Saturday, February 26, 2011

A kick in the ballots

It's election time in Ireland. Given a dose of the flu, just about the only thing I managed to do yesterday was vote. The ruling Fianna Fail/Green Party coalition has been given a good kick in the ballots, with their vote collapsing enormously given the economic peril the country finds itself in. Ireland has multi-party constituencies and runs a PR-STV system of election. This means that each constituency returns 3, 4 or 5 TDs to the Dail, depending on its size, and when you vote you rank the candidates in your preferred order. Based on the number of people who voted a quota is set. If a candidate has more than the quota they are elected. In nearly all constituencies, after the first count usually only one candidate is elected and in many cases none are yet elected. For those over the quota the surplus will be redistributed based on who came second on that candidate's ballot papers or the candidates that came last are eliminated and their second preferences redistributed. Depending on the number of candidates and the distribution of votes it can take several rounds for all candidates to be elected. What this means is that is a lot of drama as the transfer of votes plays out over several counts. The count is now well underway and will continue into Sunday. Lots of drama to come. One thing's certain - we'll have a new government in the next week. It'll almost certainly be a coalition between Fine Gael and Labour, unless FG can scrape over the line to form a single party government (it looks like they'll be a few seats short) or Labour decide to let them form a minority government.

3 comments:

Bernadette said...

Another coalition government eh? They seem to be the new trend across the world, not sure what it says about things but it's interesting.

Margot Kinberg said...

Thanks for the update, Rob. It'll be very interesting, indeed, to see what happens...

Rob Kitchin said...

It's nearly always a coalition government in Ireland, so we're well used to them. It's interesting at the minute to see how the transfers are playing out. It looks like the last government are going to be left with 1 seat out of 43 in Dublin.