Subsequently, the number of seats to be awarded to each party is determined. Candidates who have obtained a number of votes exceeding 25% of the electoral quota are elected in the order of the number of votes cast for them. In actual practice, most votes are cast in favour of the person heading the list of candidates, with only a limited number of candidates obtaining the required number of preference votes. Most MPs owe their seats to their position on the candidate list.
Electoral quota and residual seats
In order to gain a seat in Parliament, a political party needs to obtain a minimum number of votes, the so-called electoral quota. This is the overall number of votes cast for all the candidate lists divided by the number of seats in the House of Representatives (150). A seat is allocated as many times as the total vote for a specific list (political party) contains the electoral quota, but this never comes out exactly. Any remaining seats, known as residual seats, are allocated according to a system of highest averages. To be awarded a residual seat a party must have gained at least one seat on the basis of the electoral quota.