The use of the single transferable vote (STV) system of proportional representation (PR) in Ireland — North and South — provides rare examples of regular deployment of the system. Whilst PR is very common in Europe, it is usually based upon electoral choices made from predetermined party lists. Within Europe, only Ireland (North and South) and Malta utilize PR-STV for their lower chambers (Mitchell and Gillespie, 1999). Although candidate-based PR-STV is thus associated with Ireland, it might be considered part of the British legacy there. Developed during the 1850s (simultaneously by Carl Andrae in Denmark and Thomas Hare in England), the STV system of PR was strongly advocated by contemporary electoral reform campaigners in Britain (Sinnott, 2005: 107). Moreover, given British concerns regarding the representation of minorities in the event of Home Rule for Ireland, the STV system of PR seemed particularly apposite (in 1912, an element of STV-PR was inserted into the abortive Home Rule bill). Perhaps not surprisingly, the views of contemporary Irish political reformers were ‘substantially influenced by the current thinking in Britain’ (ibid.). The founder of Sinn Féin, Arthur Griffiths, was also one of the founding members of the Proportional Representation Society of Ireland.
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