Update: it is clear now that I misinterpreted the rule. (In my defense, the linked story presents the matter less than clearly.) See the comments for clarification.
Mexico votes Sunday for president and all members of both chambers of the federal congress.
The Chamber of Deputies election has an interesting ballot format. The Deputies are elected by a Mixed-Member Majoritarian system (with caps–more below–but it is not MMP). Unlike most mixed-member systems, the voter has only one vote. The vote for a candidate in any given single-seat district also counts for the party list; that is, there is no separate list vote.
Candidates are sometimes nominated by pre-electoral coalitions. However, the parties keep their separate ballot identities. A vote is valid even if the voter marks the ballot for two or more parties in coalition. However, such a vote would count only for the candidate, and not for any of the parties’ list. This is an unusual provision, and I am not aware offhand of anything similar elsewhere. (See earlier thread, and comment by Manuel, in which this feature was mentioned.)
Despite earlier news items that suggested the reformed body would be called the Senate, it will actually remain the House of Lords. However, members will not be called Lords, though it is left to parliament to decide upon a title.
At the first election, anticipated with the general election of May, 2015, there would be 120 elected members. By the third electoral period that number would have risen to 360. There would continue to be 30 appointed members at each electoral cycle (thus 90 at steady state), as well as a declining number of Lords Spiritual. There will also be some ministerial members (appointed by the monarch upon nomination by the PM).
An elected member of the House of Lords serves a 15-year term.
The bill makes clear that the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 will continue to apply. (These allow the Commons to override objection by the Lords after one year; there has been concern that a popularly elected second chamber would be more assertive.)
Elections concurrent for the two chambers, except in the case of a Commons election that happens within two years of the previous one. (The Coalition has already legislated fixed Commons terms, but there are still provisions under which an extraordinary election could be held.)
A list system of proportional representation in Great Britain, but Single Transferable Vote in Northern Ireland. (Earlier drafts had called for all members to be elected by STV.)
The districts will coincide with those used to elect Members of the European Parliament. Their number of elected members will range from 3 (Northern Ireland) to 16 (South East) at any given election (see Schedule 2). This will mean an average district magnitude of 10, and only three districts are set to be below this average. There is a provision for redistribution of magnitudes across districts.
The electoral formula in Great Britain is D’Hondt. Lists are flexible: a candidate can be assured election to an available seat for his or her party only upon obtaining preference votes equal to at least 5% of the list’s total vote; seats not filled via preference votes are assigned in “the order in which they appear on the party list” (see Schedule 3).
Former members of the House of Lords will be unable to stand as candidates for the House of Commons for four years.
One example from the linked item:
Conservative aide Conor Burns said: “If I lose my job for something that was a mainstream view within the Conservative party in the last parliament which serving cabinet ministers held, so be it.”
As we discussed briefly in early May, the agreement in Israel by which the Kadima Party would back the Netanyahu-led coalition government included a provision to pursue electoral and government reform. From what I have heard, it is serious, though the precise parameters are not yet clear.
There is an organization called Israel’s Hope that is pushing for reforms. From their statement of principles:
Israel can no longer be led by a government where indecision, extortion, and ineffectiveness reign. Our country is at a crossroads. It can maintain its democratic character and remain a shared homeland for Jewish people around the world, or it can lose its ability to respond to the existential issues it faces. We must translate the broad consensus into effective action. Israel’s Hope will help develop the proper governmental foundations to handle the unique social, economic and security-related challenges this country faces.
Raising the legal threshold for winning Knesset seats to 3%.
A two-tier system with 2-5 seats in each district in a regional tier and half the seats by national lists (compensatory, I assume).
The head of the largest party would become Prime Minister automatically as long as the party won at least a third of the seats.
A runoff election for PM if no list reaches the one-third threshold, between the top two party leaders.
It would take a vote of 60%+1 members of Knesset to remove a PM, and if such a vote passed, the Knesset itself would be dissolved.
A two-term limit on the PM.
Quite a mixed bag, including some fairly modest reforms (the threshold and districting within a presumably still fully PR system) and some fairly radical (e.g. the changes to the executive-legislative structure).
Again, it is not clear to me that these ideas will be the basis of the government’s eventual proposal, but the NGO has some big names (and I would guess significant funding) behind it.
Quite likely there will be no change before 2013 elections. But given the news that the Romanian parliament’s attempt to change that country’s electoral system to FPTP has been ruled unconstitutional, here is another country where this system has at least been debated recently.
Apparently FPTP was used in Lebanon in 1960, before the adoption of a list-based multi-seat plurality system (in which each list must conform to the district’s pre-arranged sectarian balance among its candidates).
“The priests are chanting.” Antonis Samaras, the leader of New Democracy, has now been sworn in as Prime Minister of Greece, three days after his party won the plurality of votes and seats in Greece’s second election of 2012.
The Athens News live blog for June 20 (follow link in first line) offered regular updates about the apparently highly contentions bargaining. And I do not mean between ND and partners. I mean within Pasok and Democratic Left, the two parties that will join ND in offering Samaras and his cabinet a vote of confidence. According to updates during the day, the Pasok caucus meeting went longer than planned and included various excitements such as yelling and the throwing of an iPad.
As I understand it, the government will be a single-party minority cabinet. No Pasok or Democratic Left MPs will sit in cabinet, but they are agreeing to support it.
Evangelos Venizeols, Pasok leader, “confirmed that Pasok will be taking part in the coalition with no parliamentary members and insisted that the most important part of this entire effort was not the government itself but the formulation of a national negotiation team.” (2:05 pm update)
Fotis Kouvelis, Democratic Left leader, stated that his “parliamentary group has decided to give a vote of confidence to the this government. Our support of course, depends on correct government policy being set in place. The process of policy formulation is still in progress, with our party pressuring for the negation of any measures that have already damaged our society and its people. Our country needs a government, this is important, but the policy it follows is even more important.” (1:07)
In the 2:20 update there is some background on the new Finance Minister, Vasilas Rapanos.
According to the election results posted by the Ministry of Interior, the government and its two support partners combine for 179 seats, which is 59.7%. ND has 129 of the seats, thanks to earning the 50-seat bonus for being the largest party, which it was by just less than three percentage points over Syriza (Radical Left), which will lead the opposition.
The government’s electoral basis–the sum of votes obtained by the three parties offering confidence–is 48.2%. Thus, while not actually endorsed by a majority of voters, the parties that empower this government are very close to a majority. And it is a majority of those votes that were cast for above-threshold parties; 5.98% of the vote was wasted on parties that did not clear the 3% threshold. (This is less than half what it was in the super-fragmented election in May.) The largest of the below-threshold parties had only 1.59%, so we can hardly say that these voters expected their votes to count for empowering a government, or a parliamentary opposition. (In May, two parties, the Greens and the Orthodox Rally, were at 2.9%.)
The big re-sorting of voters in this election, compared to May, seems to come from the lower wasted-vote percentage. (Turnout was actually down, but not by much: 62.5% vs. 65.1%.) Both ND and Syriza grew their support by similar amounts, and the margin of ND over Syriza was very similar in both elections. Pasok did, however, suffer a further, but small, decline. Independent Greeks also did about 3 percentage-points worse, with their voters perhaps going back to ND, from which IG is a splinter. In this election, no party cleared 30% of the vote, but that’s quite a change from May, when none cleared 20%.1
Golden Dawn, the (not-so-neo) nazi party, did about as well, winning 6.9% in June, compared to 7.0% in May.
The outcome, for now, seems about as “good” as could have been expected. Yes, the Greek electoral system–which is not proportional–risks significant distortion when even a party that has won the vote 29.7%-26.9% gets 50 bonus seats and 43% of total seats, while the runner up gets only 23.4% of seats. Yes, there is something unseemly about the old and discredited, formerly alternating in power, Pasok and ND teaming up despite Pasok’s spectacular fall in voter support in recent elections (including, as noted above, a small fall in the past six weeks). Nonetheless, the government is backed by nearly three fifths of parliament and about half the voters, and includes one of the parties opposed to the current bailout terms–more pragmatically so than Syriza, which can carp and organize protests, but will have no say in the country’s policy for now. Whether this government can come up with policy solutions, and whether it can even hold together, are questions for another day.
If you like elections–and you do, if you are reading this, unless you are here for the fruit, of course–DO NOT MISS Rici’s excellent discussion of what voting is like in France.
I thought I knew more than the average election-watcher who has never visited France during an election about how France votes, but Rici has all sorts of fascinating observations about things I had no idea of.
I am passing along the following action alert, dated 15 June, from Californians for Electoral Reform:
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will, as early as June 26th, consider placing on the November ballot a charter amendment that will repeal RCV for all city-wide elections (Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, Treasurer, Assessor-Recorder, and Public Defender), replacing them with a two-round runoff. The first election will be held in September; if no candidate receives 65% or more of the vote (yes, it establishes a 65% winning threshold), the top two go on to a November runoff, seven or eight weeks after the first election. (RCV is kept for the Board of Supervisor elections.)
We need you to contact your Supervisor and tell them why you are opposed to it and ask them to vote against putting it on the ballot. We especially need people who live in District 5, Supervisor Olague’s district, to lobby her, as she may be the swing vote on this issue.
If you don’t know what district you live in, this link should help you.
Additional things to note: San Francisco isn’t used to voting in September; turnout will be abysmally low.
Eight weeks isn’t enough time to certify the first election and get runoff ballots to military and overseas voters. (In some years, such as 2015, there will only be seven weeks between the elections.)
Every year in which we vote for Governor there will be *three* elections: the June statewide primary, the September San Francisco election, and the November general/City runoff election. Talk about voter fatigue, what about poll-worker fatigue!
Please note that the Board of Supervisors will NOT be taking public testimony at the meeting(s) where they consider this issue, as they took public testimony in yesterday’s Rules Committee hearing. Contacting your Supervisor personally is now the best way to make your voice heard. (In addition, you can write the Board, but please contact your Supervisor.)
President, Californians for Electoral Reform www.cfer.org
Singular Logic representatives said during a briefing Thursday at the Interior Ministry, that the uniqueness of Sunday’s elections – in which citizens will vote for a party and not for specific candidates, since the party tickets comprise lists of candidates in order of preference – is that the candidates that are elected will be known as soon as the collective results are in.
This is from Athens News, referring to an IT company that will transmit the early results of Sunday’s Greek elections from around the country.
The list type has been open, and I can’t see how it could have been changed in this interim since the 6 May election, but the quotation certainly suggests a closed list.
Also of interest:
A total of 21 parties and coalitions and 58 independent candidates will be vying for seats in the 300-member parliament with 4,873 candidates, compared with 31 parties and coalitions and 52 independent candidates with a total of 6,500 candidates that ran in the inconclusive general elections on May 6.
The wasted votes in the previous election–those cast for parties below 3% of the nationwide vote–were unusually high.
Egypt’s Constitutional Court has ruled unconstitutional the nominal tier of last year’s legislative election– the 1/3 of seats that were elected by majority in 2-seat constituencies. (heard on BBC radio; news outlets, e.g. Reuters, are just getting this out)
These seats were dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The court also ruled against a law, passed by this parliament, that would have disqualified Ahmed Shafik, from the presidential runoff.
While I am between exams and turning in grades, France is between rounds of its legislative elections.
Feel free to discuss, as I read some exams–(not) coincidentally, including questions about the French inter-round campaign.
________________________________ And here are some interesting links from Le Monde regarding the runoff pairings and “triangular” races (and sometimes some comments by me):
Législatives : 34 triangulaires et quelques accrocs aux consignes (nice map, showing that there were 46 possible 3-way races, but 12 candidates withdrew to create duels. I wonder if the first rate is higher, and the second lower, than usual? I think it is also very interesting, from this story, that some of these cases represent candidates defying their own party leadership. Also interesting are a couple of Front National candidates withdrawing to favor UMP against Socialists.)
La pression du Front national se fait sentir dans quelques (Example of a district where a third-running UMP candidate’s decision to stay or withdraw could be consequential: “L’autre candidat UMP susceptible de se retirer au profit du FN est Etienne Mourrut, dans la 2e circonscription du Gard. M. Mourrut est arrivé troisième, avec 23,89 % des suffrages, derrière le candidat du FN, Gilbert Collard (34,57 %), talonné par la candidate du PS, Katy Guyot (32,87 %).”)
La gauche appelle au “désistement républicain” pour faire barrage au FN (“Je demande aux candidats qui sont devancés par un de nos partenaires à appeler à voter pour eux, comme je demande à nos partenaires de faire la même chose, se désister en notre faveur lorsque cela est le cas.”
–Martine Aubry, calling for mutual withdrawals on left ahead of runoffs.)
Apparently the South Carolina election commission decided simply not to count the votes for a candidate on the ballot in a Democratic primary, who had stated earlier that he was withdrawing from the race. The South Carolina Democratic Party objected to this and has threatened a lawsuit.
I had always assumed that election commissions in the US were jointly controlled by the local Democratic and Republican Parties (actually a big problem with US elections, they should be more independent). This seems to be a pretty blantant violation of elections law by the Elections Commission itself, over the objections of one of the big two. Is the story being distorted and there is really more explanation or precedence for this than appears at first glance?
The new electoral system in California is a top-two majority runoff with the possibility of multiple candidates from one party. Please, do not call it a primary, because it isn’t. In a primary, a political party permits voters to select its candidate for the general election. However, under the new California system, the general election will now be just a runoff between the top two candidates, regardless of party. That is, at most, two parties will be represented on the general-election ballot, but it is possible for both candidates to be from the same party, or no party (if both of the top two in the first round were non-partisan).
We might call it two-round SNTV, for lack of a better term. The reference to SNTV–single non-transferable vote–calls attention to the fact that two or more candidates of the same party can be competing with each other, but co-partisans are unable to share votes with one another to ensure that they don’t divide the vote and cause none of them to advance. (As noted, the second round can also feature two candidates of one party, but then there is no risk of coordination failure, as the winner will be from that party, obviously.)
In the first use of this system this week, there are a few cases that could represent SNTV-style coordination failure. There will be several legislative races in which the November choice will come down to two candidates of the same party. Most of these are in districts with an entrenched incumbent who will happen to face a (token) intra-party challenger, so there is no coordination problem. There just is no opportunity for voters in November–who will be more numerous than they were in the first round–to register a partisan choice for one of the other parties. I will focus my attention, then, on a few cases in which the runoff contenders are from one party, and they did not combine for significantly more than half the first round votes. (This is not an exhaustive list.)
A particularly striking example occurred in US House District 8: The runoff will feature two Republicans, Paul Cook (15.5%) and Gregg Imus (15.0%). The third place candidate just missed qualifying for the runoff: Democrat Jackie Conway (14.7%). There were 11 other candidates, including a second Democrat who had 9.7%. While the combined votes of ten Republicans is over 70% and thus this was not a district a Democrat was likely to win, the Democratic Party nonetheless narrowly lost the right to even make their case to the general-election electorate.
In US House district 31, the top two candidates are both Republicans: Gary G. Miller (26.7%) and Bob Dutton (24.9%). There were four other candidates, all Democrats, and the top-scoring one, Pete Aguilar, had 22.8%, missing the runoff by just over 2 percentage points. While the two Republicans combined for a majority of the votes, they did so just barely, with 51.6%. It is not out of the question that a Democrat could have won this district–especially given the difference in turnout that we can expect, as well as the long gap between elections and the potential importance of candidate quality. But the Democrats will not get to make their case in this potentially winnable district.
In fact, this last example points to another potential pitfall of the system: even if some candidate wins a majority in the first round, there still must be a runoff. What will be really interesting is the first case in which the majority “winner” in round 1 loses round 2 due to the different turnout or other reasons. Something to watch for.
Naturally, if this is “part 2″ there was also a part 1, complete with a pretty picture!
This is an image from Orange County; there would be regional variations in format. This example seems especially bad, with some of the candidates, including the incumbent, listed in a short second column.1
That’s 24 candidates, including several with the same indicated “party preference” as others running. The electoral system is now “top two”. Rather than an actual primary, in which each of the recognized parties will winnow their field to one candidate for the general election in November, the top two–regardless of party and regardless of whether one obtains an overall majority today–will face each other in November. And only the top two, meaning no minority party presence (unless one of the third party candidates somehow manages to be in the top two).2
I am not a fan of this new system. I did not cast a vote in this particular contest.
The ballot where I voted managed to have all these candidates in a single column. [↩]
Strangely, one of the recognized parties, the Greens, has no candidate even in this first round. [↩]
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