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Seat assignment

In the last general election the Labour Party polled 170,976 votes against 135,696 for the Nationalists. Other valid votes failed to elect any candidates to the House of Representatives.

The ratio 170,976:135,696 is best expressed as 36.24:28.76 giving readers a direct reading of house members as 36 for the PL and 29 for the PN. Such a result although desirable is not possible since the system donated 37 seats to the PL: an overflow of one member above 36. The sum of 36 and 29 being 65, would have given the ideal odd number of representatives.

The fact that the number of representatives has to be odd necessitates, in the case of a two-party contest, an odd score for one party and an even score for the other. Since the PL managed to elect 37 and not 36 representatives the ideal total of 65 has to go up by 2 to 67.

In this latter scenario 36.24:28.76 has to be transformed to 37.36:29.64 so the score for a house of 67 members has to be 37 for the PL and 30 for the PN.

For a parliament of 69 members the ratio is 38.47:30.53. Such a result assigns 38 members to the PL and 31 to the PN. But why should parliament have 69 members when fewer than 65 would be enough to serve the voters? The simple conclusion is that the electoral commission carried out its work diligently.

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