[EM] 120 Seats

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Mon Apr 17 02:49:15 PDT 2006

> Brian Olson Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 8:28 AM
> The size of a Single Transferable Vote - Proportional Representation  
> legislature affects the degree to which people go unrepresented by  
> any of their ballot choices. I think the formula is that about 1/(N 
> +1) fraction of the population go unrepresented for N seats elected.

You'll find a graphic to illustrate this at:

> I heard that a study of the social habits and brain structure of  
> primates indicates that the natural size of a human tribe is around  
> 150 based on the size of the part of our brain that handles social  
> interaction and it's ability to keep our acquaintances managed.
> Larger groups are harder to have productive discussions within.  

That must explain the activities and decisions of a great many of the legislatures around the world!

> Smaller groups can give too much power to individuals.

While this might be true, electing many together and giving representation to the smallest group size is a recipe for
difficulty, if not disaster.  Israel already has enough such problems, even with its arbitrary threshold of 1.5% (raised
a few years ago from 1.0%).

> I tend to think in base 10, and think 100 is a nice round number, and  
> the present size of the US Senate, therefore a "normal" number for a  
> legislature.

I don't think there is any "normal" number of a legislature, nor is there any "normal" relationship between the size of
the electorate and the number of members elected to represent them.  The population of Israel more than doubled between
1949 and 1965 but the number of Knesset seats remained at 120.

> Pulling a proposal out of a hat, I think a group of 60 serving 6 year  
> terms, electing 20 every other year sounds like a good plan. If you  
> like 120 we could elect 40 every other year. I think electing 20 at a  
> time will keep the ballot length to a more manageable size.

I don't like any system that elects members on different bases.  All the members should be elected at once and on the
same basis.  To get a fair balance between overall proportionality and local representation, and to enhance local
accountability and reduce the central power of the party machines, Israel could do much worse than consider a switch to

James Gilmour

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