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Parliamentary elections 2023. Constituencies – changes in the number of seats, were there any? The expert comments on the appeal of the National Electoral Commission

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The number of seats in some electoral districts no longer corresponds to the number of inhabitants, so after the elections some citizens will be overrepresented and others underrepresented. Therefore, in October 2022, the National Electoral Commission appealed to the government for changes, but the initiative was rejected. At TVN24 we analyzed which districts had the “strongest” and which had the “weakest” votes.

“Decision Time. Campaign” is new TV programN24 which is broadcast from Monday to Friday at 5.30 p.m.

In theory, the distribution of seats in elections parliamentary elections is related to the number of inhabitants of a given constituency. That’s why last October National Electoral Commission asked the government to change the number of seats based on current demographic data.

The point is that the number of seats in some districts no longer corresponds to the number of inhabitants, so after the elections some citizens will be overrepresented and others underrepresented.

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According to the letter from the chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Sylwester Marciniak, which was addressed to the Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek, the number of elected MPs should be reduced by one in a total of 11 constituencies. In nine cases it should be increased by one, and in one – by two.

SEE THE LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NEC TO THE SPEAKER OF THE SEJM >>>

In a similar way, the National Electoral Commission also analyzed single-member constituencies for the Senate. It follows that in the Lesser Poland and Masovian Voivodeships the number of elected senators is too low, and in the Silesian Voivodeship too high.

According to the National Electoral Commission, the current division into electoral districts violates the provisions of the Electoral Code. However, the initiative was rejected by the authorities and the number of seats remained the same. The deadline for making changes to the division into electoral districts expired on May 14, 2023.

The “strongest” and “weakest” voices – in which districts?

In the “Time of Decisions. Campaign” program, the number of inhabitants per one seat filled in individual districts was counted to show the conventional voting power.

Thus, the constituency with the fewest inhabitants per seat, so it can be said that the vote there has the greatest power and is associated with the proportionally largest representation in parliament, is constituency number 32, which includes Sosnowiec and Dąbrowa Górnicza.

Here, according to data from September 2022, there are just over 68.5 thousand inhabitants per seat. According to the National Electoral Commission’s recommendation, this district should lose one seat, but this did not happen and nine MPs are still elected there.

Second in order is Łódź. There, instead of ten, according to the National Electoral Commission, we should elect nine MPs. The next ones are districts with headquarters in Katowice, Elbląg and Wałbrzych. All of them should elect one less representative in these elections.

The “strongest” votes – the smallest number of inhabitants per mandatePKW/TVN24

However, when it comes to districts with the contractual lowest voting power, i.e. those that have insufficient representation in parliament, Warsaw would be in first place if voters from abroad were included. However, the National Electoral Commission did not take this into account in its calculations and without these several hundred thousand votes, Warsaw was only in ninth place in this classification. However, also here, according to the National Electoral Commission, we should elect 21 MPs instead of 20.

According to the calculations of the National Electoral Commission, the most underrepresented district is the so-called “obwarzanek”, i.e. the district covering the cities near Warsaw, where there are almost 93,000 inhabitants per seat. Here we should elect two additional MPs, which would give as many as 14 seats, not 12 as now.

Next are the metropolitan districts – Poznań, Wrocław, Słupsk with Gdynia and Gdańsk. We should elect one more representative everywhere.

The “weakest” votes – the largest number of residents per mandatePKW/TVN24

Expert: the calculation is probably purely political

This issue was addressed by the guest of the “Time of Decision. Campaign” program, Dr. Hab. Łukasz Młyńczyk, political scientist from the University of Warsaw. – It seems to me that this requires some revision, especially since demography is fluid, sometimes for purely biological reasons, but also for economic reasons. This means that some people from big cities move to suburbia and the population increases there. And in this sense we face the problem of underrepresentation, he said.

– However, the calculation is probably purely political, mathematical and probably does not work for those who decide about it – he added.

When asked whether this threatened the democratic principle of “one man, one vote”, he replied “not necessarily”. – I don’t think it’s that scale. Of course, from the perspective of the inhabitants of a given region, one or two more mandates may be important, he noted.

The entire conversation with Dr. Hab. Łukasz Młyńczyk, political scientist at the University of Warsaw TVN24

Speaking about the Kielce constituency, where 16 MPs are elected and from where the PiS leader will run Jaroslaw KaczynskiTVN24 guest said that “Law and Justice can count on a large number of seats in this district.” – Therefore, he is such a tasty electoral morsel and the person of Jarosław Kaczyński, who can possibly – to put it colloquially – include such a list, is also a guarantee that the 10 seats that were, and maybe this pool can be increased – said Młyńczyk.

– And from the perspective that the game may be about individual seats, this current division is certainly significant – he added.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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