1998 Laharnian state election

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The 1998 Laharnian state election was held on 17–18 January 1998 to elect the 187 members of the 4th Parliament, the unicameral legislature of the State of Laharn.

Background[edit]

The New Democratic Party had governed Laharn since the first parliamentary election in 1988. Since the 1994 election, the NDP had governed in coalition with the United Laharn Party.

Timing of election[edit]

The Parliament can be dissolved by the Governor, acting on the advice of the Chief Minister, at any point during its term provided certain constitutional requirements are met. Otherwise, the Parliament automatically expires three years after the date of its first sitting. Once the Parliament is dissolved or expires, an election must be held within 60 days.

The 3rd Parliament, which first met on 21 November 1994, served its full term, and expired by the effluxion of time on 20 November 1997. Chief Minister Karlo Bevincimo advised Governor Aleĉjo Ludoviko to issue writs for an election to take place on 17-18 January 1998. As the Parliament must be convoked no later than 60 days after an election, the latest day for the convocation of the 4th Parliament would be 19 March 1998.

Electoral system[edit]

Size of parliament[edit]

The number of seats to be contested at the 1998 election was calculated based on the 1997 Laharnian census, and indicated that the incoming 4th Parliament would consist of 187 members, an increase of seven from the previous election. Population growth in Alaro, Altatajdo, Estuaro, Kupro, Olveko, and Rivervalo resulted in each district gaining one seat, bringing the total of constituency MPs to 150. The number of at-large MPs also increased by one, to 37.

Electoral District Seats
Alaro 30
Altatajdo 12
Estuaro 11
Kalkalo 17
Karbono 8
Kupro 16
Laharna Hadaro 10
Olveko 33
Rivervalo 7
Sunleviĝo 6
At-large 37
TOTAL 187

Role of political parties and groups[edit]

Political parties and groups wishing to contest the election were required to submit ranked candidate lists in each electoral district, as well as for the at-large seats. Each list was required to contain the same number of candidates as there were seats to be elected in each district. Candidates could appear on both a district list and the at-large list, but could only be considered for an at-large seat if they were not elected in their district.

Voting and counting[edit]

Distribution of seats to parties[edit]

The 150 district seats were apportioned among the ten electoral districts by population, with districts returning between 6 and 33 MPs. Within each electoral district, seats werew distributed to the parties according to the D'Hondt method. The division of the state into electoral districts of varying size means that in Olveko, a party was guaranteed a seat by winning 3.03% of the vote, while in Sunleviĝo, a party had to win 16.67% of the vote to be guaranteed a seat. Once the seats had been distributed among the parties in each electoral district, the State Elections Authority declared elected the candidates according to their ranking on their party's list.

After the declaration of the results in each electoral district, the 37 at-large seats were allocated to the parties which received at least 5% of the statewide vote. Parties which failed to pass the threshold kept any district seats they had won, but were ineligible for the distribution of at-large seats. While the at-large seats are intended to correct any disproportionality that arises from the electoral district results, the 5% threshold has the effect of over-representing the larger parties at the expense of the smaller parties.

Results[edit]

Laharn Parliament 1998.svg
Political Party Votes % ± Seats ±
  New Democratic Party
Nova Demokratia Partio (NDP)
547,021 32.52 –6.27 68 –6
  Socialist Party
Partio Socialisma (PS)
465,457 27.67 +4.02 57 +12
  Our Strength — Our State
Nia Forto – Nia Ŝtato (NFNŜ)
182,061 10.82 –1.55 22 –1
  United Laharn Party
Unuiĝinta Laharnia Partio (ULP)
146,424 8.70 –1.59 18 –1
  Only Unity Will Save Laharn
Nur Unueco Savos Laharnion (NUSL)
111,500 6.63 +6.63 13 +13
  Agrarian Party
Agrara Partio (AP)
81,268 4.83 –0.26 5 –4
  Liberty Party
Partio Libereco (PL)
57,783 3.44 –1.75 3 –6
  Solidarity
Solidareco (S)
37,672 2.24 +2.24 1 +1
Other parties
Aliaj partioj
52,957 3.15 –1.47 0 –1
Valid Votes 1,682,143 98.76 +0.15 187 +7
Invalid Votes 21,129 1.24 –0.15
Total Votes 1,703,272 100.00 ±0.00
Enrolled Voters/Turnout 2,036,545 83.64 –2.01

The proportionality of the election result, as measured by the Gallagher Index, was 4.76, somewhat higher (and thus less proportional) than the 1994 result's index of 2.91. This can be explained by the fact that the Agrarian, Liberty, and Solidarity parties all failed to cross the 5% threshold, which excluded them from the distribution of the 37 at-large seats.

Government formation[edit]

With 94 seats required to form a government, the process of forming government was the most uncertain in Laharn's parliamentary history. The gap between the NDP and the Socialist Party narrowed considerably, with fewer than 5 percentage points and only 11 seats separating them. For the first time, the Socialist Party was presented with a possible route to government, albeit in coalition with at least two smaller parties.

Both the NDP and the SP had ruled out forming a government with Our Strength-Our State, but with the Agrarian and Liberty Parties both failing to cross the threshold, there were few viable options.

Negotiations continued throughout January and February, with neither party able to command the 94 seats required to obtain the mandate to form a government. Finally, the NDP and the SP reached an agreement that would allow the NDP to govern in minority with the SP guaranteeing supply and confidence for 18 months, but voting on a case-by-case basis on all other issues.

The 4th Parliament was convoked on 9 March 1998 by Governor Aleĉjo Ludoviko, and Chief Minister Bevincimo resigned on behalf of the outgoing government that day. Ludoviko nominated Bevincimo as candidate for Chief Minister on 10 March, and Bevincimo presented his program for government on 11 March.

Faction YES NO ABSTAIN
New Democratic Party 68 0 0
Socialist Party 0 0 57
Our Strength Our State 0 22 0
United Laharn Party 0 18 0
Only Unity Will Save Laharn 0 13 0
Non-Aligned 1 8 0
TOTAL 69 61 57

The program for government was approved by 69 votes to 61, with all 57 Socialist Party MPs abstaining. The 4th Bevincimo Government was sworn into office on 12 March.