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The Politics of Electoral Systems$
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Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199257566.001.0001

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Ireland: The Discreet Charm of PR‐STV

Ireland: The Discreet Charm of PR‐STV

Chapter:
(p.511) 25 Ireland: The Discreet Charm of PR‐STV
Source:
The Politics of Electoral Systems
Author(s):

Michael Gallagher (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199257566.003.0025

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

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