List candidates will be nominated the same way local candidates are nominated, by party members.
Some people have said that the lists will be 'selected by backroom elites' within political parties. However, we think this fear is baseless and misleading: if a party did not conduct a democratic vote of all its members to select the members on the list, and their ranking, that there would be an uproar from the party membership.
Any party that did not conduct a democratic selection process would lose trust with their members, would likely lose members to join other parties, and, most importantly, would be punished by island voters at the polls.
The nomination rules can be different in different parties. We expect that party elections would be held under a 'ranked ballot' approach, where party members could choose from a list of, say, 20 people who volunteer to stand as candidates, by ranking them in order of preference from 1 to 20. The top 9 per party would be selected.
Parties want to win seats, so they will act in their self-interest; to win seats under MMP, each party's candidate lists the members nominate will need to be as appealing and diverse as possible, and will need to be filled with well-known and well-respected islanders of the highest integrity - people who can attract many thousands of votes in their own name.
Any party that puts forward a list filled with 'back-room Charlottetown lawyers' will be punished at the polls.
Informed by the experience in other countries, we can expect that some PEI parties would place requirements for representation of certain Island communities - for example, a party may set out in their nomination rules that they require, on their list of 9:
- at least 2 people from each of the Eastern and Western tips of the island.
- at least 5 rural representatives, including at least 1 representative from each of the farming and fishing communities.
- at least 4 women
- at least 1 indigenous representative
- at least 1 Acadian representative
Of course, these may overlap - a person may be both a woman, a farmer, and western Representative.
Requirements like these, from even one party, would likely be 'contagious' to other parties, and they are one key mechanism that increases the diversity of candidates at elections under MMP. If one party has an Acadian representative, for example, then other parties will also try to put forward an Acadian representative, to try to attract the Acadian vote.