Following the rationale of one man, one vote, should not the outcome of an election reflect the true will of the people? Is it really fair? In Singapore’s elections last week, the People’s Action Party won 81 out of 87 seats even though only about 60% of voters chose it. Yes, the island republic officially has “democracy”, but the other 40% could be wondering if their views will count for much at all.
Democracy and elections are imperfect creatures which have slowly evolved over time.
What about Singapore’s recent elections? The island republic, like Malaysia, follows the “first past the post” or “winner takes all” election system, which both countries inherited from the British. Basically, the person who gets the most votes in a district will move into power, even if he scrapes by with, say, 15,005 votes while his opponent gets 15,000. What then happens to the views of the losing 15,000?
This is why in Western Europe, 21 out of 28 countries use a “proportional representation” election system. Among them are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. A rather similar system is also used in Australia and New Zealand. All this ensures that the views of the other 15,000 voters will also be taken into account.
Proportional representation also recognises that people tend to vote more for the party than individual candidates, whom they may not really like, or even know.
Full Article: Majority vote.