Thursday, June 07, 2007

MMP : List Candidates are Accountable

One of the common critiques against mixed member proportional is that the list candidates are unaccountable. A commenter on Jason Cherniak's blog describes his experience with MMP accountability in New Zealand:
I live in the Otaki riding. Yes, I have a local MP with offices in the towm main towns. But I *also* have another MP (list) from the other major party who also operates offices in these two same towns. Plus I have MPs from other parties who advertise that I can call them, too.

I don't have just one MP. I have several to choose from who want to represent me. Because a the end of the day, they want my vote.

Besides, as Dan from More Notes From Underground puts, how is it better under first-past-the-post?

Interestingly, one of the principle critiques of mixed-member proportional representation (MMP) is that the "list" candidates would be entirely beholden to the party. How does that differ from the state of affairs in the House today? On matters that the parties consider important, MPs are not allowed to vote their conscience as it is. A "list" MP could just as easily be booted and find a home in another party or as an independent. Come election time, s/he could attempt to get on another list or stand as an independent. Same difference.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

More to the point, parties will be accountable to voters, because every vote will count. And the government will be accountable to the Legislature.

Let's be clear about how this works in practice. The government still goes to the party that wins the most ridings. The list seats are a consolation prize for the opposition. Although party lists allow parties to put forward some candidates who have difficulty getting nominated in a riding, chiefly women and minorities, most list members will be striving to become riding MPPs. They will be out knocking on doors and opening constituency offices in their local area.

With coalition governments and an expanded and empowered opposition, we will see an end to the arrogance and corruption that are endemic to phony majority single party monopoly government.

Wayne Smith

Law School Blog said...

One thing that MMPR does not address is vote dilution, which results in unbalanced parity for urban populations.

More importantly, it severely hinders the proportional representation of minority groups that are often centered in urban areas.

See: http://lawiscool.com/2007/07/29/vote-dilution-means-minorities-have-less-voice/