[EM] bicameral design poll

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Mon Jan 5 10:48:33 PST 2004

Jeff wrote:
> Interesting question.  I agree with your answer except for 
> the size of the districts.  According to Duverger, a district 
> size of 10 supports 11 parties. 

What does this statement mean?  I am not aware that there is any direct relationship between
district magnitude and the number of active or contesting parties.

With 10 members elected together, 10 parties or groups could each obtain direct representation, but
there is surely no other relationship with district magnitude.

> If each party runs a full slate, then there would be 110 
> candidates.

Why would any party want to do that?  With a properly implemented system of PR no party could ever
win all 10 seats unless it had about 90% of the votes.  If one party has such overwhelming support,
no other party is going to run more than one candidate.  More likely that support is more evenly
distributed and that parties will run one or two more candidates than the numbers of seats they
expect to win.  (OK, I know its different in Malta  -  parties there put up more candidates than
there are seats to be won!)

> I would prefer a district size of 4-5 to reduce 
> the number of candidates.

4 or 5 may be the ideal size in a particular situation, but "reducing the number of candidates" is
not a good reason for making such a decision.  Rather district magnitude should be decided by a
trade-off between PR (the larger the better), local representation (small is beautiful) and natural
community (whatever size best fits, but within the two previous, opposing constraints).


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