>Ireland’s transfer season
The best thing about Irish politics from the lecturer’s/anorak’s point of view, however, is Single Transferable Vote system, which is not only appealingly complex in istelf with its quotas, multiple transfers of voters from losing candidates (and sometimes winning candidates with a surplus), but offers incredible strategic permutations: how many candidates to field, how to manage the splitting of first preferance votes between candidates, ‘losers’ on first preferences being elected as transfers gradually increased their score, candidates hanging on across multiple rounds (up to 13 this election) in waiting for a big transfer from a popular losing candidate, competition between candidates from the same party in multi-member constituencies and, of course, the personal voter for personalities and politicians with a local following. STV Irish style is not super proportional due to the (constituionally fixed) size of constituencies (3-5 members) but it does offer ample scope for local independents to come through. There were 14 in the outgoing 166 member parliament, 5 in this. Interestingly, and perhaps for this reason, there were almost no extra-parliamentary minor parties standing. Sitting up till 1.00am looking over the results from bits of Dublin where various aunties and uncles life and trying to work out why Sinn Fein failed to get a TD elected in Donegal despute getting 20% of first preferences, I became an instant STV groupie.