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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?

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    Is 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 Feb 11 at 9:39
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    The 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 Feb 11 at 10:46
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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.

enter image description here

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:

Full dataset

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  • While 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 Aug 6 at 11:06

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