How people elect parliaments
The Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) of the Parlement of France is an assembly of 577 members. 566 constituencies are divided among the 101 French départements (including overseas territories) based on a target population (currently around 100,000 persons). An additional 11 constituencies are allocated to French citizens living overseas.
The 2012 elections also saw for the first time the enfranchisement of French citizens living overseas, who received a total allocation of 11 seats. Each of 11 world zones was allocated 1 seat. The degree of variation in electoral influence between these overseas residents (in terms of population-seat or voter-seat ratios) varied significantly, and varied from the national mean level of influence.
Members are directly elected in single member divisions (termed conscriptions) by a two-round voting method which is essentially a plurality method with a limited capacity for preference transfer from eliminated candidates. If a candidate wins votes in the first round equal to a majority of the formal votes cast in their conscriptions, and also at least 25% of the total number of registered voters in their conscriptions, they are elected in that round.
There are rare instances of candidates winning a majority of votes in the first round but failing to achieve the second criterion where voter turnout is unusually low.
If there is no such winner, all candidates who poll in excess of 12.5% of the total number of registered voters in their conscriptions (or, if fewer than two candidates meet that condition, the two highest-placed candidates) run in a second round, which is determined by the plurality voting method.
Instances where three candidates proceed to the second round are not uncommon, but in such cases standing arrangements or between-round bargaining between political parties usually sees tactical withdrawal of nominations from the second round so that only two candidates remain.
Electoral law specifies that conscription boundaries must be drawn so that variations of population between the conscriptions within each département do not result in any conscription exceeding more than 20% the average population of the conscriptions of the département.
However, this law was not implemented as intended and electoral boundaries were not redrawn between 1982 and 2009. As a result of demographic changes to population distribution, by 2009 the populations in conscriptions had come to range from 34,000 to 188,000.
In 2010-11 a review of boundaries was finally completed. As the 2012 elections were thus the first in three decades to be conducted on a freshly redistributed set of division boundaries, the inequality in division sizes (and thus voter influence) at the 2012 elections is the lowest in many years.
Inequality in the effective influence of voters caused by variations in Assemblée conscription enrolments has been significant in recent elections, with the standard deviation of variations compared to the mean enrolment being 0.0% in 2012. Given that this election benefited from a substantial review of population data and conscription boundaries, it is likely that this result is lower in general than was the case for previous elections.
[nomination openness – party configurations]
[summary of results]
Inequality in the effective influence of voters caused by variations in conscription turnouts (formal votes) has been significant in recent elections, with the standard deviation of variations compared to the mean formal vote being 0.0% in 2012.
[inequality by margins]
2012 – 2017
[data source – data completeness – anomalous contests – augmentation]
[Datasets are not yet published]