Thursday, December 20, 2012

Times between local elections

As I am now adding lots of local election details into my XML, it now becomes possible to do some automatic calculation of election statistics. Though I am far from having a full coverage of the local elections of the most recent past - right now I have 4775 council elections with at least the election date - a few quite interesting things show up.

At first, most of the local election take place on either Sunday (4244 or 89%) or Saturday (410 or 9%), but there were also election on every other weekday. But it gets more interesting when I have more than one election date for a given local council, as then it is possible to calculate the time between the end of term and the election of a new council. By law, after the end of term the next election has to take place within 45 days, however this can be extended by the Election Commission. This takes place especially when the constituencies of the election need to be changed, either because the size of the council has changed, or the population numbers within the constituencies have changed significantly.

The number of days without a council within the limited data I have so far differs from 31 days, e.g. for Chiang Mai municipality earlier this year, when it had the election on April 8, exactly one month after the term ended on March 8. Quite striking however is the longest time I have spotted so far, more than once year for Pho Sadet municipality in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The TAO Pho Sadet was upgraded to a municipality effective October 7 2011, the first day after the TAO council term had expired. However, the first election for the municipal council and municipal mayor took place on November 11 2012, more than one year after the upgrade. For whatever reason, it took so long to split the area of the subdistrict into two constituencies with roughly equal population, as the constituencies were officially announced on October 10 2012, just shortly before the election date.

Right now, the median value of interregnum lengths is 52 days, however this is mostly a selection effect since I have mostly the election data for TAO upgraded to Thesaban - as soon as I add more of the recent TAO elections the number will certainly go down. But since it such a big pile of data to work through, and only part of it as handy Excel sheets which I can convert to XML code easily. In order to show how the data is represented in the XML, below is the code for the Pho Sadet council elections, snipped to show only the most relevant parts.

<entity type="Tambon" name="โพธิ์เสด็จ" english="Pho Sadet" geocode="800118">
<office type="MunicipalityOffice">

<official title="Mayor" name="เกรียงศักดิ์ ด่านคงรักษ์" begin="2012-11-11" beginreason="ElectedDirectly" />
<official title="TAOMayor" name="เกรียงศักดิ์ ด่านคงรักษ์" begin="2007-10-07" end="2011-10-06" beginreason="ElectedDirectly" endreason="EndOfTerm" /></officials>
<term begin="2012-11-11" type="ThesabanTambon" size="12" comment="Constituencies took 1 year to finish" />
<term begin="2007-10-07" end="2011-10-06" type="TAO" size="18" />

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