Glossary: d'Hondt method

DEFINITION:
Also known as the highest-average method of determining the allocation of seats to political parties after an election. It was devised by the Belgian Victor dHondt to be used in electoral systems based on proportional representation. In addition to Portugal, the method has been adopted by Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Switzerland. Under this method, voters do not choose a candidate but vote for a party, each of which has published a list of candidates. The party winning the most votes in a constituency is awarded the areas first seat, which goes to the candidate at the top of the winning partys list. The total vote of this party is then divided by two, and this amount is compared with the totals of other parties. The party with the greatest number of votes at this point receives the next seat to be awarded. Each time a party wins a seat, its total is divided by the number of seats it has won plus one. This process continues until all the seats in a constituency are awarded. The dHondt method slightly favors large parties. Because there is no minimum threshold for winning a seat, however, small parties can also elect representatives.

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