For electoral reform specialists, this is a problem with the German (and Scottish and Welsh) system, as explained here. Essentially, that system fills ~1/2 the seats by FPTP, and then allocates the other half (list seats) so as to achieve an overall proportional result.
This is how it worked in Scotland last time: the SNP wins almost all the FPTP seats (fans of FPTP: note) but gets hardly any of the list seats, so as to bring its overall seat total to just under 50%.
But FPTP is easily capable of throwing up even madder results than that: in a multi party system, a party may win almost all the FPTP seats with ~30% of the vote, efficiently spread around, with the opposition split.
That is the forecast result in Bavaria.
Problem. The CSU will get all/almost all the FPTP seats. So ~50%. But it only got 30% of the vote - and allocating the 50% of list seats to the other parties doesn’t change that.
Brace yourselves for a German noun: Überhangmandate (overhang seats). Let’s assume Bavaria has 100 seats. The CSU won all of the 50 FPTP seats. But its share was 30%. So you add 67 extra list seats. The CSU now has 30%. Everyone happy (especially the 67 extra MPs).
As explained on the thread, the fun doesn’t stop there. Bavaria now has 167 seats instead of 100. So all other regions get equivalent top ups. Lots of happy extra MPs.
This sort of thing doesn’t happen all the time, by any means. But it can happen and it’s mighty odd when it does.
None of these problems can arise with the Irish and Northern Ireland system of STV, which doesn’t use FPTP or party lists at all.

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More from @GeorgePeretzQC

14 Sep
As Article 16 of the Protocol is in the news, a quick thread.
This is Article 16.
By paragraph 1 the Article applies only if there are “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”.
Read 17 tweets
12 Sep
This is very informative and authoritative about what has been going on: well worth a read.
(To summarise my view in one tweet: if you combine (a) turning a fundamentally political question into a question of constitutional law with (b) a constitution that is ludicrously impossible to change, the result is, inevitably, a complete mess.)
(See also: gun control and restrictions on campaign spending by billionaires.)
Read 4 tweets
11 Sep
Thoughtful and well-informed piece by @tconnellyRTE about the current stand-off over the Protocol. Worth pulling out and emphasising his point that the current U.K. government doesn’t seem to have thought beyond the July Command Paper: a point I can illustrate.
This is what Tony tells us.
My example to illustrate that comes from @jamesrwebber’s and my article on the UK government’s proposal on A10 (State aid) - which generally supported its position that A10 needs to be looked at again in both sides’ interest, and is over the top given the TCA subsidy provisions.
Read 7 tweets
10 Sep
Two points one can make about that thought. 1. The doctrine of unrestrained Parliamentary sovereignty makes “constitutional shields” very hard: any later (or even the same) Parliament can ignore any “shield” written into statute.
Indeed, there was precisely such an attempt at a shield against an arrangement like the Protocol: s.55 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 (an ERG-backed amendment).
Despite the assertion in the Protocol (with an eye on s55) that NI remains part of the U.K. customs territory, it probably isn’t.
Read 7 tweets
6 Sep
Somewhat unfortunate take on the Art10/State aid issue. It is obvious that that issue isn’t one that generates resentment in NI: because the core problem with it is its unpredictable and potentially serious application to GB.
Moreover, it’s an area where subsequent developments have made the protection to the EU that it offers largely unnecessary (and to the extent it’s still necessary it could much better be resolved in other ways).
Treaties are to be complied with and promises to be kept: but there’s nothing wrong, if your promise now seems over the top in the light of what has since happened, in trying to get the promisee to agree to release you from it (or tweak it).
Read 6 tweets
6 Sep
My problem with this is that I don’t think that judicialising the issue helps: lying is a political problem that can and should be resolved politically.
(I say “judicialising” because this - and other proposals flying around - effectively put the Speaker/fact check service into a judicial role.)
Several reasons for that. One is that - on occasion - lying is politically justified. (Examples in foreign affairs/defence/economic policy come to mind.) But the question of when they are justified is IMO not a suitable judicial question: it’s political.
Read 8 tweets

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