Explainer | How PN will gain four additional seats

The Constitutional amendment on proportionality will award the PN four extra seats, unless protests lead to recount on two districts.

Parliamentary seat majority is triggered when only two parties elect MPs and the party with an absolute majority of votes elects an absolute majority of MPs which is not proportionate to the share of the votes obtained by that party.
Parliamentary seat majority is triggered when only two parties elect MPs and the party with an absolute majority of votes elects an absolute majority of MPs which is not proportionate to the share of the votes obtained by that party.

As things stand, Labour is set to have a 13 seat majority in the new legislature. If the judicial protests filed by the PN to have a recount on the eighth and thirteenth districts it lost by a whisker are not upheld, the 13-seat majority would have to be adjusted according to the Constitutional amendment on proportionality meaning that the PN would be adjudicated an extra 4 seats to bring down Labour's majority to 9 seats.

For those of you asking why the PN could be awarded an additional four seats, here is why: in 2007, a constitutional amendment was introduced to ensure proportionality. This is triggered when only two parties elect MPs and the party with an absolute majority of votes elects an absolute majority of MPs which is not proportionate to the share of the votes obtained by that party.

If Labour elects 39 seats to the PN's 26, the Electoral Commission would need to award a number of seats to the PN to ensure that the difference in seats is proportional to the difference in votes.

The commission decides whether a party, in this case the PN, has a disproportionately lower share of seats, by establishing the average number of votes used by both parties to elect each of its candidates. This is done by dividing the total number of votes obtained at the first count to all the candidates of each party, by the number of candidates declared elected by each party.

This means that if Labour's votes total 167,533, it would be divided by 39, giving us an average of 4,295 votes per seat. If the PN's tally is 132,426, its average would be of 5,093.

So the PN has a right to increase its seats to ensure that the same proportion is used for both parties. This is done by applying the lowest average, 4,295, to determine the final number of Nationalist MPs by dividing its first count tally by the lowest average, giving us 30.8. Deducting the 26 seats the PN has secured, the party must be awarded 4.8 seats to guarantee the same proportionality. Since the Constitution stipulates that the total number of seats in Parliament has to be odd, the figure is rounded down to 4, resulting in a total of 69 seats, 39 for Labour and 30 for the PN.

Other amendments were introduced to cover a number of scenarios, including the possibility of having a third party elected (but not a fourth or fifth).

These amendments have been met with some opposition because, if a third party is elected and one party obtains an absolute majority, extra seats are awarded to reflect the gap existing bet­ween the votes at the first count of the absolute majority party from the votes of all the other parties put together.

However, this mechanism does not apply if no party obtains an absolute majority, meaning that the party with the biggest number of seats gets to govern if it has more seats than the other parties combined, even if the party with most seats does not have the majority of votes.

Some observers and academics call this possibility, "perverse," however Malta's third party, Alternattiva Demokratika could be justified in using that term to describe their 2013 result.

Despite earning around 5,500 first count votes, significantly more than the average worked out to ensure proportionality for the two big parties, the Greens will not be represented in Parliament.

Speaking to MaltaToday, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo said that Alternattiva Demokratika's situation deserves to be addressed, augured that the new Labour government looks into the electoral law to ensure that all parties are granted proportional representation.

Labour worked hard all those years to earn all those seats. Why not appoint AD as a speaker?
Voters should first vote for a party, then select the individual candidates preference. Their party selection, may be different from the party under which their 1st preferred candidate is listed. A national electoral threshold of 2% should be introduced. Parliamentary seats should be capped at 65 and allocated in strict proportionality to aggregate party votes - bearing in mind the 2% threshold. Party which would have garnered the highest number of votes BUT falls short of an absolute majority will NOT automatically be in government I am afraid that the last point will be the 'excuse' factor, to postone the overdue electoral reforms, and used by the PLPN duopoly to continue excluding third parties like AD from rightfully being represented in parliament.
Here we go again! Another warped interpretation of Maltese Democracy. By this same logic then AD must demand a seat in parliament. If the average quota to elect an MP is 4295 popular votes then the scale must apply to whatever party has earned the average quota. Why is it that this fiasco to embarrass Malta continues with today’s technology? Isn’t it bad enough that only in Malta over 330,000 votes take over 3 days to count? In conclusion one must say that if the AD does not make an effort even through the constitutional courts to gain their seat, then they must declare their party irrelevant and a total waste of time.
David Bongailas
People seem to be under the impression that Evarist Bartolo was implying that Labour will be giving away one of the seats it won and hand it over to alternattiva or pass on one of the four extra seats the PN opposition will be given. No my dear friends, unfortunately that would be against our very flawed constitution. I think what Mr.Bartolo was trying to say is that parties are to be given proportional represenation....in the next election ,by ammending the electoral law. In any case, hats off Mr.Bartolo and well done to the newly elected government.
You should give at least one seat to Alternattiva Demokratika not PN.
Well said by Evarist Bartolo.In all fairness, the 5500 votes to AD must be addressed.Eventually through constitutional change but temporarily a mechanisim should be found where AD's voice is at the very least heard in parliament.
By the same argument AD should also get a seat in parliament since its votes tallied to almost 1.8% and over the 5,000 mark! ... I hope the powers that be realize this and be fair to award this seat to AD! ... It is high time our electoral process undergoes an overhaul from the antiquated system it currently operates under! ... This should include the possibility of Maltese citizens to vote regardless where they may reside and other much needed reforms! For example: the parties could draw a list of their candidates by rank, if it gets a certain number of votes to elect 15 candidates, the first 15 on the list would be elected. If it gets enough votes for 20 candidates to be elected the first 20 on the list would be elected and so on. ... If anyone wants to give a preferential vote to a certain candidate they can list him/her by name and if this person garners a sizeable number of preferential votes (for example over 3,500) he/she would be put elected and put forward ahead of other candidates without any preferential votes. ... Furthermore there should be a threshold for a party to be elected to parliament, in our case 2 or 3%. If a party gets this percentage it should be represented in parliament! ... I ask the powers that be to look at the mathematics: as it stands if PN gets these additional seats and AD does not it will be an injustice, and this should be rectified! ... However the best would be to undertake a general overhaul of the whole electoral process!