MMP in Lesotho, 2012

Following the debacle of 2007, Lesotho had a successful MMP election earlier this year (16 May). ((See results from the Independent Electoral Commission (PDF).))

The system continues to have a nominal tier made up of 80 single-seat districts, decided by plurality, and a list tier of 40 seats. The following examples confirm that it remains MMP:

    1. The largest party, DC, won 40% of the party-list votes, and 41 of the 80 constituencies. It won 7 of the 40 list seats, for a total of 48 seats, which is precisely 40%.

    2. The ABC won 25% of the list votes and 26 constituencies. Its list votes are 4, giving it 30 seats (25%) in total.

    3. The LCD won 22% of the list votes and 12 districts. Its was awarded 14 list seats to bring its seat total to 26, or 21.67% of the total.

    4. The BNP won 4% of the party vote and no districts. Apparently there is no, or an extremely low threshold, which would entitle it to 4 or 5 seats. It won 5, all from the list. (A few parties won a single seat off the list on less than 1% of the vote.)

In 2007, the allocation had appeared to be de facto MMM, because each of the two biggest parties had set up “dummy” lists that ran no candidates in the nominal tier. This allowed the main parties to win single-seat districts plus a full proportional share of the list seats for their dummies. In that election, the LCD and its dummy combined for 83 seats on around half the votes.

I think that there is now just a single vote, instead of separate nominal and list votes. The thread on the 2007 results (first link here) had some extensive discussion of possible ways to limit gaming of MMP without going to a single vote.

6 thoughts on “MMP in Lesotho, 2012

  1. Just one thing to note vis-a-vis, one vote MMP (called MMP going forward) and two vote MMP. Two vote MMP is clearly susceptible to gamesmanship, and will devolve into an MMM system where parties are shrewd.

    However, this may occur in one vote MMP. However, the impact is muted. A smart party in MMP will run its members in its “hold” ridings on a list which is separate from its loser ridings. This will give it a much better chance at getting overhang on its SMD “holds”.

    The downside risk is that the party will lose any excess votes from seats with a large winning margin. Furthermore, the benefit wil be more muted when using droop compared to Hare or Saint-Lague. (which will penalize the party for splitting votes).

    I don’t write this as a defender of the two vote system, as it clearly has faults, but rather to get feedback from others if this issue has been seem before in one vote MMP.

  2. I wonder if one could prevent MMP devolving to Parallel MM, via use of dummy parties, by allowing the runner-up in a district to specify which party list the elected winner is “deducted from” (where the winner doesn’t already appear on any list, or on any over-5% list).

    So if an “Independent”, or a candidate of the “Repeal Obamacare Party” (5 registered members), wins a plurality, and a Democrat runs second, the latter would have the right to specify that the winner is counted as a Republican for the purposes of allocating compensatory seats.

  3. @Tom

    Leaving aside the theoretical advantages, how do you explain it to the electorate? A press release that begins ‘It’s alive! It’s alive!’ is possibly not going to work.

  4. I don’t think this changes the basic thrust of MMP. In German law, last time I looked, if an independent candidate wins a district seat, all of his/her supporters’ list votes are nullified. There has to be some way to keep parties honest. MMP is not my own first choice but as a way of getting PR adopted over FPTP and other non-proportional systems, it seems at least as easy to “sell” (to non-Australians) as STV and AV are.

  5. Tom,

    The benefit of running as an independent compared to within a party is that you’re getting an inherent overhang. For instance, imagine the average riding has 100 voters and there 20 SMD and 10 compensatories.

    If the average winner gets 50% of the vote in the SMD. In a proportional allocation (like Hare) the 50 voters that voted for the winner should get something like 2.5% of the seats representing them.

    However, when running as an independent, and not having his vote count to the general pool. A party candidate will create a “one-man overhang” whereby the 50% that voted for him will be getting 3.3% of the seats, and will therefore create a 0.8% overhang equivalent to a one-quarter seat.

    Basically, the system would eventually devolve into scorporo (the previous Italian semi-compensatory mechanism).

    Of course in two-vote MMP, the overhang will be higher as they’ll also get to count the votes for the pseudo independent in the aprty total.

    I guess the basic rule here is I’m coming to realize. With perfect information about voting patterns, one vote MMP should devolve into scorporo, whereas two-vote MMP should devolve to MMM.

    Scorporo is still more proportional than MMM.

  6. Pingback: Lesotho election, 2015 | Fruits and Votes

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