Disadvantages of the 'first past the post' electoral system

Essay by TjopUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, September 2006

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* The votes cast for losing candidates and those cast for winning candidates over the plurality mark are 'wasted' by this system

* Electoral preference is distorted by 'under-representation' of small parties and parties that have support that is distributed evenly throughout the geography of the country (the 'third-party effect').

* Limited choice is offered because of tendencies towards two-major-parties.

* The legitimacy of government is undermined in that a system of plurality rule is formed because governments often only have marginal support.

* Instability is created because a drastic change in policies can occur with a change in government.

* Government is usually secondary to the executive, leading to unaccountable government because of the majority of its members supporting the principal party.

* The selection of a broad cross-section of candidates is discouraged in favour of candidates who are attractive to the bulk of the voters.