Tunisians voted today in elections for a constituent assembly. Turnout is reported to have been around 70%.
According to an election guide prepared by the Project on Middle East Democracy [PDF], the electoral system has the following key features:
An assembly of 217 seats
33 districts, 27 domestic and 6 for Tunisians abroad.
Maximum district magnitude of 10.
Gender quota requiring every other candidate on a list to be a woman.
Simple quota and largest remainders allocation rule, with no legal threshold.
The six districts for overseas Tunisians will elect a combined 18 seats (magnitudes vary from 1 to 5).
These provisions would mean an average district magnitude of
7.8 7.4, not including the seats for overseas Tunisians.
The simple (Hare) quota with largest remainders tends to favor small parties (for a given magnitude), especially given the large number of parties running lists. Thus, despite a laudable gender-balance provision, many party-district contingents will be of just one (male) legislator–a good case of the inter-party dimension affecting the intra-party dimension.
To be clear, this not a “mixed proportional system” as one blog covering the election states. It is a pure list system, with all seats (again, leaving aside those for expatriates) being allocated via PR. ((Many–in fact, most–PR systems use multiple districts; very few allocate all seats in one nationwide district. I point this out because the cited blog appeared to be referring to the presence of districts when calling the system “mixed”. This is simply not correct terminology.))
The big question, of course, is how well the Islamist party, en-Nahda, will do.
I am not sure when we can expect results. Al Jazeera is running a live blog on the election.
Of course, around here we are delighted that this vote was made possible by the actions of a fruit vendor, even if we take no delight in self-immolation, per se.