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Ghost seats in the Basque Parliament


  • Ibarzabal Laka, Nora
  • Laruelle, Annick


In elections voters have generally four options: to abstain, to cast a blank vote, to cast a null vote, or to vote for a candidate or party. This last option is a positive expression of support, while the other three options reflect lack of interest, or dissatisfaction with the parties or the political system. However only votes for parties or candidates are taken into account in the apportionment method. In particular the number of seats allocated to parties remains constant even if the number of non votes (i.e. blank votes, null votes or abstention) is very large. This paper proposes to treat the non votes as a party in the apportionment method and to leave empty the corresponding seats. These empty seats are referred to as "ghost seats". How this would affect the decision-making is quantified in terms of power indices. We apply this proposal to a case study:the regional Parliament of the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain) from 1980 till 2012.

Suggested Citation

  • Ibarzabal Laka, Nora & Laruelle, Annick, 2015. "Ghost seats in the Basque Parliament," IKERLANAK IKERLANAK;2015-88, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehu:ikerla:15412

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Annick Laruelle & Federico Valenciano, 2005. "Assessing success and decisiveness in voting situations," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 24(1), pages 171-197, January.
    2. Federico Valenciano & Annick Laruelle & Ricardo Martínez, 2004. "Success Versus Decisiveness: Conceptual Discussion And Case Study," Working Papers. Serie AD 2004-30, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    3. Kohler, Ulrich, 2009. "Estimating the potential impact of nonvoters on outcomes of parlimentary elections in proportional systems with the applications to German national elections from 1949 to 2005," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2009-206, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:48:y:1954:i:03:p:787-792_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item


    voting; abstention; blanck votes; null votes;

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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