Map of Iran's provinces, classified according to the Venice Commission's guidelines - 2016

2016/02/18
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Since its ratification in 2003, the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters has been recognized as an international standard for elections-related matters. These guidelines include a section on equal voting power for all voters, which cites the population of electoral districts as an important element in establishing fairness and equality in voting power. The map below classifies Iran’s provinces according to their population-to-representative ratios, based on the Venice Commission’s recommendations.

The bill to provincialize Iran’s elections, if ratified, would set the number of representatives per province equal to the existing collective number of all representatives from that province’s electoral districts. The question, then, is whether such a change would facilitate a more equitable distribution of Majles seats. (For a closer look at the fair distribution of Majles seats in Iran, please refer to the Nabz-Nameh dedicated to this topic: “Majles Seats and the Challenge of Fair Distribution”.)
The map below shows that the bill to provincialize elections would not improve matters in the provinces of Tehran, Razavi Khorasan, Sistan and Baluchestan, and Hormozgan. Residents of these provinces have a voting power that is significantly lower than the national average.
To create this map, the average population-to-seat ratio across all provinces was calculated. Using this measure, Iran’s provinces were divided into four categories according to how much they deviated from the national average.
The red provinces are those that deviate from the norm by 15 percent or more, meaning their population-to-representative ratios are at least 15 percent higher than the national average. These provinces need more Majles seats so that the voting power of their residents can improve relative to the national average.
The pink provinces deviate from the norm by between 10 to 15 percent. Although their condition is not considered acceptable, these provinces are nevertheless better off than the previous group.
The white provinces are those whose population-to-representative ratios fall within the 10 percent range of deviation from the national average, so they are considered to be in a suitable state.
The blue provinces are those with population-to-representative ratios that are significantly lower than what the Venice Commission’s guidelines allow for. These provinces have a surplus of Majles seats, which should be reduced for the sake of fairness across the country.

For a closer look at the fair distribution of Majles seats in Iran, please refer to the Nabz-Nameh dedicated to this topic: “Majles Seats and the Challenge of Fair Distribution”.

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