This question that James raised in the comments to the previous planting on Turkey is a good one: how “friendly” or not is Turkey’s threshold to small parties, relative to a first-past-the-post (or plurality) system in single-seat districts?
The question can be addressed using Rein Taagepera’s “seat product.”
If all the mathematics that follow are not of interest, the reader can be advised that the conclusion of the exercise is that Turkey’s electoral system restricts the smallest party to around 50 seats at a minimum (not counting independents–addressed below). Thus it is extremely unfriendly to small parties. On the other hand, with a plurality system and the same size assembly, the smallest party could easily have one seat, and it would be a surprise if the smallest party did not have less than 10 seats. So the Turkish system is somewhere between 5 and 50 times more unfriendly to small parties than is an otherwise comparable plurality system.1
OK, on to the estimates…
For reasons Taagepera explains in his 2007 Oxford University Press book, Predicting Party Sizes, we can derive the expected number of parties winning at least one seat by taking the size of the assembly (S), multiplying it by the magnitude of the average district (M), and then taking the fourth root of the product.
As also explained in Taagepera (2007) we can expect the seat share of the largest party to be, on average:
s1 = (MS)-.125 (s1 as decimal share).
Turkey has S=550 in 85 districts, resulting in average M=6.5, approximately.
With no threshold, we would then expect 7.7 parties to win at least one seat, on average. This suggests that the “average” party would have around 71 seats (550 seats divided among 7.7 parties).
The second equation suggests that the largest party would be expected to win about 36% , or 128, seats. Many parties might have 1 or a few seats only, thereby explaining an average that is well below the expected largest share.2
However, the 10% nationwide threshold keeps any party from winning fewer than about 50 seats. (10% of 550 is obviously 55, but because only the threshold is national, not the actual seat allocation, it is impossible to specify precisely what the smallest possible party size is. It would depend on how a 10% party’s votes were distributed across districts. So we can use 50 as a round estimate.)
So if the minumum number of possible seats for any party is around 50, we can take the geometric average of this figure and the theoretical maximum of 550 (when one party wins all seats), and we get an expected average number of seats of 166. Note this is about 2.3 times the size of the expected average under no threshold (71).
This suggests that, with Turkey’s 10% threshold, the average number of parties would only be around 3 (550/166=3.31). This can be double-checked by going back to the likely minimum party size, 50, and recognizing that at most 11 parties could win if all had the minimum size. The geometric average of the theoretical range from 1 party to 11 parties is 3.32. So our math checks out.
How does this check out in reality? Consider the actual number of parties winning at least one seat (p), the seat total of the largest party (s1), and the number of seats won by the smallest party (s-small), in each of the four most recent Turkish general elections.
Note that I am excluding independents here. In Turkey in 2007, although not in previous elections, there were many candidates who won without formal party endorsement, but with informal support. There were 28 of them in 2007 (5.1% of all seats), a huge increase over the 9 (1.6%) that won in 2002. This is an obvious loophole of the system that makes analyzing it more challenging. But the question at hand here was how unfriendly the 10% party threshold is. Parties that can’t hope to break 10% nationally are forced to play a different game, almost as if the system were SNTV.4 Choosing to run candidates as “independents” makes it hard for a party to win more than 1 seat per (multi-seat) district–because it must practice vote division among its candidates–even where it would be quite strong if it could compete on a level playing field with the major national parties. It is interesting that the recent trend appears to be towards a larger-than-expected largest party, and more seats won by independents, many of whom are de-facto small parties using the loophole in the threshold. It may be that the system is genuinely bifurcating into two classes of parties–a hegemonic ruling party and an increasingly fragmented and personalized opposition.5
Now contrast our expectations and results of the Turkish system with a FPTP system. The seat product when M=1 is obviously equivalent to the assembly size, S. So take the fourth root of 550 and get 4.8 expected average number of seat-winning parties. With 4.8 parties dividing 550 seats, the average per party has 115 seats. This is the largest any party could be in the extremely unlikely event that all “4.8″ parties had equal seat totals. The geometric average of the range of 1 to 115 is 10.7, which is where I dervied the estimate mentioned above of a smallest party in a 550-seat FPTP system of around 10 maximum, in contrast with 50 seats minimum (not an average, but a minimum number, for the smallest).
In fact, in plurality, single-seat districted systems of 400+ seats, the average number of seat-winning parties tends to exceed the estimate derived from the seat product appreciably. There have been at least 10 parties represented in each UK election since 1997, and obviously many more in the similarly sized Indian parliament. Canada almost nails its seat-product estimate, with 308 seats leading to an estimated 4.2 parties, and actually having had 4 parties in each recent parliament (and 5 in the one just elected).6 This fact only further underscores how much more favorable FPTP is to small parties than is Turkey’s system.
(Note: Minor editing and a couple of new footnotes added since original planting.)
The consideration of the smallest size of a party is important. As recent elections in the UK, Canada, and Australian first chambers show, a small party can concentrate its efforts on a few districts or even just one and thereby break into the system, as Greens have done in each country’s most recent election. However, in Turkey, to get to 10% nationally would require effort, and some measure of vote-winning success, in numerous districts. [↩]
as almost always is the case, under any electoral system, for the obvious reason that parties vary in size. [↩]
I derived the expectations on s1 and s-small under Turkey’s thresholds as follows…
s1 if there are 3.3 parties has to be at least the average (166) and at most around S-(2*s) where s is the smallest share, expected to be 50. That makes the maximum 450, and the geometric average of 166 and 450 is 273.
s for the smallest is expected to be 50 at a minimum and has to be no more than 166 (for 3.3 parties). The geometric average for this range is 91.
That is, single non-transferable vote, in which the M seats go to the highest vote-winning candidates, regardless of party affiliation, if any. In Turkey, candidates running independently of a party list are in direct competition with (closed) party lists for a district’s seats, making it sort of like having SNTV and list-PR systems running concurrently in any district in which there is at least one party that has two or more candidates running as “independents”). [↩]
With a maximum of 5% of seats won by “independents” so far, we should not exaggerate this trend, but given that 13.8% of votes in 2007 were cast for party lists that fell below the national threshold, we might expect these parties to turn towards playing the “independents”/SNTV game instead of risking winning nothing. [↩]
A proposal in Hong Kong would change the method of filling inter-election vacancies, reports David at Ahwa Talk. The electoral system for the Legislative Council is open-list PR, and currently by-elections are used to fill vacancies.
Most (all?) jurisdictions with OLPR systems simply take the next highest-ranking unelected candidate from the list of the departing member.
However, the Hong Kong proposal would take “The first candidate who has not yet been elected in the list with the largest number of remainder votes in the preceding general election.”
Average district magnitude is around five or six. David comments:
Maybe [proponents of this reform] assume that the individual candidate who captured that seat was a big reason for the party’s success… According to Carey and Shugart, low district magnitude in open list PR decreases the incentive for a candidate to cultivate a personal vote. In contrast, it is in high magnitude, open list PR where candidate preference matters more. This is because in a larger list, candidates have a stronger incentive to distinguish themselves from their fellow list members. Ultimately, we don’t really know why any individual is voting the way they are, but I think the Hong Kong government’s assumption requires more explanation.
I agree with David’s take on what the underlying assumption must be: that candidate reputation trumps party in Hong Kong. Indeed, the proposed method decreases the prominence of parties in that it departs from the normal working of OLPR by which is the list-PR component that first divides up the available seats, and only afterward that the “open” part comes into play in determining who gets those seats.
A potential benefit of the proposal, however, is that it should reduce the incentive of parties to rotate some of their legislators between elections. Doing so is common in OLPR systems–elsewhere (I do not know about Hong Kong)–and undermines the connection of elected legislators to the electorate. Under the Hong Kong proposal, a party would often forfeit the seat if it sought to swap out a member.
As for the Carey-Shugart (1995, Electoral Studies) we only claim that low-M OLPR places less premium on cultivating a personal reputation than does higher-M OLPR. The story is seen from the competing candidates’ point of view. From the voters’ point of view, however, smaller magnitudes and shorter lists undoubtedly increase the visibility of those who are elected, who win with greater shares of their party’s votes. I actually think this method for filling vacancies makes more sense for smaller district magnitudes than it would for larger. Whether it makes more sense than the usual party-centric way is an open question, and one that might not have a clear answer.
The strategies of candidates and parties in mixed-member systems can be fascinating. Here is one current example from New Zealand, where voters will go to the polls in late November (at the same time as they vote in the first stage of a process to review or possibly replace MMP).
Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel will not stand on her party’s list this election, saying if the people from Christchurch do not want her to return as their electorate MP she would prefer to leave Parliament altogether.
Ms Dalziel is one of only two MPs who have spurned the safety of the party’s list for the election this November.
Her career is an interesting one, as in 1996 she was elected a list-only candidate. She says she did “not enjoy” being a list-only MP because it meant a less close connection with constituents. (NZ Herald, 8 April.)
She is an MP for Labour, and won her district (electorate) easily in 2008, with 52.9% of the vote; the closest challenger was the National Party candidate, with 35.9%. So unless there is a huge swing (unlikely, given that 2008 already saw a large swing towards National), she is not exactly putting her career on the line by giving up a list slot.
The former President and now Labour’s candidate for New Plymouth, Andrew Little, is the highest placed non-MP, at number 15.
The other non-MP with a winnable spot at number 26 is Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, a member of party leader Phil Goff’s media team.
The top 14 list places are held by senior, sitting MPs, headed by Mr Goff and his deputy, Annette King. (Radio NZ, 10 April; see the link for the full list.)
Meanwhile, Richard Long in the Dominion Post, decries the party’s list nominations as “gazumping the electoral process” and “little short of gerrymandering.”
Long wants MMM instead–which is the option on the referendum ballot referred to as “Supplementary Member.” It seems to me that if you don’t like gazumping and gerrymandering, you should like MMM a good deal less than MMP.
_____________ More on the Labour list and its “new blood,” including candidates with union backgrounds, and on repeat candidates with changed list positions at the NZ Herald, 10 April.
Via News.am, on the nominees of the Kurdish party, Peace and Democracy, for the upcoming Turkish parliamentary elections:
The Kurdish Party will support 61 independent candidates in 39 provinces of Turkey.
The main theme of the short article is that the party reneged on an earlier plan to nominate some Armenian candidates. (It is, after all, a Kurdish party.)
On the unusual role of independents in an otherwise party-list system with a very high threshold, see the discussion here of the previous election.
(In searching for that entry, I was surprised to see just how many plantings there are on Turkey. By a quick count, this is #11, with most of the others being from the 2007 elections and the adoption that year of a premier-presidential system.)
Today’s Zaman reports that Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AK) is preparing its nomination process for the 12 June parliamentary election.
The party received 5,599 applications from would-be candidates, and will accept 1,650.
The 1,650 candidates will be picked based primarily on the results of surveys carried out in the candidates’ respective hometowns. The results will determine whether the hopefuls are nominated as deputy candidates in the approaching elections.
The party aims to have 60 elected women, which would be historic for Turkish parties. It also aims to have a diverse slate ethnically.
The candidate list of the AK Party will have members from all segments of society, including Alevis, Kurds, Syriacs, Roma, Circassians, Bosnians, Albanians and immigrants from Bulgaria and Greece. The AK Party plans to nominate over 20 Alevi candidates from provinces largely populated by Alevis, who are known to traditionally vote for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), but the AK Party is hoping to appeal to Alevi voters in the upcoming elections.
Melkon Karaköse and Herman Balyan, both of Armenian descent, are expected to be on the AK Party’s list of parliamentary candidates. Karaköse has been a member of the AK Party for two years now. He is believed to be close to the party because of its support for the Law on Foundations, which enables foundations run by non-Muslim communities to own property and receive financial assistance from the state. The AK Party is also reportedly in close contact with Bedros ?irino?lu, head of the Surp P?rgiç Armenian Hospital Foundation, to nominate him for the parliamentary elections. It is not yet clear whether he will be nominated or not.
The AK Party also plans to nominate Syriac candidates in the elections. Turkey’s Syriac community lent strong support to the government-sponsored constitutional amendment package, which was voted on in a referendum in September of last year, saying the package would contribute to Turkey’s democratization efforts. Markus Ürek is strongly expected to be the AK Party’s Syriac candidate and will probably be nominated from Mardin or ??rnak, both of which have large Syriac populations.
There will be at least one Roma candidate. “The AK Party won the hearts of Turkey’s Roma when it launched a democratic initiative in 2009 to address problems faced by the Roma.”
The lists will also include some academics and show business and sports notables.
In case it was not obvious, I’ll add that the lists are closed and that the AK is approaching dominant-party status. In other words, it can essentially guarantee election of any candidates it wants in its parliamentary caucus.
Ballots in open-list PR, at least if they are paper ballots, are sometimes rather complex.
Steven Taylor offers a look at a re-design of the ballot for the upcoming municipal elections in Colombia, which might help with some problems of voter confusion seen in previous municipal and congressional elections since the list-PR system was adopted in 2003. (See Steven’s links to previous posts in which he discussed these problems.)
In Colombia, parties have the option of presenting either a closed or an open list, although a very large majority of lists are open. Voters must make a party choice and then, if they choose and their party allows, may mark a candidate preference.
“We know that political parties have issues of tension about who is actually a leader of that political party. It will have implications in terms of how we run our processes. It is on that basis that we are saying that political parties must submit the list of those people that will be authorised. We are trying to avoid a situation where in the morning you receive a list from political parties from one specific leadership and later on another one comes and says the person who submitted the list is not authorised,” he added.
Asked how they would resolve a situation like that in Cope, where there were two factions each claiming to be in charge Tselane responded: “We are operating on the basis of information submitted to us before the (2009) elections. Until such time that there are changes we will continue to operate on the basis of information they submitted to us.”
According to The Jordan Times, the “centrist” National Constitutional Party (NCP) says it would be premature to adopt a party-list system–evidently meaning a fully list-based system, for the news item leads with:
Centrists on Saturday called for a new elections law that combines voting in “geographically identified districts” and a proportional representation list.
This appears to be an endorsement of some form of mixed-member system.
[The NCP leader] expressed concern that elections on the basis of partisan tickets might only benefit the Islamic Action Front, which demands an elected parliamentarian government. What the centrist parties want, he explained, is a system based on one vote for the district and another for a “bloc”.
Jordan’s current electoral system is single non-transferable vote (SNTV), although it is known rather awkwardly as the “one man, one vote” system. (That term, although a literal description of SNTV, among many other systems, elsewhere refers to an absence of malapportionment, which is something Jordan actually has a good deal of.)
Monica Pachon and Matthew S. Shugart, Electoral reform and the mirror image of inter-party and intra-party competition: The adoption of party lists in Colombia. Electoral Studies 29, 4 (December), pp. 648-660.
The Colombian case offers a rare opportunity to observe effects of electoral reform where districting remains constant. Only the formula changed, from extremely ‘personalized’ (seats allocated solely on candidate votes) to ‘listized’: seats are allocated to party lists, which may be either open or closed. Electoral reform has effects on both the inter-party dimension (the number of parties competing) and the intra-party dimension (the extent of competition within parties). Consistent with theoretical expectations, the inter-party dimension features an increased number of parties in the low-magnitude districts and a decrease in the high-magnitude districts. On the intra-party dimension, the impact “mirrors” the inter-party: less competition in smaller districts, yet more in larger districts.
If you have access via an academic library, you can read or download the article from Science Direct.
Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) has won 33.5%, while its former coalition partner Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), whose withdrawal precipitated this election, has won 23.6%. In 2007, these parties won 34.3% and 22.6%, respectively. So not much change.
On DW-TV, seen via Link TV, the following billboard caught my interest. I apologize for the poor quality; it is shot from a paused image on the DVR.
This is clearly (well, maybe “clearly” is not the right word) a billboard for the LDK. I assume it is showing all the candidates on the party’s list.
As far as I know, the electoral system continues to have a 100-seat district, with voters free to cast preference votes for up to 5 (earlier reports had said 10) candidates. It is unclear, from an earlier discussion at F&V, whether this is a fully open or a flexible list. In any case, the billboard shows 110 candidates, counting the party leader.
There are also another 20 seats, elected separately, for minorities. Ten of these are set aside for the Serb minority. However, voting was apparently sparse in Serb regions. (Maybe the billboard above shows 110 because it includes the 10 non-Serb minority candidates. Just speculating. Or it could simply be that parties may nominate more candidates than seats for the principal district.)
While I do not read Serbian, I know enough Cyrillic to know these signs call on Serbs to boycott the election. (Cognates help, too!)
This last photo is for the PDK and reminds us that, for the ethnic Albanian majority, the country is Kosova, not Kosovo.
The DW-TV report mentioned a new party that had come in third, with around 15%. From Balkan Insight, which has a regional (but not national) breakdown of the vote, it would seem that the third party is something called the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo(a?).
As an aside, I am always bemused at how many media outlets will declare that a party has “won” an election when it merely has the most seats–and nowhere near a majority. Of the first five hits in my Google News search, Voice of America, Xhinhua, eTaiwan News, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty all had variations on Thaci or his party “winning.” Only Aljazeera (the one I linked to at the top) got it right: “Party of Hashim Thaci holds on most seats in parliament but fails to take majority amid allegations of ballot stuffing.”
It is important to note that Iran’s power in Iraq, although extensive, is not without limitations. The IRIG’s greatest political roadblock remains the domineering authority and religious credibility embodied in Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Despite his Iranian heritage, Sistani is Iraq’s most revered Shia religious (and political) authority. A critic of Iran’s “Velayet-e-Faqih” (rule of the jurisprudent) system of theocratic governance, Sistani’s abstemious (aka Quietest school) approach to Shia politics has kept him well above the political fray while at the same time ensuring him significant impact on those rare occasions when he pronounces on politics. For example, Sistani’s public support for an open list ballot was instrumental in prompting ISCI, Sadrist Trend, Maliki’s State of Law, and other Shia parties to follow suit, despite Tehran’s preference for a closed list. Domestic political realities will continue to force Shia political parties like ISCI, Dawa Qwill continue to force Shia political parties like ISCI, Dawa and Sadr Trend, with close historic ties to Iran, to balance between support for a broader Iraqi-Shia agenda, as championed by Sistani, and the alternative, championed by Iran, that would subordinate Iraqi interests to Iran’s broader objectives (septel).
In the past, we have had discussions here about the type of lists used in Iraqi elections. All are in agreement that the elections of 2005 were by closed list, and that more recent elections were not. However, there has been some uncertainty about just which form of non-closed lists have been used.
In various previous discussions (click “Iraq” in the “planted in” line to see them), some of my valued commenters have linked to items from the Iraqi electoral commission that purport to show that the 2009 provincial elections were by flexible list, and that this year’s national assembly elections were by open lists.* Unfortunately, all those links now simply take one to the main Arabic page of the commission (and clicking there on the English link also does not seem to allow one to find archived articles).
I wonder if anyone saved these original articles, or has any other reliable sources** that clearly indicate the list format in these elections.
* The distinction that I am making is that under flexible lists, “preference” votes cast for candidates on a party’s list affect the order of election only for those candidates who receive some legally stipulated quota of preference votes. Otherwise, a pre-set party list order prevails. Under open lists, on the other hand, preference votes alone determine the order in which candidates are elected from the list, there being no pre-set list order with any affect on candidate ranking.
**In my experience, many writers, even by political scientists, will say “open” even when the lists in question in some country actually are flexible. (For that matter, sometimes that will refer to flexible lists as though they are closed. Flexible lists are kind of an orphan category, notwithstanding that they are used in so many European PR systems!)
Voters in Kosovo are to go to the polls in snap elections on Dec. 12, after Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s weakened government supported a no-confidence vote in the country’s parliament. [...]
The no-confidence motion on Tuesday was supported by 64 of the 120 legislators. It was submitted two weeks after Thaci’s coalition fell apart when former President Fatmir Sejidu pulled his party out of the governing coalition. Sejidu also stepped down as president in mid-October, after the country’s constitutional court ruled that he could not be the leader of a political party and the country’s president at the same time.
This will be the country’s first election since its declaration of independence.
The president of Kosovo is a mostly ceremonial head of state, elected by the National Assembly; the country has a parliamentary system of government.
The electoral system is proportional in a nationwide constituency. The assembly consists of 120 seats, with 20 set aside for the Serb minority. Apparently the system was changed from closed lists to open-list PR prior to the 2007 election. The linked item, from Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, says that voters could vote for up to ten candidates on a list. (That’s a lot!)
With 1.3 million ballots cast in his favour, a professional clown named Tiririca won more votes than any other candidate in Sunday’s elections. It’s the second-highest tally ever recorded in Brazil’s history. [...]
He may not be able to serve, however:
The constitution requires that lawmakers be able to read and write, and the weekly newsmagazine Epoca alleged in a recent article that Tiririca is illiterate. A last-minute legal challenge failed to remove him from the ballot, but electoral authorities say he could still lose his congressional seat if his literacy is lacking.
In any case, his high vote total was enough to win at least five seats for his list:
The Chamber’s “open-list” system of proportional representation allocates seats to parties based on the total number of votes won by their candidates. Tiririca’s whopping victory means four or more fellow candidates from his Party of the Republic (PR) could ride into office on his coattails.
Critics complain that the open-list system favours celebrity or novelty candidates, but novelty is no guarantee of success. Adriely Fatal, a 23-year-old stripper who attracted some media attention, failed to win a seat in the Ceara state assembly. A member of the Christian Workers Party, Ms. Fatal had pledged to open a strip club in every town.
While it is nice to see a mainstream media account refer to the open-list electoral system, the kind of result reported in this account did not depend on the open list. As long as Grumpy advertised the PR as his party, on which he was number one on the list in Sao Paulo, his personal vote still would be sufficient to elect the same number under a closed list as under an open list.
A more interesting question is whether, in case he is deemed ineligible, the preference votes he brought to his list would be deducted from the votes of his party (given that the open list permits us to know just how many votes each candidate contributed)? I do not know Brazilian law, but one sentence in the report implies this could be the case. It says, “Whether Tiririca takes his seat could affect the power balance in the next Chamber of Deputies.” If his potential ineligibility affects only him, and not the total number of votes counted for the list, then the resolution of the case against him changes nothing. The list would elect the same number of candidates, only without its clown head.
With the Nationalists already trailing Labour in the polls for next year’s crucial Scottish Parliament elections on the back of a disastrous Westminster campaign, party chiefs admitted that they had been forced to take action over the selection process. [...]
After the alarm [about possibly fraudulent membership rolls] was raised by the East Dunbartonshire Council SNP group, the party’s executive intervened to prevent anyone from voting in selection battles who had not been a member before 6 June this year.
With many SNP MSPs nervous about keeping their seats, there is a fierce contest to get high up on the party list for regional vote.
Scotland elects its parliament via a mixed-member proportional system, in which the compensatory (PR) tier is elected by closed list in several districts electing seven list members each. (See the official description–PDF.)
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4