Party-list proportional representation (list-PR) is a subset of proportional representation electoral systems in which multiple candidates are elected (e.g., elections to parliament) through their position on an electoral list. They can also be used as part of mixed-member electoral systems.
In these systems, parties make lists of candidates to be elected, and seats are distributed by elections authorities to each party in proportion to the number of votes the party receives. Voters may vote for the party, as in Spain, Turkey, and Israel; or for candidates whose vote total will pool to the parties, as in Finland, Brazil and the Netherlands; or a choice between the last two ways stated: panachage.
In most party list systems, a voter may only vote for one party (single choice ballot) with their list vote, although ranked ballots may also be used (spare vote). Open list systems may allow more than one preference votes within a party list (votes for candidates are called preference votes - not to be confused with the other meaning of preferential voting as in ranked-choice voting). Some systems allow for voters to vote for candidates on multiple lists, this is called panachage.
Selection of party candidates edit
The order in which a party's list candidates get elected may be pre-determined by some method internal to the party or the candidates (a closed list system) or it may be determined by the voters at large (an open list system) or by districts (a local list system).
Closed list edit
In a closed list systems, each political party has pre-decided who will receive the seats allocated to that party in the elections, so that the candidates positioned highest on this list tend to always get a seat in the parliament while the candidates positioned very low on the closed list will not. Voters vote only for the party, not for individual candidates.
Open list edit
An open list describes any variant of a party-list where voters have at least some influence on the order in which a party's candidates are elected. Open list can be anywhere from relatively closed, where a candidate can move up a predetermined list only with a certain number of votes, to completely open, where the order of the list completely depends on the number of votes each individual candidate gets.
In France, party lists in proportional elections must include as many candidates (and twice as many substitutes for the departmental elections) as there are seats to be allocated, whereas in other countries "incomplete" lists are allowed, which is not a problem under a panachage system.
Apportionment of party seats edit
- D'Hondt method (favours larger parties)
- Sainte-Laguë method (slightly favours parties with one seat when unmodified)
- Huntington–Hill method (slightly favours small parties)
- Imperiali method (greatly disfavours very small parties, not strictly proportional)
- LR-Hare (slightly favours very small parties)
- LR-Droop (very slightly favours larger parties)
- LR-Hagenbach-Bischoff (slightly favours larger parties)
- LR-Imperiali (greatly favours larger parties)
The apportionment methods can be classified into two categories:
- The highest averages method (or divisor method), including the D'Hondt method (Jefferson method) is used in Armenia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Poland, and Spain; and the Sainte-Laguë method (Webster method) is used in Indonesia, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden.
- The largest remainder (LR) methods, including the Hamilton method.
While the allocation formula is important, equally important is the district magnitude (number of seats in a constituency). The higher the district magnitude, the more proportional an electoral system becomes - the most proportional being when there is no division into constituencies at all and the entire country is treated as a single constituency. More, in some countries the electoral system works on two levels: at-large for parties, and in constituencies for candidates, with local party-lists seen as fractions of general, national lists. In this case, magnitude of local constituencies is irrelevant, seat apportionment being calculated at national level.
List proportional representation may also be combined with other apportionment methods (most commonly majoritarian) in various mixed systems, e.g., using the additional member system.
Below it can be seen how different apportionment methods yield different results with the same number of seats and votes (100 and 2832 in this example).
As there are 100 seats, the percentage values for every party's share of the vote is equal to the party's vote count divided by the Hare quota (which is the ratio of vote and seat totals), and in this case the share of seats under the largest remainder method using this quota happens to be the same as the percentage values rounded to the nearest integer (because exactly 3 party's results has to be rounded up, same as there are 3 seats to assign with the largest remainder method after 97 seats are assigned based on the integer part of the vote share divided by the Hare quota). The Webster/Sainte-Laguë method yields the same result (but this is not always the case), otherwise all other methods give a different number of seats to the parties.
Notable is how the D'Hondt method breaks the quota rule (shown in red text) and favours the largest party with 37% of seats, even though it only got 35,91% of the vote (the quota rule would allow either 35 or 36 seats in this case = rounding up or rounding down, but no jump to 34 or 37). Also, the Adams and Huntington-Hill methods, which (without a threshold) greatly favour smaller parties gave 2 seats to the smallest party and would have both given at least 1 seat to every party if it got even just 1 vote from 2832. Of the highest average methods, modified versions of the formulas may not be strictly proportional. For example, the Imperiali method (not to be confused with the Imperiali quota) can be seen as a modified version of the D'Hondt (or Adams) method, and it is technically not proportional (e.g., if a party received 500/1000 votes, and there were 100 seats to be apportioned, it may sometimes not only get 50 - the clearly proportional number of seats - but could also get 51). The Macanese modification of the d'Hondt method, whose quotients are based on the formula , is clearly disproportional; the great variations between the parties' vote shares are effectively reduced, and each party has a roughly equal number of seats.
|Party||Votes||%||Largest remainder method||Highest averages method|
|Hare quota||Droop quota||Hagenbach-Bischoff quota||Imperiali quota||D'Hondt (Jefferson)||Adams||Sainte-Laguë (Webster)||Huntington-Hill||Imperiali||Macanese D'Hondt|
Electoral threshold edit
List of countries using party-list proportional representation edit
The table below lists countries that use a proportional electoral system to fill a nationally elected legislative body. Detailed information on electoral systems applying to the first chamber of the legislature is maintained by the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network. Countries using PR as part of a parallel voting (mixed-member majoritarian) or another mixed system (e.g. MMP) are not included.
|Country||Legislative body||List type||Variation of open lists
|Apportionment method||Electoral threshold||Constituencies||Governmental system||Notes|
|Albania||Parliament (Kuvendi)||Open list||d'Hondt method||4% nationally or 2.5% in a district||Counties|
|Algeria||People's National Assembly||Open list||Hare quota||5% of votes in respective district.|
|Angola||National Assembly||Closed list||
|d'Hondt method||||5 member districts and nationwide||Double simultaneous vote use to elect the President and the National Assembly at the same election.|
|Argentina||Chamber of Deputies||Closed list||
|d'Hondt method||3% of registered voters||Provinces|
|Armenia||National Assembly||Open list||Largest remainder method (? quota)||5% (parties), 7% (blocs)||Party lists run-off, but only if necessary to ensure stable majority of 54% if it is not achieved either immediately (one party) or through building a coalition. If a party would win more than 2/3 seats, at least 1/3 seats are distributed to the other parties.|
|Largest remainder method (? quota)|
|Austria||National Council||Open list||More open:
14% on the district level (among votes for the candidates party)
|Hare quota||4%||Single-member districts within federal states (Länder)||Parliamentary republic|
|Open list||More open:
10% on the regional (state) level (among votes for the candidates party)
|Hare quota||Federal states (Länder)|
|Open list||More open: 7% of the on the federal level (among votes for the candidates party)||d'Hondt method||Single federal (nationwide) constituency|
|Belgium||Chamber of Representatives||Open list||5%|
|Bénin||National Assembly||Closed list|
|Bolivia||Chamber of Senators||Closed list||d'Hondt method||Ballots use the double simultaneous vote: voters cast a single vote for a presidential candidate and their party's list and local candidates at the same time (vote splitting is not possible/allowed)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||House of Representatives||Open list||Sainte-Laguë method|
|Brazil||Chamber of Deputies||Open list||d'Hondt method||2% distributed in at least 9 Federation Units with at least 1% of the valid votes in each one of them||States and Federal District||Presidential republic|
|Bulgaria||National Assembly||Open list||4%|
|Burkina Faso||National Assembly||Closed list|
|Ecuador||National Congress||Closed list||Sainte-Laguë method|
|Greece||3%||Nationwide closed lists and open lists in multi-member districts. The winning party used to receive a majority bonus of 50 seats (out of 300), but this system will be abolished two elections after 2016. In 2020 parliament voted to return to the majority bonus two elections thereafter.|
|Luxembourg||Chamber of Deputies||Open list||Panachage (number of votes equal to the number of members elected)||d'Hondt method||No de jure threshold||Four multi-member constituencies, ranging from 7 to 23 members||Parliamentary system|
|d'Hondt method||5% (party), 7% (electoral block), 2% (independent)||None
(single nationwide constituency)
|Unitary parliamentary republic|
|Netherlands||House of Representatives||Open list||More open
(25% of the quota to override the default party-list)
|d'Hondt method||No de jure threshold, but an effective threshold of 0.67% (1/150) for a seat||None
(single nationwide constituency)
|Norway||Parliament (Storting)||Open list||De facto closed list (50% of votes to override)||Sainte-Laguë method||4%|
|Poland||5% threshold or more for single parties, 8% or more for coalitions or 0% or more for minorities|
|San Marino||3.5%||If needed to ensure a stable majority, the two best-placed parties participate in a run-off vote to receive a majority bonus.|
|São Tomé and Príncipe|
|Spain||Congress of Deputies||Closed list||
|d'Hondt method||3%||Provinces of Spain||Parliamentary system|
|Sri Lanka||Parliament||Open list
(for 196/225 seats)
(up to 3 preference votes)
(for 29/225 seats)
(single nationwide constituency)
|Suriname||National Assembly||Open list||Most open||d'Hondt method||No threshold||Districts of Suriname||Assembly-independent republic|
|Sweden||Riksdag||Open list||More open
(5% of the party vote to override the default party-list)
|Sainte-Laguë method (leveling seats)||4% nationally or 12%
in a given constituency
|Counties of Sweden
(some counties are further subdivided)
|Switzerland||National Council||Open list||Panachage||Hagenbach-Bischoff system||No threshold||Cantons of Switzerland||Semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent directorial republic|
|Togo||National Assembly||Closed list||
|Highest averages method||No threshold||Constituencies||Presidential system|
|Tunisia||Assembly of the Representatives of the People||Closed list||
|Largest remainder method||No threshold||Constituencies||Semi-presidential system|
|Turkey||Grand National Assembly||Closed list||
|d'Hondt method||7%. No threshold for independent candidates.||Provinces of Turkey
(some provinces are further subdivided)
|Uruguay||Chamber of Representatives||Closed list||
|d'Hondt method||No threshold||Departments of Uruguay||Presidential system||Ballots use the double simultaneous vote, the same ballot is used for electing the president (first round) and the two chambers|
|Chamber of Senators||None|
(single nationwide constituency)
See also edit
- Comparison of the Hare and Droop quotas
- General ticket (party block voting), a term usually given to less or non proportional equivalents
- Mixed-member proportional representation, a system similar to party-list proportional representation
- Leveling seats
- List MP
- Ley de Lemas
- Sectoral representation in the House of Representatives of the Philippines
- Outline of democracy
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