Ireland has an electoral system based on voting for individual candidates. Some voters place priority on their party-affiliation while others vote for personalities regardless of their political party.
There are not many countries in Europein which MP`s have a direct mandate from the people. Finland, Ireland, the UK and France spring to mind. Most other countries on the continent have an electoral system of list election. Voters have no choice over the candidates but only vote for the party of their choice. Parties have their candidates in a prearranged order and starting from the top of the list, the party gets as many candidates elected as MP`s as their share of the vote merits. Of course, under this system party-leaders and his lackeys are always put at the top of the list, dissidents at the bottom.
There has been a conversation in Finland whether we should move to the Swedish-model list-election system. Proponents of such a system maintain that personalities would not hijack the election campaign and the elections would be about issues at stake.
I couldn`t disagree more. In my opinion the very fact that all those 200 blockheads in the Finnish parliament have each received sufficient amount of personal votes, is an indication that a nation gets decision-makers it deserves. Under a list-election system MP`s would probably call the party headquarters to ask for a permission to go to toilet.