Ascertaining the Election Results at Riigikogu Elections

Political parties and independent candidates may participate in the elections. A party may nominate candidates in twelve electoral districts. In addition, a party also compiles a national list of candidates where the party has ranked all candidates nominated in the electoral districts. 

The election results are first ascertained on the level of electoral districts, where personal and district mandates are divided, after which compensation mandates are divided on the national level. There are 101 mandates in total, distributed among 12 districts. 

 

1. Distribution of personal mandates in an electoral district 

The manner of distribution

At first, the number of voters in an electoral district is divided by the number of mandates. This gives the simple quota of the district. Every candidate who received more votes than the simple quota or equally to it, shall be elected, i.e. receives a personal mandate. 

Formula: number of voters/number of mandates = simple quota

Example: 10,000 voters cast their vote in the district. There are 5 mandates. The simple quota is thus 10,000/5=2000 votes. Every candidate who received at least 2000 votes shall be elected.

Who shall be elected?

The candidate who receives more votes than the simple quota of the district or equally to it (regardless whether he or she is an independent or a party candidate) shall be elected. There are no additional requirements. 

 

2. Distribution of district mandates in an electoral district

Only the parties which received at least 5% of the valid votes on national level shall participate in the distribution of district mandates. This is called an electoral threshold. 

The manner of distribution

The votes cast for the candidates of a party on the district level are added up and the total is compared to the simple quota. The party shall receive as many mandates as many times the number of the summed up votes exceed the simple quota. Such mandates are called the district mandates.

If a party has already received personal mandates in a district, these are subtracted from the number of district mandates.

Formula: Number of votes for a party/district quota=number of mandates for a party in the district

Example: Simple quota is 2000. A party received 5000 votes. The party thus has a right to 2 district mandates, as 5000/2000=2.5. But if the party has already received one personal mandate, it has the right to only one additional district mandate.

2003. Before the 2003 Riigikogu elections an additional requirement on distributing district mandates was added to the Election Act, with the objective of increasing the share of district mandates. Thus, if the number of votes a party receives is at least 75% of the simple quota or if the remainder of the votes cast for a party is greater than 75% of the simple quota after the distribution of district mandates, the party shall receive one district mandate. 

Example

The quota of Electoral District A is 2000. A party received 1800 votes. 75% of 2000 is 1500. The party thus receives one district mandate. 

The quota of Electoral District B is 2000. The party receives 3500 votes and thus one district mandate. After the mandate is accorded, the party still has 1500 votes left, or exactly 75% of the district quota. The party thus receives one more mandate, 2 mandates in total.

Who shall be elected?

In the district list of the party, the candidates are ranked according to the votes received. The candidate who received the greatest number of votes shall be elected, but the number of votes must be at least 10% of the simple quota.

Example

If the simple quota is 2000, the candidate elected under the district mandate must receive at least 200 votes.

 

3. Nationwide distribution of compensation mandates

After the mandates are distributed in the districts, the undistributed mandates are divided nationally, using the modified d’Hondt distribution method. The method named after the Belgian mathematician allows dividing the mandates among the lists as proportionally as possible, so that even parties with less votes can receive a mandate.

D’Hondt distribution series runs as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. A slightly altered distribution series is used in Estonia, where the numbers of the series from 2 onwards are raised to the power of 0.9. Such values of the series are 1,000, 1,866, 2,688, 3,482, etc. The modified series gives a slight advantage to parties which received more votes.

Only the parties which received at least 5% of the valid votes nationally shall participate in the distribution of compensation mandates.

The manner of distribution

When distributing mandates on the d’Hondt distribution method, comparative figures are first calculated for every party – the number of comparative figures corresponds to the number of candidates on the party list. The comparative figures are reached when the number of votes for a party is divided by every element of the distribution series.

Next, the comparative figures of parties are compared. A mandate shall be given to the party with the highest comparative figure, the next mandate goes to the party with the second highest comparative figure, etc. In such a way all undistributed mandates are distributed.

Example (for simplification purposes we shall use the classic d’Hondt distribution series: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc)

3 mandates are divided between two parties.

Party A: The number of votes 3000

Comparative figures: 
1) 3000/1=3000
2) 3000/2=1500 
3) 3000/3=1000 
etc. 

Party B: The number of votes 2700

Comparative figures: 
1) 2700/1=2700 
2) 2700/2=1350 
3) 2700/3=900 
etc. 

The three mandates are thus divided as follows:

1 – party A – comparative figure 3000 
2 – party B – comparative figure 2700 
3 – party A – comparative figure 1500

If a party has already received a personal mandate or a district mandate, as many elements of the series as the number of mandates the party received are passed while calculating the comparative figures.

Example

Supposing that in the previous example the party A has received one district mandate. In this case the calculation of the comparative figures for the party A shall be started from element 2 of the series. 

Party A: The number of votes 3000

Comparative figures: 
1) 3000/2=1500 
2) 3000/3=1000 
3) 3000/4=750 
etc. 

Party B: The number of votes 2700

Comparative figures: 
1) 2700/1=2700 
2) 2700/2=1350 
3) 2700/3=900 
etc. 

The three mandates are thus divided as follows: 
1 – party B – comparative figure 2700 
2 – party A – comparative figure 1500 
3 – party B – comparative figure 1350

Who shall be elected?

The compensation mandates are distributed according to the party’s national list of candidates. The compensation mandate shall be given to the candidate who is further up the list and who has received the number of votes totalling at least 5 % of the simple quota of the district. While distributing the mandates, the candidates who have already received a personal or a district mandate shall be passed.

Example: If the simple quota is 2000, the candidate elected under the compensation mandate must receive at least 5% of the votes, i.e. 100 votes.