If you thought the UK’s voting system was unfair, look at Turkey's

Big Ben

Turkey’s ruling party has lost it’s ruling majority, but it’s system is far from fair.

Josiah Mortimer of the Electoral Reform Society has written a piece on the Turkish general election. In the election, the ruling party hoped to increase its majority but instead lost it.

Turkey has a vaguely proportional system, but that does not actually mean it’s a fairer system.

One of the main arguments for proportional representation is that it allows smaller, but significant, parties to have a voice in parliament, one representative of their vote share. But despite the proportional elements in Turkey’s system, the system actually stifles the voice of smaller parties, as well as medium sized ones.

According to the ERS, Turkey uses a form of list PR, but Mortimer highlights that “Turkey’s threshold however is the highest in the world - 10%.” That means that for a party to get into parliament (let alone into power) it needs 10% of the votes cast across the whole country/region. For comparisons sake, Montenegro’s is 3%, Germany’s is 5%, and Sweden’s is 4%.

The UK’s system is unfair for many parties, particularly when considering that UKIP won 13% of the vote but just one seat - and when the SNP won 50% of the vote in Scotland, but 95% of the seats. Since the elections there have been calls for change, but that change is unlikely to occur soon.

SEE ALSO: EU referendum: Yes lead in YouGov poll

However, if change is set to come then advocates of change should be wary of systems like Turkey’s, which whilst they have strong proportional elements also lead to some very strange outcomes.

The 10% threshold for a start is a problem. The Electoral Reform Society point out that if such a system was used UK-wide then only Labour, UKIP and the Conservatives would be in parliament. The Liberal Democrats, SNP and others would have no say.

Let that be a warning to advocates of change: if change comes then make it fair unlike Turkey’s system.

The UK’s electoral system may have its flaws, but it’s not as bad as Turkey’s.


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