15 December 2003

Too hasty judgement: the TRNC electoral system

I stand corrected. Brian Dijkema has alerted me to the fact that the difference between the two sets of parties in yesterday's TRNC election is only 2 percent and is thus within the margin of error of virtually any electoral system. He is right. I have found two sources with some (though by no means greatly detailed) information concerning the electoral system of the breakaway state. From the first:

The parliamentary electoral system is based on proportional representation and entails a 5% threshold. Generally speaking a party that secures 40% of the vote may have a reasonable expectation of governing either alone or as the major partner in a coalition. At least, historically this has been the case.

And from the second:

The electoral system applied in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is similar to the one in Luxemburg and Belgium. It depends on the “barrage” system, as the Party should obtain 5% of the total votes in order to have the right to join the parliament.

Mr. Dijkema has properly reminded us that no electoral system, however sound, will yield a satisfactory result when the electorate really is evenly divided. The 2000 presidential election in the US is proof of that. On the other hand, one does wonder whether the results might have been significantly altered without the participation of the illegal settlers from the Anatolian mainland, who disproportionately tend to favour the status quo.

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