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Wednesday, April 7, 1999 Published at 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK


Click-through guide: The regional top-up system (1)

Additional Members are elected by adding together the total votes for each party (or individual standing on his or her own) in each constituency making up the region.

These totals are then divided by the number of constituency seats each party has won - plus one.

The party with the highest resulting total elects one Additional Member. That party's divisor is then increased by one (for its victory) and new figures calculated. Again, the party with the highest total wins a seat.

The process is then repeated until all seven Additional Members are elected.

Here is an example of how the seven Additional Members might be elected to the Scottish Parliament from the Lothians region.

It uses the voting figures from the 1997 general election and for the sake of simplicity assumes that people cast their party list ballots for the same party or individual as they did for their constituency vote.

Lothians - 1997 general election result
Con Lab LD SNP Others
Votes 73,363 175,354 56,957 70,353 5,719
Shares % 19.2 45.9 14.9 18.4 1.5
Constituency Seats 0 8 1 0 0

For the sake of presentation, Others have been omitted from the following example, but it must be emphasised that the Additional Member System generally assists the election of small parties.

First Round

As you can see below, Labour has polled the highest number of votes, but its divisor is very high (8 + 1 = 9) because it has won most of the constituency seats in the Lothian region.

With 73,363, the Conservatives have the highest total after dividing, just ahead of the SNP's 70,353, so they win the first Additional Member.

Click here for the second round

Con Lab LD SNP Elected
Total votes 73,363 175,354 56,957 70,353
Constituency seats won 0 8 1 0
1st divisor 0 + 1 =1 8 + 1 =9 1 + 1 = 2 0 + 1 = 1
1st total 73,363 19,484 28,479 70,353 Con
2nd divisor




2nd total




3rd divisor




3rd total




4th divisor




4th total




5th divisor




5th total




6th divisor




6th total




7th divisor




7th total




Click here for the second round



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