Lithuania threshold reduction

The Lithuanian parliament has passed an amendment to the country’s electoral law. If it secures final passage, as expected, the threshold for party-list seats will be reduced from 5% to 4% for parties running alone and from 7% to 5% for electoral coalitions.

A proposal to reduce the assembly size from 141 to 121 was defeated in a referendum in May.

(Source: Linas Eriksonas, 2019)

Note that Lithuania has a mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) system: 70 of 141 legislators are elected in single-seat districts, the rest by list PR (nationwide, non-compensatory). The legal threshold affects only the list component.

5 thoughts on “Lithuania threshold reduction

  1. How often do voters vote on referendums to increase or decrease the size of a legislative assembly? Are voters more likely to vote to decrease the numbers in a legislative assembly rather than increase because voters want fewer politicians?


    • This question just begs for the New Zealand answer: the winning poster slogan in the 1993 referendum was:
      “I’d rather live in a democracy with 120 MPs
      Than in a dictatorship with 99.”


      • This is true, but note that New Zealand held a non-binding citizens-initiated referendum just six years later in which 81.5% of voters voted to reduce the number of MPs to 99 with a 80% turnout. I suspect that there is little demand for increase propositions: I don’t believe California (one of the US’s most referendum-happy states) has ever held a referendum on increasing the size of the legislature, despite having by any standards a quite small legislature


      • I think are far too few referendums on assembly size for us to say for sure. But I’d expect that if such events occurred, reductions would be FAR likelier to win than proposed increases. You might get an increase through in the context of a successful package deal, like New Zealand did. But it is pretty much the only case of a successful referendum on adopting PR or on increasing assembly size. So there is little to go on.

        I am certain there has never been any ballot measure in California (at least in my memory of such things, which means over four decades) regarding the size of the legislature (either or both chambers). I can’t think of one in any other US state.

        I vaguely recall that one of the many provisions in a Colombian referendum several years ago included a reduction in size. But I am not sure about that. Both chambers were reduced as part of the new constitution of 1991 (which did not entail a referendum, except at the outset of the process). But I am thinking maybe there was a later one. Another case to check would be Ecuador.


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