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Electoral systems revision: outcome of London 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008
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This entry on the results of the London elections adds to previous postings examining the workings of the Supplementary Vote and Additional Member System

Some predicted that the London Mayor vote would be so close that the 2nd preferences could well hand the race to the candidate that won most of the 1st preference votes. 

But this turned out not to be the case.  Although Ken Livingstone won slightly more 2nd preference votes than Boris Johnson, the Tory candidate took far more 1st preference votes for it to make any difference to the final outcome as he won by 53% to 47%.  Interestingly Livingstone picked up over 200,000 more votes than he did when winning in 2004, as turnout surged in this close election to 45%

The Assembly election did not produce a favourable outcome for George Galloway’s Respect Party, but other minor parties fared well as a result of the “top up” mechanism used for the London-wide members.

As predicted the two main parties cleared up in the 14 Constituency races, but the 8% of votes picked up by the Greens across London produced 2 seats and the BNP won their first seat above local level (here I am categorising the London race as one that is regional/sub-national) after gaining over 130,000 votes in the top up ballot –scholars of electoral systems may choose to use this as an argument against using proportional electoral systems.  Richard Barnbrook, the newly elected BNP London Assembly Member may argue otherwise.

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