Simple Majority (Plurality System): Meaning, Merits and Demerits
Simple Majority System also referred to as ‘first past the post’ or plurality system, allows candidates that scored the highest number of votes among the candidates in an election to be declared the winner. The winner need not score the majority vote. Nigeria operates this system.
For example, if 5 contestants contested for a post among 10,000 voters. And at the end of voting, the election result is thus:
|Name of |
|No. of |
Candidate Ajayi with 2,100 votes has secured the highest number of votes and will be declared the winner even though he has not secured up to 50% of the total votes cast. The winner has not enjoyed the support of the majority of the votes which should have been 5,000 votes.
Merits of Simple Majority System:
(i) It is a simple and easy method of deciding on a winner. It does not require much calculation to get the winner(s) after the election.
(ii) It is cheap in terms of cost, time and energyEnergy is the ability to do work. Energy exists in several forms such as heat, kinetic or mechanical energy, light, potential energy, and electrical energy. Units of Energy: The SI unit of energy is the joule (J) or newton-meter (N * m). The joule is also the SI unit of work. as the winner emerges at the end of the first voting.
(iii) Election results come out almost immediately after the end of voting.
(iv) This type promotes political stability in the parliament as one party may win the majority of seats in the parliament.
Demerits of Simple Majority System:
(i) Election results sometimes work against the wishes of the majority of voters. The result of a few voters determines the winner.
(ii) The system discourages the existence of small political parties as the chances of the small political parties winning elections is slim.
(iii) It is undemocratic as it emphasizes minority rule instead of majority rule. Winners most of the time fail to have secured 50% of the total votes cast in an election.
(iv) It gives the wrong impression about the popularity and legitimacy of the winner.
(v) This system over-emphasizes party organization and plays down the quality of candidates.
(vi) This system promotes ethnicity in national politics.
(vii) Elections are prone to manipulation/rigging as parties and candidates try to win at all costs.
(viii) It gives room to gerrymandering.
Gerrymandering constituencies is the process of dividing or arranging constituencies to favour a particular political party or candidate in the election.