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UK holds referendum on voting system

05-06-2011 08:48 BJT

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UK voters have been asked to decide in a rare referendum whether to adopt a new voting system.

Under the Alternative Vote electoral system, candidates must win a majority of votes. Second and third choice votes of the lowest ranked candidates will then be redistributed until one person gains more than half the ballot. Pro-AV campaigners say this leads to a more representative government and would force candidates to reach out beyond party lines. The 'No to AV' campaign says AV would lead to weak governments, in which policies are diluted by compromise.

The AV system is being championed by the Liberal Democrats. But it is opposed by their Conservative Party, a conflict that some analysts say could split the Conservative-led ruling coalition and derail its austerity programme.

 

 

Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, leaves after casting his vote at Methodist Central
Hall in London May 5, 2011. Britons voted on Thursday in a referendum on electoral reform
that has split the year-old coalition government and raised doubts about whether the
partnership will last. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

A couple leave a polling station after casting their ballot in London, the United Kingdom,
May 5, 2011. Voters in the UK are expected to go to polling stations Thursday for a
referendum to decide whether to replace the current first-past-the-post system in the
parliament elections with an Alternative Vote (AV) system, where voters list their
preferences on the ballot paper and the one polling the least is eliminated and their votes
redistributed until one party gets a majority of votes cast, which is advocated by the
Liberal Democratic Party in the coalition government but strongly opposed by the
Conservative Party. (Xinhua/Zeng Yi)

A girl enters a polling station to cast her ballot in London,
the United Kingdom, May 5, 2011. Voters in the UK are expected
to go to polling stations Thursday for a referendum to decide
whether to replace the current first-past-the-post system in the
parliament elections with an Alternative Vote (AV) system, where
voters list their preferences on the ballot paper and the one
polling the least is eliminated and their votes redistributed
until one party gets a majority of votes cast, which is advocated
by the Liberal Democratic Party in the coalition government but
strongly opposed by the Conservative Party. (Xinhua/Zeng Yi)


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