Sunday, 6 April 2014

Margo's death shows anomaly in "Top Up Seat"s representation.

It appears that after the death of Margo Macdonald there will be no Byelection,

This is because, as  an Independent, she was not a list for the regional seat of Lothians  and there is no one to literally replace .

Who could follow Margo anyway?

But if she had been  in any of the other parties  then the  additional-member vacancy be filled by the next available candidate on the relevant party list, and they  would simply take up the vacant seat this would include Highland MSPs John Finnie and Jean Urquhart who  resigned from the SNP over the party's decision to end its long-standing opposition to Nato and now sit as Independents in a group with the Greens (which Margo was also a member).

If they were to leave the parliament their  seats presumably would revert to the SNP.

But it seems the Scottish Parlaiment will now have one fewer MSP until the 2016 election.

It does show the problem of the regional list system.

The case of Finnie and Urquhart also points to an another anomaly , People elected under the regional list system cannot normally claim to have a personnel vote (Margo of course being an exception) and when they defect they are taking the additional member from a Party which was to "Top Up" the democratic deficit that the First Pat the post system offers.

A similar problem occurred in wales when Mohammad Asghar who had been elected for Plaid Cymru  to the Welsh Assembly in 2007 defected to the Conservatives  two years later .

You could argue that anyone leaving the banner from which they were elected should face a by-election but the additional member ot top up system seems to be particularly fraught.  

One wonders if those framing the Acts  that set up the Welsh  Assembly  and Scottish Parliament took the potential anomalies into account .

Of course if they saw this they may have realised that the Top up method is an inferior form of proportional representation and gone for STV as in the case of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Both Plaid and the Welsh Liberal Democrats  support STV and should make it a prerequisite for any future coalition they may enter in Cardiff Bay.

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