Now corrected from its original version (which contained some errors in the Czech data reported). Originally planted 18 July.
In discussing the proposed threshold of 5% of party preference votes to guarantee election from “flexible” lists in Catalonia, I expressed skepticism that this would result in many members being elected by their own votes.
Well, I just happen to have some data that might shed a little ray of light on this question, for those few of you who actually find this kind of stuff interesting. I opened up my merged data set of legislators from several open list systems, and restricting the analysis to districts that are about the size proposed for Catalonia (specifically, districts of 10 to 25 seats), I find that the mean preference vote share (preference votes divided by list votes in the district) of the elected members is .174. That is a lot more than .05, but the standard deviation is almost as big as the mean: .162. The median share is .115, and about 15% of elected candidates in these districts won with under .05.
So, perhaps I turned the old skepticism meter a bit too high when I expressed doubt that many candidates would be elected on their preference votes under a 5% threshold. Still, if the legislators in my data set had needed 5% to be elected, 15% of them would not have been–unless they had a high enough list rank provided by the party to be elected anyway. (Remember, in a flexible list system, seats not filled by preference votes default to the list rank, unlike in an open list, where there is no list rank and thus preference votes alone determine election.)
For larger parties, those that win at least the mean for this set of districts, which is 5 seats, the result is more favorable to my skepticism: Mean prefshare of .097, standard deviation of .10; median of .068; and around 28% elected with less than 5%. Not surprisingly, larger parties divide their votes among more candidates, successful or otherwise, while smaller parties are somewhat more likely to have a single vote-puller.*
However, all the above may overestimate the number of members who would be elected on preference votes if lists were flexible rather than fully open. My (more limited) information on existing flexible-list systems suggests that a very high share of total preference votes in such systems are given to the list head or one of the other top-ranked candidates (in other words to those who would win easily anyway). Of course, the more that voters do that, the smaller the pool of preference votes left to go around for other candidates with lower ranks, and thus the fewer candidates win on “their own” efforts and the more that are elected as if the list were closed.
To probe this further, we can look at data that I have from one flexible-list case in which many legislators are elected in districts of magnitudes ranging from 10 to 25: The Czech Republic (2002 and 2006). There, for winning legislators in these districts, the mean prefshare is only .017, the standard deviation is .022, and the median is .028. How many of those elected had preference shares under 5% of their list’s vote? 71.4%!
A quick check of the data appears to show only 17 of the 374 members elected on their preference votes who would not have been elected based on their party-provided rank. Thus the lists do not prove to be very “flexible” in practice.
The Czech rules in 2002 and 2006 allow the voter to cast up to two candidate preferences and require a 7% threshold of list votes for the candidate to be assured of election (i.e. even if the party has not given a high enough pre-election rank to the candidate).
Surprisingly (to me, anyway), Czech voters do not appear to concentrate their preference votes on a few top-ranked candidates. Even the winners who had the first rank on their list average less than 9% of their list’s votes. Nonetheless, the result is the same as what I expected–lots of candidates getting less than 5% of their list’s votes–even if the way that result came about is quite different from what I expected. (Looks like some research into flexible lists is in order!)
Is any of this relevant to Catalonia? Well, if Catalonian voters vote like Czech voters when it comes to using the preference vote, not very many candidates are going to clear the 5% preference-vote threshold.
Roman Chytilek, a political scientist at the Masarykova University of Brno, reports that for the next Czech elections the intraparty threshold will be reduced to 5% and a voter will be allowed up to four preference votes. (Before 2002, the rules provided for four preference votes and a 10% intraparty threshold.)
*In fact, each additional seat won by a party reduces the estimated prefshare of its winning candidates by .02, and the relationship is highly significant and the R-squared is more than 20%.
Data sample sizes: N=767 for the open-list sample; N=374 for the Czech Republic.
Another data note: In the Czech data, there is a much smaller relationship between the number elected off the list and the prefshare of those who are elected. It is “significant,” but barely more than zero anyway (-.003) and the R–squared is only around 7%.
I thank Joel Johnson for correcting my misreading of the data output and Roman Chytilek for his help in data acquisition as well as interpretation (including his comments in this thread since its original 18 July “plant” date.)
I wonder if a team has ever had the best record in its league as late as mid August while having been outscored on the season. I doubt it. But that’s the situation with the NL and the Diamondbacks. The team’s .556 winning percentage leads the league; the team has been outscored by 26 runs. Ridiculous.
Hard to over-state just how unusual such conditions are in these parts. There is a rather large system of thunderstorms just west of Palomar Mountain, with radar showing the outer edge of precipitation perhaps five miles to the northeast of us (in the direction viewed here over the bananas, which love this kind of heat/humidity combo at least as much as I do). Hope we get a drop or two, at least.
The Head Heeb reminds me of one of the many reasons I am proud to claim Norwegian heritage.
Both BokmÃ¥l and Nynorsk are standard, although the former enjoys about a four-to-one advantage in numbers, and the schools are instructed to tolerate students who write in clasic RiksmÃ¥l or the more-Nynorsk-than-Nynorsk variant HÃ¸gnorsk. The national language academy is devoted less to harmonizing the language, or to keeping it pure, than to preserving its variants in all their diversity. And there’s no standard at all for spoken Norwegian, with the government forbidden to choose between regional dialects and the state broadcast media required to reflect a balance of all of them.
All in a country of less than five million people–and “one” national language!
Michael Somare, the first prime minister of Papua New Guinea to serve a full parliamentary term, today begins a second term. His party won just 27 of the 109 seats in recent parliamentary elections, but with a coalition of other parties and independents, has now been re-elected to the post by the new parliament.
That political engineering, meant to generate more governmental stability in perhaps the world’s most fragmented democracy, certainly seems to have worked!
PNG, with about six million people and continuous democracy since independence from Australia in the 1970s (and before independence, actually) is one of the overlooked cases of developing world electoral politics. It is also one of the world’s great Law-breakers–Duverger’s Law, that is.
Last Friday, 10 August, was the official second anniversary of the virtual orchard. According to the site meter, the visitor count reached 87,040 by the end of that day. That means the second year recorded just over 50,000. That’s pretty good growth for a blog that’s mostly about electoral systems and fruit-growing. Thanks to all of you who read and comment!
I had given up on this lychee tree long ago. I was just too lazy to remove it after its apparent death from the freeze of mid-January. Miraculously, six months later, the roots began to send up sprouts again!
Fortunately, this lychee was propagated as an air layer, meaning that it is growing on its own roots. If it were grafted, the new sprouts would be from a rootstock of some variety that was undesirable for its fruit and the desirable fruiting variety grafted to the rootstock would be a goner.
There is also a mango tree on the finca that was killed to the ground, but began to re-sprout earlier in July. However, it is a grafted tree, so the variety that is now sprouting is the all too aptly named ‘Turpentine.’ I might be able to graft a good variety on to it next year, however.
As for the lychee, the killed parts represented years of growth. So we still have a very big setback from the freeze. But the will to live is stronger than the freeze.
The virtual orchard includes a ballyard, so I certainly should not let Barry Bonds’s 756th career home run go without planting myself firmly on the side of those who wish to congratulate him for one of the great historical moments in recent sports history. The record-breaker was one of the longest shots he has hit recently, and the brief and tasteful celebration with Willie Mays on the field, Hank Aaron’s recorded message on the video board, and Bonds tearing up as he acknowledged his late father, Bobby, made it a moment I am privileged to have witnessed, even if only on TV. (And thank you, Barry, for not hitting it in San Diego, where the Padres’ satellite blackout policy would have prevented me from seeing it live.)
And, oh by the way, Bonds was 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored on the evening, including a double and a single. The homer gave the Giants the lead in the game (though the Giants’ lousy bullpen later coughed it up). To those dumb reporters who have used words like “lackluster” to describe his current season, I would note that he leads the NL in on-base average (.495) and OPS (1064) and that his 22 HRs rank ninth in the league.
Bonds was already one of the greatest players of recent baseball history before his late-career power surge. I hope he is able to play long enough to add 3,000 hits to his list of milestones. He also has a chance at the all-time record for runs scored, currently held by Rickey Henderson (whose record-breaking run, on a homer while he was a Padre, I was fortunate enough to witness in person). Bonds is now 85 hits short of 3,000 and 83 runs short of the record 2,295. He should do it next year, and I would hope still as a Giant.
Will Alex Rodriguez, who hit is 500th the same day Bonds hit his 755th, pass Bonds some day on the all-time homer list? Maybe, as he is the youngest ever to reach 500. On the other hand, the player whose youth at 500 record A-Rod broke hit only 34 more, and it wasn’t that many years ago that it was Griffey, Jr., and not Bonds who was universally considered the leading candidate to break Aaron’s record.
It’s a difficult game, and Bonds and A-Rod are the two of the best this generation of sports fans will ever see. Enjoy.
US Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), paid an official visit to Kazakhstan last week at the invitation of Euro-Asian Jewish Congress President Alexander Mashkevich. [...]
As local Jewish media reports, Berkley was “impressed by the integration of the Jewish community on all the levels of social and political life” in Kazakhstan. “I am confident that tolerance towards other nations is a basis for successful development of every country”, she said. As local analysts wrote, “the status of the Jewish communities in the post-Soviet states often corresponds with the level of democratic development. Flourishing and highly involved communities are a good sign of democratization processes and openness. Kazakhstan’s Jewry constitutes an accurate example of such a concept, as its leaders support and promote the country’s rapprochement with the West and with the United States in particular”.
While I am certainly prepared to believe that the status of a country’s’ Jewish community is a reasonably good proxy for various civic freedoms, the idea that there is a “democratization process” in Kazakhstan is laughable. Freedom House, for example, gives Kazakhstan a score of 5 on civil liberties and 6 on political rights, where 7 denotes the lowest levels of freedom possible. Freedom House further notes:
it has been plagued by a rise in authoritarianism and overwhelming levels of corruption within the ruling regime. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been in office since 1989 and president since 1991, and he has allowed his family and close associates to take control of vital economic resources and political positions. President Nazarbayev was reelected first in 1999 in elections widely seen as marred, and in December 2005, he was granted an extended 7-year term in office through elections criticized as not meeting international standards. The executive branch controls both the parliament and the judicial system. Recently, the regime increased harassment of NGOs and independent media.
One should never conflate “integration of the Jewish community on all the levels of social and political life”–nor especially “rapprochement with the West and with the United States in particular” –with a “democratization process.”
Surprise, surprise, the ruling party won the legislative elections of 18 August. In fact, it won all 99 seats.
Just like Ukraine, Russia will soon be electing all 450 of its legislators* in a single national district, via closed lists. Unlike Ukraine, however, in Russia the new electoral system is part of a centralized ruling party’s process of further centralization. Russia is, unsurprisingly given the narrowing of political space under outgoing President Vladimir Putin, headed for a hegemonic-party system. A recent Angus Reid poll suggests:
United Russia (YR): 46%
Communist Party (KPRF): 9%
Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR): 9%
A Just Russia: 7%
Agrarian Party of Russia (APR): 2%
Yabloko (Liberal): 1%
Union of Right Forces (SPS): 1%
Another party 1%
Would not vote: 7%
Hard to answer: 19%
(I am pretty sure I have never seen a poll with “Hard to answer” as an option before.)
The threshold is 7% (compare Ukraine’s 3%). So, the poll suggests only two or three small parties aside from YR would make it into parliament. It would not take many parties missing the threshold to result in sufficient wasted votes to give YR a majority of seats, even if it indeed wins only 46% of the vote. But it is likely that it will win much more than 50% of the votes, once we take the nonvoters out of the denominator, and imagine that the “hard to answer” bloc ultimately will include a significant number of YR voters. In fact, I would guess we could be looking at two thirds to three quarters of the seats for United Russia.
The election is 2 December. The presidential election to choose (make that anoint) Putin’s successor is expected in March, 2008.
* Unlike Ukraine, Russia also has an upper house, though its members are not elected.
Hot on the heals of yesterday’s Ukraine lists update, in comes an interesting item from Zerkalo Nedeli on the internal and regional politics behind Ukraine’s major parties and their national, closed lists. Far too much to summarize, but very interesting.
Timoshenko, First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Alexander Turchinov, parliament deputy Nikolai Tomenko, Joseph Vinsky who has swapped from the Socialist Party faction, former finance minister Viktor Pinzenyk and former army commander Nikolai Petruk are amongst the top ten candidates of the bloc.
Timoshenko said she would not agree to forming a coalition with the Party of Regions even if the premiership is at stake.
in order to show people the differences between the populist activity of the two previous governments and the effective work of the present government led by Viktor Yanukovich.
Yanukovich will lead the list of candidates from the Party of Regions. The â€œfiveâ€ also includes chairwoman of the Party of Regions faction Raisa Bogatyreva, peopleâ€™s deputy Taras Chornovil, Justice Deputy Minister Inna Bogoslovskaya and Emergencies Minister Nestor Shofrich. [I am not sure what the reference to "the five" is. Maybe the (closed-list) ballot shows only the top 5 candidates out of the (up to) 450?--MSS]
not a political force of ‘separate leaders’, but is the ‘party of a team’. He also assured that the Bloc has no enemies among other political forces, but its opponent is the Party of Regions and ‘its satellites, which profess the colonial policy and colonial perspectives for Ukraine’.
Lutsenko reminded, that the power creating mechanism is clearly set out in the agreement between the Our Ukraine and the BYUT . â€œThe political force, which will receive the majority of votes on election, will delegate its candidate to the Prime Minister post, other posts will be distributed in equal proportionsâ€, he noted.
I would imagine that what Lutsenko is referring to is an agreement that BYUT and Our Ukraine will form a government together if the electoral outcome gives them a majority of seats, and that the ranking of the two parties’ votes will determine which one heads the cabinet.
The previous entry in the “Ukraine” block has some notes about the lists submitted for the previously planned, then postponed, election this past May, and compares to the 2006 election. (Entries on the 2006 election will be farther down the page, or on a previous page, if you click “Ukraine” at the top of this one.)
But Mr Gusmao’s main rival, Fretilin party leader Mari Alkatiri, denounced the decision as illegal. [...]
Fretilin, under Mr Alkatiri, won 21 seats in the election, while Mr Gusmao’s new National Congress for the Reconstruction of East Timor (CNRT) party won only 18 seats.
Fretilin argued that it should form the government because it won most votes, but then the CNRT party formed an alliance with smaller parties, giving it 37 seats in the 65-member legislature.
So, does Fretlin have a constitutionally legitimate argument? In a word, no. The constitution is pretty clear in not giving any first-mover advantage in government-formation to the largest party. It also does not give the President any discretion. Section 85 of the Constitution deals with the President’s powers:
It is exclusively incumbent upon the President of the Republic:
d) To appoint and swear in the Prime Minister designated by the party or alliance of parties with parliamentary majority after consultation with political parties sitting in the National Parliament;
In case that is not clear enough, Section 106, which deals with the competencies of the Government states:
1. The Prime Minister shall be designated by the political party or alliance of political parties with parliamentary majority and shall be appointed by the President of the Republic, after consultation with the political parties sitting in the National Parliament.
2. The remaining members of the Government shall be appointed by the President of the Republic following proposal by the Prime Minister.
Other sections of the constitution are equally clear that the parliamentary majority is sovereign on most matters (e.g. an absolute majority may override a presidential veto, and only the parliamentary majority may remove a cabinet). The constitution clearly established Timor-Leste as a premier-presidential system with strong privileges for whoever can control a majority of the parliament.
If the largest party is not part of the majority coalition, it gets to form the opposition–and that would be the case even if it were the president’s party that was the largest. In this case, of course, the majority coalition includes the ex-president’s party, which he formed specifically as a vehicle to propel him into the more powerful premiership (as president, he served as a nonpartisan).
Constitutionally, there can be no doubt of the right of Ramos Horta and Xanana to form a cabinet that excludes Fretilin. Nonetheless, recognizing the danger Fretilin’s capacity for violence could pose to political stability, Ramos Horta had attempted to forge a grand coalition, BBC reports.
Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron last night in San Diego. And the crowd was pretty classy, from what I could tell, as I listened on the radio and then saw some highlights on the tele later. Aside from the asterisk signs (left over, apparently, from some Presidential visit), the crowd’s response was not the barrage of boos that might have been expected from all the controversy that surrounds Bonds.
However, a big “BOO” to the Padres organization for requiring the game to be blacked out on ESPN2. As a result, those of us who live in areas, such as Ladera Frutal, not served by cable (or who simply prefer the superior service of satellite) had no way to see the game.
For whatever reason, the photo I posted back in March, 2006, of these Tecate cypresses days after I planted them is one of the most viewed images in the Ladera Frutal flickr photo set. (Folks can’t resist those baby pictures!) So, it’s time for an update.
Here are the trees at about a year and a half in the ground. Pretty impressive. The tallest ones are about four feet tall, compared to six-to-eight inches when planted.
The first three trees closest to the camera are in little fence enclosures. This is to protect them from marauding pests. Why just those few trees? Because the “pests” in question are the garbage-collection workers, who can’t resist throwing barrels after they have dumped their contents. One day, one of the trees was crushed under a barrel, though it came through the ordeal OK. (Last week, the largest one almost got run over by a forklift being used by the pickers of our grapefruits, but it, too, came through just fine. But it is a dangerous world for little trees!)
The first few are also notably shorter than all the others, except for the very most distant one (not visible here). The end from which I took the camera is a bit more shaded by the eucalyptus trees across the street. I can’t really complain about those trees, though. Notice all the free mulch!
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