Proportional representation formula explained

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AMENDMENTS to the Electoral Act by President Robert Mugabe using Statutory Instrument 85 of 2013 shows the party-list system of proportional representation will be used in allocation of seats in the senate, national assembly and provincial councils.

Brian Chitemba

Mugabe invoked the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act to make sweeping changes to the Electoral Act two weeks ago despite that parliament was still sitting.

According to the Eighth Schedule of the statutory instrument, a participating party will be required to nominate a party list of candidates for the national assembly, provincial council and senate, failure of which it would not be allocated seats.

Provincial election officers will list the political parties starting with the one with the highest number of votes and ending with the party that received the least votes.

The list will also have to show the votes cast for the participating parties in each constituency.

The amendment provides that the electoral district would be constituted by three constituencies.

According to the new constitution, 60 national assembly seats are reserved for women, 60 senatorial and 10 persons on each provincial council, who would be elected on the basis of proportional representation.

Of the 60 seats reserved for women and 60 senatorial seats, six will come from each of the country’s 10 provinces.

After determining the number of votes cast for each of the candidates, the provincial election officers will come up with a quota by dividing the total number of votes by the number of seats being contested, which are six in the senate and six in the national assembly and 10 in the provincial council. This is done after ascertaining the total number of votes.

Each political party will then be allocated a seat for each number of votes that constitute the quota in the first stage while in the second stage seats will be allocated to a political party with the greatest number of unallocated votes.

For instance, for the 60 national assembly seats, the provincial election officer will determine the quota by dividing the total number of votes cast for the participating parties by the number six (the number of seats) after which the number of votes cast for each of the remaining political parties is divided by the quota to determine the number of seats to be provisionally allocated to each party and to ascertain the number of votes which remain unallocated.

If after the allocation of seats from the division of the votes cast by the quota, less than 10 seats have been allocated, the provincial election officers will allocate the remaining seats to the parties with the highest number of unallocated votes.

Unallocated votes are the remainder that comes up after dividing the votes cast for each political party by the quota.

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