Multi-member proportional system


January 21, 2022

The multi-member proportional system (also known as list proportional representation, List PR) is an electoral system where the number of seats to be filled is divided according to the number of votes obtained. It is the most common proportional electoral system among independent states and semi-autonomous territories that hold direct parliamentary elections. It was born in the 19th century with the appearance of political parties. It seems that the inventor of proportional representation is Victor Considerant, in a book published in 1846. The first systems to put it in place were first proposed by mathematicians and often bear the name of their authors. Belgium was the first to adopt proportional voting for its deputies in 1899 (D'Hondt method developed by Victor D'Hondt).


Each party presents a list of candidates for a defined number of terms. At the end of the vote, these mandates are allocated to each list in proportion to the number of votes that each has received. The number of votes required to obtain a mandate is called the electoral quotient and is normally the result of the division between the number of votes cast and the number of mandates to be distributed. There are several variations: integral proportional, where all the lists can obtain mandates as soon as they have crossed the electoral quotient; the proportional with threshold, where only the lists having crossed a previously defined electoral threshold (a fraction of the number of votes cast for example) can obtain mandates. find it limited in its ability to influence the personal composition of the assembly concerned. There is therefore a system of preferential voting, which allows the voter to indicate his preference for one (or more) candidates from the list he chooses, and to influence the composition of the assembly at the level of the persons and no longer just political forces.

Blocked Lists

Voters vote for a party. Then the seats are allocated to the different parties in proportion to the number of votes they have obtained. The elected candidates are taken from each of the lists in their order of appearance.

Preferential Vote

Voters vote for a party, and within the list they have the possibility of voting for a candidate (the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Poland, regional elections in Austria, Algeria), for several on the same list (Belgium, regional elections in the Land of Bremen, municipal elections in several German Länder) or for several on any list (Luxembourg, Switzerland), the latter system being the splitting. Seats are first allocated to the different parties in proportion to the number of votes they have obtained. Elected candidates are taken from the lists according to their personal scores (with variations depending on the country, an eligibility threshold may be required). In Denmark, during municipal elections, each list can choose (before the election) whether or not to take preferential votes into account. In Italy, the voter votes for a party and if he wants to favor a candidate he can add, by writing it himself, a name (municipal, provincial, regional), two names (national parliamentarians) and up to three names (European parliamentarians) on the ballot paper. The impact of these preferential votes on the election of deputies had been very limited from 1994 to 2006 since only a quarter of them were elected by proportional representation. The proportional system was restored in 2006 (with a majority bonus), with the abolition of the vote in preference to legislative elections. In

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