# French municipal elections: How are the seats divided based on the vote?

For example, in St-Front-de-Pradoux in 2014, these were the second round results (source):

This was an unusual election in that Crouzille and Olivier each got 277 votes. French law requires that ties be broken by age. Crouzille's team had a higher average age and so won the tie-breaker.

Reading the Wikipedia page, I understand for towns with <1,500 pop. (such as this town), there are 15 Municipal Council seats.

Now my question: What is the formula/method used for divvying up the seats? Why did the 1st place (with 38.15% of the vote) get 11+2 (municipal/community council) seats, the 2nd-place (also exactly 38.15% of the vote) get 3+1, the 3rd-place (11.98%) got 1+0, and 4th-place (11.70%) got 0+0?

I'll explain the distribution of municipal seats, because the others are fairly straightforward (the two main voted parties get a seat each, the seat left is assigned by seniority).

From the page that you link, in the explanation of voting in communes with more than 1000 inhabitants1, it explains:

Municipal elections in communes with more than 1000 inhabitants use the rule majority voting with proportional rate:

and it explains it as a "most voted list gets a majority" system:

the first half (rounded if necessary to the next whole number) are assigned seats to be filled from the list with the most votes; other seats are distributed among all the lists present in the final round that took more than 5% of votes cast (including the majority list) which is called proportional to the strongest average.

So:

• Crouzille won, and his list gets automatically 8 seats (15 / 2, rounded upwards).

• The other 7 seats are divided based in vote proportion, resulting in 3 aditional seats for Crouzille (11 in total), 3 seats for Olivier (same number of votes) and 1 seat for Barradis.

1This other page lists Saint Front de Pradoux as having 1.092 inhabitants in 2008, so it should be still in the 1000-1500 range.

• Ah I see. But I still don't understand why for example the 4th-place Crabanac (with 11.70% of the vote) gets 0.
– user2212
Jul 6, 2017 at 10:35
• Because he does not get to. If you put in in terms of votes/seat, you get 92,3 votes/seat for the two most voted lists, and 87 votes/seat for the third. The last one has 85 votes, giving him a seat would mean taking it away from a list with a better proportion of votes. Jul 6, 2017 at 10:47

The key insight is that there are only 7 seats to divide. The first 8 go to the winning list (to ensure it has a majority no matter what) and only the remainder is distributed by proportional representation. With only 7 seats, the threshold to have a guaranteed seat is quite high and there is always quite a bit of distortion: 3 seats is 43% of 7 but 2 is only 29%. Even Barradis is somewhat lucky to have a seat.

Finally, the “conseil communautaire” is a part of a separate institution including several municipalities (see communauté de communes on Wikipedia). It doesn't really make sense to add those seats as those are in fact the same people getting an additional mandate.