Twice this week, we have had the return of orchard gremlins. It had not happened for a while, but now and then the blog software automatically re-sets all comments to off, and tells readers they must be “registered and logged in to comment”.
This is not a setting I am doing1; I have no idea why it happens, and no one ever needs to register or log-in to comment at F&V. Whenever I catch this having happened, I will reopen comments.
I also never close old threads. F&V works best when readers remember and locate an old thread and post a comment when something new has happened that is relevant to the thread.
There will be times now and then when I am unable to check for a day or two to make sure that comments are, in fact, open.
Thank you for you patience and for your comments.
First time commenters will have their comment put in the moderation queue until I can confirm it. [↩]
One of our students, Saul Cunow, currently in Brazil sends along this interesting tidbit:
In every municipal election there are 1-2 municipalities [among Brazil's 5000+] where the leading candidates for mayor tie. Per the constitution, the tie-breaker is age — the older candidate wins. Apparently, age is also used as a tie-breaker in civil service exams and elsewhere as well.
Is Germany about to revoke or modify its provision on “overhang” seats? Evidently there has been a Constitutional Court finding today against the current practice,1 and there is now a debate about how to respond.
Germany’s highest court declared the country’s complex electoral law unconstitutional Wednesday and ordered for it to be overhauled before the next general election…
The current voting system was passed only last year by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition in an attempt to satisfy previous criticism by the Federal constitutional Court.
…the constitutional court again criticized that parties which win more seats than they would take under a purely proportional system can keep those seats — potentially skewing election results.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats and its Bavarian sister party gained an additional 24 seats this way in the 2009 general elections.
The provision is actually–dare I say it?–more complex than that. It is pretty much impossible under MMP not to allow a party that wins more than its proportional share to keep some if its resulting advantage. The only sure way would be to revoke a seat it had actually won in a single-seat district.
The German MMP (as also in New Zealand) adds further seats to the legislative chamber to “balance” these overhangs. These partially compensate other parties for the fact that some party is over-represented from its winning more single-seat districts than its proportional entitlement would be (based on its list vote, at the state level in Germany). It is not clear from the news story exactly which part of this process has been declared constitutionally invalid.
It certainly is the case that, even with the balance seats, the presence of overhangs means a “skewing” of results away from strict proportionality. Indeed, if one does not want this, one should use pure PR and not MMP. The potential over-representation for a party that performs especially well in single-seat districts is one of the ways in which MMP is a “mixed” or hybrid system, and not simply a proportional system.
I vaguely recall someone might have mentioned this case in another thread here. [↩]
Constitutional prime minister Michael Somare and effective prime minister Peter O’Neill have announced a coalition where Somare will support O’Neill’s election to the prime ministership when the new Parliament meets. It is not known if the effective deputy prime minister, Bernard Namah, is taking legal advice or that will happen to the prosecutions Namah launched against a number of justices of the Supreme Court the last time he took legal advice.
There is a by-election today for the seat of Melbourne in the Victorian legislative assembly. State by-elections are normally not that significant.
However, the Victorian Liberal government only has a majority of 1 in the assembly (not counting the speaker) and the ALP opposition really needs to hold this seat. The state seat overlaps the federal seat which is already held by the Greens. The ruling Liberals have not presented a candidate. The by-election has become somewhat of a proxy for Julia Gillard’s leadership and for a recent campaign by some ALP elements against the Greens.
I would imagine this means the political-reform discussions will end within government for now. As for the Tal Law–which exempts most Haredi Jews from the military draft and which is invalid, per a Supreme Court ruling, as of 1 August–presumably it will be replaced by some modest adjustments bargained between Likud and its other partners, including the Haredi parties.
Sometimes, I go to great effort to try to protect the fruit from squirrels.
This chicken-wire basket worked. And was worth it. This is the only fruit the Hunza apricot tree has had since either 2010 (when we were away, so I would not know) or 2009 (when it had several fruits, before being transplanted to our current location).
It is an incredibly richly flavored fruit, and also has an edible kernel. (See previous discussions.)
The elections for a constituent assembly in Libya on 7 July were apparently held under a Mixed-Member Majoritarian (MMM, or parallel) system. Results will not be available for a few days, but that won’t stop various parties from releasing their own claims.
There were 120 seats in a nominal tier, and 80 list seats.
I have a version of the law that someone sent me back in February. I do not know if it was subsequently amended or not. And, of course, it is a translation and may have lost something in the process. Update:David Jandura has much more, including that one region actually has no list seats. (I should have known to look there first!)
The version of the law that I have says that the 120 seats are “by majority system” but then indicates that if the constituency has one seat, it is “FPTP” and if it has more than one, it is “SNTV”. (The terms in quotation marks actually appear in the version I am reading.) Thus it is not a “majority system”, but that may just be poor translation. It is not clear to me how many districts have M=1 and how many M>1 and hence SNTV. It seems that parties could not formally endorse candidates in the nominal tier.
The list tier is districted, but I am unable to tell how many districts there are (and hence their average magnitude). The allocation formula is simple (Hare) quota with largest remainders. Lists are to alternate men and women, and are apparently closed.
Welcome to the wonderful world of electoral systems, Libyans!
The author of the Banyan column in The Economist has things about right.
The whole box of lychees is worth checking out, regarding the upcoming (indirect) Indian presidential election and implications for the country’s coalition government. But the first paragraph warrants quotation here.
THE box of lychees came out of the blue. In 30 years of service, the major-domo in the bungalow of a senior politician in Lutyens’s Delhi could not recall a previous gift from this source: India’s finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee. The conclusion his bosses drew was simple. So badly does “Pranabda”, as he is known, want to be India’s president that he is breaking the parsimonious habits of a lifetime. Rather against the odds, Mr Mukherjee is now almost a shoo-in for the presidential election on July 19th. Optimists hope that his elevation might just shake India’s ruling coalition out of its present paralysis. But nobody is wagering exotic fruit on that benign outcome.
The system continues to have a nominal tier made up of 80 single-seat districts, decided by plurality, and a list tier of 40 seats. The following examples confirm that it remains MMP:
1. The largest party, DC, won 40% of the party-list votes, and 41 of the 80 constituencies. It won 7 of the 40 list seats, for a total of 48 seats, which is precisely 40%.
2. The ABC won 25% of the list votes and 26 constituencies. Its list votes are 4, giving it 30 seats (25%) in total.
3. The LCD won 22% of the list votes and 12 districts. Its was awarded 14 list seats to bring its seat total to 26, or 21.67% of the total.
4. The BNP won 4% of the party vote and no districts. Apparently there is no, or an extremely low threshold, which would entitle it to 4 or 5 seats. It won 5, all from the list. (A few parties won a single seat off the list on less than 1% of the vote.)
In 2007, the allocation had appeared to be de facto MMM, because each of the two biggest parties had set up “dummy” lists that ran no candidates in the nominal tier. This allowed the main parties to win single-seat districts plus a full proportional share of the list seats for their dummies. In that election, the LCD and its dummy combined for 83 seats on around half the votes.
I think that there is now just a single vote, instead of separate nominal and list votes. The thread on the 2007 results (first link here) had some extensive discussion of possible ways to limit gaming of MMP without going to a single vote.
See results from the Independent Electoral Commission (PDF). [↩]
If you are reading this, there is a pretty high probability that you know Mexico has elections today for President, Deputies, and Senators. There seems to be no doubt that the formerly hegemonic PRI, which last ruled Mexico in 2000, will win. The question is, how big?
The presidency is elected by plurality, and so a voting result in the low/mid-40s will be good enough–as it was for Vicente Fox of the PAN in 2000. (The incumbent, Felipe Calderon, also of the PAN, won in 2006 with only around 36%.)
The Chamber of Deputies is elected by MMM. There are 300 single-seat districts elected by plurality, and 200 list seats determined by nationwide proportionality.1 These seats are elected in parallel. That means that a party’s proportional share of the 200 is added to however many district seats it has won, with a partial exception to be addressed below. The votes cast for single-seat candidates are summed up to determine shares for list allocation, as there is no separate list vote.
In the Senate, there are three members elected from each state, and another 32 elected nationwide; again, the nationwide seats are in parallel and without a separate vote. In each state a party presents a (closed) list of two candidates. The plurality earns two, and the second party wins one.
The President and Senators are elected for six-year terms, the Deputies for three years. No one at any level can serve consecutive terms.
Will the incoming PRI president–assuming no huge surprise when the results come in–have a majority in either or both houses?
In the most recent Deputies election, in 2009, the PRI won just short of a majority: 237 seats (47.4%) on only 36.9% of the votes. The PRI was in pre-election (pri-election?) coalition with the Green Party (PVEM), and this combine actually did win a majority: 258 seats on 43.6% of the votes.
The 2009 result shows clearly that the system is MMM (parallel), not not MMP (compensatory) as some sources claim. A near-majority of seats for one party that wins less than 37% of the vote is pretty non-proportional! The one way in which the system is not purely parallel is that it includes caps on over-representation. No party may win more than 60% of the seats, or more consequentially, a seat percentage that is more than eight percentage points greater than its vote percentage.
It seems (though I am not sure) from the 2009 result that this provision is applied to a pre-election coalition, and not to such an alliance’s parties individually (–UPDATE–see Manuel’s comment–): the PRI’s own over-representation was more than 10 points. What matters, apparently, is the alliance, which was almost precisely at eight percentage points over-representation. Together in the nominal (plurality) tier the parties won 188 seats (184 PRI, 4 PVEM), which is 62.67% of the districts. (Oh, doesn’t plurality produce big distortions when there are three major national parties!) The parties’ combined votes, as noted, were 43.6%. However, there is a 2% threshold, so what really matters for the proportional-list seats is the “effective vote”: when below-threshold parties’ votes are removed, the two parties had 46.73%. That would earn them around 93 of the 200 list seats. This would get them to 281 seats. So, if my calculations are correct, the cap was triggered in 2009.2
Will the cap be triggered in 2012? If so, will it affect the PRI’s chances of winning a majority? I would think it is likely to get a majority, as unless there is a great deal of ticket-splitting, the PRI should win over 42% of the vote. Winning 42% does not guarantee a majority of seats, but makes it likely. The party would have to win a sufficient number of district seats–about 167–to ensure the majority. However, even a small increase in the votes for the largest party should result in an even greater swing of seats in the PRI’s favor than the very large swing we saw in 2009 (when the PRI alone won 184). On the other hand, winning less than 42% of the vote makes a majority impossible–not counting votes and seats of alliance partners.3
Conclusion on Chamber of Deputies: A majority for the PRI looks likely.
As for the Senate, a majority depends on winning the votes plurality in many states, as well as a large enough share of the total nationwide votes. Given that the PRI currently governs about two thirds of the states, it obviously has the regional spread to pull this off.
Bottom line: a two-house majority for the new PRI president, Enrique Pena Nieto, looks likely, but not a sure thing.
Now, does this mean a restoration of the “old” PRI? Probably not, as the internal lines of authority in the party have changed, probably irrevocably. But that is a topic for another day…
Some sources mention regional districts in the PR tier. That is true, but only on the intra-party dimension: these districts, and the separate list each party presents in each district, matter only in determining which candidates take the list seats a party has won. They do not affect the total balance of seats among parties, which depends on the parties’ nationwide total votes. [↩]
I have said previously that it was not triggered at an election after 1997. Perhaps that was incorrect. The rest of this footnote is geared even more for anoraks than the main entry.
Maybe I am wrong here, rather than in my previous comments about the cap. That is, maybe the cap on over-representation is applied to individual parties, but is triggered only by comparing seat percentages with effective votes. If that is the case, the PRI, alone, did not trigger it, as it had 39.5% of the effective vote, and its total seat percentage won was then less than 8 points greater.
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