Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

We DO NOT need a referendum to introduce a list electoral system.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 9, 2009 in Irish Politics |

Electoral reform could allow the Greens to redeem themselves.

Electoral reform could allow the Greens to redeem themselves.

The Greens, to their credit, have realised that changing our electoral system is the cornerstone to fixing our malfunctioning political system. At the moment, as the John O’Donoghue saga has revealed, our politicians are actually too close to their constituents. You would think this is a good thing, but the problem is that  most people don’t spend hours down the pub discussing future energy supply strategy or taxation planning or the details of the Lisbon treaty, and because ordinary voters don’t discuss them, our electoral system forces TDs to focuss on the things they do discuss, leaving big strategic issues unaddressed.

The Green proposal of adding a list system has merit. It will allow for “National” deputies to be elected, and will, hopefully, mean that some candidates who focus on national issues will also get elected, people who may not be great at constituency graft but have a grasp of the big picture.

It should be noted that we can attach a list system to STV, as the Australians have done in their senate (See here.), which uses a variant of STV. We would not need a referendum to do this, and it would voter choice, and yes, some candidates will still campaign as the “local” man, but it will also allow for people in Dublin to vote for good candidates in other parts of the country, and vice versa, and that is a good thing in itself. It would, for example, allow people all over the country with a concern for workers rights to vote for Joe Higgins or Jack O’Connor. Or small businessmen to vote for Michael O’Leary. It might even let Declan Ganley be elected.

Wouldn’t that be fun? 

5 Comments

david morris
Oct 9, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Irish Referenda : As long as the right people are counting the votes, that’s all that matters !

Kind regards


 
Michael Walsh
Oct 9, 2009 at 9:01 pm

I confess to being much less Keane on PR lists, even the kind you propose. But I imagine when the Constitution was written, is was assumed that PR-STV referred to the kind of electoral system we had at the time, and still have. While it’s certainly possible to design a system with involves by Proportional Representation with a Single Transferable Vote, I don’t think such a literal interpretation of the Constitution is desirable. PR-STV is, after all, a proper noun which refers to a specific kind of electoral system, not just any system which ticks certain boxes.


 
Jason O
Oct 10, 2009 at 8:16 am

Michael,

In fairness, the system as I describe it is STV on a national basis, with the idea of a “one tick” vote for all a party’s preferrred preferences an additional option for the voter if he/she choose to use it.


 
Jason O
Oct 10, 2009 at 8:18 am

David,

Oh come now. You can’t be suggesting that No votes were not actually counted. It’s not like we claimed that Yes votes were not counted in France or the Netherlands.


 
M Collins
Oct 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm

They say one should never waste a good crisis. Well, we have a hell of a crisis now in our public finances, so there may never be as good a time as this to shake up an electoral system that is failing us as a country. If we don’t change the way we elect our politicians, then it is a certainty that further crises lie ahead.

In fairness to Garret Fitzgerald, he has been plugging away at this issue for decades.

See http://puckstownlane.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/hurrah-the-greens-want-to-change-our-electoral-system/


 

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