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“Election Issues 20: Again, who actually gets elected from Political Party?” 19 July 2014.

19/07/2014

Election Issues 20:   Again, who gets elected from the Party?

Professor Wadan Narsey (Appeared in The Fiji Times, 19 July 2014)

Many voters are still confused about how the “successful” candidates will be decided by the Elections Office.

Many are still thinking that the Party’s Preferred List and ranking of candidates will be used to decide who are elected.  NO. NO. NO.

Whether any candidate is elected will be decided not just by how many votes the Party receives in total, but also by how many votes the candidates themselves receive relative to their fellow candidates.

Let me simplify the article I had written previously, which was too long for many readers and had too many lessons in it (even if they were all important).

Eliminate Independents and Parties below 5% threshold

Suppose there are  540,000 votes cast (or about 90% of all registered voters).

The Electoral Decree says that parties and Independents MUST pass the 5% threshold of the votes cast, to qualify, or a minimum of 27,000 votes.

Suppose that only 1 Independent satisfies the 5% threshold and is elected and the others do not.

Suppose one small party is eliminated because it does not get the 5% threshold.

The votes given to the eliminated parties and independents no longer count.

Suppose you now have 4 parties left (A, B, C, D) amongst whom you have to allocate the remaining 49 seats, by strict proportionality.

 Allocation of Seats to Parties

The D’Hondt method uses quotients of the total votes received by each Party with the highest quotients being elected from each Party but the results will come exactly as Column (5) in Table 1 which shows the easier way to understand the proportionality of the electoral system.

Table 1 gives in

Column (1) the eligible parties (A,B,C,D) who received more than 5% of the votes cast

Column (2) the votes received by each qualifying party.

Column (3) gives the exact proportions of the total votes received by each Party (adding up to 1).

Column (4) gives the exact number (with fractions) of parliamentarians they are entitled to (adding up to 49).

You could just round off the fractions to the nearest whole number and get the numbers in column (5).

But the Electoral Decree insists that the D’Hondt method be used to decide the results, which are now given in Column (5), and you will notice that some of the parties with fractions have been given an additional seat.

They total 49 exactly, and adding the 1 Independent gives you the 50 elected to Parliament.

Table 1         Sharing the 49 seats among the qualifying Parties

(1)

Party

(2)

Votes

Received

(3)

Proportion of

454,000

(4)

Fractional No

Of seats

(5)

No of Seats   By

D’Hondt Method

Party A

169000 0.372 18.24 18

Party B

185000 0.407 19.97

20

Party C

45000 0.099 4.86

5

Party D

55000 0.121 5.94

6

Total  454000 1 49

49

Independent 1 1
Total in Parliament 50

  

Who gets elected to Parliament?

Then the Elections Office decides who exactly from the Parties are elected to Parliament.

The Party’s  List ranking their candidates according to the Party’s preferences does not matter.

All candidates for a successful Party will be ranked by the numbers of votes they receive (as in Table 2).

Thus, if Party A is entitled to 18 seats in Parliament (as in column (5) above), then the first 18 in order of the numbers of votes received, will be selected (see Table 2 with candidate numbers randomly chosen).

ONLY AND ONLY IF there is the extremely unlikely event of a tie in votes for the last seat to be allocated, will the Party’s List decide which of the tied candidates is elected

The remaining 32 candidates will be unsuccessful regardless of how important they are to their Party.

 

Table 2             Who get elected from   Party A ?
Candidate Number Votes Received Elected?
1               321 (Leader?) 118,400 YES
2               333 15,000 YES
3               235 10,000 YES
4               128 3000 YES
5               135 2800 YES
6               378 2600 YES
7               224 2400 YES
8               321 2200 YES
9               213 2000 YES
10             199 1800 YES
11             222 1600 YES
12             195 1400 YES
13             258 1200 YES
14             188 1000 YES
15             219 800 YES
16             239 600 YES
17             418 400 YES
18             260 200 YES
32 others with votes totaling 1600 NO
Total votes received 169,000

 

Lessons for Candidates and Parties:

(1)        For any individual candidate of Party A to win, he/she must be in the top 18 of Party A ranked by votes received.

(2)        Any candidate who wants to get elected, MUST go out and get all the votes he/she can get for themselves and not depend on the Party Leader.

(3)        If candidates merely ask their supporters to all vote only for “The Party Leader”, then they themselves may have difficulty getting elected.

(4)        Of course, if the Party Leaders get large numbers of votes, then their Party will obtain a higher quota of seats in parliament, and they may be able to pull into parliament more of their Party candidates.

(5)        The last candidate elected from such a Party may not receive too many too many votes at all (as in Party A above) and probably way less than Independents and small party candidates who are eliminated by the 5% threshold requirement.

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