The decision to use the first past the post, FPTP, system for the current UKIP leadership contest is puzzling for a party that complains so bitterly in public about the electoral unfairness of such a system. Surely it would have been a shining example of UKIP integrity if the had chosen the Single Transferrable Vote, beloved of the electoral reform society, or even UKIP's very own ranking system used in ordering UKIP MEP candidates for last June's Europeans.
It is important that a leader has the widest possible support and the fewest possible enemies within the party he wishes to lead. Labour has its tri-partite collegiate system. The Tories have their multiple round system amongst only their MPs straight out of Bertie Wooster's Drone Club elections. The Lib Dems use an alternative vote system (AVS) sometimes known as instant run-off voting, that again asks voters to rank their preference for all the candidates. The Wilkepedia description is:
(IRV) is the American English term for a voting system used for single-winner elections, in
which voters rank candidates in an order
of preference. If no candidate is the first preference of a
majority of voters, the candidate with
the fewest number of first preference rankings is eliminated and
that candidate's ballots are redistributed at full value to the
remaining candidates according to the next ranking on each ballot.
This process is repeated until one candidate obtains a majority of
votes among candidates not eliminated. The term "instant
runoff" is used because the method is said to simulate a
series of runoff elections tallied in rounds, as in an exhaustive ballot election
So why does UKIP use FPTP. Easy! It means the winner need not get over 50% of the votes just like in the good old British General Election. The Tories love it because it keeps small parties out, Labour loves it because they can win a parliamentary majority with 35% of the popular vote. UKIP aka Farage love it for leadership elections for the same reason. Last time Farage won with around 40% of the vote and I expect Pearson to do the same this time with around the same figure. Its not surprising that Farage had so many enemies in UKIP, most of the party wanted somebody else as leader! STV and AVS ensure the leader is a combination of the most liked and least disliked which is what a party leader should be.
So UKIP's Cabal like the EU Commission choose the system that ensures they get the result they want. Les extremes se touche as the actress said to the MEP in the Brussels bordello.