Ghost seats in the Basque Parliament
Ibarzabal Laka, Nora
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In elections voters have generally four options: to abstain, to cast a blank vote, to cast a null vote, or to vote for a candidate or party. This last option is a positive expression of support, while the other three options reflect lack of interest, or dissatisfaction with the parties or the political system. However only votes for parties or candidates are taken into account in the apportionment method. In particular the number of seats allocated to parties remains constant even if the number of non votes (i.e. blank votes, null votes or abstention) is very large. This paper proposes to treat the non votes as a party in the apportionment method and to leave empty the corresponding seats. These empty seats are referred to as "ghost seats". How this would affect the decision-making is quantified in terms of power indices. We apply this proposal to a case study:the regional Parliament of the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain) from 1980 till 2012.