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Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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My understanding (posting here hoping to be corrected if necessary) is that parliamentary elections can lead to a prime minister whose party receives less votes than a competitor in a manner similar to the US's electoral college system. (And this is pretending that there is a two party system, ignoring the coalition building that often takes place.)

Each district elects an MP. If one party won a majority of MP's each with a narrow margin of victory while the other party won the rest of the seats with a landslide, wouldn't the first party still elect the prime minister?

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Andy Leighton
England
Peterborough
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qzhdad wrote:
My understanding (posting here hoping to be corrected if necessary) is that parliamentary elections can lead to a prime minister whose party receives less votes than a competitor in a manner similar to the US's electoral college system. (And this is pretending that there is a two party system, ignoring the coalition building that often takes place.)


Yes that is correct. It has even happened in real life. Labour got more seats in the 1929 general election but the Conservatives got more votes. Labour ruled alone for a while as a minority government however a coalition was formed in 1931 which lasted about 3 months before an election was called.

That election in 1931 was even weirder. The Conservatives won 55% of the votes and 470 of the seats, Labour 30.6% of the vote and 52 seats, Liberal National 3.7% and 35, Liberal 6.5% and 33, Independent Liberal 0.5% and 4, and National Labour 1.5% and 13 seats. The resulting PM remained Ramsay MacDonald who was the leader of National Labour (in 1929 he won the general election standing for Labour). That was known as the second national ministry and it was a coalition between Conservatives, National Labour, Liberal National and Liberal parties.
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Isaac Citrom
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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Yes, that's exactly it and a minority mandate happens often enough. In the British parliamentary tradition, the "districts" are called ridings.

Then the Queen, via her governor general, asks the leader of the party who won the most seats in Parliament to form a government on her behalf.

In Canada we only have a few parties, so usually a party wins a super-majority of seats. Once in a while a party wins more seats than any other single party but less than all other parties put together. This is called a minority government. They rarely last long as eventually the other parties gang-up, call a vote of no confidence in the government and we're back to another election.

Having a super-majority mandate (more votes than everyone else put together) in liberal democratic countries is actually not a very common thing.

In Israel, there are as many parties as ice cream flavours. The Knesset, Israel's parliament, has a fixed number of seats, 120. Every party submits a list of 120 candidates with the party leader at the top of the list. They divide the electorate by 120. Then for every 25,000 votes for example for your party, one of your candidates gets a seat starting from the top of your list. It's direct proportional representation.

However, you end up with a very fragmented legislature with a lot of coalition making, coalition breaking, and lots of elections. To stay in power, a government must appease partner parties giving them something of what they want. So, even a party with a single seat might get something of what it wants if its single vote becomes strategically important.


I never understand millennials constant whining about "not having a voice". When the Democratic or Republican party blocks a legislative initiative by the governing party, they are forcing that governing party to appease them in order to get something of what they want, so that finally the governing party can pass its legislation. Opposition parties are not supposed to "cooperate". In fact, it is their parliamentary duty to block the government when they can, thus making manifest their constituents' wishes. This is having a voice. Do they not teach politics in US universities?
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Christopher Dearlove
United Kingdom
Chelmsford
Essex
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SoRCon 8 27 Feb - 1 Mar 2015 Basildon UK http://www.sorcon.co.uk Essex Games 27 Jul '15
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A more straightforward example was 1951.

Labour 13.9M votes 295 seats
Conservative 13.7M votes 321 seats
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Chris R.
United States
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Missouri
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As one person said, "I recall no protests of these results."
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