The importance of individuals in open list PR. Ctd.

Over at Fruits and Votes, MSS addresses my post on Hong Kong’s new method of filling vacant seats through OLPR.  He adds:

A potential benefit of the proposal, however, is that it should reduce the incentive of parties to rotate some of their legislators between elections. Doing so is common in OLPR systems–elsewhere (I do not know about Hong Kong)–and undermines the connection of elected legislators to the electorate. Under the Hong Kong proposal, a party would often forfeit the seat if it sought to swap out a member.

I was unaware of this phenomenon, but that makes sense.  I think this point really illustrates how unique this method is.  I typically associate PR parliamentary systems as being ones where the party owns the seat, not the individual.  As seat allocation is first determined by a party’s share of the vote, this is still somewhat true.  The new rule, however, would give an individual MP far greater ownership over their seat. MSS continues:

As for the Carey-Shugart (1995, Electoral Studies) we only claim that low-M OLPR places less premium on cultivating a personal reputation than does higher-M OLPR. The story is seen from the competing candidates’ point of view. From the voters’ point of view, however, smaller magnitudes and shorter lists undoubtedly increase the visibility of those who are elected, who win with greater shares of their party’s votes. I actually think this method for filling vacancies makes more sense for smaller district magnitudes than it would for larger. Whether it makes more sense than the usual party-centric way is an open question, and one that might not have a clear answer.

Posted on June 10, 2011, in Electoral Systems and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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