I mean, the Greek people just had an election on May 6th, 2012. Yet, now they have to go back to the polls.
Why? Because none of the party leaders can agree on austerity measures, what type of coalition government they want, or who will lead it. For example, Greece’s New Democracy Party received only 19% of the vote, compared to Syriza at 17% and Pasok at 13%.
What a new election is going to accomplish, I can’t imagine. In the meantime, a caretaker government was appointed yesterday to carry Greece through this latest crisis.
Now, compare that particular electoral stalemate to Canada’s first past the post system (FPTP).
Of course, progressive and liberal voters and politicians in Canada don’t like FPTP because they would have to get the most seats –compared to PR where two or more parties can combine their popular vote to form a coalition government.
For example, on May 2nd, 2011, the Conservative Party of Canada got 39.62% of the vote and 167 seats compared to the NDP, which received 30.62% and 102 seats. The Liberals on the other hand, received only got 18.91% of the votes or 34 seats.
Which means, if PR had been in effect in Canada in 2011, the NDP and Liberals would have formed a coalition government with only 49.53% of the votes, still not a majority. If the Greens (with one seat being held by Elizabeth May) joined that coalition, the numbers would have jumped to 53.44% of the vote.
However, the problem with that particular “majority” scenario, is that it would have been all the losing parties that formed the Canadian government, hardly fair or equitable in my opinion?
Now, if the 39.62% of the popular vote is the problem — as in the 60% of Canadians didn’t vote for the Conservatives in 2011 meme — let’s look at the popular vote of previous Liberal majority governments. Because, remember, Canada’s House of Commons has five separate political parties. Meaning, it doesn’t matter if four of those parties are considered liberal/progressive because — unless and until they join together — they are separate parties with separate results.
- 1974 – Libs 43.2%
- 1980 – Libs 44.3%
- 1993 – Libs 41.3%
- 1997 – Libs 38.5%
- 2000 – Libs 40.8%
In reality, then, the results were not that much different than what the CPC received a year ago with 39.62%.
So, given the difficulties countries like Greece are having with PR to form a government, if the FPTP system isn’t broken…..