Off to vote

Leuven Travel Blog

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I am of to vote today, in my first European elections. Who should I vote for? I like the position that Groen! takes on social and environment matters, but I am less fond of their policy of gratuitous exclamation point usage. Perhaps SP-A or SLP? One of the down sides of the proportional list system used in Belgium is that I will only be able to tell in retrospect if my decision was not strategic. If Groen! ends up with 2.1 quotas and SP-A with 1.9 quotas a vote for Groen! instead of SP-A would have been entirely wasted. Having three progressive-left parties splits their quotas, if all three end up with 3.9 quotes the progressive-left will get a total of 9 seats, while a preference system would merge their quotas (to 11.7 quotas) and give them an extra two seats. Or can a party already use its surplus quota to "vote" for a like-minded party? Less democratic than direct preference voting, but it woud give a more representative result without changing the ballot.
lamadude says:
Up untill very recently (2008) there were a couple of "cartels" when a larger party forms a single list with a smaller one to protect them from the threshold and gain more seats. The CD&V was in a cartel with NVA and SP.A was in cartel with SLP (then called SPIRIT).
The first cartel broke up during the troublesome government formation last year, the second one broke down because SPIRIT became increasingly unpopular and dissolved itself. (The SLP is only one wing of that party, the other one merged into SPA)
Groen! doesn't want any cartels because they want to be independent.
I think the breaking up of these cartels made every party sort of focus on itself and could explain why there are no list connections.
Posted on: Jun 07, 2009
Adrian_Liston says:
Thank you Cedric. Odd that none of the parties have made list connections. The ACT uses the Hare-Clark system where you are given party lists and you number your candidates in order of preference. Since you can continue numbers from one party list to another party list you have a very low number of wasted votes.
Posted on: Jun 07, 2009
lamadude says:
I'm must say I'm very impressed by how you've researched the position of the various parties and even studied the voting system. The seats are devided according to the d'Hondt system (a largely unknown, but internationally very influential belgian invention)

So the votes are devided according to these rules, (keeping in mind there is a 5% threshold) as you can see, larger parties are slightly favoured by this rule. The system you propose, where parties use their excess votes to "vote" for another like-minded party is possible when both parties announce they have a "lijstverbintenis" (list connection), that way they are considered as one party when the "rest seats" are allocated. This needs to be announced before the elections however, which I think is fair because maybe I don't like the like-minded party at all. No parties have list connections during these elections.

Belgians tend to be very secretive about who they vote for, the classic answer to the question "who did you vote for" at exit polls or when talking to other people is "the good ones!"

Now I have to rush to Kortrijk and vote as well!

Posted on: Jun 06, 2009
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