Someone explain it for them……

The BBC have an article explaining d’Hondt.

It says that to work out the DUP’s total after their second pick:

For a third choice, 15 is cut by three. If another party has more than five, it gets the choice.

So it’s not 30 by three then? By this formula I’d imagine the Alliance would have at least one Minister!

  • Very bad journalism.

  • Hrvatska

    Never believe what you read Michael. This article is erroneous. The original number of seats is always divided by the divisor, 2 or 3 or 4 etc. So the DUP would start at 36 then 18 then 13 and then 9. The Alliance have only 7 so no seats..

  • Hrvatska

    see last post

    12 not 13

    bad maths

  • Mick Fealty

    Let’s be fair though Sammy. How many people do understand d’Hondt?

  • Crataegus

    How many people do understand d’Hondt?

    And how many people think it is a good way to select a cabinet?

  • Hrvatska

    aw come on Mick, it’s not exactly rocket science!!!

    No excuse for bad journalism, check ur facts and then check again

  • Hrvatska

    Sammy am i right in assuming that if 2 parties have the same number of seats that the one with the most 1st prefs gets first dibs?

    And yes I know, never assume anything!!

  • Tochais Síoraí

    You assumed correctly, Hrv.

  • Let’s be fair though Sammy. How many people do understand d’Hondt?

    How many people are paid to understand d’Hondt? Journalists are, so time they checked their facts. What is Syndey Elliott being paid for in the first place? They paid him to do their election programme last week, so use him!

    With a few exceptions – Mark Davenport being the real standout – journalists are extremely lazy when it comes to using correct political terminology. Simple things are messed up – ward and constituency, Minister and MLA, etc., etc. It sounds minor but it all adds up to confusing the ordinary voter and making politics seem more impenetrable than it is. The BBC could have googled Slugger and found a polling day thread where I did a worked example not so far from the actual result.

    Sammy am i right in assuming that if 2 parties have the same number of seats that the one with the most 1st prefs gets first dibs?

    Close – first preference divided by the relevant divisor. The DUP got more than twice the UUP vote so pick ahead of them for ministerial choice numbers 3 and 9.

  • Vikki

    Sammy, do you know if the UUP/SDLP/AP/Indies etc were to form an Assembly grouping, would it mean more ministerial seats for them?

  • Aaron McDaid

    Vikki,
    As per the UUP+PUP debacle, the parties would need to be a single party with a single headquarters and so on. So they would need to fully merge as one party to be able to get the extra seats (and yes, there would be more seats).

    In fact, Alliance+PUP+Green+Deeny could have a ministerial post right now if they merged, bring their total number of posts from zero up to one.

    There is an argument for changing the rules to allow looser groupings to count as a single entity for d’Hondt, but at the moment it’s not allowed.

  • Gonzo

    They can’t, as the Speaker ruled against the PUP/UUP grouping. Well, they could technically, if they shared certain personnel and assets to at least appear as though they were a coalition, but the chances of that are astronomically small.

  • Vikki

    I don’t wish to sound awkward but where does it stipulate that parties would have to merge? Which legislation rules this out? I thought the UUP/PUP thing had ramifications influencing how they could vote in the Assembly? Wouldn’t this be different as it’s not about voting but ministereal seat?

    I was trying to get my head round the idea of cartels

  • blog
  • Valenciano

    “How many people do understand d’Hondt?

    And how many people think it is a good way to select a cabinet?”

    D’Hondt is okay up to a point, but in order to be anyway worthwhile the number of representatives/cabinet seats etc needs to be at least 30. Below that the flaws become increasingly obvious as constituency size decreases.

    Spain uses D’Hondt for National lower chamber elections for that very reason. With every region effectively guaranteed 3 seats, it greatly favours the parties of the right who poll 55-60% in many of the less populated regions especially North of Madrid. This was basically the reason it was chosen by the ex-Francoists as part of the overall compromise.

    For further problems look at the 1996 forum elections and the outcry surrounding their lack of proportionality.

  • Sammy,

    I’ll use this less crowded thread to thank you for your clarification.

    I haven’t had time to read the literature but I suppose the two decimal places rule originated when calculators were powered by steam engine?

    Otherwise why not be more precise?

  • Crataegus

    DUP 36 seats = 4 Ministers

    Sdlp 16 seats = 1 Minister

    Definitely a flawed system that disproportionally favours larger parties.

    How it works is straight forward enough, the questions should be addressed to how fair the outcome is and could we improve?

  • Padraig

    I agree with Crat’s suggestion that we should look at how fair the outcome of such a system is.

    10 departments for less than 2 million people?

    10 ministerial seats is too many and too expensive, 6 would be enough I think

  • Crataegus

    Padraig

    I agree 10 ministerial seats is ridiculous. Need to rationalise and reduce the departments.

    If we are having an Assembly perhaps we should look at increasing the number of representatives slightly and do away completely with the council tier? With less than 2 million people less than the size of many councils surely one tier would suffice?

  • padraig

    Crat,

    I believe there is merit in considering the removal of the council tier but not to increase the number of MLAs. There are many MLAs who are also councillors and I’m sure their business must overlasp?

    I know from a friend, the Welsh Assembly has 60 members, forty are elected in the conventional “past-the-post” way and the remainder are elected from the five regions of Wales. I’m not too sure how the regions do this but it might worth exploring?

  • Crataegus

    Padraig

    By all means keep it at 108 I was thinking 126 to compensate for loss of local representation and increased work load and also allow for a bit of diversity. We don’t want to set the entrance level into politics too high for some independents, smaller parties etc.

    I would keep STV don’t go for lists. Lists give the political parties too much control over the candidates in that they select who is at the top. I prefer to use my preference to decide who I prefer. Also lists and are unfair for independents. Everyone should be able to stand.

  • Aaron McDaid

    It’s very easy to make a more proportional system than d’Hondt. There are different formulae that can be used, and d’Hondt is simply the system which uses (current_posts + 1)

    If you used (4*current_posts+1), it would give
    (3,”DUP”) (2,”SF”) (2,”UUP”) (2,”SDLP”) (1,”All”)

    But I don’t think it’s so bad to use a system biased towards bigger parties. Think of it as a compromise between perfect proportionality and the other end of the spectrum, i.e. simple majority rule.

    Having a few more seats in the cabinet would make it easier to have more representative cabinets. For example, 11 seats with (2*current_posts+1 [known as the Sainte-Laguë method]) would give

    (3,”DUP”) (3,”SF”) (2,”UUP”) (2,”SDLP”) (1,”All”)

    I myself would go for 12 seat Sainte-Laguë:
    (4,”DUP”) (3,”SF”) (2,”UUP”) (2,”SDLP”) (1,”All”)

  • willowfield

    Why does everyone pronounce d’Hondt as though it were “de Hondt”?

    Really annoying.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Please note that the article linked by ’14’ (comment 14 above) is wrong.

    There will be no drawing of lots used as a tie breaker. Where there is a draw, the tiebreaker will the be first preference votes in the election. This is in 18.6 of the NI Act 1998. I really don’t see there ever being a tie in first preference votes!

    So, the order will be as confirmed on Slugger on other threads:

    1 DUP
    2 SF
    3 DUP
    4 UUP
    5 SDLP
    6 SF
    7 DUP
    8 SF
    9 DUP
    10 UUP

    Together that makes
    4 for the DUP
    3 for the SF
    2 for the UUP
    1 for the SDLP

  • Wilde Rover

    Maybe Auntie is getting senile in her old age and can’t work out the numbers.

    “DUP 36 seats = 4 Ministers
    Sdlp 16 seats = 1 Minister”

    Oh THAT d’Hondt.

    He’d be a cousin of Gerry d’Hondt and an uncle of Mander d’Hondt from Derry.

  • Valenciano

    “Why does everyone pronounce d’Hondt as though it were “de Hondt”? Really annoying.”

    Or why is the T at the end of bon appetit pronounced?

    Or why does tequila sonrisa become tequila sunrise in English when sonrisa means ‘smile’ ?

    Or why do so many Northern Irish people say that weather is “Baltic” when the word Balta means white in Latvian/Lithuanian and the weather in those countries warmer for most of the year than Belfast?

    Maybe it’s because different words transposed into/borrowed from different languages have their spelling/pronunciation changed to suit the host language?

    (Or maybe it’s because everyone isn’t a mindless pedant?)

    ————
    Aaron, Crat et al, the original assembly in 1973 had 12 ministers – perhaps that would be more proportional?

  • I haven’t had time to read the literature but I suppose the two decimal places rule originated when calculators were powered by steam engine?

    More or less. Using 2 rathern than 3 decimal places rarely affects the result, especially in constituencies as large as Assembly ones.

    Aaron, Crat et al, the original assembly in 1973 had 12 ministers – perhaps that would be more proportional?

    Why not just elect the executive by STV from the population at large in a separate election?

  • mook

    I like this idea. It takes the power back from Excel and into the hands of the people.

  • Valenciano

    “More or less. Using 2 rathern than 3 decimal places rarely affects the result, especially in constituencies as large as Assembly ones.”

    One case I can think of where it did was North Down 1982 where Kilfedder’s UPUP missed the second seat by six votes while rounding it to 4 decimal places would have left them home and dry. Could have helped them to last a bit longer having another MLA rather than remaining a one man band.

    There’s absolutely no reason for not rounding to 4 decimal places and I believe that along with alternating candidates names on STV ballot papers it would be an improvement. Of course having a chief electoral officer who would actually do his job properly and publish FULL results online would also help!

  • One case I can think of where it did was North Down 1982 where Kilfedder’s UPUP missed the second seat by six votes while rounding it to 4 decimal places would have left them home and dry.

    Antrim North West, 1993?

  • PS – surely George Green, Kilfedder’s running mate in 1982 defected to the UUP soon after anyway, before ending up in the Tories, so wouldn’t have done Kilfedder much good in establishing a real party.

  • IJP

    Wilde Rover

    But it was the SDLP which blocked every Alliance move to abolish d’Hondt.

    Now the SDLP is hoist by it.

    Can’t say I’m too sorry.

  • Valenciano

    Sammy, dunno mate. Green was in that many Unionist parties that it’s difficult to keep track – Vanguard, UPUP, UUP, Tories. A kind of Roger Hutchison for the jilted generation.

  • Ah yes, George Green. When Bill Craig destroyed his own Vanguard Party, he took just three assemblymen with him. They were:

    George Green,
    Glenn Barr,
    and an obscure lecturer who nearly shot his own wife. Can’t remember his name.

  • A kind of Roger Hutchison for the jilted generation.

    Didn’t know you were a fan of The Prodigy, Val?