: A parallel system; a multi-member proportional (MMP) system; and a single transferable vote (STV) system.
The ‘Goldilocks’ formula has been used by the Electoral Commission to come up with its controversial proposals to change MMP. This is the age-old process by which politicians and authorities decide on compromise policies on the basis of them being ‘not too hot and not too cold’ – i.e. something between the extremes of opinion on any one issue. This is how the Electoral Commission has come up with its recommendation to abolish the so-called ‘one seat rule’ that helps small parties get proportional representation in Parliament, and reduce the 5% threshold slightly to 4%. This Goldilocks method is both explained and approved of today by John Armstrong (National faces tough decision on closing door to cosy deals) and Andrew Geddis (Should the government dissolve the people, and appoint another one?) The danger, however, of trying to please everybody by choosing a middling and mild approach is that you end up satisfying very few, and you make poor choices.
New Zealand: Politicians make MMP threshold picks ahead of New Zealand Electoral Commission review tomorrow | The National Business Review
An Electoral Commission is due to report tomorrow on its MMP review. On TVNZ’s Q+A, Labour’s Lianne Dalziel and Mana leader Hone Harawira predicted the Commission will recommend lowering threshold for getting MPs into parliament from 5% to 4% of the party vote. National has argued it should be kept at 5%. On Q+A, NZ First leader Winston Peters took the same side. Lowering the threshold would create “instability” and “chaos”. Mr Peters said. “If you’re good enough, you should make 5%.” Ms Dalziel argued a 4% threshold that would avoid thousands of wasted votes, as happened to New Zealand First in 1999 (when it got 4.23% of the vote) and 2008 (when it got 4.07%).
Today is the deadline for those who wish to appear in person before the Electoral Commission to send in their submissions on its review of the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) Electoral System. If you do not wish to appear in person, then you can still send in a written submission up until the end of May. The recommendations the Electoral Commission makes to the Government may or may not be adopted, but they will at a minimum ensure a debate on their recommendations. Some of the issues they will consider could have a significant impact on what Parliament and Governments will look like in the future.
New Zealand: Serious review to follow close result in New Zealand Mixed-member proportional vote | Stuff.co.nz
The majority of New Zealand has again thrown its support behind MMP, but the close result will mean a serious review by the Electoral Commission. As well as casting the usual party and electorate votes on Saturday, voters were also asked if they thought the country should keep MMP or, if not, what alternative system they would prefer.
With only 290,000 advance votes so far counted, a total of 53.7 per cent back sticking with the mixed member proportional system, while 42.6 per cent said they wanted a change. It could take a further two weeks to count all votes.
The inner workings of the electoral system were in full effect on Saturday night. National won almost half the seats in Parliament, but the party’s lack of a substantial coalition partner means it still needs the support of UnitedFuture, ACT and the Maori Party to form a comfortable majority.
The Electoral Commission has begun a six-month campaign to prepare voters for the question theyll be asked at the general election: not just which government they want, but whether they want to keep the current MMP [mixed member proportional] system or switch to one of four alternatives.
Its been 18 years since First Past the Post was ditched and MMP was introduced, and now the Government wants to see if voters still think its a good idea.
But its going to take more than just an extra form on voting day – an education campaign thatll cost $5 million dollars of taxpayers money has just got underway.
The Electoral Commission has begun a six month campaign to prepare voters for the second big question they’ll be asked at the general election in November. For 15 years we’ve been used to just two ticks, but this election there’ll be two more – whether the voter wants to keep MMP and if not, which voting system they’d prefer.
Voters will be asked whether they want to keep the current system or switch to one of four alternatives, which means voters should understand how five different voting systems work.
Editorials: Editorial: Mixed Member Proportional system deserves to survive referendum | NZ Herald News
The result of a British referendum on its electoral system shows how remarkable it was that New Zealand adopted MMP – and how much referendums are influenced by the mood of the moment. British voters have chosen to retain first past the post by 68 per cent to 32 per cent for a proposal called…