The Chipster Zone

Friday, May 07, 2010

Perplexed by Parliament Non-Pundits

"Ewww, Britain may not have a clear winner in their election; whatever will they do?"
Both NPR and The Daily Show seemed aghast yesterday and today that a democratic nation like Great Britain would not immediately emerge from their general election with a clear head-of-state.  This is something I had learned twice by my 10th grade civics class.  It's a parliamentary system... with a Prime Minister (not a President)... typically they require a coalition government.  This is not unusual.  The unusual thing has been that they've had a clear majority most of the last 30 some years.  Typically it's been a multi-party system with a coalition formed by at least a couple parties in order to elect a Prime Minister and form a government.
  One criticism often leveled at parliamentary democracies is that they may be less stable than those with heads of state elected by popular vote (more or less in the US case, see Electoral College).  That's probably why I found it interesting (almost 30 years ago in that 10th grade class) that Great Britain's government was actually more stable, at least as measured by how long the head of state ruled: they were averaging around 6 years at that time, while the US was closer to having Presidents that served for 5 years.
  So, Pundits, give old England a chance to sort it out.  Nice to see a third party get a chance for a little influence; especially since its the LibDems.