NDP leader chosen

On Saturday, Canada’s Official Opposition, the New Democratic Party, chose its new leader: Thomas Mulcair, MP, of Quebec.

Although there were several candidates, Mulcair always seemed to me to be the most likely of all of them to win. The election–partly on-line and partly at a party convention–took four rounds to decide. (I gather the party uses sequential-elimination majority.)

Much of the coverage seems to be stressing the low turnout (e.g. Huffington Post, CBC), as well as attacks on the on-line voting system.

The turnout was just over half of the eligible membership (around 69,000 out of 131,000. I have no idea whether that is really “low” by comparative party leadership-ballot standards or not. I would like to know, however…

One thought on “NDP leader chosen

  1. It’s hard to compare turnout, since leadership election rules have been changing a lot lately. Until recently, most parties had a two-stage vote involving delegates, rather than a one-member-one-vote system. According to random sources on the internet, the recent Bloc leadership race had 39% turnout, the 2003 NDP race had 54%, the 2004 Conservative race had 37%. I’ve never seen anybody mention they were concerned about turnout in any previous leadership race, so it’s pretty strange that it’s all over the internet now.

    The electoral system used for this NDP leadership race was kind of sequential elimination. There were three groups of voters:

    1. Convention attendees, who voted once each round, and were well exposed to anything that happened between rounds.

    2. Live Internet voters, who also voted once each round, but may or may not actually have been paying attention to between-round machinations.

    3. A significant number of advance voters, who used a preferential ballot.

    While this approximates the old leadership conventions, it’s less likely to be what the US would call “brokered”. In the past, candidates would drop out or be eliminated, and throw their delegate blocs to another candidate they endorsed. Now, that’s much harder, because of the advance votes and internet votes.

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