Jump to content

Party-list proportional representation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Poster for the European Parliament election 2004 in Italy, showing party lists

Party-list proportional representation (list-PR) is a system of proportional representation based on preregistered political parties, with each party being allocated a certain number of seats roughly proportional to their share of the vote.[1]

In these systems, parties provide lists of candidates to be elected, or candidates may declare their affiliation with a political party (in some open-list systems). Seats are distributed by election authorities to each party, in proportion to the number of votes the party receives. Voters may cast votes for parties, as in Spain, Turkey, and Israel (closed lists); or for candidates whose vote totals are pooled together to parties, as in Finland, Brazil, and the Netherlands (mixed single vote or panachage).[2][3]



In most party list systems, a voter will only support one party (a choose-one ballot). Open list systems may allow voters to support more than one candidate within a party list. Some open-list systems allow voters to support different candidates across multiple lists, which is called panachage.

Selection of party candidates


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


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 will 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


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 lists 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.[4]

Apportionment of party seats


Many variations on seat allocation within party-list proportional representation exist. Different apportionment methods may favor smaller or larger parties:[5]

The apportionment methods can be classified into two categories:

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, with the most proportional results being when there is no division into constituencies at all and the entire country is treated as a single constituency.[citation needed] 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 in various mixed systems, using either additional member systems or parallel voting.



Below it can be seen how different apportionment methods yield different results when apportioning 100 seats. Here, parties B and A are

Webster's method yields the same result (though this is not always the case). Otherwise, all other methods give a different number of seats to the parties.

Notice how the D'Hondt method breaks the quota rule (shown in red text) and favors the largest party by "rounding" an ideal apportionment of 35.91 up to 37.

Adams' method greatly favor smaller parties, giving 2 seats to the smallest party, and would give at least 1 seat to every party receiving at least one vote.

Party Votes Entitlement Largest remainders Highest averages
Hare Droop quota D'Hondt (Jefferson) Sainte-Laguë (Webster) Huntington-Hill Adams
A 1017 35.91 36 36 37 36 36 35
B 1000 35.31 35 36 36 35 35 34
C 383 13.52 14 13 13 14 13 14
D 327 11.55 12 12 11 12 12 12
E 63 2.22 2 2 2 2 2 3
F 42 1.48 1 1 1 1 2 2
Total 2832 100 seats 100 100 100 100 100 100

Electoral threshold


List of countries using party-list proportional representation

  Countries with party-list proportional representation (closed list)

  Countries with party-list proportional representation (open list)

  Countries with party-list proportional representation (partially open list)

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.[7][8] Countries using PR as part of a parallel voting (mixed-member majoritarian) or other mixed system (e.g. MMP) are not included.

Country Legislative body List type Variation of open lists

(if applicable)

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 Parliamentary republic
Algeria People's National Assembly Open list Hare quota 5% of votes in respective district.[9] Semi-presidential republic
Angola National Assembly Closed list
d'Hondt method [citation needed] 5 member districts and nationwide Parliamentary republic with an executive presidency 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 Presidential republic
Armenia National Assembly Open list D'Hondt method 5% (parties), 7% (blocs) Parliamentary republic 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.[10][11] If a party would win more than 2/3 seats, at least 1/3 seats are distributed to the other parties.
Closed list
Aruba Parliament Open list D'Hondt method
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) Semi-presidential 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 Representative Open list D'Hondt method 5% Constituencies Constitutional monarchy
Bénin National Assembly Closed list
Largest remainder method 10% Constituencies Presidential republic
Bolivia Chamber of Senators Closed list
d'Hondt method Departments Presidential republic 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 Representative Open list Sainte-Laguë method Parliamentary directorial republic
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 Hare quota 4% Constituencies Parliamentary republic
Burkina Faso National Assembly Closed list
Constituencies Semi-presidential republic
Burundi National Assembly Closed list
D'Hondt method 2% Constituencies Presidential republic
Cambodia National Assembly Closed list
D'Hondt method Constituencies Constitutional monarchy
Cape Verde
Costa Rica
Croatia 5%
Czech Republic 5%
Denmark 2%
Dominican Republic
East Timor
Ecuador National Congress Closed list
Sainte-Laguë method
El Salvador Legislative Assembly Open list D'Hondt method
Equatorial Guinea
Estonia 5%
Faroe Islands
Fiji 5%
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.[12] In 2020 parliament voted to return to the majority bonus two elections thereafter.[13]
Indonesia House of Representative Open list Sainte-Laguë method 4% 3 to 10 members constituencies Presidential system
Israel 3.25%
Kazakhstan 7%
Kosovo Sainte-Laguë method
Latvia Sainte-Laguë method 5%
Liechtenstein 8%
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
Moldova Parliament Closed list
d'Hondt method 5% (party), 7% (electoral block), 2% (independent)[14] None
(single nationwide constituency)
Unitary parliamentary republic
Montenegro 3%
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)
Parliamentary system
Norway Parliament (Storting) Open list De facto closed list (50% of votes to override) Sainte-Laguë method 4%
Peru 5%
Poland Sejm Open list d'Hondt method 5% threshold or more for single parties, 8% or more for coalitions or 0% or more for minorities 41 multi-member constituencies, ranging from 7 to 20 members Parliamentary republic
Portugal Assembly of the Republic Closed list
d'Hondt method No threshold Semi-presidential republic
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
Serbia 3%
Sierra Leone
Sint Maarten
Slovakia 5%
Slovenia 4%
South Africa
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)[15]
d'Hondt method 5%
(per constituency)
Constituencies Semi-presidential system
Closed list
(for 29/225 seats)
? No threshold None
(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)[16]
Sainte-Laguë method (leveling seats) 4% nationally or 12%
in a given constituency
Counties of Sweden
(some counties are further subdivided)
Parliamentary system
Switzerland National Council Open list Panachage Hagenbach-Bischoff system No threshold Cantons of Switzerland Semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent[17][18] 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)
Presidential system
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)
Wales Senedd Closed list
d'Hondt method No threshold

See also



  1. ^ "Proportional Representation Systems". mtholyoke.edu.
  2. ^ "Proportional Representation Open List Electoral Systems in Europe" (PDF). International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-24.
  3. ^ "Système électoral du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg(fr)". elections.public.lu.
  4. ^ Smrek, Michal. "Mavericks or Loyalists? Popular Ballot Jumpers and Party Discipline in the Flexible-List PR Context". Political Research Quarterly. 76 (1): 323–336. doi:10.1177/10659129221087961.
  5. ^ Benoit, Kenneth. "Which Electoral Formula Is the Most Proportional? A New Look with New Evidence" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-24.
  6. ^ Wilson, Helen J. "The D'Hondt Method Explained" (PDF).
  7. ^ ACE Project: The Electoral Knowledge Network. "Electoral Systems Comparative Data, World Map". Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  8. ^ ACE Project: The Electoral Knowledge Network. "Electoral Systems Comparative Data, Table by Country". Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Final Report on Algeria's Legislative Elections" (pdf). ACE Project. National Democratic Institute. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Armenia, Parliamentary Elections, 2 April 2017: Needs Assessment Mission Report". osce.org. Retrieved 2022-05-30.
  11. ^ "DocumentView". www.arlis.am.
  12. ^ "Greek MPs approve end to bonus seats, lower voting age". Reuters. 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  13. ^ "Parliament votes to change election law | Kathimerini". www.ekathimerini.com. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  14. ^ CODUL ELECTORAL [Electoral Code] (94) (in Romanian). Parliament Republic of Moldova. 21 November 1997.
  15. ^ "Sri Lanka electors can vote for one party, three preferences in 2020 general elections: polls chief". EconomyNext. August 4, 2020.
  16. ^ Swedish Election Authority: Elections in Sweden: The way its done Archived 2009-02-25 at the Wayback Machine (page 16)
  17. ^ Shugart, Matthew Søberg (December 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive And Mixed Authority Patterns". French Politics. 3 (3): 323–351. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200087. S2CID 73642272.
  18. ^ Elgie, Robert (2016). "Government Systems, Party Politics, and Institutional Engineering in the Round". Insight Turkey. 18 (4): 79–92. ISSN 1302-177X. JSTOR 26300453.