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I have to say I love the Irish Single Transferable Vote multi-seat constituency system. It's quite complicated to understand completely but the level of voter understanding of its minor nuances is sometimes amazing and provides endless fascination for political and electoral nerds.

It's reasonably proportional although larger parties often do relatively better but minor parties and independents also have a fair chance of picking up seats. It encourages a more collaborative culture as more extremist candidates tend not to get a lot of transfers from other candidates.  

Some people criticise it for encouraging clientelism and overly rewarding candidates with strong local name recognition rather than more policy orientated national candidates, but for me it usually achieves a fine balance between keeping members of parliament connected with local people and issues while at the same time having to contribute to national debate.

List systems can be more directly proportionate but are very national party hierarchy orientated and don't encourage much engagement between candidates and local issues. Most people in Ireland will know at least one of their local Teachta Dála - members of parliament - and those I have known have often been fine people if limited in certain ways.

It's very unusual for any one party to get an overall majority, so coalitions are the norm, but that also forces people of different persuasions to work together. People used to FPTP and winner takes all systems say that almost as if its a bad thing - two much back-room wheeling and dealing but that for me is the essence of politics - finding negotiated settlements to conflicting interests.

In my view the system in Ireland has been instrumental in reducing the level of voter apathy and alienation from the political system so widespread in democratic societies world-wide. That and the fact that the people actually have a say in the make up of the Constitution, something which is less obvious in the case of the UK unwritten constitution.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 04:26:50 PM EST
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But it would be a far reach for the (still) UK to adopt an Irish voting system.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 05:44:38 PM EST
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Beneath it's dignity I would say, and far two complicated for the average English voter to understand. They do however seem to have gotten the hang of the simpler List system for European Parliament elections which even Brexit Party voters could understand - in rather large numbers, I might add.

Of Course the damned undemocratic EU won't be allowing the Brits to cast their votes in the EU Parliament elections any more after Brexit, or even allowing the UK Government to appoint a Commissioner. How will the EU possibly manage without their Brexit party MEPs to provide leadership, wisdom and guidance?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 06:04:10 PM EST
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