Leveling seat


Leveling seat

Leveling seats ("utjevningsmandater") are a mechanism employed in Norwegian elections to the national legislature, the Storting, and in Swedish elections to national and regional assemblies, to ensure proportional representation both by county and political party. They are more commonly known as "adjustment seats", and can be found in other countries as well as Norway and Sweden where full proportional representation at the highest level e.g. national is sought.

Norway

The arrangement has gone through several changes through the years. Its current form is based on the following principles:
* In order to be eligible for leveling seats, a party must get at least 4% (the exclusion threshold) of the national popular vote. A party may attain enough votes in a given county to elect a representative but may fail to be eligible for leveling seats.
* The number of representatives elected per county is a function of the total population in the county and the area of the county. Hence, the county of Finnmark needs fewer votes to elect a representative (7,409 in 2005) than Oslo (18,167 the same election).
* Of 169 representatives, 150 are elected by popular vote within the county. This means that a party that achieves 40% of the popular vote in a county will send about 40% of the total number of representatives from that county.
* The remaining 19 representatives are allocated one to each county but are elected based on nationwide results for a party, as long as the popular vote at the national level for that party exceeds the exclusion threshold of 4%. The result is that each representative represents an approximately equal number of voters.

In the 2005 elections, the average number of votes on a national level was largely similar across party lines. The largest party, the Norwegian Labour Party, required the least number of votes per representative with 14,139; the party that needed the most votes was the Christian Democrats, with 16,262. On a county by county basis, however, there were greater disparities: Sogn og Fjordane needed only 3,503 votes to elect one representative from the Liberal Party, while Akershus needed 22,555 to elect one representative from the Socialist Left Party.

The arrangement has gone through several adjustments through the years and is the result of legislative action. Somewho?|date=November 2007 argue that regional representation should be abolished.

ee also

*Additional Member System
*Mixed member proportional representation


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