It was the Assembly presided by Fernando Cordero which, with the electoral reform of February 2012, enshrined the injustice in the system of political representation in Ecuador. The use of the D’Hondt method (a method of distributing parliamentary seats that discourage the formation of minorities) allowed the ruling party to win 74 percent of the representatives in the 2013 elections, despite having barely 50 , 7 percent of valid votes. Today, the transitory National Electoral Council intends to put an end to this legacy of correism. His proposal (which implies returning to Webster’s method) was already presented to the Assembly and, if approved, will be applied as of 2021.
The CNE seeks to back on scientific rigor. For this he has used the academic work of Rafael Estrella, an engineer from the University of Cuenca, former Director of Planning of that academic center and mathematical expert, who on Thursday presented his analysis before the Plenary. Estrella is the author of the book ‘Webster vs. D’Hondt ‘, 205 pages of pure mathematical analysis, that is to say, regardless of any political consideration other than finding the formula that guarantees the application of a principle enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic: the principle of proportionality in the representation.
Estrella analyzes the results of the parliamentary elections since 2013, for each electoral district; raises seat allocation simulations for each case in search of the most proportional; and finds that the distributions with the highest index of disproportionality are those that use, precisely, the D’Hondt method. In fact, it came to count up to sixty distribution formulas that do not correspond to any method and that are more proportional.
Declared unconstitutional in 2004 and dusted off by the correísmo in 2012, the D’Hondt method is responsible for aberrations as extreme as that which occurred in the province of Azuay in the 2013 elections and which, together with that of one of the districts of the province of Manabi, is the greatest example of disproportion that Rafael Estrella has managed to identify. In Azuay, the correísmo obtained 56 percent of the valid votes and took 100 percent of the seats in dispute: five in total. If white and null votes (considered as “invalid”) are added to this calculation, the result is anything but democratic: 63 percent of the Azuayos, that is, a comfortable majority of the population, did not vote for correismo and he was left without political representation for a period of four years. This (and not the popular will) explains the forcefulness of the corrísta bulldozer that Gabriela Rivadeneira arbitrarily directed.
The D’Hondt method currently applies to the distribution of provincial seats. On the other hand, for the nationals (15 in total) the Webster method is applied. According to Estrella, this is another nonsense of the electoral reform of 2012, since the disproportion caused by D’Hondt is lower the greater the number of seats to be distributed. That is to say: the logical thing would be that it worked the other way around. They are the whims of the Cordero Cordero Assembly.
The method that has a lower rate of disproportion in the distribution of seats is that of Hare, the oldest and most elementary of all. However, Estrella discourages it, because it is a method that produces numerous paradoxes (amply demonstrated in his book) that affect his credibility. That is why he recommends the adoption of Webster’s method, which, according to him, is the one that best applies all the analysis criteria required: proportionality, consistency, impartiality, homogeneity, accuracy…
The proposal is made. The issue will have to be resolved in the Plenary of the Assembly after its discussion in the Commission of Citizen Participation. (I)