April 29, 2010, midnight
Members of the Scottish Parliament voted 54-41 on Thursday in favor of a motion urging Westminster to adopt the single transferable vote (STV) for national elections. Electoral reform has been a key issue in the run-up to British Parliamentary elections on May 6. Prime Minister Gordon BROWN'S Labour Party has said that, if returned to power, it will hold a 2011 referendum on the alternative vote (AV). With the unusually high likelihood of a hung Parliament, however, Liberal Democrat MPs may be critical to forming a government, and there is speculation that Leader Nick CLEGG will demand a move toward proportional representation (PR) in return for their support. Both AV and STV are ranked voting systems, but STV is a proportional system, while AV is a majoritarian formula based on single-seat constituencies. Scottish voters use two proportional systems: STV for local councils and a mixed-member formula to elect their Parliament. Three of five parties currently holding seats in that body support PR for Westminster: the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats, and Greens.