is the clear message of an opinion poll conducted by an independent research
Sunderland Commission's recommendation that Welsh councils should be elected
by a form of proportional representation. Of those interviewed, 77% agreed
that a party's share of the seats should more accurately reflect their share
of the votes, while only 10% opposed the idea.
Moreover, when it was pointed out that a proportional system would make it
more difficult for single parties to control councils, 62% felt this would
make councils better, and only 10% thought it would be worse.
'On Wednesday morning, the Welsh Assembly's Local Government Committee will
receive a report on a 'consultation' which suggests a small majority opposed
to reform,' said Ken Ritchie, chief executive of the Electoral Reform
Society. 'Our new opinion poll shows that that 'consultation' outcome does
not represent the views of the people of Wales.'
'The poll also found that very few people knew anything about the
consultation being conducted by Edwina Hart's office. We suspect that many
of the responses to the consultation came from councils or individual
councillors - people who have a vested interest in the voting system by
which they were elected.'
'Just as we would not expect turkeys to vote for Christmas, we would not
expect those with a vested interest in the status quo to back a fairer
voting system. We should not let moves towards a better system be obstructed
by those who fear it might deprive them of their political power. Democracy
must belong to everyone.'
'The Sunderland Commission consulted very widely and then came to the
conclusion that Welsh local councils should be elected by the Single
Transferable Vote system. If the Welsh Executive feels that more views are
needed, it should commission a large-scale poll of public opinion from a
reputable polling organisation and not just rely on the views of political
The Sunderland Committee (The Commission on Local Government Electoral
Arrangements in Wales) was established by the Welsh Assembly Government to
look into the structure and method of election of local councillors. The
commission included members of all assembly parties as well as elections
experts and academics. The commission recommended the STV (Single
Transferable Vote) system of election.
Beaufort Research Limited conducted a telephone survey of a representative
sample of 217 adults across Wales over the period 3 to 4 December 2002.