Figuring out Egypt's elections: Qasr al-Nil
Here’s an exercise in how I think the votes in the proportional part of Egypt’s parliamentary elections will be calculated. Let’s take the beautiful district of Kasr al-Nil — the Fighting Lions! — where The Arabist is based, covering parts of Downtown Cairo and the tony island of Zamalek. This district slants liberal compared to the rest of the country. These are the results that have been published in the press:
- Freedom and Justice: 162,841 votes
- Egyptian Bloc: 73,183 votes
- al-Wafd: 59,807 votes
- al-Nour: 59,184 votes
- New Independents (Ex-NDP): 28,233 votes
A quick note: the district borders are somewhat different, but a friend ran for parliament in this district in 2000 and the winner (not him) only needed about 3,000 votes. Tells you a lot about how participation has increased.
In Kasr al-Nil district, you have a total of eight seats. Take the total number of votes cast (an approximation if you only use the five top parties above — I don’t have data for the rest), and that makes 47,861 votes per seat. In other words, each seat is worth 47861 votes. You compare that figure to the result of each party that obtained at least that number of votes and get:
- FJP: 3 seats + 18,898 remainder
- Egyptian Bloc: 1 seat + 25,322 remainder
- al-Wafd: 1 seat + 11,946 remainder
- al-Nour: 1 seat + 11,323 remainder
Now, you still have two seat unassigned. These go to the two largest largest remainders: the New Independents (who didn’t get a seat at first but still got more votes than anyone else’s remainder) and the Egyptian Bloc, which has the largest remainder of the parties above.
- Freedom and Justice: 3 seats
- Egyptian Bloc: 2 seats
- al-Wafd: 1 seat
- al-Nour: 1 seat
- New Independents: 1 seat
Does this make sense? Let me know if you spotted a mistake, and of course these results could apparently still change by the end of the elections because of a) the uncertainty of whether a national threshold of votes is needed (in which case the New Independents could very well lose their seat, which will go to the FJP which has the next largest remainder) and b) the need to adjust results to ensure that half of parliament is composed of workers/farmer seats.