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Electoral Reform Society
Press Release

March 31, 2004


The Electoral Reform Society has warmly welcomed the announcement today by the Richard Commission in favor of electing the National Assembly for Wales by the single transferable vote (STV).

"We are delighted that the Richard Commission has recommended STV," said Ken Ritchie, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society. "We hope that this recommendation will receive the backing of the Assembly and lead to change being implemented by Westminster."

"STV is the fairest system because it combines party proportionality with much enhanced voter choice. It is the best for both voters and parties."

"Although the current voting system ensures that parties have broadly the share of seats in the Assembly that their electoral support warrants as the Commission has rightly noted, it creates two types of elected
representative and there can be conflict between the two. There is also a lack of choice for voters who must take the candidates that their favored party gives them in the order determined by the party. Under STV, electors can choose between candidates of the same party."

"The current system also allows anomalies such as the West question where the three losers in a constituency contest were nevertheless returned to the Assembly from the list. STV has no lists and so solves this problem."

"There will, of course, be some debate about the number of members to be elected from each constituency. The more seats in each constituency, the more proportional the system. But it is very good news that the principles of STV have been accepted."

"STV was also the recommendation of the Sunderland Commission which looked at the best way of electing local government in Wales. Although that recommendation has been shelved, we believe that Lord Richard's findings deserve support."

For further information, contact:
The Electoral Reform Society on 020 7928 1622
Ken Ritchie 0775 416 5551
or Alex Folkes 07984 644138

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