Jersey could learn from French electoral system, says Deputy

A woman waves the French flag as she reacts to projected results after the second round of the legislative elections (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez). (38544633)

JERSEY could learn “a lot” from the French voting system, the president of the Island’s section of the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophone has said as he reacts to shock election results which saw the country’s left-wing coalition unexpectedly come out on top.

Deputy Montfort Tadier released his statement in response to the surprise surge in seats for the New Popular Front, after Sunday’s second round of French elections.

Emmanuel Macron’s centrists gained the second most seats while Marine Le Pen’s far-right contingent, the National Rally, came in third despite first-round elections predicting an absolute majority. Now the country is facing a hung parliament, with none of the three blocs able to form an outright majority.

Deputy Tadier, president of the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophone’s Jersey section, highlighted that Islanders had “lived every moment of the UK elections” but had paid less attention to France and their unique two-round voting system which he argued could produce parliaments that better represented the public vote.

The UK and Jersey use first-past-the-post methods where the candidate with the most votes wins.

Deputy Tadier said: “This is why electoral systems matter. The proponents of [first-past-the-post] say it delivers strong governments, but it does not allow for political nuance, and can lead to large majorities on a minority of the vote.”

He explained that in the first round, the National Rally won a majority of the 577 seats, meaning if there was no second round, the far-right would be in power and with a “good working majority”.

“However, such a result would have meant them governing without majoritarian popular support,” he said. “This would be unthinkable to the French, or indeed, most Europeans. Why do the British tolerate it?

“What it shows is that the RN, far from being the most popular party, only have enough support from 143 of the 577 voting constituencies, behind two other parties with larger minority support. It would be a ludicrous system that lets one party govern, when they do not have the popular majority mandate.

“The UK, and dare I say, Jersey and Guernsey, have a lot they can learn from the French model.”

Deputy Tadier has previously called for Jersey to bring in an alternative voting system, similar to the French model, but his proposition narrowly failed to pass the States Assembly in 2016.

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