In Czech Republic there will be parliament elections soon.

There are two major coalitions which have similar chance of winning (lets call them A and B). I prefer the B wins, even though I don't align with them 100%, but still I see them as better choice than A.

Who I really align with is a small party (C), which realistically does not have a chance of getting into the parliament.

In this is situation what makes more sense, if my main goal is to prevent the A from winning? Vote for B, so they are in better position, and can beat the A. Or cast my vote for C, because I align with them best, but the vote will be practically wasted, as they don't really have a chance.

EDIT: In Czech republic following electoral system is used: 200 members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected from 14 multi-member constituencies by open list proportional representation with an electoral threshold of 5%. Seats are allocated using the D'Hondt method. Voters can give preference votes to up to four candidates on a list. Candidates who receive preferential votes from more than 5% of voters are moved to the top of their list; in cases where more than one candidate receives over 5% of the preferential votes, they are ranked in order of votes received. source

  • 2
    Define "better". If all voters vote defensively like this, the two party system is guaranteed to remain forever. This may or may not mean that the tiny party you'd really want to support eventually dissolves, or becomes part of one of the two large parties, or... just remains irrelevant forever. Whether that's better or worse than increasing the chance for a party you don't like to win cannot be objectively answered, it is entirely up to you to decide - the voter.
    – Hulk
    Sep 30, 2021 at 13:16
  • 2
    It might help you get more answers if you briefly describe the toting system used, since people might not be familiar with Czech parliamentary elections, and the answer would be different for a FPTP system vs a proportional representation system.
    – divibisan
    Sep 30, 2021 at 13:17
  • @Hulk My question is, in this singular, isolated example, which of the two approaches has better odds. Purely mathematically, which of the outlined approaches increases the probability of party B getting more seats than party A.
    – jnovacho
    Sep 30, 2021 at 13:28
  • 6
    If your vote has a chance of putting the small party you actually support over the threshold, making this a reality (demonstrating their viability to others), doing so might actually have the biggest long term impact. And it might be a long time - look at the Greens in Germany for instance, it took them nearly 40 years to get the influence they have today. If there is no chance of 5%, it could be argued to be a wasted vote. The same could also be argued of voting for someone you don't believe in. I live in the US - you're lucky to have a proportional system that allows more than 2 parties.
    – Pete W
    Sep 30, 2021 at 13:28
  • Just a note. After changing the voting system earlier this year, the Czech Republic no longer uses D'Hondt method. It uses Imperiali quota (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperiali_quota)
    – TGar
    Oct 11, 2021 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, there is no straightforward mathematical answer in terms of the odds for party C. As to the odds of party B winning seats, certainly, the answer is obvious. So the answer for you would have to depend on how strongly you disagree with the positions of party A.

In most ways, a vote for party C would be termed a protest vote, whose value is primarily symbolic. You may also find the Wikipedia article on political alienation informative.

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