Some points from the Conservative and Liberal Agreement: Political Reform

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The Liberal Democrats have posted the agreement online. Here are some of things that jump out at me on Political Reform.

  • We agree to establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation.
  • The parties agree to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments
  • The parties will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies.
  • The parties will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall,
  • We have agreed to establish a commission to consider the ‘West Lothian question’
  • The parties agree to the implementation of the Calman Commission proposals and the offer of a referendum on further Welsh devolution.

Some big things there! What jumps out at you?

Also David Cameron has just announced that Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister will be responsible for Political Reform. So this will be an important part of the agreement.

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Electoral Reform and the List System

There seems to be a bit of talk about Electoral Reform lately going around and the possibility of it being in the new FG policy. As someone who would like to see the Seanad replaced with an elected body, by a PR List, possibly national or regional, Jason O’Mahony, who I normally agree with, raises a better idea for the using the List System within the Dáil elections.

The only part I disagree with him is the idea of quotas for Men and Women on the list, and if it is an open list, the idea of listing them altrnatively is kind of a waste.

But what would we call this mixed system of PRSTV and PR List? A mix of First Past the Post and List ends up being called Mixed member proportional representation system like they have in Germany, what would you call it?

In the end I dont think adding list TD’s will make a huge difference to the political system in this country, whether it be for 15 or 30. At the upper end of the scale, it would have more of an impact on coalition building. But would it not be better to use this system for a seperately elected upper house, that would have actual powers, more akin to the House of Lords in the UK?

That would be my preffered system, and if we get that super-constitutional referendum that Fine Gael is promising, there will be lots of hard choices for us all to make.

UPDATE: I wrote this before seeing this story on the Front Page of the Irish Times.