Does Ireland's Dáil have an unusually high number of independents, compared to other European legislatures?

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I noticed that the 4th largest "party" in the current Dáil are independents with 19/160 seats. Is this proportion high (or not) in a broader European perspective in national legislatures?

Fizz

Posted 2020-02-11T04:11:01.553

Reputation: 76 605

1Is there more to this question than "is number X higher or lower than number Y"? Also depends what you'd consider a party/independent TD. e.g. what are the members of "Independents 4 Change" considered? – bobsburner – 2020-02-11T09:39:31.943

2The seat count on RTE considers I4C to be "other" and not independent. I'm not going to research other European countries but one reason there is a significant number of independents in Ireland is the PR system that means popular candidates can get elected even if they are not the most popular. Another factor is the number of people who used to be in a party, quit or were kicked out, but still mostly vote their ex-party line. – Eric Nolan – 2020-02-11T10:46:40.687

Answers

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Yes. Below is a boxplot which shows the current (March 2020) proportion of independent members of each house of each national parliament in the European Union. From this, we can identify outliers in a statistical sense - any chamber that has more than ~6% of its membership represented by independent candidates should be considered an outlier.

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The chambers that match these criteria in descending order are both chambers of the Irish Parliament; the Senead and the Dáil, the Romanian Senate, the Croatian Parliament, and the Latvian Saeima. The full figures used can be found below, and were pulled from Wikipedia. Note that I have excluded the Slovenian National Council, as the membership represents interest groups in the country and is not directly elected, it doesn't make sense to include it in this data.

Full data used:

Country House Members Independents Percentage
Ireland Seanad 60 15 25.00%
Ireland Dáil 160 19 11.88%
Romania Senate 136 16 11.76%
Croatia Parliament 151 16 10.60%
Latvia Saeima 100 9 9.00%
Romania Chamber of Deputies 329 19 5.78%
Hungary National Assembly 199 10 5.03%
Lithuania Seimas 141 4 2.84%
Italy Senate of the Republic 321 9 2.80%
Czech Republic Senate 81 2 2.47%
France National Assembly 577 14 2.43%
Italy Chamber of Deputies 630 15 2.38%
Bulgaria National Assembly 240 5 2.08%
Cyprus House of Representatives 56 1 1.79%
France Senate 348 6 1.72%
Sweden Riksdag 116 2 1.72%
Slovenia National Assembly 90 1 1.11%
Poland Senate 100 1 1.00%
Estonia Riigikogu 101 1 0.99%
The Netherland House of Representatives 150 1 0.67%
Poland Sejm 460 3 0.65%
Germany Bundestag 709 4 0.56%
Austria National Council 183 1 0.55%
Portugal Assembly of the Republic 230 1 0.43%
Austria Federal Council 61 0 0.00%
Belgium Chamber of Representatives 150 0 0.00%
Belgium Senate 60 0 0.00%
Czech Republic Chamber of Deputies 200 0 0.00%
Denmark Folketing 179 0 0.00%
Finland Parliament 200 0 0.00%
Germany Bundesrat 69 0 0.00%
Greece Parliament 300 0 0.00%
Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies 60 0 0.00%
Malta Parliament 67 0 0.00%
The Netherland Senate 75 0 0.00%
Slovakia National Council 150 0 0.00%
Spain Congress of Deputies 350 0 0.00%
Spain Senate 265 0 0.00%

CDJB

Posted 2020-02-11T04:11:01.553

Reputation: 47 740

1While this answers the question, I wonder if it shouldn't also take into account whether the voting system discourages independents from running (or winning) as in the De Hondt system. If one or two independents made it in from a system where independents should, by design, be excluded, it's more relevant than independents making it into the house in a system where independents are favoured or treated neutrally compared to parties. – gktscrk – 2020-08-06T11:06:46.400

In some of these chambers, the only practical way to become an independent member is to leave the party (or being expelled by the party) while holding a seat. – Hulk – 2021-01-08T14:14:16.833