What if we ran reduced dHondt with a ninety seat Assembly?

All the news with the informal tweeted D’Hondt, along with Brian’s article on local democracy got me thinking what would happen if this election had taken place in the context of 90 MLAs and only 6 ministries being selected under D’Hondt. Hopefully this’ll provide enough intrigue to carry on ’til Monday when the ministers are announced!

Before I go on, here is what I had to assume to write this:

  1. The 90 MLAs come from the same 18 constituencies, which would be made into 5 seaters.
  2. All parties would run the same number of candidates in each constituency which, with increased quotas (below), would be ridiculous in some places!
  3. Overall 1st preference numbers remain unchanged.
  4. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with this is the quota. I recalculated the quota for Belfast East, and using the Electoral Office results sheets (which I recommend) I tried to see if that would change things. But unfortunately it didn’t quite work out as I expected, so failing a more detailed analysis, I just eliminated the last person to be elected in each constituency which is crude, but effective.

Well I think that’s all the major assumptions so let’s move on!

The new party totals would be:

DUP : 34

Sinn Fein : 24

UUP : 12

SDLP : 11

Alliance : 8

Others : 1

So running D’Hondt with these new totals (and 6 ministries) would give the order as follows:

DUP

Sinn Fein

DUP

Sinn Fein

DUP

UUP

With what would be a completely new political reality if these changes came in and produced results like that it’ll be interesting to see who will push for it in the next Assembly. Would it bring together a progressive, broadly left leaning Alliance-SDLP opposition while maintaining the status quo of mandatory coalition? Would it allow for the DUP to finally swallow up the UUP and push a united unionist front facilitated by the electoral death of the TUV?

PS I can post the breakdown on a seat by seat basis if you want to have a nosey?

PPS McClarty would be the only ‘Other’ to keep his seat.

26 year old PhD student in politics at Newcastle University. I like world politics, Northern Irish politics and popular culture.