Electoral Reform in the United Kingdom: Lessons From the 2011 Alternative Vote Referendum
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Electoral reform is not an issue that has garnered much attention in the past. It is certainly not an issue that major political parties tend to highlight. In the United Kingdom’s 2010 national elections, however, the Liberal Democrat Party made electoral reform a cornerstone of their platform and a precondition for forming a coalition with the Conservative Party. This resulted in a referendum on the adoption of the alternative vote in May 2011. My work attempts to explain when and why reform of an electoral system becomes a prominent issue and when it is likely to be successful. I explore examples of successful reform in Australia and New Zealand and failed attempts in Canada, but this work focuses on the British case. Using secondary and primary sources, including interviews with Members of Parliament, I devise and test a two-part model of electoral reform that helps us understand when electoral reform is likely to become a critical issue and when those reforms are likely to succeed.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2012
- F&M Theses Collection