On Elections

How people elect parliaments

Salvadoreans can divide their votes between parties

Voters in El Salvador have elected their national Asamblea Legislativa (Legislative Assembly), using an unusual variant of the party list seat allocation electoral system.

In filling out their ballots, Salvadoreans are permitted to mark a ‘preference’ vote for any number of candidates from any of the political parties on offer. Whatever number of candidates they select, the preferences are divided into fraction so that each voter’s ballot still amount to one whole vote each.


Latin American elections expert Matthew Shugart has more reports on last weekend’s election, including the extensive ballot papers listing every candidate voters could choose among.

The tallies of aggregate of all fractional votes are then totalled, and the numbers are then used in a proportional seal allocation, as in many other party-PR electoral systems.

The seats won by each party then go to the individuals on the list who also won the highest total of all the vote fractions cast in support of them.

The semi-individual voting system, known as panachage, is also used in Switzerland and a few other countries.

Last weekend’s elections have seen a major swing in Salvadoran politics. In 2015 the two main parties – right-wing ARENA and left-wing FMLN – were close together in 39% and 37% respectively.

This time ARENA appears on official results to have raced ahead to 47%, leaving FMLN on 24%. Two minor parties have each scored 12% (GANA party) and 11% (PCN party) voter support. GANA is right-wing but has previously worked with FMLN government.

ARENA will probably end up with around 41 of the 84 seats in the Asamblea, just short of a majority.



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This entry was posted on March 6, 2018 by in El Salvador, Election results, Seat allocation PR elections.
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