Scottish Parliament


Compare the German and Scottish electoral system

Electoral System

Additional Meber Sysytem (AMS)/Multi Member PR with closed lists in seperated regions

Special Rules

  • Overhang Seats taken awy from other parties in the region.
  • By-elections despite of AMS/MMPR

Number of deputies

In the Scottish Parliament are 129 Seats, 73 in one-person constituencies by relative Majority and the rest by regional lists of the parties.

Electoral period

The Electoral period is four years.
The elections takes place in general at the first thurstday in May.

Right to vote / Eligibility to Stand for Parliament

The right to vote has, who ha the right to vote for local elections (including people with a citicianship of an EU-meber state).

Eligible is, who is eligible to become a Westminster-MP, plus peers, clericals an people from other EU member states living in UK.

Number of votes

Each voter has two votes. One vote for the candidat in a constituency, the other vote for a party's regional list.

Structure of the Electorate.

Scottland is divided into 8 Regions, which are identical with former eight EU-constituencies of the years 1979 to 1994. There is constituencies are the Westminster constituencies until the 2001 election, only for the Orkney and for the Shetland Isles own constituencies. In each Region there are between 8 to 10 constituencies.

In the 8 Regions Parties run with regional party lists. There are in each region 7 Seats for the regional lists. That fixes the number of seat per region.

Distribution of Constituencies

The 73 constituencies are identically with the Westminster constituencies before 2005, with an exeption, there is an own constituency for the Orkney isles and and one for the Shettland Isles.


There is no explizit thershold, but a factical one, because of the 15-17 seats per region (and the Divisormethod with rounding down d'Hondt/Jefferson) it's about 6 % of a regions party votes. [In the election on 1. May 2003 the Green Party missed a seat with 5,66% in West-Scottland, but gained one in the North-East with 5,22%.] Overhang Seats, reducing the PR seats, could rise this natural threashold further.

Calculation Method

In the regions the Divisormethod with rounding down (D'Hondt/Jefferson) is used to distribute seats to the regional party lists. If there are overhang seats, the other parties get less seats. The distribution of seats is independent in each region.

Distribution of Seats

In each constituency is the candidat with the most constituency votes elected. The total number of seats in a region is distributed by PR reduced by the number of

  • independend candidates won a seat,
  • elected candidates of parties without a party list in this region
  • the number of overhang seats in this region.
The remaining seats is distributed to the parties by the divisormethod with rounding down (Jefferson/D'Hondt) according to the party votes in the region.

From this calculated number of seats one has to subtract the number of constituency seats won. The rest seats go to the party list.

Overhang- and Balance Seats

If a party wins more constituency seats in a region, than earned by party vote PR (Overhang), all seats remain by the parties and other parties are awarded less seats by PR. This means, There are no addiditonal balance seats for the other parties vice versa, the number of overhang seats reduces the number of PR seats. There is no change in the number of total seats. There is still no compensation with party list seats in other regions.

"Moving Up"/by-election
If a constituency-MP leaves Parliament, there will be a by-election in the constituency with no recalculation of list seats. A leaving list-MP is replaced by the next candidat on the list.

This means, a party is better of in winning not a constituency in the first place (exempt overhang seats), because the risk of losing a by-election.

(See: paradox: by-election and AMS/MMPR)

The electoral system for the Welsh Assembly is almost identically. Here are 60 Seats to distribute, in eight regions (former EU-constituencies) with 40 (equal Westminster) constituencies.


And for Comparison:

von Martin Fehndrich