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Does proportional representation advantage one party?

Claim: “This is a way to keep the NDP and Greens in power indefinitely. People need to wake up to that.”

Stated by: Andrew Wilkinson, BC Liberal Leader. The Province, June 3, 2018.

Fact Check

This claim is 100% false. 

Governments in countries with proportional representation change based on how people vote at election times. Parties on the left, centre and right all have turns in government.

There’s just no real world evidence from the 90+ countries that use PR that one particular government or ideology will be fixed in place “indefinitely” with proportional representation.

This claim by opponents the proportional representation would lock in a left-wing government is especially bizarre considering one of their other tactics is to fear-monger about right-wing “extremist” parties in government (see Fact Check on “extremists” and “fringe parties”).

Governments change with proportional representation

Just like in countries with first-past-the-post, governments change in countries with proportional representation. Proportional representation just means the seats in the legislature will much more closely reflect the popular vote. The picture on the right is an example of how governments have changed in the past 20 years in two countries that use Mixed Member Proportional Representation (note: New Zealand has elections every 3 years).

Governments vary with proportional representation

Most countries in Europe uses proportional representation. As the image on the right from 2016 shows, at any given time a variety of governments of different persuasions are in power.

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