Sánchez, the Dutch, and Feijóo, the Greek

Pedro Sánchez would already be the prime minister of the Netherlands and Portugal.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
17 September 2023 Sunday 10:26
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Sánchez, the Dutch, and Feijóo, the Greek

Pedro Sánchez would already be the prime minister of the Netherlands and Portugal. That imaginary Sánchez on a bicycle crossing the canals of Amsterdam would have a majority, with his multicolored alliance. The Sánchez who watches the yellow Lisbon trams go by would have almost dominated parliament. The geography of his dreams would take Alberto Núñez Feijóo to Greece, the object of the PP's long-standing desire for more seats for the first force. He would govern with Vox.

The Netherlands is the king of proportionality, with a very low distortion when converting votes into seats, with its single district for the entire country, typical of small states, not like Spain.

The total votes for the parties, 24 million in the Spanish general elections, are divided in the Netherlands by the 150 seats in the Parliament. Thus the quota comes out, about 161,000 or, as a percentage, 0.67%. Pacma would be represented, with its 165,768 votes. The BNG would be narrowly missed out.

But there would be 10 deputies left to distribute. It is done with the leftover votes, the remains, and applying the D'Hont method. This phase is complex because the parties can ally themselves. Without needing Junts and as long as it tied up the support of ERC, Sánchez would have the majority with the other parties of the different Frankenstein versions.

Typically, more proportional and fragmented parliaments are less governable. But today's Spanish bloc would not exist in the Dutch simulation or with a distribution of seats very faithful to the votes, with the autonomies as constituencies instead of the provinces.

The reason for this paradox lies in the advantage granted by the Spanish electoral system to the PP, for being the party with the most votes, which was not of much use because its advantage over the PSOE was minimal, and because of its status as the greatest force on the right. , the result of what political scientists call the “conservative bias of the system.”

Excluding Junts from the calculation, the sum of PP, Unión del Pueblo Navarro and Canarian Coalition obtained 2.9% fewer points and one seat more than the rest of the parties, those of Frankenstein, which exceeded 49%. This advantage that the system gave him does not give Feijóo a majority, not by a long shot, but it hinders Sánchez's, by sending him to Waterloo.

A somewhat similar version is provided by Portugal, with its corrected proportional system, like the Spanish one, with an advantage for the winner, but without the conservative bias, since there is no plus for the rural vote. In Portugal today there are more distortions than in Spain due to its micro-parties. It was not like that in the 70s and 80s, with a system more similar to the current Spanish one and as happens when the results of 23-J were transferred to the Lisbon parliament. Sánchez would have it more difficult than in the Netherlands, but much less than in the Spanish reality, as he has alternatives to Junts, such as the abstention of CC.

The optimal thing would be to compare these proportional examples with the majoritarian system par excellence, the British one, but Spain would have to be divided into 650 constituencies, one per seat, a task typical of a thesis. Without being the ideal, the Greek system shows what would happen with a model of majority tendencies. In the old version, the party with the most votes won a prize of 50 of the 300 seats. Now he needs to reach 25% of the votes, to receive a bonus of 20 deputies, which increases at a rate of one for every 0.5% of the votes, up to the top of the old 50, with 40%.

With its current 33%, the PP would have 36 bonus deputies and 129 seats, 22 below the majority, which would probably make Santiago Abascal vice president.

If in Portugal there is no type of barrier, in Greece it is 3% for the entire country. Since no nationalist party reached that bar this time, there will be those who say that everyone would be out. But ERC and Bildu, who joined forces for the Senate, pass it and the BNG would join them. Junts, PNV and Geroa Bai, the Navarrese Peneuvista brand, would be missing two tenths.

Simulations reflect the mechanical effects of the system, caused by its rules. But there are other crucial ones, the psychological ones. Voting is not the same in two different systems. And parties can present themselves in different ways.