LONDON (Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Thursday he planned to announce next week the date of a referendum on changing the electoral system.
Liberal Democrats want a date to be set for a referendum on the move to the Alternative Vote system as a tangible reward for their role as junior coalition partners with the Conservatives.
The LibDems hope a vote can be held as early as next May, although AV actually falls short of their desire for a genuinely proportional voting system.
“I’m hoping to make an announcement literally in a couple of days, next week,” Clegg said in answer to a question after making a speech in London.
The referendum could expose strains in the coalition, with the Conservatives opposed to changes to the first-past-the-post system.
Under AV, voters would be asked to list candidates by order of preference. If no one scores 50 percent of the vote, the bottom candidate is eliminated and the second choices listed on the ballots cast for that person are added to the totals obtained by the others.
The process is repeated until one candidate hits 50 percent.
Editing by Steve Addison