The Moorish Wanderer

Game Theory Rules! USFP First Ballot Results

My theory worked out just fine, up to a certain point indeed, but the broad conclusions have been vindicated by what appears to be the final dénouement of the USFP convention held during this week-end. I have just learnt the convention as 1,600 party delegates instead of 1,200 so this blurs some figures a bit, although the initial likelihoods remain untouched.

In fact, it would be the rational course of action for both candidates to issue a whip count and reach an agreement instead of going through the second ballot. The fog-of-war element might however prompt both candidates to proceed regardless. However, if indeed a show of unity (or some face-saving) is expected to be the party’s finishing touches to their convention, the rational course of action is to proceed with a whip count, then reach some agreement (with perhaps Mr Zaidi keeping his job as Caucus Leader)

According to this tweet

(confirmed by Les Echos Newspapers)

Mr Lachgar was 253 votes shy of an absolute majority at the first ballot, so there will be a second round. A couple of observations before I elaborate further.

USFP Caucus leader Ahmed Zaidi will most certainly lose clout whatever the outcome: his position as de facto parliamentary leader (or perhaps it was de jure with someone as troublesome as Driss Lachgar) should have granted him support and endorsement from his parliamentary colleagues, who would then nudges their local party base to cast a plurality of favourable vote, at least on the first ballot: after all, a third of USFP seats come from Chaouia (Zaidi-Malki match-up) Souss-Massa and Fez. It should have been Zaidi with about 530 votes, first, or a strong second.

Fathallah Oualalou might have been a disappointment to many of the party faithful and outside observers, but I don’t think it was all that inevitable. For sure, he was a strong candidate (with the support of the Souss delegation behind him) but as I have mentioned before, the rational decision for party delegates was to weight Parliamentary leaders 60% versus 40% for the others. As it turned out, they were even more inclined to vote for these – 77% of the first ballot votes went to Lachgar, Zaidi and Malki. If anything, my model underestimated party delegates’ seemingly strong preferences for parliamentary leaders. (alternatively, I can cast Mr Malki aside and trumpet expactly 62% of party delegates voted for ‘strong’ Parliamentary Leaders’)

I will post later on when the second ballot results come up.

 

PJD’s “Pocket Landslide”

Posted in Flash News, Intikhabates-Elections, Morocco, Read & Heard, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on December 8, 2012

A little over one year after PJD‘s victory, it would be interesting to look at what is already their electoral legacy, or indeed the lack of real appreciation of how important it is. Not matter how past electoral results come under criticism, they have been de facto the law of the land – whatever the real results following the 2002 elections, all parties agreed to the official results, and these have been validated as such. And it would be better, I think, if this criticism was laid aside, especially since the 2002 election did give PJD a clear win, were it not for the diluting proportional ballot.

Majorities are 'easier' to form when the ballot system weighs in pluralities in districts

Majorities are ‘easier’ to form when the ballot system weighs in pluralities in districts

In general terms, I describe a method that points to majority-based ballot system as a good indicator of how political parties can improve their probabilities of forming a government by themselves, thus delivering stable governments and even more stable parliamentary majorities.

PJD’s victory in 2011 was a pocket landslide because the party was 65 seats short of an absolute majority – even if it was well ahead of its nearest competitor. A majority-based ballot system could have delivered the absolute majority they needed. Their feat was only matched by the joint USFP-PI 1993 campaign. Unfortunately for PJD, they are in a coalition with parties directly (and adversely) affected by any re-districting, or majority-based ballot system. (read here the theoretical argument against coordinated effort among political parties)

This is how I compute these majorities: for a particular district, all of the seats are allocated to the party with a plurality of votes. The simplest, crudest rule of politics – and poker: winner takes all. On the basis of this principle, the electoral map since 1963 is radically changed. I further consolidated party performances by aggregating split-offs – which leads to 13 big ‘partisan conglomerates’ – and these results tell a story: a consolidated political competition over parliamentary control allows for larger probabilities of reaching an absolute majority (in the cases of seats open for local ballot) and these contradict the final outcomes observed over the past couple of elections; for one, the 1997 Alternance would have been led by Istiqlal instead of USFP, and 2002, not 2011 would have been PJD’s coronation. But then again, efficiency is not Morocco’s forte.

These results can then be compared against the probabilities of each party to get a majority of the votes. These probabilities are computed on the basis of past electoral results – with increasing weightings for more recent electoral campaigns. And I am pleased that up to 92% of the historical results are explained by the following, rather simple linear model: V(\max_{i,j})=\sum\limits_{p_{k,i,j}}^n\alpha_k \mathbb{E} \left[V(P_{k,i,j})\right]+\epsilon_{k,i,j}

where \alpha_k the estimated probability for a party k to get the plurality in a district i. These parameters need not sum over 1, because there are a lot of cross-party historical votes. This confirm my earlier claim about PJD’s robust position on its 2016 prospects, as well as the need to go for a majority-based system – some parties have clearly more chances to get the majority, while others do not (those have been taken out of the fitting because of the statistical insignificant results)

      Source |       SS       df       MS              Number of obs =     153
-------------+------------------------------           F(  6,   147) =  292.75
       Model |  5.1894e+10     6  8.6491e+09           Prob > F      =  0.0000
    Residual |  4.3430e+09   147  29544400.6           R-squared     =  0.9228
-------------+------------------------------           Adj R-squared =  0.9196
       Total |  5.6237e+10   153   367564886           Root MSE      =  5435.5
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         max |      Coef.   Std. Err.      t    P>|t|     [95% Conf. Interval]
-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------
     pnd_pam |   .2806256   .0863479     3.25   0.001      .109982    .4512693
     rni_ind |   .4540341   .1007729     4.51   0.000     .2548834    .6531848
    mpdc_pjd |   .5029201   .0445715    11.28   0.000     .4148364    .5910038
          pi |   .3938989   .0974869     4.04   0.000      .201242    .5865558
     fdic_mp |   .2368222   .0761314     3.11   0.002     .0863687    .3872757
   unfp_usfp |   .3958337   .0742675     5.33   0.000     .2490639    .5426035
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As one can see, the next elections tend to favour PJD (with an estimated 50.2% chance of getting a vote majority on all seats – quite different from getting a majority of seats) although there are a couple of contenders, and an even stiffer competition between say RNI vs USFP, RNI vs PI, and finally, USFP vs PI. As for PAM, my estimate is they are not likely to get anywhere close to a serious contender for governing party.

In essence, PJD’s electoral legacy would be that of ‘breaking the mould’ of opposition parties: strong enough to have a large caucus, but too weak to force censure motions, and definitely unable to form a government on their own right. It would be a breakthrough legacy if PJD could force through an electoral reform that seeks to improve the chances of a one-party government. True, this would mean PJD is most likely to stay in office for the next decade, but this is about representative democracy.

Data description: seats are allocated to each district per each electoral districting. All of the seats are allocated to the party with a plurality of votes. Parties are merged afterwards when applicable.