Greece has parliamentary elections Sunday. All indications are that the two parties that have taken turns in power in recent decades–New Democracy and PASOK–may struggle to reach a combined 40% this time.
A motley collection of far-left and ultra-nationalist parties look to be among those winning seats. Among these are the Golden Dawn, which uses a symbol that looks way too much like a swastika for my comfort. Oh, and their leaders also have a fondness for the Hitlerian salute. What is that old saying about if it quacks like a duck…
Al Jazeera has a handy guide to the parties. It suggests that around ten of them could win seats.
But what is the electoral system? It has been changed many times, and the Wikipedia page says:
the new electoral law, which will be used for the first time in the election on 6th May 2012, reserves 50 parliamentary seats for the “first past the post” party or coalition of parties, and apportions the remaining 250 seats proportionally according to each party’s total valid vote percentage.
The previous system, used in 2007 and 2009, had 40 seats guaranteed for the leading party/coalition. The total assembly size is 300.
The interesting thing will be whether the largest party actually gets more seats via the “bonus” clause than it is entitled to via the proportional component for the rest of the seats! That likely won’t happen, but it could be a close call, if the remaining seats are allocated something like proportionally to national vote percentages, as the above quote implies.
But how are the rest of the seats allocated? Various sources, including the one linked, say that there are 56 districts, which would make for an average district magnitude of only 4.5. The link between these districts and nationwide proportionality is not clear to me. Does anyone know?
There is also apparently a 3% threshold required to win any seats.