From Pakistan News Room, by way of Adam Carr, the preliminary results from the recent Pakistani parliamentary election are rather typical of how FPTP works in a politically fragmented context.
The big “victory” by the PPP (Bhutto’s party) wasn’t much of a victory. It was the largest party in votes, but with under one third. It won more than 8 percentage points more than its closest challenger, the PML(Q), which is Musharraf’s party (which supposedly suffered a big “defeat”; perhaps it did, but being second in votes in a fragmented field is not what I was expecting, based on the media spin).
The PPP was slightly under-represented (32% of the seats on 32.7% of the votes), which is not what one normally expects of parties that earn “big victories” under FPTP. The second largest party by votes (i.e, the PML(Q)) was indeed a big loser in seats (14.3% on 24% of the votes).
The third largest party in votes was the other party noted in the media to have done so “well.” In seats, that is true. It was somewhat over-represented: 25% of the seats on 20.6% of the votes.
The main Islamist party, MMA, indeed did quite badly: 4 seats (1.47%) on 1.3% of the vote. Its main and more successful rival in the Northwest was the Awami National Party (3.7% of seats on 1.9% of votes, showing the advantage of regional concentration under FPTP).
The PPP was the only party to win seats in all states, according to Manan Ahmed, and of course, its being the more national party in such a fragmented system likely explains why it did not get the over-representation normally expected by the largest party under FPTP (votes wasted by running in districts it lost outside its strongholds). Still, for “the only national party in the country,” and supposedly benefiting from “the after-shocks of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination” (Ahmed’s words), less than a third of the votes/seats is pretty bad. As Ahmed notes, the result is also a “reflection of how restrictive the ethnic or regional based agendas the rest of the parties” are.
Back to the election results. About 10% of the seats were won by independents, and the fourth largest party by seats, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, had 19 seats (about 7%, on 7.6% of the votes). Four parties not mentioned thus far had 1 to 4 seats each, and another 10 seats are shown by Carr as “Undeclared or postponed.” There will also be another 60 seats (i.e., in addition to the 272 FPTP seats) “allocated to women members of the various parties, in proportion to the votes received.”
Other than the reversal of the second and third-place parties and the substantial over-representation of Awami, the result is fairly proportional to votes cast, which is not quite as odd as it sounds for FPTP, given the regional fragmentation. I have not seen district-level results, but one can expect that many seats were either dominated by one party or, in the case of contested seats, many likely were won with less than 50%. Such bimodal distributions of district-level outcomes are also rather common under regionally fragmented FPTP. If anyone has seen the detailed results and can confirm or correct that presumption for this election, please do so in the comments.