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Which parliaments most closely resemble the vote of the people?

Which parliaments most closely resemble the vote of the people?
By Chris Harris
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Euronews looked at election results across the EU to see if winning parties' share of the vote tallied with the number of parliamentary seats it was awarded. Hungary, Lithuania and Poland saw the widest gaps — while Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark followed the popular vote most closely.


Hungary has the biggest gap between votes and parliamentary seats in the EU, a Euronews analysis of election data shows.

Viktor Orban’s thumping victory earlier this month gave his Fidesz party two-thirds of seats in the country’s parliament.

But his right-wing political movement earned just under half of votes cast in the April 8 poll.

That means there is an 18% gap between the proportion of votes won and the share of parliamentary seats given.

Lithuania came second in our study, while Poland, Greece and Latvia also had gaps of more than 10%.

The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Malta had the closest alignment in the bloc between share of votes and seats.

Most of the EU uses a version of proportional representation (PR), which awards seats according to what proportion of the vote each party won. However, critics point out that the system often results in coalitions which can cause delays and undermine the ability of the government to act decisively.

France and the UK use variations of the first-past-the-post system (FPTP), which splits the country into electoral regions, awarding a parliamentary position to the party with the most votes and nothing to the runners up. In France the election is run over two rounds to ensure that the eventual winner of each seat has the support of at least half of voters.

Each country's election outcome was measured by looking at the deviation from proportionality.

The two countries among our sample with the greatest divide between popular vote and ultimate outcome — Hungary and Lithuania — both have a mixture of PR and FPTP

Orban and his Fidesz party introduced this hybrid system in a reform ahead of Hungary's previous election in 2014.

The changes included reducing the number of parliamentary seats from 386 to 199, which experts say has widened the gap between the ruling party and the opposition.

Tens of thousands of Hungarians protested in Budapest at the weekend over Orban’s election victory.

They are upset his campaign allegedly concentrated too much on "hate" and say the electoral system in Hungary is unfair.

In their Facebook post, the rally's organisers said: "Fidesz's election system and the government's hate campaign have pushed the majority into a one-third (parliamentary) minority."

Nevertheless, Fidesz's 49% of the vote was more than double the 20% achieved by its closest rival.

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