Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why PR is a waste of time.

Last week the Czech parliament passed a vote of no confidence in the minority government led by the ODS party ( sort of like the Tories). So for the second time this year the country is facing elections which once again will probably lead to more stalemate.

In the last election the 200 seat parliament was evenly split down the middle, the right wing parties, ODS, KDU-CSL (the "christian" democrats) and the Greens won precisely 100 seats, whilst CSSD (the social-democrats) and KSCM (the commies) also had 100 seats between them on the left. It is a given in Czech politics that nobody will enter into government with the Communists, and so about 20% of the electorate vote consistently for a party that no-one wants to deal with, well apart from Vaclav Klaus the president of the country who needed their votes to get his job.

What did all this prove? That proportional respresentation, whilst sounding noble in theory leads inevitably to stasis and weak government. Just ask the Italians about governmental chaos. The constant need for coalition government leads not to consensus politics but to everyone looking out for their own needs and making sure that they are high enough in the party lists to be guaranteed a job regardless of their public image.

Unless the relevant parties can form some kind of grand coalition of CSSD and ODS, which has been done before and eventually led to demonstrations on the streets of Prague, and which has been ruled out by CSSD anyway, the only solution is fresh elections.

Whilst accepting that the British electoral system is far from perfect, there is alot to be said for local areas to elect a representative who is directly responsible to his or her electorate. Surely it is far preferable for a member of parliament to represent an entire constituency and work for the betterment of life in that area than to be simply spouting forth party ideology?

Hopefully if we have new elections here we will get an definite and workable government, but under PR this stalemate will become the norm I fear.