Are governments elected under SMP laws inherently more stable and more effective than those elected according to proportional representation?
It is sometimes said that SMP systems ensure that winning parties have large majorities, and that they thus avoid the instability and ineffectiveness of multi-party coalition governments that are very common in countries that use PR. This would be a valid concern, if it were supported by the evidence. In fact, almost every democratic country in the world, including some of the most stable and effective, uses some variant of PR. While Italy and Israel are often cited as counter-examples, their comparison to Canada is only valid to the extent that Canada resembles them in its political make-up. There is, in fact, much evidence to suggest that Canada is more like Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, which have used some variety of a proportional electoral system for years and which are among the most stable and effective democracies in the world. Moreover, the small number of so-called “unstable” democracies typically use systems which have special rules, such as a very lo