Ireland: The Discreet Charm of PR‐STV

Michael Gallagher

in The Politics of Electoral Systems

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199257560
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603280 | DOI:
Ireland: The Discreet Charm of PR‐STV

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Ireland is among the few countries to employ proportional representation by the single transferable vote (STV), an electoral system that is highly rated by many researchers in the field. In the Irish context, STV is used in constituencies of small district magnitude, but it still delivers a high degree of proportionality. The party system has been characterised by moderate multipartism and, unusually for western Europe, by a significant number of independent MPs. Critics maintain that the provision for voter choice leads to intra-party competition with dysfunctional consequences, but the voters wield a veto over electoral system change and are unlikely to approve any new system that reduces their opportunity to participate in choosing their representatives.

Keywords: Irish politics; proportional representation; single transferable vote; intra-party competition; independent MPs

Chapter.  10450 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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