[EM] Filling Unscheduled Vacancies With PR

Olli Salmi olli.salmi at uusikaupunki.fi
Sat Nov 8 00:18:02 PST 2003

At 00:30 -0800 6.11.2003, Alex Small wrote:
>What do people here think is the best way to replace legislators in the
>middle of a term while retaining proportionality?  What solutions have
>various countries devised?

With list PR it's usually the next candidate on the list that gets the seat.

For local government committees we usually elect personal 
alternatives (the lections are usually unanimous because the result 
can be calculated). Every candidate has a running mate who stands in 
if the ordinary member cannot attend a meeting. Local councils also 
have temporary replacements, but it's always the top unelected 
members that get called, so if a councillor is going to be absent, he 
or she calls the first unelected member.

Sweden has proportionality within party lists (ranked Phragmén). The 
wording of the law seems to indicate that each candidate gets a 
personal replacement. The same candidate can replace several 
candidates and enough replacements are appointed so that a vacancy is 
unlikely. The actual counting resembles Tasmanian countback in that 
only the ballots that elected the candidate in question are examined. 
However, only the top names are counted, so it's a simple majority 
vote (plurality). The replacements are determined at the time of the 
election, not when the vacancy occurs.

Bye-elections are usually not used with PR. You'd have to elect all 
the representatives in a district to get a fair result. The aim is 
not to sound out public opinion, it's only to appoint a replacement.

I'm horrified at the thought that the party or the candidate could 
choose the replacement, although it may work in practice.

Olli Salmi

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