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The Irish Republic has a better voting system than the UKs collection of different systems for every institution. The only problem is that the constituencies return too few members to be as proportional as would be ideal.

Naturally the politicians from the larger parties prefer to restrict the opportunities of the smaller parties and independent candidates. Originally in the 1920s there were three to eight member constituencies, but in modern times the range is three to five members. Mind you the Scottish version of the same system limits the local government constituencies to three or four members. Politicians do not seem to want to maximise popular choice, for some reason.  

by Gary J on Thu May 24th, 2007 at 11:30:23 AM EST
The politicians tried two or three times to do away with PR by referendums to alter the constitution. The people told them to fuck right off.

Three seaters are a bit small, and Dublin West is far too big now to be a three seater, since it's where a good portion of the country's population growth has concentrated.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu May 24th, 2007 at 11:49:50 AM EST
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All political systems are compromises. "Ideal" proportional representation can have the property of making reasonably stable governments difficult to put together. As it is local patronage has a disproportionate influence. If the geographic constituencies are too large politicians don't have a link to their voters.

What would you consider ideal?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu May 24th, 2007 at 11:53:14 AM EST
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Each system has different flaws and people coming from different systems tend to focus on fixing the flaws of the system they're familiar with. Personally, having exparienced closed party lists with large constituencies (Spain) and first-past-the-post (US and UK) I think I have seen the worst of the two extremes. I personally would favour an additional member system with single transferable voting for local constituencies plus party lists for global proportionality. (see, for example, this comment)

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 24th, 2007 at 12:05:37 PM EST
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I would see the ideal size for an STV constituency as something like 5 to 7 seats. Large enough to be reasonably proportional but small enough for the concerned voter to have some chance to differentiate between the candidates.

The power and convenience of the voters is the important thing, not that of the politicians.

by Gary J on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 12:38:31 PM EST
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