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Most countries with PR systems have mechanisms to favour larger parties somewhat, allegedly to discourage a splintering of parties and make it somewhat easier to forge a governing coalition.

Those mechanisms can include excluding parties which don't achieve a minimum threshold of the vote - 3% in the case of Greece, to having top two run-offs in a second round of voting. In Ireland's case the average size of a constituency is 4 seats, which requires a 20% of the vote +1 quota in any one constituency to be sure of getting a seat.

However the single transferable vote mechanism means that often parties with say, 10% of the first preference votes, can gain the last seat if they can edge up towards the 20% mark by gaining transfers from smaller parties and candidates as they are eliminated. Thus at the last election there were a plethora of smaller parties and independents gaining seats in particular constituencies. Nevertheless Fine Gael, the largest party, got 32% of the seats with 25% of the first preference vote.

Giving a bonus of 50 seats to the largest party, as in the case of Greece, seems a bit extreme, however, specially if there isn't much of a difference in size between the two largest parties.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 12:40:14 AM EST
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