On Elections

How people elect parliaments

National assemblies

–  April 2018  –

For nations with bicameral national legislatures the assemblies described here are the lower houses. Selected entries on upper houses will be added progressively.

Afghanistan – a bicameral Jirga (National Assembly) of which the lower house is the Wolesi Jirga (House of the People), an assembly of 249 members. 239 seats are allocated among the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. A further 10 seats are set aside in a national division for voters of the Kuchi nomad ethnic group to elect representatives. Members are directly elected in these 35 divisions by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method. A constitutional rule provides that a minimum of 64 of the candidates elected must be female. The voting system, the large number of candidates (over 2,500 in the 2010 elections) and the SNTV method combine to result in over half of all votes cast failing to elect a representative. Terms are five years.

Afghanistan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the President subject to only limited constraints from the Wolesi Jirga. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff method.

Since 2015 a process has unfolded by which the electoral system would be reformed, potentially seeing the replacement of the current electoral system by a mixed electoral system, partially based on proportional representation. The process has taken place against the background of a constitutional ban on amending the electoral law in the last year of the Wolesi Jirga term (which ended in June 2015), but the current Parliament’s interpretation of this constraint is itself the subject of controversy. According to the Constitution (article 83), the 2015 parliamentary elections should have been held between 22 April and 22 May 2015, but this requirement was not met. As at early 2018 the electoral system dispute remains unresolved, and elections are now three years overdue. (Last updated April 2018.)

Albania – a unicameral Kuvendi (Parliament), an assembly of 140 members. Seats are allocated among the nation’s 12 administrative regions in proportion to population (with seat allotments currently ranging from 4 to 32 seats). Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. If a list involves a coalition of parties, an internal allocation of seat numbers among the parties is determined using the Sainte-Laguë formula. In each electoral division party lists must achieve a threshold of 3% of votes cast – or 5% for coalitions – to be eligible to be allocated any seats. Terms are 4 years.

Albania has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is nominally held by the President, who is selected for a five-year term by the Kuvendi by a two-thirds majority, but is exercised in practice by a Kryeministri (Prime Minister) who holds office with the confidence of the Kuvendi. (Last updated December 2015.)

Algeria – a bicameral legislature of which the lower house is the al-Majlis al-Sha’abi al-Watani (People’s National Assembly), an assembly of 462 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties within each provincial division by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Legislation requires between 20 and 50% of the candidates for election to be women. Terms are six years. The most recent elections held in July 2005 were affected by mooted calls for boycotts by at least one significant party which may have resulted in voter abstention, as turnout was only 42%.

Nominally, Algeria has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised principally by a Presidence subject to only limited constraints from the Majlis. The Presidence is directly elected for a five year term by a two-round runoff method, although in recent elections the ruling party’s candidate has been either unchallenged or has won by very large majorities. (Last updated August 2015.)

Andorra – a unicameral Consell General (Catalan) (General Council, also known as the General Council of the Valleys), a composite assembly of 28 members. 14 members are directly elected in 7 two-member electoral divisions (‘parishes’) by the block voting method, with the party list winning the plurality of votes awarded both seats. The remaining 14 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. A candidate may not nominate for both a parish list and the national seat allocation list. Terms are 4 years.

Andorra is a constitutional monarchy in which executive power is vested in two Co-princes, who are the Bishop of Urgell (a Roman Catholic diocese covering the Spanish province of Catalonia as well as the territory of Andorra) and the President of France. This arrangement has existed since the treaty of 1278 between the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix; the latter’s claim later passed to the crown of Navarre, then that of France, and subsequently to the presidency of the French republics. Each of the co-princes appoints a representative in Andorra to exercise their authority. However the system is more akin to the plurality parliamentary model, since actual executive power on most matters is exercised by Primer Minister, who holds office with the confidence of the Consell General. (Last updated October 2015.)

Angola – a unicameral Assembleia nacional, a composite assembly of 220 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties (or coalitions of parties) by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. 90 seats are allocated in 18 provincial electoral divisions each of 5 seats, while the remaining 130 seats are allocated in a single national pool. 3 of the seats allocated in the national pool are reserved to represent citizens living abroad. Terms are 4 years.

Angola has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presidente, who is directly elected as part of the elections to the Assembleia, with the constitution providing that “the individual heading the national list of the political party or coalition of political parties which receives the most votes in general elections shall be elected President of the Republic and Head of the Executive”. The resulting presidential term of office is therefore 4 years, linked to the Assembleia elections. The President has legislative powers to govern by decree. A President is limited to two terms, discounting any terms prior to 2012; the current President José Eduardo dos Santos has been in office since 1979. (Last updated November 2015.)

Argentina – a bicameral Congress of which the lower house is the Cámara de Diputados, an assembly of (currently) 257 members. Each of the 24 Argentinian provinces elects a minimum of five deputies, calculated as three deputies plus one more per 161,000 population as at the 1980 census (an obvious historical anomaly that is yet to be rectified), subject to a five deputy minimum. Seats are allocated by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula, to all parties which win at least 3% of the vote in each province. Terms are four years, with half the representatives elected every two years (127 seats in one cycle, 130 in the other).

Argentina has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the legislature. The Presidente is directly elected for a four-year term by a modified the two-round runoff system (in which a first round result of at least 45% of the vote, or 40% together with a 10% lead on the runner-up, is sufficient for a first-round victory), and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. (last updated September 2015)

Armenia – a unicameral Azgayin zhoghov (National Assembly), an assembly of at least 101 members (plus 4 additional members with partial voting rights). An initial total of 101 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated by a composite of the closed party list and open party list systems of seat allocation to parties that win at least 5% (or coalitions of parties which win 7%) of the national vote, using the D’Hondt divisor formula.

Each of 13 electoral regions – 4 in the capital Yerevan and 9 in other regions – are allocated a number of seats, averaging around 8. Each party list must include at least 25% representation of nominees of each gender, with no more than three consecutive listed nominees being of the same gender; in practice, this ensures that at least every fourth listed candidate is female. Every voter is permitted to support only a single party, and may also vote for one local candidate from the local list of nominees of each party in their electoral region. Once the national total vote shares are known, the relative ratios of those vote shares won by each of the seat-eligible parties and coalitions is applied within each of the 13 electoral regions (that is, unlike in other region-based seat allocation systems, the vote shares won by parties within each region are not used) to allocate seat numbers to each party in each region. Once such seat numbers are identified and nationally aggregated, half of each party’s total national allotment is filed by nominees from each party’s national ‘closed’ list. The other half of each party’s successful nominees are drawn from the list of local electoral region nominees, with the D’Hondt formula again used to identify numbers of places in the electoral regions. Once the number of local seat awards for each party in each region is thus identified, these positions are then filled in the order of the personal vote totals won by local candidates, as happens in other ‘open’ list seat allocation systems. Thus the voters may influence the selection of up to around half the individual members of the Assembly, with the other half being pure party nominees. Leading party figures are therefore effectively guaranteed of appointment to the Assembly.

Once the initial allocation of seats is complete, the composition of the Assembly may then be modified by applying any of three additional rules. Firstly, if the leading party or coalition has won more than 50% of the vote but has failed to secure at least 54% of the total seats (initially, 55 seats) then it is awarded bonus seats to bring it up to at least 54% of the modified total number of seats.

Secondly, if a dominant party has won more than two thirds (67) of the initial 101 seats, then the non-government parties are (proportional to one another) awarded bonus seats to bring the seat share of the dominant party down to below two-thirds of the revised total number of seats.

Thirdly, if after a close election (in which the leading party fails to secure 50% of the national vote) an Assembly governing coalition of no more than two parties or election coalitions together representing 54% of the Assembly seats cannot be found within 6 days of the poll, a special second-round run-off vote between the two leading political parties/coalitions will be held within 28 days. The winner of this vote then receives bonus seats to bring it up to at least 54% of the revised total number of seats. (At the first election under this system in 2017, it appears that the governing Republican Party won only 49% of the national vote, but secured 54% of the seats, thus satisfying this rule immediately).

Finally, four additional seats in the Assembly are established for representatives of nation’s ethnic minorities – Yezidis, Russians, Assyrians and Kurds. These seats are all awarded to the nominees of the political party that led the national vote share. Parliamentary voting by these members is limited to issues of ethnic relevence.

Terms are 5 years.

Until 2017 Armenia had the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Naxagah (President), who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. From the formation of a parliament-based government after the April 2017 parliamentary elections, the position of President will convert to one of more limited ceremonial powers. (Last updated April 2017.)

Australia – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, an assembly of (currently) 150 members. Seats are divided among the six Australian states by the majority remainder allocation method using a quota derived from the current legislated number of Senators for the states and the population of each state. Any state allocated fewer than five seats by that calculation has its allocation increased to five in accordance with a constitutional minimum; currently only the state of Tasmania benefits from this alteration. The allocation of seats to each state is recalculated after every election, and redistributions of division boundaries are administered by an independent authority whenever a state’s seat allocation is altered, or in any case at least every seven years. Four additional seats are allotted by legislation to represent electors in the two main non-state territories. Members are directly elected to these seats in single member divisions by the compulsory preferential voting method. Terms are up to three years. This electoral system dates from 1902, modified by the adoption of preferential voting from 1918.

The upper house of Parliament is the Senate, an assembly of 76 members. Each of the six Australian states is allocated 12 seats, and each of the two main territories is allocated 2 seats. The state senators are elected in two three-year cycles, with six senators elected in each cycle at elections conventionally called for the same date as House of Representatives elections. In prescribed circumstances involving legislative disputes between the two houses the government may dissolve the Senate fully, resulting in all 12 state senators being elected at an early election, after which the two-phase rotation of terms of senators is restarted. The territory senators serve terms matching the term of the House of Representatives, and thus serve terms of three years or shorter. All Senate elections are conducted using the single transferable vote (STV) system, with the added feature that voters’ ballots allow them to either indicate preferences for the candidates individually, or indicate preferences between political parties as groups (known as ‘above-the-line‘ voting.)

Australia has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Queen and exercised by a Governor-General appointed by her. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House of Representatives. (Last updated January 2018.)

Austria – a bicameral Parlament of which the lower house is the Nationalrat (National Council), a composite assembly of 183 members. The 9 Austrian länder (provinces) are subdivided to give a total of 43 electoral divisions, each of which is allocated a share of the total of 183 seats in proportion to population. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation in three ascending stages based on party vote totals first in the electoral divisions, then in aggregate in the länd, and finally in aggregate nationally.

In the first stage, party vote totals in each local electoral division are divided by a simple (Hare) quota, and seats are allocated in each division to parties for each whole quota of votes they have won.

For the second stage, the total number of seats not allocated in the electoral divisions within each länd in the first stage is aggregated, and all unused votes from the divisions of each länd (ie: the votes within electoral divisions of all parties which did not win seats in the first stage, plus the remainders above quotas of the votes of parties which did win seats) are also aggregated. The resulting vote totals and numbers of seats available are then used in a fresh seat allocation, again using s simple quota, except that only parties with 4% of the länd-wide vote are eligible to win seats.

For the third stage, a similar practice of aggregating all unallocated seats and all unused votes at a national level is carried out, and the resulting numbers of votes and seats are used in a final seat allocation, this time using the D’Hondt formula, but only among parties which won 4% of the nation-wide vote.

At each stage, the determination of the individual candidates to receive each party’s seats is nominally by party list order. However at the same time as identifying their supported party each voter may mark ‘preferences’ on their ballot for up to three of the individual candidates of that party. Candidates move to the top of the party’s list if they are preferred by 14% of the voters supporting that party at the local division level, 10% at the land level, or 7% at the national level.

Terms are five years. This electoral system dates from 1920, with significant modifications in 1970 and 1982.[ii]

Austria has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional Bundespräsident who is directly elected. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Bundeskanzler (Chancellor) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Nationalrat. (last updated September 2015.)

Azerbaijan – a unicameral Milli Majlis (National Assembly), an assembly of 125 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are 5 years. The main opposition parties boycotted the most recent elections (November 2015).

Azerbaijan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Prezident, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. (Last updated December 2015.)

The Bahamas – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the House of Assembly, an assembly of 38 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are up to five years.

The Bahamas, a Commonwealth nation, has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Queen and exercised on her behalf by a Governor-General. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House of Assembly. (Last updated April 2017.)

Bangladesh – a unicameral Jatio Shôngshod (National Assembly), a composite assembly of 350 members. 300 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. A further 50 seats reserved for women are not directly elected but are allocated to parties in proportion to their share of the national vote for the local divisions. Members lose their seats automatically if they vote against or resign from the party in whose name they were elected. Terms are five years.

Bangladesh has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is elected by the Jatio Shôngshod. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Pradhānamantrī (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Jatio Shôngshod. (last updated September 2015.)

Belarus – a bicameral Nacyjanaĺny schod (National Assembly) of which the lower house is the Palata Pradstawnikow (House of Representatives), an assembly of 110 members. All members are directly elected in single member divisions by the two-round runoff method, with the additional requirement of a 50% turnout for a plurality win in the first round, and a 25 % turnout for a second round election, for a result to be valid. Terms are four years.

The quality of freedom of elections in Belarus is contested, and at the most recent elections in 2012 the main opposition parties called for a voter boycott. The government stated that turnout was around 66%, but critics alleged that it was around 30%. Virtually all the elected candidates were described as ‘independents’ but these were largely supporters of the ruling party.

Belarus has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by a President who in turn appoints a Prime Minister and government with the consent of the Palata Pradstawnikow. The President is directly elected for a five year term by the two-round runoff method system. (Last updated August 2015.)

Belgium – a bicameral Federaal Parlement (Dutch) or Parlement Federal (French), of which the lower house is the Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers or Chambre des Représentants (Chamber of Representatives), an assembly of 150 members. Seats are allocated among 11 electoral divisions[iii] in proportion to population, resulting in numbers of seats ranging from 4 to 24. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by open party list system of seat allocation using the D’Hondt divisor formula (the scholar Victor D’Hondt who first proposed the use of this method in 1899 was Belgian). Candidates must alternate in gender down the list order, although the open list approach allows voters to change the order in which final seats are allocated to party candidates. In 9 of the 11 divisions there is a minimum vote threshold of 5% for parties to be eligible for seats. The resulting assembly has an unusual voting procedure based on the division of the Belgian electorate into two ethnic/linguistic ‘language groups’, Flemish (Dutch-speaking) and Walloon (French-speaking). Each member of the Kamer is identifiable with one of the two groups. Five of the electoral divisions, to which 79 seats are allocated, elect exclusively Flemish representatives. Another five of the divisions, to which 49 seats are allocated, elect exclusively Walloon representatives. The final electoral division, in which Brussels is located, is allocated 22 seats and elects a mix of Flemish and Walloon representatives. The current national totals are 88 Flemish representatives and 62 Walloon representatives. Votes in the Kamer are only approved if they win a majority of delegate votes among both of the linguistic groups of delegates. Terms are five years. This electoral system dates from 1831, with significant modifications in 1899 and 1919 [iv].

Belgium has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the monarch. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Eerste Minister (Dutch) (Premier Ministre (French) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Parlement. (last updated September 2015.)

Belize – a bicameral National Assembly of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, an assembly of 31 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. A speaker may be appointed by the House from outside its members. Terms are 5 years.

Belize has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister, who hold office with the confidence of the House of Representatives. A president is limited to two terms of office. (Last updated December 2015.)

Benin – a unicameral Assembleé nationale (National Assembly), an assembly of 83 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Seats are allocated within 24 electoral divisions based on the nation’s departments. Terms are 4 years.

Benin has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A president is limited to two terms of office. (Last updated October 2015.)

Bhutan – a bicameral Chi Tshog (Parliament) of which the lower house is the Tshogdu (National Assembly), an assembly of 47 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by a modified form of the two-round runoff method. In the first round voters indicate only a simple preference among the available political parties contesting the election. The second round consists of contests in each of the single member divisions limited to the candidates of the two parties that achieved the two highest nationwide votes in the first round. Terms are 5 years.

Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy in which executive power is vested in the Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King). In 2008 the new monarch peacefully established a new system of a constitutional democracy, completing reforms initiated by his father in 2002. While the King still plays a prominent role in society, the system of government is now the plurality parliamentary one, in which most executive power is in practice exercised by the Lonchen (Prime Minister) and the government formed in the Tshogdu. (Last updated April 2018.)

Bolivia – a bicameral Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional (Plurinational Legislative Assembly) of which the lower house is the Cámara de Diputados (Chamber of Deputies), a composite assembly of 130 members. 70 deputies are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Of these 63 are ordinary geographical divisions and 7 are special divisions (geographically consisting of 7 of the 9 Bolivian ‘departments’ or regions) electing representatives of minority indigenous or campesino peoples. The remaining 60 members are not directly elected but seats are allocated to parties by the the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the Niemeyer method. Seats are allotted to each of the departments in proportion to population. While each of the departments has separate party lists, the vote shares used to determine the allocation of seats to parties is in every department the votes cast in the nation’s Presidential election, which occurs simultaneously with the Asamblea elections. In each department a simple quota is used as a threshold for party eligibility for the initial allocation of seats. A second simple quota is then calculated using only the votes won by those eligible parties, and parties are awarded seats for each of these latter quotas that their vote amounts to. If the full number of seats in a department is not allocated using this latter quota, the largest remainder formula is used to fill the remaining places, and at this final stage parties that did not meet the initial threshold are eligible to be allocated remainder seats. For the allocated seats the party lists must alternate between male and female candidates. Terms are 5 years.

Bolivia has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presidente, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A presidente is nominally limited to two terms of office, although the current presidente is serving a third term due to his first term preceding the introduction of the term limit rule. (Last updated April 2017.)

Bosnia and Herzegovina – a bicameral Parlamentarna skupština (Parliamentary Assembly) of which the lower house is the Predstavnički dom (Bosnian), Zastupnički Dom (Croat) or Представнички Дом (Serbian) (House of Representatives), an assembly of 42 members. When the nation was formed in 1995 it was divided into two federal entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBH) and Republika Srpska in which the distinct Bosniak and Croat (in FBH) and Serb populations would have greater security and self-determination. In the years since then the national political institutions have increased in importance. Members of the Predstavnički dom are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the Niemeyer method. 28 seats are allocated to FBH, and 14 to Republika Srpska. Each region is a single pool for the purposes of seat allocation. Candidate lists must include at least 40% candidates of each gender. Almost all political parties exist in only one of the two regions, and the party system is quite fragmented with 12 parties being allocated seats at the 2014 elections. Terms are 4 years.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is nominally vested in a joint three-person Predsjedništvo (Presidency) consisting of Bosniak and Croat members elected in FBH, and a Serb member elected in Republika Srpska, each elected separately by the plurality voting method to together serve a four-year term. However actual executive power is exercised by a Predsjednik Vijeća ministara (President of the Council of Ministers) who is nominated by the Predsjedništvo and must be endorsed by the Predstavnički dom. (Last updated December 2015.)

Botswana – a unicameral National Assembly, an assembly of 63 members. 57 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. An additional 4 members are selected by the National Assembly. The final two members are the President of the Republic and the Speaker of the National Assembly, the latter being selected by the Assembly from outside it’s ordinary membership. Terms are 5 years.

Botswana has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is selected by the National Assembly. A president is limited to a maximum term of ten years in office. (Last updated November 2015.)

Brazil – a bicameral Congresso Nacional of which the lower house is the Cámara de Deputados, an assembly of 513 members. Seats are allocated proportionally to the 26 states and the federal district, with each such division being allocated seats in proportion to population, but within a limited range of 8 to 70 seats, which results in malapportionment at both the upper and lower end of the range. The effect of this malapportionment favours representation of the smaller rural and regional states at the expense of the larger industrialised and urbanised states; the largest state of São Paulo would have around 110 seats, rather than 70, under an equal proportional allotment.

Deputies are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to political parties within each state and the federal district by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder formula. Votes may be cast for a party generally, or for an individual candidate, both of which are aggregated to derive a party vote total for use in the seat allocation. Only parties which achieve one full quota of votes are eligible to be allocated any seats in a state. Finally, the order of votes tallied for individual candidates is used to determine the allotment of party seats to individual candidates. Terms are for four years.

Brazil has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente (President) subject to only limited constraints from the legislature. The Presidente is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff system. Individuals are limited to 2 consecutive terms of office, but may run again after 2 terms out of office. (last updated December 2017.)

Bulgaria – a unicameral Narodno Sabranie (National Assembly) of which the sole house is an assembly of 240 members. Bulgaria is divided into 31 electoral divisions corresponding to the 28 Provinces of Bulgaria, with an additional two divisions for the city of Sofia and one for Plovdiv. The 240 seats are allocated among the 31 divisions in proportion to population, with seat numbers in the divisions ranging from 4 to 16. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the Niemeyer method, to parties which win 4% of the total national vote. Terms are for four years.

Bulgaria has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is directly elected by the two-round runoff system. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Ministar-predsedatel (Minister-President) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Narodno Sabranie. (Last updated March 2017.)

Burkina Faso – a unicameral Assemblée nationale (National Assembly), a composite assembly of 127 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder formula. 111 seats are allocated to 45 electoral divisions bases on the nation’s provinces in proportion to population, with seat numbers ranging from 2 to 9. The remaining 16 members are elected in a single national pool. Terms are 5 years.

Burkina Faso has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A president is limited to two terms of office.

Burkina Faso experienced civil unrest, extra-constructional government and a brief military coup during 2014-15, but the situation has returned to constitutional order with elections in November 2015. (Last updated April 2017.)

Burundi – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the National Assembly, a composite assembly of up to 121 members. 100 Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Seats are allotted among 17 electoral divisions in proportion to population. Parties must achieve at least 2% of the formal vote nationally to be eligible to be allocated seats in any electoral division. Party lists must be structured so that 60% of deputies are of the Hutu ethnic population, with the remaining 40% of the Tutsi ethnic population. Lists must also aim to ensure that 30% of seats are allocated to women. An additional 18 to 21 members are appointed by co-option to ensure that the ethnic and gender targets are satisfied, together with 3 of the co-opted members being of the Twa ethnic group. Terms are 5 years.

Burundi has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A president is nominally limited to two terms of office, however the rule is contested and the current President is serving a third term. (Last updated October 2015.)

Cabo Verde – a unicameral Assembleia Nacional, an assembly of 72 members. The nation is divided into 16 multi-member electoral divisions based on the various islands of the archipelago that are allotted between 2 and 15 seats in proportion to population. In these divisions 66 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using a combination of cumulative voting and the D’Hondt divisor formula. A final 6 members are elected to represent citizens living abroad, consisting of 2 members each from the rest of Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Terms are 5 years.

Cabo Verde has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is vested in the Presidente who is directly elected for a five-year term, but is in practice exercised by the Prime Minister who holds office with the confidence of the Assembleia. (Last updated December 2015.)

Cambodia – a bicameral Reastr ney Preăh Réachéanachâk (Parliament) of which the lower house is the Rotsaphea (National Assembly), an assembly of 123 members. Seats are allocated among the nation’s 21 provinces in proportion to population, with provincial allotments of seats ranging from 1 to 18. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Terms are 5 years.

Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy in which executive power is vested in the King, however in practice the nation has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which power is exercised by the Prime Minister who is selected by the Parliament prior to appointment by the King. (Last updated January 2018.)

Cameroon – a bicameral Parlement, of which the lower house is the Assemblée Nationale, an assembly of 180 members. There are 58 electoral divisions based on departments. In departmental divisions allocated a single seat members are directly elected by the plurality method. In divisions allotted multiple seats the members are not directly elected by seats are allocated using a closed party list system of seat allocation based on an unusual allocation method. If a party obtains an absolute majority of votes its list is allocated all the available seats. Otherwise the party with the highest vote is allocate half the available seats, and the remaining seats are allocated to other parties which won at least 5% of the vote in proportion to their vote shares relative to one another. Terms are 5 years.

Cameroon has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for seven-year terms. (Last updated November 2015.)

Canada – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the House of Commons or Chambre des communes, an assembly of 308 members (following the 2011 election), increasing to 338 members at the 2015 election. Each of the 10 Canadian provinces is allocated a number of seats determined by the population of the province at the preceding decennial national census (the most recent being that of 2011) divided by a predetermined quotient (which value was set at 111,166 for the 2014 redistribution, and is set to increase after each census according to a formula), rounded up. Each province is then allocated additional seats to ensure that it has at least as many members as it has national Senators (which numbers are specified for each province in the national Constitution), and also at least as many members as it had in the year 1985. These two rules have the practical effect of increasing the number of seats for the smaller provinces. After adjusting province seat allocations to satisfy the above two rules, each province will be then be allocated the smallest number of additional seats necessary to ensure that the ratio of seats in each province to the total number of all province seats (as the total stood after the first two rules were applied) is equal or greater than the ratio of the population of that province to the total population of all the provinces (with all population values being those as at the preceding decennial census). The third rule has the practical effect of increasing the allocations to the medium and larger sized provinces and bringing the whole allocation to all provinces into an approximately proportional final result. The application of these rules to the 2011 census population figures for each province yields a total of 335 seats for the 2015 election. Finally, one further seat in the House is allocated to each of the three non-province Territories. All the members are directly elected in single member divisions (‘ridings’) by the plurality voting method. Terms are up to four years.

Canada has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Queen and exercised by a Governor-General appointed by her. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House of Commons. (last updated July 2015.)

Central African Republic – a unicameral Assembleé nationale, an assembly of 105 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the two-round runoff method. Terms are 5 years.

The Central African Republic has had a difficult history since independence in 1060, which can best be classified as a presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who was generally directly elected for a six-year term by the two-round runoff method.

The National Assembly was dissolved in 2014 and new legislative elections will be held, after which a national unity government will be formed and a prime minister will be chosen from the opposition parties. These developments have yet to take place. (Last updated December 2015.)

Chad – a unicameral Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) of which the sole house is a composite assembly of currently 188 members. Each of 59 electoral divisions – the boundaries of which are based on local districts – is allocated a number of seats determined by the populations in those districts. Districts with a population below 50,000 are allotted one seat, those with populations over 50,000 two seats, and an additional member is allotted for every additional 40,000 residents. Electoral division seat allotments are the aggregate of the allotments of the districts within each region.

As at the 2011 election (the first since 2001) 25 of the electoral divisions were allotted a single member, who was elected using the two-round runoff method. The remaining 34 divisions were allotted seats in numbers ranging from 2 to 5. In these multi-member divisions parties nominate closed party lists of candidates equal to the number of seats available. If a party wins more than 50% of the vote in a division, all the seats are awarded to their list nominees. In any other case, the available seats are divided proportionally among the party lists using the highest remainder formula. Terms are four years.

Chadian politics has for many years dominated by the governing MPS party, with a fragmented array of small parties making up the remainder of the political landscape.

Chad has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidence (President) subject to only limited constraints from the legislature. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system. (Last updated April 2017.)

Chile – a bicameral Congreso Nacional of which the lower house is the Cámara de Diputados, an assembly of 155 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to political parties in 28 multi-member electoral divisions, electing between 3 and 8 members in proportion to population, using the open list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Terms are four years.

The current electoral system was introduced after 2015 (and first used in November 2017) replacing a unique ‘binomial’ system consisting of 60 two-member electoral divisions. The previous system, introduced by the former Pinochet regime in the 1980s, had involved both significant pro-rural malapportionment and was also by its nature severely discriminatory against small parties, effectively forcing Chilean political parties to merge into joint coalition candidate lists at election time. The new system instead requires political parties to be registered in at least 8 of the nation’s 15 provinces, or in at least 3 geographically contiguous provinces, to be eligible to run lists of candidates. This rule – together with the realities of many small-magnitude electoral divisions – continues to give parties an incentive to form into electoral alliances nominating joint lists.

Chile has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the legislature. The Presidente is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to a single immediate term of office. (Last updated November 2017.)

Colombia – a bicameral Congreso of which the lower house is the Cámara de Representantes, an assembly of (currently) 166 members. Each of the 32 Colombian departments (states) and the capitol district of Bogotá constitutes a separate electoral division. Each division elects two representatives plus one additional member for every 250,000 residents, or major fraction (125,000) thereof, above the first 250,000 residents. The total number of seats thus increases with population growth. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. In addition there are four special electoral divisions for the representation of Indian communities (electing 1 representative), Afro-Colombian communities (negritudes) (2 representatives), other minorities (1 representative), and for Colombian citizens abroad (1 representative). Members are directly elected to these single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are four years.

Colombia has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the legislature. The Presidente is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff method, and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. (Last updated January 2018.)

Comoros – a unicameral Assemblée de l’Union (Assembly of the Union), an assembly of 33 members. 24 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the two-round runoff method. The remaining 9 members are not directly elected but are selected by the local island assemblies of the three islands (Anjouan, Grande-Comore and Mohéli, selecting 3 members each). Terms are 5 years.

The Comoros has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a single four-year term by the two-round runoff method. The presidency rotates between candidates from the three islands in successive four-year terms. (Last updated December 2015.)

(Democratic Republic of the) Congo – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the National Assembly, a composite assembly of 500 members. The electoral divisions across the nation include 60 single member divisions and 109 multi-member divisions. The members in the 60 single member divisions are directly by the plurality voting method. The 440 members for the multi-member divisions are not directly elected but seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Terms are five years.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the Président (President) and also the Premier-ministre (Prime Minister). The Président is directly elected for a five-year term by the plurality method. The Premier-ministre is chosen on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the National Assembly. (last updated September 2015.)

Congo, Republic of The – a bicameral Parlement of which the lower house is the Assembleé nationale, an assembly of 139 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the two-round runoff method. Terms are 5 years.

Congo has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A president was until recently limited to two terms of office, but a referendum in October 2015 has approved he repeal of this rule, allowing the current president to run for a third term. (Last updated December 2015.)

Costa Rica – a unicameral Asamblea Legislativa (Legislative Assembly) of which the sole house is an assembly of 57 members. Seats are allocated in proportion to population among 7 electoral divisions which are based on the boundaries of the Costa Rican provinces. The division based on the capital San Jose is allocated 21 seats, with other divisions allocated between 4 and 11. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties within each provincial division by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Deputies are barred from re-election for consecutive terms. Terms are four years.

Costa Rica has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by a Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the Asamblea. The Presidente is directly elected for a four-year term by a modified plurality voting system, constrained by the rule that if the leading candidate fails to secure 40% of the vote, the top two candidates recontest a second round of voting. Individuals are barred from re-election for consecutive terms. (Last updated January 2018.)

Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) – a unicameral Assemblée nationale (National Assembly), an assembly of 255 members. Members are directly elected in 154 conscriptions (electoral divisions). In conscriptions allotted one seat the plurality voting method is used, while in those with two or more seats the block voting (scrutin de list) method is used. Terms are 5 years.

Côte d’Ivoire has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. (Last updated April 2017.)

Croatia – a unicameral Hrvatski Sabor (National Assembly) of which the sole house is an assembly of 151 members. 140 seats are allocated to 10 electoral divisions, each of 14 seats. The electoral division boundaries are not based on local administrative boundaries, but are special boundaries drawn according to a legal requirement that each division’s population of voters varies by no more than 5% from the mean. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula, to parties which win at least 5% of the total vote in that division. A further 8 seats are reserved for representatives of Croatia’s 22 ethnic minorities (3 of these seats being for Serbian voters). Finally, 3 seats are allocated to representatives of Croatians living overseas. These two additional groups of seats are also filled by party list seat allocation systems. Terms are four years.

Croatia has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Predsjednik Hrvatske (President), a constitutional president who is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to two terms of office. However, primary executive power is exercised by the Premijer (Prime Minister), nominated by the Predsjednik on the basis of the confidence of a majority in the Sabor. The Predsjednik and the Premijer share some foreign relations and defence roles. (Last updated September 2015.)

Cuba – a unicameral Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular (National Assembly of People’s Power), an assembly of 612 members. All members are semi-elected in multi-member divisions of between 2 to 5 members, with seats determined by a ratio of one for every 20,000 residents. Nomination is not free to all citizens, but is organized through ‘municipality commissions’ and also workers’ representative organisations administered by the ruling political party. The nomination process results in one candidate being nominated for each available seat, but elections are still held and each candidate must secure 50% of the vote to confirm their seat, failing which a new candidate will be sought through a fresh nomination process. Terms are five years.

Cuba has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by a Presidente (being the President both of the nation and also of the Council of State, and also referred to as either Prime Minister or Premier). The President is chosen by the Asamblea Nacional (although since 1959 only the brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro have held the office). (Last updated January 2018.)

Cyprus – a unicameral Vouli ton Antiprosópon (Greek, also Temsilciler Meclisi (Turkish), House of Representatives), an assembly of 80 members. Seats are allocated in a 7:3 ratio between voters (and candidates) from each of the Greek (56 seats) and Turkish (24 seats) Cypriot ethnic communities. Since the political division of Cyprus in 1963 the Turkish community places have not been filled. The 56 seats currently filled by Greek Cypriot voters are allocated in proportion to population to 6 electoral divisions based on the boundaries of administrative districts. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Voters may mark one individual candidate preference for every four seats available in their electoral division. Terms are up to five years. The Vouli also has 3 non-voting observer members representing the Maronite, Latin and Armenian ethnic minorities.

Cyprus has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President subject to a division of responsibilities and powers shared with the Vouli, which is formally independent of the President. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system, but under a policy of balancing ethnic divisions candidates for the position must be Cypriot citizens of the Turkish ethnicity. (Last updated April 2017.)

Czech Republic (Czechia)– a bicameral Parlament of which the lower house is the Poslanecká Sněmovna (Chamber of Deputies), an assembly of 200 members. For the election of the Poslanecká Sněmovna the nation is divided into 14 electoral divisions based on administrative regions. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt method[viii], to parties which win 5% of the total vote in that region (for multi-party coalition lists the threshold is higher: 5% per party included, up to a maximum threshold of 20%). Voters mark ballots with up to four preferences for individual candidates within their chosen list. Individual candidates who receive more than 5% of the preferences on the ballots supporting their party are raised up to the top of the list order for allocating seats won. Terms are four years.

The Czech Republic has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is elected by a joint session of the Parlament. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Předseda Vlády (Prime Minister, or Chairman of the Government) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Poslanecká Sněmovna. (Last updated September 2015.)

Denmark – a unicameral Folketinget, a composite assembly of 179 members. 175 of the members are indirectly elected by a partially open party list system of levelled seat allocation. Each voter may vote for a party list, for one of the candidates on a party list (which vote will be counted as a vote for that party), or for an independent candidate (whose votes are counted as if she were a party). 135 seats are filled in 17 electoral divisions based on the 10 Danish districts by the open party list system of seat allocation using the D’Hondt divisor formula. 40 supplementary seats are then allotted so that the total seats for each party is equal to a proportional share of the 175 seats, calculated by the Sainte-Lague method. Parties must either pass the threshold of 2% of the national vote or win a division (district) seat to be eligible for supplementary seats. The party list system is a blend of ‘open’ or ‘closed’ approaches; each party may choose from among a number of methods for how the seats won by that party are distributed among its individual candidates. Parties may choose an open list approach, but the closed party list order is the common method, and the threshold for the personal vote for an individual candidate to override the list order is very high. Finally, Danish citizens in the overseas territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands each elect two members to the Folketinget by the SNTV direct election voting method. Terms are up to four years. This electoral system dates from 1849, with significant modifications in 1855 (trialling aspects of the early STV system proposed by Carl Andrae), 1915, 1920 and 1953.[ix][x]

Denmark has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Queen. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Statsminister (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Folketinget. (Last updated July 2015.)

Djibouti – a unicameral Assemblée Nationale of which the sole house is an assembly of 65 members. Seats are allocated among six electoral divisions in proportion to population, in numbers ranging from 3 to 35. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation. Instead of a standard proportionality formula, however, in each division the party list that obtains the plurality of the vote is awarded 80% of the seats for that division. The remaining 20% are allocated proportionally to parties that won at least 10% of the vote, using the highest average formula, but if there are no such other parties then these seats are also awarded to the majority party. Terms are five years.

Until 2012 the electoral system provided that the plurality party would be awarded all the seats for a division. From 1999 to 2013 this highly distortionary system saw the dominant RPP party and its coalition partners hold all 65 seats. RPP has not been out of office since national institutions of government were established in 1979. Djiboutian elections are regularly boycotted and their integrity is highly disputed.

Djibouti has the presidential system of government, in which executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is directly elected for five year terms, nominally by the two-round runoff method, although no recent election has seen the RPP candidate win less than 80% of the official vote. The President appoints a Prime Minister and cabinet. (Last updated April 2017.)

Dominican Republic – a bicameral Congreso Nacional (National Congress) of which the lower house is the Cámara de Diputados (Chamber of Deputies), an assembly of currently 190 members. 178 seats are allocated in 32 Circuncriptions (electoral divisions) based on the provinces and the national capital district, on the basis of one deputy per 50,000 inhabitants or remainder in excess of half that quota, provided that each province must have at least two deputies in total. At the most recent elections in 2012 this formula resulted in 178 seats. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. As at late 2015 new electoral regulations had been issued to convert the system to a closed party list one, in response to which the Congreso passed legislation, yet is to be ratified by the President, reinstating the open list approach (see this comment by Matthew Shugart). A further 5 seats are elected on a national basis “for accumulations of votes”, and a final 7 members are elected from among citizens who are resident oversees. Terms are 4 years, however the Cámara elected in 2010 will last for 6 years to allow for a synchronisation of legislative and presidential elections in 2016.

The Republic has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A president is limited to a single consecutive term of office, but may run again at future elections after a term out of office. (Last updated October 2015.)

Ecuador – a unicameral Asamblea Nacional (National Assembly), a composite assembly of 137 members. 116 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. A further 15 seats are not directly elected, but are allocated to parties in a national pool by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Finally there are 3 divisions each of 2 seats for representatives of citizens living aboard, using the SNTV method. Terms are 4 years.

Ecuador has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method, with the proviso that if a candidate scores 40% of the vote and is 10% ahead of their nearest rival, that candidate wins on the first round. A president is limited to two 4-year terms of office. (Last updated April 2017)

Egypt – a unicameral Majlis Al-Sha’ab (People’s Council), a composite assembly of 596 members. The composition of the Majlis, and related election laws, were significantly reorganised during 2014-15 and now constitute an unusual electoral system. 448 members are directly elected in electoral divisions of 1, 2 or 3 seats by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method (which amounts to the plurality voting method in those divisions that have just one seat). Candidates for these directly elected seats are not permitted to nominate under the name of a political party, although ‘affiliation’ with parties for campaign purposes is tolerated. The remaining 120 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the slate list system, in which the registered list (which may consist of a party, a coalition of parties, and/or individual persons) that achieves the plurality of votes in the division (provided that the list’s vote represents at least 5% of registered voters) wins all the available seats. The lists for these allocated seats are ‘closed’ lists including the full number of candidates needed to fill the available seats. For this seat allocation component the nation is divided into 4 electoral divisions which are based on the boundaries of ‘governorates’ (administrative regions), and consist of two divisions of 45 seats and two divisions of 15 seats. For both the directly elected and list-allocated seats, the nation is divided into two halves which vote in separate stages a few weeks apart. (In the 2015 elections, in stage one 226 elected seats and 60 allocated seats were contested, while in stage two 222 elected and 60 allocated seats were contested.) Official approval processes for candidates are quite stringent. In the 2015 elections one media report stated that 346 candidates were rejected on the basis of medical tests detecting “drug use”, including persons found to have used opium, hashish, or Tramadol (a prescription painkiller), while other nominations were rejected due to inappropriate obligatory postal addresses or campaign bank account details. In 2015 nominations of lists for the allocated seat divisions resulted in three divisions having four nominated lists, while in the division of East Delta only a single list was approved, resulting in those seats (15) being awarded without contest. Election laws also strictly constrain election campaign spending and the time periods within which campaigning is legally permitted, and in addition the use of religious or racial slogans or religious premises during campaigning is prohibited and can void a candidates’ nomination. The President of the republic appoints the final 28 members to the Majlis. Terms are 5 years.

Egypt has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Rỷys (President), who is directly elected for a 4-year term by the two-round runoff system. A president is limited to two terms of office. (Last updated November 2015)

Éire – a bicameral Oireachtas (Legislature) of which the lower house is the Dáil Éireann (literally ‘Assembly of Ireland’, but also translatable as National Assembly), an assembly currently of 158 members. TeachtaiDála (members) are directly elected in 40 multi-member divisions (termed ‘constituencies’) by the single transferable vote (STV) method. Éire is one of only two nations in the world – the other being Malta – to elect its lower house by this method. The STV method, used in Ireland since 1921, was entrenched in the national constitution in 1937 and two referendum attempts (in 1959 and 1968) to replace it with plurality voting were rejected by the electorate. The Constitution also sets the minimum number of seats in a division at three, and requires that the overall ratio of members in each division to population must fall between 1:20,000 and 1:30,000. Legislative provisions adopted in 2011 provide that the number of members must be between 153 and 160, causing the 2016 election to see a fall in the number of members from 166 to 158. Constituency boundaries are reviewed by an independent commission at least every 12 years to reflect changes in population distribution and to minimise malapportionment; the most recent revision applies from the 2016 election. Each electoral division is allocated either 3, 4 or 5 seats, and the specific seat allocations to divisions are recalculated for each election. At the 2016 elections there were 13 three-member divisions, 16 four-member divisions and 11 five-member divisions. If at an election the sitting presiding officer of the Dáil (the Ceann Comhairle) does not retire, he or she is deemed to have been automatically re-elected in their constituency, and that constituency elects one fewer member than its initial allocation of seats. Candidate names are listed on ballot papers in individual alphabetical order in a single column. By-elections are held using preferential voting, which often causes the vacant seat to change hands between parties. Terms are up to five years.

Éire has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a directly elected constitutional Uachtarán (President). However, actual executive power is exercised by the Toiseach (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Dáil. (Last updated March 2017)

El Salvador – a unicameral Asamblea Legislativa, an assembly of 84 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. The 84 seats are allocated to electoral divisions based on the nation’s 14 regional departments, which are allotted numbers of seats in proportion to population (currently ranging from 3 to around 20). Voters may mark preferences for any number of individual candidates from within or across parties, but their vote will be divided into fractions (totalling one vote) using such preference marks for the purpose of determining the total ‘number of votes’ achieved by each party list. Once the numbers of seats to allocate to each party list are calculated, the preference totals for individual candidates are again used to determine which individual candidates are awarded seats. Terms are 3 years.

El Salvador has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presidente, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A presidente is limited to a single consecutive term of office. (Last updated January 2018.)

Equatorial Guinea – a bicameral Parlamento of which the lower house is the Cámara de los Diputados (Chamber of Deputies), an assembly of 100 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation. Parties must achieve 10% of the vote nationwide to be eligible to be allocated any seats. Terms are five years.

Equatorial Guinea is effectively a one-party state, with the dominant PDGE party winning 99 out of 100 seats at the most recent elections in 2013. Only 8 opposition members have ever been elected to the Cámara since its establishment.

Equatorial Guinea has the presidential system of government, in which executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is (nominally) directly elected for five year terms by the two-round runoff method. Current president Teodoro Obiang has been in office since 1979. The President appoints a Prime Minister and cabinet. (Last updated April 2017)

Estonia – a unicameral Riigikogu of which the sole house is an assembly of 101 members. Seats are allocated in proportion to population among 12 electoral divisions, in numbers ranging from 6 to 13 seats. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by an open party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Votes are cast for individual candidates, each of which is identified by party. Within each division a simple Hare quota is determined. An individual candidate who wins that quota of votes within their division is assured of a seat. The sum of the votes for candidates in each party is then examined, and for each full quota of votes a party receives they are allocated one seat. Seats allocated to parties are then awarded to individual candidates in order of their individual votes (including any candidates who won a quota in their own name). Any seats allocated to divisions that are not won through these initial calculations are then pooled and allocated nationally to parties or coalitions which won 5% of the total vote nationwide to achieve a ‘levelled’ proportional distribution of seats. Terms are up to four years.

Estonia has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is elected by the Riigikogu. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Peaminister (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Riigikogu. (Last updated September 2015)

Ethiopia – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the House of People’s Representatives or Yehizb Tewekayoch Mekir Bete (Amharic), an assembly of 547 members. 525 members are elected in local single member divisions )’constituencies’) by the plurality voting method, and 22 additional seats are reserved for representatives of minority nationalities and peoples). The party configuration of Ethiopia is a single-dominant-party system, with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front party winning 500 of the 547 seats at the 2015 elections. Terms are up to five years.

Ethiopia has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is directly elected by the House of People’s Representatives. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House. (Last updated December 2011)

Fiji – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, an assembly of 50 members. Members are not directly elected but are allocated to political parties using the closed party list system of seat allocation. The nation is a singe electoral division. Only parties which achieve 5% of the national vote share are eligible to be allocated seats. Terms are five years.

Fiji has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is elected by the Fijian Great Council of Chiefs. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House of Representatives. (last updated September 2015)

Finland – a unicameral Eduskunta (Parliament of Finland) of which the sole house is an assembly of 200 members. Seats are allocated in proportion to population among 15 electoral divisions. One division (the island of Åland) is allocated a single seat, and a member is directly elected by the plurality method. The other 14 divisions are each allocated 6 or more members, in proportion to their populations. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. There is no minimum vote threshold for parties to be eligible for seats. Overall representation of parties in the Suomen is not made proportional to national vote totals by any formal mechanism. Terms are up to four years. This electoral system dates from 1919.[xiii]

Finland has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is directly elected. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Pääministeri (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Eduskunta. (last updated September 2015)

France – a bicameral Parlement of which the lower house is the Assemblée Nationale, an assembly of 577 members. 566 electoral divisions, termed circonscriptions, are divided among the 101 French Départements based on a target population (currently around 100,000 persons), and electoral law specifies that circonscription boundaries must be drawn so that variations of population between the divisions within each Département do not lead to a circonscription exceeding more than 20% the average population of the circonscription of the Département. (The most recent review of boundaries was done in advance of the 2017 elections.) An additional 11 circonscriptions are established for French citizens living overseas.

Members are directly elected in the circonscriptions by a form of the two-round runoff method – which is in practice a plurality method with an initial round of eliminations, and a capacity for transfer of voter support from eliminated or withdrawn candidates. If a candidate wins votes in the first round equal to a majority of the formal votes cast in their division, and also at least 25% of the total number of registered voters in their division, they are elected in that round. (There are rare instances of candidates winning a majority of votes in the first round but failing to achieve the second criterion where voter turnout is unusually low.) If there is no such winner, all candidates who poll in excess of 12.5% of the total number of registered voters in their division (or, if fewer than two candidates meet that condition, the two highest-placed candidates) run in a second round, which is determined by the plurality voting method. Instances where three candidates proceed to the second round are not uncommon, but bargaining between parties usually sees the tactical withdrawal of nominations between rounds.

The elections of April-May 2017 upended the traditional situation where the leading centre-left and centre right parties dominated most seats contests. As a result, the En Marche party of President Macron won a very distorted number of seats in the Assemblée.

Terms are up to five years.[xiv] This electoral system dates from 1875, with a brief modification to a system of party seat allocation used at the 1986 elections.[xv]

France has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the Président (President) and also the Premier Ministre (Prime Minister). The Président is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. The Premier Ministre is chosen on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Assemblée Nationale. (Last updated December 2017.)

Gabon – a bicameral Parlement of which the lower house is the Assemblée nationale (National Assembly), an assembly of 120 members. The nation is divided into 9 electoral divisions based on the nation’s provinces, which are allotted numbers of seats ranging from 9 to 18. Members are elected by the ‘absolute majority vote’, the details of which are unclear even from the Parline database, but which appear to be the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method. Terms are 5 years.

Gabon has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a seven-year term by the two-round runoff method. (Last updated April 2017)

Gambia – a unicameral National Assembly, an assembly of 53 members. 48 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. The remaining 5 members are appointed by the President. Terms are 5 years.

Gambia has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff method. (Last updated December 2015)

Georgia – a unicameral Sakartvelos parlament’i (Parliament of Georgia), a composite assembly of 150 members. 73 members are directly elected in single member divisions  by a hybrid plurality voting/two-round runoff system, where if the first round plurality winner falls short of 30% of the formal vote, the contest goes to a second round. The other 77 seats are not directly elected, but are allocated within 11 electoral regions to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation. Only parties achieving 5% of the formal vote nationally are entitled to be allocated seats. Terms are 4 years.

In the most recent elections in 2011 the provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia did not vote due to their effective separation from the Georgian state.

Georgia has the ppremier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method, and the Prime Minister, who is nominated by and accountable to the Parlament’i. (Last updated April 2017)

Germany – A bicameral Bundestag (Federal Assembly) of which the lower house, also termed the Bundestag, is a composite assembly of approximately 598 members. The Bundestag system of levelling, developed in the 1950s, was the first of the mixed-member proportional electoral systems.  Voters cast votes on two distinct ballots, one for local division candidates (the Erststimmen or ‘first vote’) and one for parties nationally (the Zweitstimmen or ‘second vote’).

299 local divisions are divided proportionally among the 16 German Land (states) in proportion to population. Using the Erststimmen, members for the 299 single member divisions are directly elected by the plurality voting method.

Using the Zweitstimmen, a supplementary number of at least 299 seats are allocated to parties using the closed party list system of seat allocation in the numbers required such that the party composition of the whole assembly is proportional to the national total votes for each party. Seats are  distributed among all parties that have either won more than 5% of the total national Zweitstimmen vote, or won at least three Erststimmen local member divisions. (National parties representing ethnic minorities (such as the Danish community in Schleswig-Holstein or the Sorb people in Saxony) are excused from the election threshold due to the Constitutional imperative to protect such minorities. However no party representing these peoples has won seats in recent decades.) Each seat-eligible party is allocated supplementary seats proportionally using the Sainte-Laguë/Schepers method. Each party’s seat entitlement is then distributed between the Lander in proportion to the party’s national vote results in each of the Lander. (Note that this may not result in the total number of members from each Land being proportional to the populations of each land).

Depending on the configuration of parties achieving the 5% Zweitstimmen national threshold, the parties’ relative second-vote vote shares, and their numbers of Erststimmen seat wins, the rules for mathematical proportionality are capable of distorting the number of supplementary seats significantly upward from the nominal total of 299. If a party has won more local divisions in a Land than it is entitled to according to the calculation described above, the relevant seats (termed ‘overhang seats’) are nevertheless awarded to the local candidate and the total size of the Bundestag is increased to maintain the desired party proportionality. In recent elections the number of these overhang seats has risen as a result of the two largest parties receiving decreasing shares of the total party vote while continuing to win almost all the local electoral division seats. Following a 2011 constitutional court ruling that this result was unacceptable because it amounted to a breach of the principle of equality of voter influence, an electoral rule has been adopted whereby additional party list seats are created to compensate for overhang seats, so as to ensure proportionality among the parties in the Bundestag relative to each such party’s share of the total national vote.

In 2017 an acute form of distortion occurred, with the Bavarian Christian Social Union party winning all 46 local seats in Bavaria, but only around 6% of the national second-vote, while four minor parties won between 8% and 14% national vote shares. The consequence was that the number of supplementary seats expanded from 299 to 410, resulting in a Bundestag of a total of 709 members.

Finally, each party’s final supplementary entitlement of seats in each Land is awarded to specific candidates. Since individual candidates may be both nominated for a local division and also be placed on the regional party lists, seats are first ‘confirmed’ for candidates who have won local divisions in that Land, and any remaining seats are filled from other candidates on the party list.

Terms of the Bundestag are up to four years.[xvi]

Germany has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Bundespräsident, a constitutional president who is elected by a convention consisting of both houses of the Bundestag supplemented by regional legislators. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Bundeskanzler (Federal Chancellor) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the lower house Bundestag. (Last updated December 2017.)

Ghana – A unicameral Parliament, the sole house of which is an assembly of 275 members. All members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Divisions boundaries are reviewed every 7 years or following each national census. Terms are four years.

Ghana has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, subject to a division of responsibilities and powers shared with the Parliament that is formally independent of the Presiden. The President is directly elected for a four year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. (last updated September 2015)

Greece – A unicameral Vouli ton Ellinon (Parliament of the Hellenes) of which the sole house is an assembly of 300 members. Greece is divided into 56 electoral divisions based on regional administrative divisions (nomoi); the two largest nomoi, Attica and Thessaloniki, are divided into five and two divisions electoral districts respectively. The number of seats allocated to each electoral division is in proportion to population, determined every ten years following census. As at 2015, 48 of the divisions are multi-member, the largest being ‘Athens B’ with 42 seats, although most have fewer than 10 seats. Eight divisions are allotted only a single seat, and in these single member divisions members are directly elected using the plurality method. Across the 48 multi-member divisions a total of 230 seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the Hagenbach-Bischoff/D’Hondt formula, but only among parties which receive 3% of the total national vote. (If early elections are held with 18 months of previous elections, the system used closed, rather than open, party lists.) A complex formula then distributes the determined party seat allocations across the multi-member divisions so that the divisional seat totals are also met. Voters may mark their ballots with preferences for a limited number of individual candidates – between 1 and 4 depending on the number of seats allocated to their electoral division – and the individual candidate totals are used to determine the order in which seats are allocated to candidates to fill each party’s seat allocation in each division. Next, the party which received the most votes is allocated a bonus of 50 seats, which are filled drawing on candidates from the electoral division lists who are not already elected. (The overall result of this complex allocation system often generates anomalous numbers of individual candidates elected within electoral divisions compared to the enrolments and the actual voting results in the division.) Finally, the remaining 12 seats are filled by seat allocation to parties from separate national closed lists, using the original party national vote totals. Terms are up to four years.

Greece has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is elected by the Vouli. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Pro̱thypourgós (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Vouli. (Last updated April 2017)

Guatemala – a unicameral Congreso, a composite assembly of 158 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. 127 seats are allocated within 23 electoral divisions based on the 22 departments of Guatemala, the capital department being subdivided into two electoral divisions. Seats are allotted to divisions in proportion to population, resulting in the two capital divisions having 11 and 19 seats, while the other departmental divisions vary in seat allotments between 1 and 10 seats. The remaining 31 seats are allocated to parties on a national basis using separate party lists. Terms are 4 years.

Guatemala has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presidente, who is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff method. (Last updated October 2015)

Guinea – a unicameral National Assembly, a composite assembly of 114 members. 38 members are directly elected in single member divisions based on the nation’s ‘communes’ (administrative districts) by the plurality voting method. The remaining 76 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation in a single national pool using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Terms are 5 years.

Guinea has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a five-year term. (Last updated November 2015.)

Guinea-Bissau – a unicameral Assembleia Nacional Popular (National People’s Assembly), an assembly of 102 members. 100 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties in 27 multi-member electoral divisions by the closed party list system of seat allocation. The final two seats are for representatives of citizens living abroad elected in two single-member divisions, one for residents of other places in Africa and the other for residents of Europe. Terms are 4 years.

Guinea-Bissau has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presidente, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. Guinea-Bissau has an unfortunate history of political instability (the most recent military coup in 2012 seeing the constitution suspended and later reinstated) and no presidente has completed a full five-year term since independence was achieved in 1973-4. (Last updated December 2015)

Guyana – a unicameral National Assembly of which the sole house is a composite assembly of at least 65 and up to 72 members. None of the seats are directly elected. 40 seats are filled by the closed party list system of seat allocation from national party lists using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. A further 25 seats are allocated among 10 regional divisions, and these more local positions are also filled by the same closed list system. Up to six unelected executive ministers may also be appointed by the government to sit in the Assembly, but they are non-voting members. Finally, if the Assembly wishes, a non-member may also be appointed as Speaker, creating one additional seat. Terms are five years.

Guyana has the premier-presidential system of government in which executive authority is vested in a President who is directly elected. The leader of the party winning the most votes at each Assembly election assumes the office of President for the term of the Assembly. The President however shares actual executive power with a Prime Minister drawn from the Assembly. (Last updated April 2017)

Haiti – a bicameral Parlement of which the lower house is the Chambre des Députés (Chamber of Deputies), an assembly of 119 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the two-round runoff method. In the first round a candidate is elected if they achieve either 50% of the formal vote or a lead of 25% of the formal vote over the second-placed candidate. Terms are 4 years.

Haiti has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. (Last updated October 2015)

Honduras – a unicameral Congreso Nacional, an assembly of 128 members. Seats are allotted among the 18 Honduran departments in proportion to population. In departmental divisions allocated just 1 seat, election of members is direct by the plurality voting method. All other members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Terms are 4 years.

Honduras has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A president is limited to two terms of office. (Last updated January 2018.)

Hungary – A unicameral Az Orszag Haza or Országgyűlés (National Assembly or Diet) of which the sole house is a composite assembly of 199 members. 106 seats are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method.

A further 93 seats are not directly elected but are filled on a nationwide basis by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. In addition to their ballots for one of the 106 local electoral divisions, voters cast a second ballot indicating their preferred national party. Thresholds for parties to be allocated any of the 93 proportional seats are 5% of the national vote share for single parties, 10% for two-party coalitions, and 15% for coalitions of three or more parties.

The actual vote tallies for each party used in the allocation of the 93 seats are the sum of their second-ballot votes together with all votes cast for the party’s candidates in local electoral divisions which were (i) unsuccessful in electing a candidate, or (ii) the number of votes for successful candidates that were above the tally for each division’s second-placed candidate (ie: the margin of victory). (This rule does not guarantee any overall proportionality of seats. In the two elections held since this system was established (2014 and 2018) the Fidesz party has swept almost all the 106 local electoral division seats, and the final overall seat numbers have not been proportional to national vote shares, with Fidesz winning a final total of around 67% of the seats in the Országgyűlés on each occasion despite national vote shares of 44% and 48%.)

In addition, political parties representing any of 13 specified national minorities, which receive votes exclusively from voters registered as belonging to those parties, are allocated a first seat in the D’hondt formula calculations to allocate the 93 seats as if each such party’s vote was 4 times its actual vote.

Terms are 4 years.

Hungary has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is elected by the Országgyűlés. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Miniszterelnök (Minister-President) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Országgyűlés. (Last updated January 2018.)

Iceland – A unicameral Alþingi or Althing (General Assembly) of which the sole house is an assembly of 63 members. 54 seats are allocated among six electoral divisions. The numbers of seats for each division is adjusted for each election to take account of population changes; at the 2016 elections the base seat allotments ranged from 7 to 11. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties within each division by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. The selection of successful individual candidates within each party’s final allotted number of seats in each division is determined by a partially open list process, with voters’ rankings of candidates are used to alter the candidate order of each party list in a limited manner, using a scoring system based on the Borda count method. A final 9 levelling seats are allocated to parties that win at least 5% of the national vote so as provide that final representation of each such party is as closely proportional as possible to their share of the national vote total. The 9 individual candidates appointed under this rule are drawn from existing divisional candidate lists, based on relative party performance in each division and then using the earlier individual candidate vote scores, such that each of the six electoral divisions provides either 1 or 2 of the additional members. Terms are up to four years. Iceland has very high election participation rates, typically over 85%, even though voting is voluntary.

Iceland has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Forseti, a constitutional president who is directly elected. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Forsætisráðherra (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Alþingi. (Last updated April 2017)

India – A bicameral Bhārat kī Sansad (Parliament) of which the lower house is the Lok Sabha (House of the People), an assembly of (currently) 545 members. Up to 530 seats are allocated to single member divisions in the 28 Indian states, and up to 20 seats are allocated to single member divisions in the 7 Union Territories. At present there are 543 such divisions in total. In each state or territory some divisions are reserved to elect representatives of legally identified castes and tribes according to India’s ‘reservation’ policy for the advancement of these disadvantaged ethnic and social groups. Members are directly elected to all the divisions by the plurality voting method. Finally, 2 additional members may be nominated by the President of India from among the Anglo-Indian community if the President believes that they are not adequately represented. Terms are up to five years.

India has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is directly elected by an assembly consisting of the two houses of Parliament and regional representatives. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Bharat ke Pradhan Mantri (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Lok Sabha. (last updated July 2015)

Indonesia – A bicameral Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat (People’s Consultative Assembly) of which the lower house is the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (People’s Representative Council, or DPR), an assembly of 560 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated in 33 electoral divisions by a partially open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Electoral divisions are formed from provinces or from subdivisions of the larger provinces, and are allocated seats in proportion to population. Division magnitudes range from 3 to 10 seats. Only parties which win 3.5% of the total vote nationwide are eligible to be allocated seats in any division. Allocation of seats to parties within each division is . The party list system is ‘open list’ in the sense that voters can mark a preference for an individual candidate and any candidate who receives more than 30% of the seat quota for their electoral division is moved to the top of the party’s list. Terms are up to five years.

Indonesia has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presiden (President) subject to a division of responsibilities and powers shared with the Majelis, which is formally independent of the Presiden. The Presiden is directly elected for a five-year term by a modified two-round runoff system. Presidential nominations are restricted to the legislative political parties and nomination rights are based on parties (or combinations of parties) receiving a specified vote share, or winning a specified number of seats, in the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat elections which precede the presidential elections. Parties must put forward a ticket consisting of a presidential and a vice-presidential candidate from different provinces. If there are 3 or more presidential tickets, to win in the first round a ticket must win 50% of the vote nationally and also at least 20% of the vote in more than half of the provinces of Indonesia. Presidents are limited to 2 terms of office. (Last updated April 2017)

Iran – The institutions of government in Iran are more numerous and interconnected that the traditional three-branch model in use in most nations. In addition to a president and executive government, a legislature and a judiciary, Iran boasts additional institutions including the Vali-e faghih-e (Guardian Jurist, the effective head of state, known colloquially in English as the Supreme Leader), the Shora-ye Negahban-e Qanun-e Assassi (Guardian Council of the Constitution, responsible for vetting candidates for other public offices), and the Majles-e Khobregane-e Rahbari (Assembly of Experts on the Leadership, responsible for appointing the Vali-e faghih-e every 8 years).

For a legislature Iran has a unicameral Majlese Ŝourāye Melli (Islamic Consultative Assembly) an assembly of 290 members. The Shora-ye Negahban-e has the power to approve all candidates for election to the Majlese (and also the power of approval over all legislation). 285 members are directly elected to the Majlese in 207 electoral divisions which are a mix of single member and multi-member divisions. Single member divisions are filled by the plurality voting method, and multi-member divisions by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method. However in each case a minimum of 25% of the votes cast is required for a candidate to be awarded a seat in the first round of voting. In any division where seats remain unfilled under that condition, only a number of lead candidates up to twice the number of available vacancies in the division go forward to a second round of voting, and results there require only a simple plurality. Five final seats are reserved for ethnic minorities, including 1 seat for each of Zoroastrians, Jews, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, Armenian Christians in the north of the country and Armenian Christians in the south of the country. These seats are filled by direct election using the plurality rule, in what are effectively nation-wide polls. Terms are for 4 years.

The Majles-e Khobregane-e Rahbari, an assembly of around 88 islamic scholars, is also publicly elected every 8 years. Candidacy is limited to islamic jurists and scholars of at least the rank of Ayatollah. The Majles-e Khobregane-e’s primary function is to renew the appointment of the Vali-e faghih-e every 8 years, or to fill the office should it fall vacant.

Subject to the complexities of its unique multi-institutional governance arrangements, Iran may be said to have the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Ra’isjomhur (President) subject to only limited constraints from the legislature. However in practice the Vali-e faghih-e is responsible for major national and foreign policy decisions and for numerous senior government and military appointments. The President is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. (Last updated April 2017)

Iraq – A unicameral Majlis an-Nuwwāb (House of Representatives), an assembly of 329 members. The total number of members is determined by a constitutional requirement for one member for each 100,000 citizens of Iraq. 320 of the 329 seats are allocated within each of the 18 electoral divisions based on the governorates of Iraq, in proportion to the number of registered voters in each governorate; Baghdad has 70 seats (to be 69 at the 2018 elections), with the other governorates ranging from 7 to 34 seats (7 to 31 at the 2018 elections). Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the Sainte-Laguë formula, using a modified first divisor of 1.7 instead of 1, to all parties that win at least 2% of the vote in each division (governorate). In allocating seats to specific candidates from a party list the individual vote results are partially overridden such that a female candidate is selected after every three winning male candidates, so as to strive for an allocation of at least 25% of seats to women. The final 9 seats are reserved for special election within specified governorates of representatives of specific national minorities, including five for Iraqi Christians and one each for the Yazidi, Shabak, Sabean/Mandaean and Feyli Kurd communities. Terms are four years.

Iraq has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional Rỷys (President), who is selected by the Majlis. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Rỷys Alwzrạʾ (Prime Minister), who holds office on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Majlis. (Last updated January 2018.)

Israel – A unicameral ha’kneset, or Knesset (Assembly), an assembly of 120 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated on a national basis by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula, to all parties which win 3.25% of the vote nationwide. The composition of the Knesset is therefore closely proportional as between parties, and the party configuration in Israel features many small parties. Individual members are awarded seats from closed party lists. Terms are up to four years.

Israel has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Nesi HaMedina, a constitutional president who is selected by the Knesset. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Rosh HaMemshala (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Knesset. (Last updated September 2015.)

Italy – A bicameral Parlamento of which the lower house is the Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies), a composite assembly of 630 members. Prior to the elections of 2018, the Camera was elected by a variety of electoral systems combining seat allocation with reinforced majority mechanisms.

Following new electoral laws adopted in late 2017, 232 members of the Camera are directly elected by plurality voting in single member divisions.

A further 386 seats are directly elected, but are filled by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. These seats are filled from single national candidate lists based on the nationwide vote share of all parties achieving at least 3% of that vote. Voters’ ballots provide for only a single vote, which constitutes both their vote for a national party list as well as a vote for that party’s candidate in the local division.

A further 12 seats are allocated to Italian citizens living abroad, divided into four electoral divisions (zones): Europe (including Russia and Turkey), South America, North and Central America, and Africa/Asia/Oceania/Antarctica – each of which electing a share of the 12 seats proportional to the number of citizens enrolled in each zone. These seats are allocated proportionally according to votes cast for party lists.

Parties may on a national basis form coalitions (joint lists), which will optimise the seat allocations to the coalition members as a whole, with allocations to each member party being in proportion to their shares of the total coalition vote. The national eligibility threshold for coalitions to be allocated seats is 10% of the national vote. Coalitions also have the advantage that in counting votes to determine plurality winners of the single-member divisions, the votes for coalition members are pooled, and if such a coalition achieves the plurality of votes in the division the candidate with the most votes takes the seat.

The upper house of the parliament is the Senato (Senate), which is elected by a system essentially the same as the Camera system, except that the number of seats is exactly half   (315), consisting to 116 single-member electoral districts (based on boundaries twice the size of the Camera divisions), 6 seats for Italians overseas, and 193 party list allocated seats.

(More detailed technical information on the electoral system is available from the Camera website here.)

Whereas for the Camera all citizens of 18 years of age may vote, in Senato elections only voters aged 25 or older may vote. The Senato also shares with the Camera the power to approve or disapprove of a national executive government taking office.

Italy has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional Presidente who is elected by a special joint session of the Parlamento supplemented by regional representatives. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri (President of the Council of Ministers, or prime minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in both the Camera and the Senato. (Last updated March 2018.)

Jamaica – A bicameral Parliament, of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, an assembly of 63 members. All members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are five years.

Jamaica has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Queen and exercised by a Governor-General. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House of Representatives. (last updated August 2015)

Japan – A bicameral Kokkai (National Diet) of which the lower house is the Shūgiin (House of Representatives), a composite assembly of 475 members. Voters cast two separate ballots, one for the election of local members and another indicating support for parties to be allocated national seats. 295 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. 180 members are not directly elected but seats are allocated to parties in 11 multi-member electoral divisions by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. For elections held after 2016 these seat numbers will reduce to 289 single-member divisions and 176 list-allocated seats. Overall representation of parties in the Shūgiin is not made proportional to national vote totals by any formal mechanism. Terms are four years.

Japan has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Tennō (Emperor). However, actual executive power is exercised by the Naikaku-sōridaijin (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Shūgiin. (Last updated April 2017)

Jordan – A bicameral Majlis al-Umma (National Assembly) of which the lower house is the Majlis al-Nuwaab (House of Deputies), a composite assembly of 150 members. The first component of the Majlis is 108 members directly elected across 45 electoral divisions – a mix of single and multi-member divisions – by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method (which is in effect the plurality voting method in single member divisions). The second component of the Majlis consists of 15 appointed seats reserved for women, which are filled by the unsuccessful female candidates who contested the electoral divisions who obtained the highest percentage of votes in their divisions, provided that no division obtains more than one such seat. Candidates for these first two components nominate without political party affiliation. The third component consists of 27 seats allocated to political parties according to the closed party list system of seat allocation. Terms are four years. In the most recent elections in 2010 and 2013 the country’s largest opposition party – the Islamic Action Front party (affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood movement) – boycotted the elections.

Jordan has the dominant executive system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Mlk (King) subject to only limited constraints from the Majlis. (Last updated September 2015)

Kazakhstan – A bicameral Parlamenti of which the lower house is the Mazhilis, a composite assembly of 107 members. 98 seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, to all parties which win 7% of the total vote nationwide. An additional 9 members are appointed by the Assembly of Kazakhstani Nation. The party configuration in Kazakhstan is extraordinarily one-sided in favour of a coalition of governing parties supporting the President. In the elections of 2007 the pro-government coalition was officially recorded as winning 88% of the vote and, as no other party passed the 7% threshold, was awarded every seat. In response a rule was adopted that if only one party surpasses the 7% threshold, the party getting the second highest number of votes would be allocated two seats. In the 2012 election the governing party won 83 seats, and two small parties passed the threshold to claim the remaining 15 seats between them. Terms are five years.

Kazakhstan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Prezidenti (President) subject to only limited constraints from the Parlamenti. The Prezidenti is directly elected for a five-year term. There is a nominal limit of two terms, but this limitation does not apply to the founding and current President Nursultan Nazarbayev. (Last updated September 2015.)

Kenya – A unicameral National Assembly of which the sole house is an assembly of 350 members. 290 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Each of Kenya’s 47 counties is also allocated one seat exclusively for female candidates, who are also directly elected by the plurality method. A further 12 members are nominated by the political parties represented in Parliament (in proportion to their numbers of elected members) to represent special interests, including youth, persons with disabilities, and ‘workers’. Finally the Speaker of Parliament, chosen by the Parliament, is a member ex officio. Terms are five years.

Kenya has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the President subject to only limited constraints from the Assembly. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the plurality voting method. (Last updated September 2015.)

Kuwait – a unicameral Majles Al-Ommah (National Assembly), an assembly of up to 65 members. 50 members are directly elected to the Majles in 5 electoral districts, each electing 10 members, by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method. The electoral law does not officially recognise political parties at elections and candidates are therefore elected as independents or as members of unofficial voting blocs, although party-like groups form in the Majles following the elections. Terms for these 50 elected members are four years.

Any Majles member who joins the governing ministry – of which at least 1 and no more than 16 may do so – steps aside from their position in the Majles and is not replaced, but individual ministers may return to their former Majles place on ceasing to be a minister.

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy in which executive power rests with the Emir, a hereditary monarch. The emir’s semi-hereditary successor, the crown prince, is not valid until ratified by an absolute majority of the Majles. If the Emir’s nominee is not ratified then he must nominate three candidates from which the Majles choses one to be the crown prince. The Emir appoints the executive government whose ministers are subject to votes of confidence in the Majles (although ex-officio cabinet members of the Majles do not participate in such votes of confidence). (Last updated April 2017.)

Kyrgyzstan – a unicameral Žogorku Keňesh (or Jogorku Kengesh; in Kyrgyz Жогорку Кеңеш) (Supreme Council) an assembly of 120 members. Members are not directly elected but seats are allocated in one nation-wide division, using the closed party list system of seat allocation, to all political parties which win votes equal to at least 5% of the national enrolment (not formal vote total more common for thresholds), as well as at least 0.5% of the enrolment in each one of the nine oblasts (provinces), including the cities of Bishkek and Osh. Every list must have a minimum of 30% of candidates from each gender, and at least every fourth candidate listed must be from the minority gender on that list. Each list must also show a minimum of 15% of candidates from ethnic minorities. The most successful political party is limited to a maximum of 65 seats. Terms are 5 years.

The first Žogorku Keňesh election following electoral system reforms in 2010 (held in 2011) saw a highly unusual result in which five successful parties achieved similar votes ranging from 10% and 15.4% of the formal vote (a sixth party, on 8.3% of the vote, did not pass the threshold tests and was allocated no seats). The five seat-winning parties were allocated between 18 and 28 seats, but any combination of three of the parties could make up a majority in the assembly. The most recent election in 2015 saw 6 parties achieve the threshold.

Kyrgyzstan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected. (Last updated April 2017.)

Latvia – A unicameral Saeima of which the sole house is an assembly of 100 members. Seats are allocated in proportion to population among 5 electoral divisions, in numbers ranging from 13 to 32 seats. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the Sainte-Laguë formula, to parties that win 5% of the total vote nationwide. Ballots are cast for individual candidates, each of which is identified by party. The seats allocated to parties are then awarded to individual candidates in order of their individual votes. Terms are up to four years.[xx]

Latvia has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is selected by the Saeima. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Ministru prezidents (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Saeima. (last updated September 2015)

Lebanon – A unicameral Assemblée nationale or Majlis an-Nuwwab (Chamber of Deputies) (Arabic), of which the sole house is an assembly of 128 members. Following reforms adopted in late 2017, a new Assemblée will be elected in 2018, following a delay of 9 years since the previous election in 2009. The nation will be divided into 15 electoral divisions, to each of which are allocated between 5 and 13 seats in proportion to population. Members will not be directly elected, but seats will be allocated to political parties within each division by the closed party list system of seat allocation. Terms are up to four years.

From 1960 to 2009 Lebanese Assemblée elections were conducted under a unique electoral system based on allocations of seats to ethnic and religions communities.

Lebanon has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is elected by the Assemblée. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Assemblée. According to the National Pact of 1943, certain high political offices are also conventionally reserved for candidates of specified religions confession: for example, only a Maronite Christian holds the office of President, and only a Sunni Muslim holds the office of Prime Minister. Circumstances in Lebanon in recent decades have been such that the nation is not rated as a free or open electoral democracy by the major NGOs evaluating such conditions. (last updated January 2018)

Lesotho – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the National Assembly, a composite assembly of 120 members. Voters cast separate ballots for two components of the assembly, a local division representative and a national preferred party. 80 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. The remaining 40 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties in a single national pool by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, to form a levelling system which takes the single member division seats won by parties into account. No seats are allocated to parties that win more local division seats than their national proportional share would indicate. Terms are 5 years.

Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy in which executive power is nominally held by the King but in practice the system of one of representative parliamentary, in which power is exercised by a Prime Minister who holds office with the confidence of the National Assembly. (Last updated April 2017)

Liberia – a bicameral Legislature, of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, an assembly of 73 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Divisions are allocated in proportion to population among the 15 counties of Liberia, but each county is guaranteed a minimum of two electoral divisions, resulting in a degree of malapportionment. Terms are 6 years.

Liberia has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a six-year term by the two-round runoff method. A president is limited to two terms of office. (Last updated December 2015)

Libya – Following the revolution of 2011 and the establishment of new institutions of government in 2012, Libya had a unicameral al-Mu’tamar al-Waanī al-‘āmm (Arabic), Agraw Aghelnaw Amatu (Berber) or General National Congress.

The Congress was a composite assembly of 200 members, first formed at the 2012 elections. 120 members were directly elected in local divisions of 1 or 2 members (based roughly on population) by the plurality voting method (for single-member divisions) or the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method (for two-member divisions). These members were required to nominate as independent of political parties. A further 80 seats were filled in 12 larger regional divisions, variously allocated between 3 and 16 members in proportion to their populations, by the closed party list system of seat allocation.[xxi]

The Congress subsequently organized new elections for June 2014. At these elections the new Majlis al-Nuwaab (Council of Deputies or House of Representatives) was elected to replace the Congress. The Majlis was also a composite assembly of 200 members. 120 members were directly elected, comprising 40 members elected in single-member electoral divisions by the plurality vote method and 80 members elected in 29 multi-member electoral divisions by the single non-transferable vote method. Separately, a further 80 seats were filled through a party list system of seat allocation. Turnout at the election was just 18%, down from 60% at the election of July 2012, and due to security issues no voting took place in some locations. The Majlis began its operation in August 2014, but due to civil war it was forced to relocate to Tobruk and became unable to operate in a normal manner. In November 2014 the Libyan Supreme Court ruled that the June 2014 elections were unconstitutional and that the Majlis should be dissolved whilst it was being menaced by armed militias. The Majlis rejected the ruling.

A minority of members of the General National Congress elected in 2012 claimed that the Congress was not correctly abolished and continues to exist, but this did not in any practical sense eventuate, nor was the proposal internationally recognized.

A UN-brokered attempt to reconcile the competing chambers broke down in January 2016.

Libya nominally has a form of the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Rỷys (President) who is the Chairman of the Al-Mu’tamar ex officio. However, actual executive power is exercised by a Rỷys Alwzrạʾ (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Al-Mu’tamar. Conditions in Libya from 2014 onward have not allowed the normal exercise of executive authority over the nation. (Last updated April 2017)

Liechtenstein – a unicameral Landtag, an assembly of 25 members. The small nation is divided into two electoral divisions which are allotted 15 and 10 seats respectively. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Voters may indicate preferences for as many individual candidates as there are seats available in their electoral division, and the some of the preferences received by candidates within each party becomes the vote total for each party used in the seat allocation. The individuals within each party who are allocated seats are then determined by the order of their number of individual preference votes. Parties must achieve 8% of the total national vote (across both divisions) to be eligible to be allocated seats in either division. Terms are 4 years.

Liechtenstein has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is vested in the hereditary Fürst (Sovereign Prince) (although it is currently delegated to his son the Stellvertreter des Fürsten or Regent), but in practice exercised by the Regierungschef (Head of Government, or Prime Minister) who holds office with the confidence of the Landtag. (Last updated December 2015)

Lithuania – A unicameral Seimas of which the sole house is a composite assembly of 141 members. Seats are awarded through two separated processes, based on elections held on separate days. 71 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the two-round runoff method. Seats may be won in the initial round of voting by a candidate who wins at least 50% the votes cast, provided their vote amounts to at least 20% of the total number of registered voters. If no such winner emerges in the initial round seats are filled at a second round contested by the two highest-placed first-round candidates, decided by simple plurality. At a separate election, held a fortnight after the initial round of voting for local divisions, 70 seats are allocated by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, to political parties that win 5% of the total vote nationwide, or to multi-party alliance lists that win 7%. This second election is only valid of turnout exceeds 25% of registered voters. Terms are up to four years.[xxii]

Lithuania has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional Prezidentas who is directly elected. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Ministras Pirmininkas (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Seimas. (last updated September 2015)

Luxembourg – A unicameral D’Chamber, (Luxembourgish) (also Chambre des Députés (French) and Abgeordnetenkammer (German)), an assembly of 60 members. Seats are allocated in proportion to population among 4 electoral divisions based on the boundaries of the Cantons of Luxembourg (with seat numbers currently ranging from 7 to 23). Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by a variant form of the open party list system of seat allocation. The system used involves the panachage technique of voting for individual candidates within a party list system. Voters may cast a simple vote for one party’s list, or alternatively they may record a number of individual votes (called ‘preferences’) for individual candidates, up to the number seats available in each division. A list vote is taken to be worth a number of votes for the party equal to the number of seats available. The totals of all votes for candidates from each party is used to calculate the number of seats allocated to each party, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. The ranking of candidates in order of their total personal votes is then used to allocate each party’s seats to individual candidates. There is no vote threshold for parties to be eligible to win seats. Terms are up to five years.[xxiii]

Luxembourg has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the hereditary Grand Duke. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Premier Ministre (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in D’Chamber. (last updated September 2015)

Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) – a unicameral Sobranie (Assembly), an assembly of 123 members. The nation is divided into 6 electoral divisions each of which is allocated 20 seats. In these divisions members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. At least 30% of list candidates must be of each gender. A final three members of the Sobranie are elected to represent citizens resident abroad in three single-member divisions (Europe and Africa, the Americas, and Australia and Asia) by the plurality method. Terms are 4 years.

Macedonia has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is vested in the President, who is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff method. However in practice executive power is exercised by the Premier and government that holds office with the confidence the Sobranie. (Last updated December 2015)

Madagascar – a bicameral Parlement of which the lower house is the Assemblée Nationale or Antenimieram-Pirenena (National Assembly), a composite assembly of 151 members. 87 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method, and a further 64 members are elected in 32 two-member districts by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Terms are 5 years.

Madagascar has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected. (Last updated April 2017.)

Malawi – a unicameral National Assembly, an assembly of 193 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are 5 years.

Malawi has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the plurality method. A president is limited to two consecutive terms of office. (Last updated October 2015.)

Malaysia – A bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives), an assembly of 222 members. All members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Division boundaries are redrawn by an Election Commission every ten years based on the population (using the latest census). The 2013 divisional boundaries showed a significant malapportionment with rural divisions having generally lower enrolments. A redistribution of the boundaries is due prior to the next elections scheduled for June 2018. Terms are up to five years.

Malaysia has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a head of state elected by – and rotated between – nine Malaysian provincial royal dynasties. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Dewan Rakyat. (Last updated January 2018.)

Maldives – a unicameral Rayyithunge Majilis (People’s Majlis), an assembly of 85 members. Members are directly elected in two-member divisions for each atoll and the capital town of Male’ by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method. The President appoints an additional 8 members to the Majlis. Terms are 5 years.

The Maldives has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. A president is limited to two terms of office. (Last updated December 2015.)

Mali – A unicameral Assemblée Nationale of which the sole house is an assembly of 147 members. Members are directly elected in a mix of single-member and multi-member divisions, the latter having up to four members. Divisions are allocated one seat for every 60,000 residents and an additional if the remainder of that population exceeds 40,000. In single member divisions members are elected by the two-round runoff method. In multi-member divisions members are elected by a party block voting method, in which voters select between lists for each party combined with the two-round runoff technique (that is, if no party list secures a majority in the first round of voting, the two most successful lists contest a second round). Two or more parties, as well as multiple independent candidates, are permitted to nominate a joint list of candidates within each multi-member division. Terms are five years. Turnout in Mali is very low, not exceeding 34% in either round of voting in the 2007 elections.

Mali has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presidente (President) subject to only limited constraints from the Assemblée. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system. (Last updated September 2015.)

Malta – A unicameral Parlament of which the sole house is the Kamra tad-Deputati, an assembly of at least 65 members. 65 members are directly elected in 13 electoral divisions each of five members by the single transferable vote (STV) voting method. Unusually for STV systems, candidates may nominate in two electoral divisions, and if they win in both they withdraw from one victory, resulting in a by-election which, conventionally, is only contested by the relevant party’s unsuccessful candidates for that division.

In elections where only two parties win seats in the Kamer, an unique levelling mechanism is applied to ensure that seat shares are proportional to vote share. Under this mechanism, a party which wins a plurality of votes nationally but does not achieve a majority of seats, that party is allotted additional members in the Kamra sufficient to give it a parliamentary majority of one seat, with the additional winning candidates being chosen from the party’s highest-polling candidates not already awarded a seat. For example, at the 2008 elections the Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) won the majority of votes – 49.3% – but only won 31 seats, while the Partit Laburista, with 48.8% of the votes, won 34 seats. The PN party was therefore awarded 4 additional members so as to have a 35:34 majority, bringing the total membership of the Kamra to 69 members. Conversely, the levelling rules also guarantee that the proportion of seats won by a minority party will match the proportion of primary votes won by its candidates nationally. For example in the 2013 elections the PN party had its number of members increased by 4 supplementary members, bringing the total size of the Kamer to 69, and at the 2017 election the PN will be awarded 1 supplementary member under the same rule.

Finally, a Speaker may be appointed by the Kamer from outside the elected members, in which case that officer becomes an additional member of the Kamer.

Terms are up to five years. In elections from 1960 to 1995 Malta had the second highest voter turnout in the world (and the highest for nations without compulsory voting).

Malta has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is elected by the Kamra. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prim Ministru (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Kamra. (last updated September 2015.)

Mauritania – a bicameral Barlamane (Parlement (Fr), Parliament) of which the lower house is the Al Jamiya al-Wataniyah (Assemblée Nationale, National Assembly), a composite assembly of 146 members. 106 members are directly elected in a mix of single- and two-member electoral divisions. In single member divisions members are elected by the two-round runoff method. In two-member seats if one party secures 50% of the vote in the first round they are awarded both seats, otherwise a second round is held with no condition, which is in effect an SNTV vote but limited to the four candidates representing the two best-performed parties at the first round. A further 20 seats are not directly elected but are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation; lists for these seats must present candidates alternating by gender. A final 20 seats are also allocated using a similar seat allocation system, but these are restricted solely to female candidates. The current party system in Mauritania features a single dominant party. Terms are 5 years.

Mauritania has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. The most recent elections in 2014 were boycotted by most opposition parties. (Last updated April 2017.)

Mauritius – A unicameral National Assembly of which the sole house is an assembly of up to 70 members. The nation is divided into 21 electoral divisions (‘constituencies’), 20 of which elect 3 members to the National Assembly, with the last division (the separate island of Rodrigues) electing 2 members. These 62 members are directly elected in their divisions by the block voting method, with voters being able to cast up to 3 votes (2 in the Rodrigues division). A further number of unsuccessful constituency candidates are subsequently added to the National Assembly after each general election under a system known as ‘best loser’, which is a hybrid of a supplementary appointment system and a ‘levelling’ system. In this system, the Electoral Supervisory Commission may nominate up to a maximum of 8 additional members with a view to correct any imbalance in ethnic community representation in Parliament. Nominations will be drawn from unsuccessful candidates with the highest votes, provided they meet the desired community representation criteria. The party identity of these nominees must be such that these nominations as a whole do not to affect the political balance generated among the 62 directly elected members. Terms are five years.

Mauritius has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a President elected by the National Assembly. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the National Assembly. (Last updated September 2015.)

Mexico – A bicameral Congreso General of which the lower house is the Cámara de Diputados, a composite assembly of 500 members. 300 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. An additional 200 seats are allocated by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, to all parties that achieve at least 2% of the national vote, to bring the party seat totals into proportional alignment with each party’s nationwide vote total. While the numbers of allocated seats for each eligible party are determined in a single calculation based on national vote shares, the individual candidates taking the seats are drawn from regional lists.

To be eligible for additional allocated seats a party must nominate candidates in at least 200 of the 300 electoral districts. In addition, parties are obliged to ensure that at least 50% of their candidates are female. If a party’s nominees in the 300 single-member districts do not meet that criterion, the difference can be made up on their lists for the 200 allocated seats.

The seat allocation component of the Cámara de Diputados is also subject to two unusual mathematical provisos. Firstly, the majority party’s seat allocation is limited so that when added to its district seats won, the party’s seat total does not exceed 300 of the total of 500 seats (this limit being raised to 315 seats for a party which wins 60% of the vote). Secondly, the seat allocation to any party is limited so that the total of district and additional seats for each party does not exceed the proportion out of 500 that it would have won had the party received a vote share 8% higher than it did, and all 500 seats had been allocated proportionally.  The second proviso does not operate to reduce seat wins for a party which has exceeded the target in the second proviso through an unusually large number of local district wins.

The Cámara electoral system is a hybrid form of the ‘parallel‘ composite electoral system, but with a national seat-proportionality levelling mechanism which leads analysts such as IDEA to classify it as similar to mixed-member proportional (MMP) systems.

Terms are three years. At previous elections and for the July 2018 election sitting deputies were barred from nominating for re-election at the end of serving a three-year term (but could run again at subsequent elections). However that law has been repealed with effect from the Cámara chosen in 2018, so that deputies elected this year will be able to seek re-election in 2021.

Mexico has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the legislature. The Presidente is directly elected for a six-year term by the plurality system, and individuals are limited to a single term of office. (Last updated April 2018.)

Moldova – a unicameral Parlamentul, an assembly of 101 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated in a single national pool to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. There are thresholds for eligibility for lists to be allocated seats: 11% for coalitions of three or more parties, 9% for coalitions of two parties, 4% for a single party or other contesting entity, and 2% for an individual independent candidate. Terms are 4 years.

Moldova has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is nominally held by the President, who is selected by the Parlamentul, but is in practice exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of confidence in the Parlamentul. (Last updated December 2015.)

Monaco – A unicameral Conseil National, a composite assembly of 24 members. 16 members are directly elected by a form of multiple non-transferable vote (MNTV) voting, and the remaining 8 seats are allocated to political parties in proportion to party vote totals. Voting for both parts of the Conseil occurs through a single ballot paper, on which voters may record individual votes for up to 24 candidates. Parties will generally nominate 24 candidates. Each voter uses a pre-prepared ballot paper consisting of a list of the 24 candidates nominated by one party, but may delete names and also add names of candidates from other parties (the practice known as panachage), finishing with 24 or fewer names as they wish. The vote totals of each candidate are then tallied, and the 16 candidates with the highest personal votes each wins a seat. To this point the system therefore has the unusual character of voters casting 1.5 times as many votes as there are seats, but overall the nature of the system works identically to block voting.

The remaining 8 seats are allocated to political parties which won a minimum 5% of all votes, in proportion to the aggregate vote of all the party’s candidates, and these seats are filled by the candidates with the highest individual votes who were not already elected to the initial 16 seats. [xxvi]

Based as it is primarily on the block vote system, the election results can be highly disproportional. In 2013 the leading party won 50.3% of the vote but secured all 16 of the initial seats plus 4 of 8 of the remaining seats, thus emerging with 83% of all seats. [xxvii]

Monaco is a monarchy in which executive power is exercised by the Prince of Monaco, although the Conseil has an influential role. (Last updated January 2018.)

Mongolia – A unicameral Ulsyn Ikh Khural (Great State Assembly) of which the sole house is a composite assembly of 76 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method, however to be valid such elections must achieve at least 50% turnout and the winner must secure the vote of at least 28% of the enrolled voters. Parties must ensure that a minimum of 20% of their candidates are women. Terms are four years.

From 2012 to 2015 electoral legislation (applied at one election in 2012) provided for the Khural to be a composite assembly in which 46 seats were directly elected but the remaining 28 seats were allocated to parties by seat allocation. However in late 2015 the nation’s Supreme Court ruled that this system breached the constitutional requirement for all members to be directly elected.

Mongolia has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Ulsyn Yerönkhiilögch, a constitutional President who is elected by the Khural. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Ulsyn Yerönkhii Said (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Khural. (Last updated April 2017.)

Montenegro – a unicameral Skupština (Parliament), an assembly of at least 78 and up to 82 members (currently 81). Members are not directly elected, but 78 seats are allocated in a single national pool to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Parties must achieve a threshold of 3% of total votes to be eligible for the allocation of seats. However special rules apply to party lists representing ethnic Croat Montenegrins or other specified minority groups that fail to achieve the 3% threshold, and in specific circumstances such lists can be allocated up to 4 additional seats in total; in the most recent elections in 2012 three such additional seats were allocated. Terms are 4 years.

Montenegro has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is shared between the Predsjednik (President), who is directly elected, and a Vlada (government) that holds office with the confidence of the Skupština. (Last updated December 2015.)

Morocco – A unicameral Majlis al-Nuwab or Assemblée des Representatants (Assembly of Representatives) of which the sole house is a composite assembly of 395 members. 305 seats are allocated in proportion to population among 92 electoral divisions which are based on the boundaries of administrative districts (regions, provinces and prefectures). Most provinces constitute 1 electoral division, but larger provinces and the city of Casablanca are subdivided. Each electoral division is allocated between 2 and 6 members in the Majlis. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, to parties which win 6% of the total vote in that division. A further 90 seats are filled in two groups (60 seats for female candidates, and 30 seats for candidates under the age of 40). Each of these two groups of seats are allocated to parties using national closed party lists of candidates, votes cast nationally by the electorates matching the two candidate definitions (ie: female voters and voters under the age of 40), the simple quota and largest remainder allocation formula, and 3% thresholds. Terms are up to five years.

Morocco has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Mlk (King), a constitutional monarch. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Rỷys Alwzrạʾ (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Majlis. (Last updated April 2012.)

Mozambique – A unicameral Assembleia da República (Assembly of the Republic) of which the sole house is an assembly of 250 members. 248 seats are allocated in approximate proportion to population among 11 electoral divisions based on the boundaries of provinces. Most provinces are allocated between 12 and 22 seats, but the largest province has 50 seats. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula, to parties which win at least 5% of the total vote in that province. In addition, one member is elected by enrolled citizens residing elsewhere in Africa, and one member is elected by enrolled citizens residing in Europe, both by the plurality method. Terms are five years.

Mozambique has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the assembly. The Presidente is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system. (Last updated September 2015.)

Myanmar – A bicameral Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) of which the lower house is the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives), a composite assembly of 440 members. Myanmar is divided into 330 electoral divisions, allocated among the 7 central Regions and the 7 ethnic minority States of Myanmar. Members are directly elected in these single member divisions by the plurality voting method. An additional 110 seats are allocated to armed forces nominees. Terms are up to five years.

Myanmar has for many years been a one-party-dominant state, and the governing Union Solidarity and Development Party won around 60% of the vote in the most recent election in 2010, the integrity of which is disputed. In recent years other political parties have been permitted to contest elections. General elections in November 2015 will be the first in decades to be held in reasonably competitive circumstances. However the placement of military representatives – generally allied with the ruling party – in 25 % of the seats in Pyithu Hluttaw means that any opposition political force must win over 2/3rds of contested seats to achieve a majority, and also forms a solid barrier to any constitutional change, which requires the approval of 75% of the Pyithu Hluttaw members.

Myanmar has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President subject to limited constraints from the legislature. The President is selected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of selected parliamentarians from the Amyotha Hluttaw (House of nationalities), the Pyithu Hluttaw and the military-appointed MPs. The military are entitled to appoint key ministers in the government responsible for defence, national security and police. (Last updated November 2015.)

Namibia – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the National Assembly, an assembly of 104 members. 96 seats are allocated among 13 electoral divisions (rising to 14 at the next elections). Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. The dominant SWAPO party has recently adopted a rule that 50% of its nominated members of the Assembly are female. An additional 8 non-voting members are appointed by the President. Terms are five years.

Namibia is effectively a one-party state, with the dominant SWAPO party winning almost 75% of the parliamentary vote, and 87% of the presidential vote, at the most recent elections in 2014.

Namibia has the presidential system of government, in which executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is directly elected for five year terms by the two-round runoff method for a maximum of two terms. The President appoints a Prime Minister and cabinet. (Last updated April 2017.)

Nauru – A unicameral Parliament of which the sole house is an assembly of 18 members. The nation is divided into 8 electoral divisions, one of which elects 4 members, while the remaining 7 each elect 2 members. Members are directly elected to these divisions by the Dowdall system, a cumulative voting method using a ‘descending fractions’ formula. Ballots are filled out in ranked (preferential) order, and full preferencing of all candidates is required for a ballot to be valid. Each 1st preference vote scores the candidate 1 vote. Each second preference vote scores the candidate an additional 0.50 votes, each 3rd preference 0.333 votes, each 4th preference 0.25 votes, and so on in a decreasing series of integer fractions. Seats are awarded to the candidates with the highest total vote scores in their division. Terms are three years. Political parties are not prominent in Nauruan politics, with almost all MPs nominally being independents, and governments are formed and maintained through non-party personal associations between leaders and MPs.

Nauru has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which executive authority is vested in the President, a joint head of state and head of government who is elected by the Parliament and holds office on the basis of the continuing confidence of the Parliament. (last updated September 2015)

Nepal – a bicameral Sansad (Legislature, or Parliament), of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, a composite assembly of 275 members. After more than a decade or political turmoil, in 2013 Nepal’s people elected the Constituent Assembly as a vehicle to debate and adopt a new constitution, which eventually came into force in 2015. The new electoral system commenced with the election of the first new parliament in November and December 2017.

165 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. A further 110 seats are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation. Voters cast seperate ballots for local members and for the party seat allocation. Parties present candidate lists (which may be done after seat allocation numbers are determined, post-poll) which must comprise 50% each male and female individuals. In addition, the lists submitted by parties which are allocated 101 or more seats (30% or more of the total) must have an ethnic composition of 37.8% indigenous individuals, 31.2% Madhesi, 30.2% Khas and Aryan, 13% Dalit, and 4% from the combined Achaham, Kalikot, Jajarkot, Jumla, Dolpa, Bajahang, Bajura, Mugu and Humla districts, with the equal male/female rule applying within each category. A final 26 members are appointed by the Prime Minister to represent minority groups that failed to win representation at elections. Terms will be 4 years.

Nepal has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is vested in the President, who is appointed for a 5-year term by the Sansad, and exercised by the Prime Minister, who holds office on the basis of support in the Sansad. (Last updated January 2018.)

Netherlands – A bicameral States-General of which the lower house is the Tweede Kamer (‘second chamber’), an assembly of 150 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to political parties on a national basis by the open party list system of seat allocation. Parties lodge lists of nominees in each of 18 electoral divisions six weeks in advance of the election. The lists are limited in number to a national total of 80 nominees for parties with at least 15 members in the previous Tweede Kamer, or 50 nominees for other parties. Voters submit a ballot for their chosen party and on that ballot they also directly vote for one candidate from those listed by the party (which party lists may differ in each of the 19 Dutch provinces). Parties receive one assured seat for each kiesdeler (quota) – equal to 1/150th (0.67%) of the national vote – that is won by their party nationwide. The remaining seats are allocated to parties using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Prior to the election parties may agree to combine their vote totals through a form of apparentment (termed lijstencombinatie or ‘list combination’). The seats won by such a party combination are allocated proportionally among the parties within the combination by the largest remainder method. When determining the individual candidates to be awarded each party’s allotted seats, the total number of seats won according to the national calculation are allocated between the electoral division lists submitted in each of the electoral divisions in proportion (by the largest remainder formula) to the number of party votes received in each division. This calculation yields a number of seats for each party in each electoral division. Individual candidates – typically including national party leaders – may have been listed in multiple electoral divisions. Any candidates who receive individual votes (in total across all divisional lists on which they were nominated) equal to 25% of the national kiesdeler (that is, 0.1675% of the national total of votes) are given preference in the award of each party’s allotted seats. Individual candidates who nominally win seats in two or more divisions will be allocated a seat in the division in which they won the most votes. After such seats are awarded the remaining places are filled in each division’s party list order. Subsequent casual vacancies are filled by the next listed candidate in the division in which the departing member was awarded a seat. Terms are up to four years.[xxviii]

The Netherlands has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Koningin (Queen). However, actual executive power is exercised by the Ministeraad (Council of Ministers) led by its Minister-President (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Kamer. (Last updated April 2017)

New Zealand – A unicameral Parliament of which the sole house is the House of Representatives, a composite assembly of at least 120 members. Voters cast two separate ballots, one for candidates nominated in 70 local single member divisions (‘constituencies’) and a separate ballot for political parties, the latter being used to allocate a further 50 seats on the basis of the parties’ national vote totals. The 70 local divisions are divided into ordinary constituencies and Maori constituencies. Individual voters of Maori ethnicity are entitled to enrol to vote in either form of constituency, but not both, and must register their choice between the two forms of voting in advance of the elections. The number of seats (out of 70) allocated to the Maori voting pool – currently 7 – is determined by the proportion of total voters which register as Maori seat voters. A set of boundaries for the Maori constituencies are determined separate from (and overlaying) the boundaries of the ordinary constituencies. Members for all the 70 single member divisions are directly elected by the plurality voting method. A further number of at least 50 members are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the Sainte-Laguë formula, in the numbers required such that the party composition of the whole assembly is ‘levelled‘, or made party-proportional overall. The national party vote totals are used to calculate a proportional share of a nominal total of 120 seats for each party which wins more that 5% of the national vote. If a party has won more local constituencies than it is entitled to according to the national calculation, such ‘overhang’ seats are nevertheless awarded to the elected local member and the total size of the House is increased accordingly (for example, the 2014 election resulted in a House of 121 members). Terms are up to three years.

New Zealand has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Queen and exercised by a Governor-General appointed by her. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House of Representatives. (last updated July 2015)

Nicaragua – a unicameral Asamblea Nacional, an assembly of 92 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties (or coalitions of parties) by the closed party list system of seat allocation. 70 seats are allocated in electoral divisions based on the nation’s 17 departments and autonomous regions, in numbers ranging between 2 and 19 seats in proportion to population, while the remaining 20 seats are allocated in a single national pool. The final two seats are filled by the person who served the immediate past term as president (or, if that person is in fact the current president, the most recent vice-president) and the runner-up in the most recent presidential election. Terms are 5 years.

Nicaragua has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presidente, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. While the national constitution prohibits consecutive terms of office as president by an individual, in 2009 president Daniel Ortega challenged that ban and was supported by the nation’s Supreme Court and Supreme Electoral Council, allowing him consecutive re-elections; he is currently serving his third term. (Last updated November 2015)

Niger – a unicameral Assemblée Nationale, an assembly of 113 members. 105 seats are allocated to 8 electoral divisions based on Niger’s 7 regions together with the capital district of Niamey. These seats are not directly elected, but are allocated by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula, to parties that win at least 5% of the formal vote. The remaining 8 seats are reserved for representatives of national minorities and are directly elected in 8 single-member regional electoral divisions by the plurality method. Terms are 5 years.

In 2010-11 Niger was the scene of a military coup. The Assemblée was re-elected in 2011.

Niger has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method, and the Prime Minister, who is nominated by and accountable to the Assemblée. (Last updated October 2015)

Nigeria – A bicameral National Assembly of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, an assembly of 360 members. The 360 divisions (‘constituencies’) are allocated among the 36 Nigerian states and the federal capital territory in proportion to population. All members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are up to four years.

Nigeria has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President subject to a division of responsibilities and powers shared with the National Assembly, which is formally independent of the President. The President is directly elected for a four-year term by a two-round runoff system. Nominations for election as President are by convention limited in each alternate terms of office to (a) candidates from the Christian south of the nation and (b) candidates from the Muslim north. To be elected in the first round a candidate must receive both a plurality of votes nationally and also at least 25% of the votes in at least 25 of the 36 Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory. If no candidate satisfies this requirement, a second round of voting takes place between the two leading candidates. Presidents are limited to 2 terms of office. (Last updated July 2015.)

Norway – A unicameral Storting (Great Assembly) of which the sole house is an assembly of 169 members. 150 seats are allocated among 19 electoral divisions that are based on the fylker (counties) of Norway. The seat allotment among the divisions is highly unusual in that it utilises a deliberate land area factor, with seats allotted by quotients based on an aggregate of both population (1 point per person) and land area (1.8 points per square kilometre). Compared to a population-only approach, this malapportionment at present has the effect of depriving the small-area divisions of Oslo and neighbouring Akershus of 2 seats each, granting 2-3 seats to far northern Finnmark, and otherwise altering divisional seat allotments by only 1 or 0 seats.

Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties within each electoral division by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the modified Sainte-Laguë formula (i.e.: the first divisor used in the formula is 1.4, not 1). There is no minimum vote threshold for parties to be eligible for these primary seats. A further 19 levelling seats are allocated to parties which win at least 4% of the national vote so that the final representation of each such party is as proportional as possible to their share of the total national vote. These levelling seats are allocated to individuals so that one candidate is drawn from each of the 19 counties.

Seats are finally allocated to individual listed candidates once each party’s allotment of seats in each electoral division has been determined. While the system is nominally an ‘open’ list one, in practice voters are presented with party ballot papers presenting the party’s candidates in a numbered order, on which each voter may mark any preferred renumbering, but no change to the order is effective unless at least 50% of a party’s voters in a division mark an increase in an individual candidates ranking, and according to a Norwegian government description of this system such a re-ordering of a party’s candidate order “never happens”.

Terms are up to four years.

Norway has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Konge (King). However, actual executive power is exercised by the Statsminister (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Storting. (Last updated September 2017.)

Pakistan – A bicameral Majlis-e Šūrá (Parliament) of which the lower house is the Qaumī Asimbli’e (National Assembly), a composite assembly of 342 members. 272 seats are filled by members directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. An additional 60 seats are reserved for female members and 10 seats are reserved for religious minorities. These latter 70 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated from single national candidate lists by the closed party list system of seat allocation to parties winning at least 5% of total national votes, although (unusually) with the proportions based on the shares of seats won in the SMD divisions, not on the national vote shares. Terms are five years.

Pakistan has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Sadr-e-Mumlikat, a constitutional president who is elected by an electoral college consisting of the national and regional assembly members. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Wazir-e- Azam (Grand Minister, or Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Majlis. (Last updated January 2018.)

Panama – A unicameral Asamblea Nacional (National Assembly) of which the sole house is a semi-composite assembly of 71 members. Seats are allocated in approximate proportion to population among 39 electoral divisions which are based on the boundaries of administrative districts. Each division is allocated one seat for every 30,000 people in its population and a further seat for a remainder over 10,000 people. Divisions which are allotted a single member (currently 26 divisions in rural areas) elect those members directly by the plurality voting method. In multi-member divisions (currently comprising 13 divisions in town and city areas which are allocated between 2 and 7 seats) members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation. The quota formula used is unusual, with seats available first being allocated using a simple quota to parties which achieve whole quotas, then further seats are allocated to parties which achieve (or have as remainders) at least half a quota, and finally any remaining seats are allotted according to the largest unused remainders. Terms are five years.

Panama has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the Asamblea. The Presidente is directly elected for a five-year term by the plurality voting system. (Last updated September 2015.)

Papua New Guinea – A unicameral Parliament of which the sole house is the House of Assembly, a composite assembly of 111 members. 89 of the members are directly elected in single member divisions by the limited vote preferential voting method. Voters may mark up to three preferences on their ballots, which are then counted by sequential elimination. As PNG elections feature a wide array of parties and numerous independent candidates, election of candidates with below 50% of the formal vote total after the distribution of third preferences occurs frequently (a situation which was even more common while plurality voting was used from 1977 to 2002). In addition, in each of the 22 provinces and special territories of PNG regional executive governors are directly elected by the same limited vote method as is used for the 89 local divisions, and on the same polling day. Each governor takes a seat in the Parliament as a regional representative. Terms are up to five years.

Papua New Guinea has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Queen and exercised by a Governor-General appointed by her. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House. (Last updated September 2015.)

Paraguay – a bicameral Congreso Nacional of which the lower house is the Cámara de Diputados (Chamber of Deputies), an assembly of 80 members. The nation is divided into 18 electoral divisions based on the 17 administrative regions and the capital district. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Terms are 5 years.

Paraguay has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. (Last updated January 2018.)

Peru – A unicameral Congreso (Congress) of which the sole house is an assembly of 130 members. The nation is divided into electoral divisions based on Peru’s administrative districts (‘departments’), with seats allocated to each division in proportion to population. The division of Lima is currently allocated 35 deputies, and the other divisions allocated between 1 and 7 seats each. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties in each division by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Terms are five years.

Peru has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the Congreso. The Presidente is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff preferential voting system. An incumbent Presidente may not run for immediate re-election, and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. (Last updated July 2015.)

Philippines – A bicameral Congress of which the lower house is the Kapulungan ng mga Kinatawan or Camara de Representantes (House of Representatives), a composite assembly of (currently) 297 members. Voters cast two separate ballots, one for candidates nominated in 238 single member divisions (‘constituencies’) and one for ‘sectoral representatives’. The Constitution requires that the latter group comprise 20% of the total membership of the Camara (currently 59 seats). Members are directly elected to the 238 single member divisions by the plurality voting method. For the sectoral representatives, under-represented communities are identified by legislation and specifically include labour, peasants, urban poor, indigenous cultures, women, youth, and others, but may not including communities defined by religion. These communities are encouraged to participate via numerous special political parties, and the major national parties are not permitted to nominate for sectoral representative seats. One sectoral seat is allocated to each party which wins 2% of the vote nationwide, with an additional seat for every further 2% of the vote, subject to a limit of 3 sectoral seats per party. If the number of sectoral representatives so elected does not total the required number of representatives (currently 59), sectoral parties winning less than 2% of the vote are awarded one seat each in descending order of their vote until that number is reached. These seats are filled with individual nominees from closed party lists. Terms are for three years.

The Philippines has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Pangulo (President) subject to a division of responsibilities and powers shared with the Congress, which is formally independent of the President. The President is directly elected for a six-year term by the plurality system, and individuals are limited to a single term of office. (Last updated April 2017.)

Poland – A bicameral Zgromadzenie Narodowe (National Assembly) of which the lower house is the Sejm, an assembly of 460 members. Between 7 and 19 seats are allocated to each of 41 electoral divisions in proportion to each division’s population. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the open party list system of seat allocation (using the modified Sainte-Laguë method) to all individual parties which win 5% of the vote nationwide, and all coalitions of parties which win 8% (although candidates from ethnic-minority parties are exempt from these thresholds). Lists must contain a minimum 35% candidates of each gender. Overall representation of parties in the Sejm is not made proportional to national vote totals by any formal mechanism. Terms are for four years.[xxix]

Poland has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional Prezydent who is directly elected. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Rady Ministrów (Council of Ministers) led by its Prezes (President, or Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Sejm. (last updated September 2015)

Portugal – A unicameral Assembleia da República of which the sole house is an assembly of 230 members. There are 22 electoral divisions including the 18 mainland districts of Portugal, the two island communities of the Azores and the Madeiras, a division for Portuguese citizens resident in the rest of Europe, and finally a division for Portuguese citizens resident in the rest of the world. The 2 divisions for citizen resident abroad are allocated 2 seats each, and all other divisions are allocated a number of seats (ranging from 2 to 47) in proportion to their population. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. There is no minimum vote threshold for parties to be eligible for seats. Overall representation of parties in the Assembleia is not made proportional to national vote totals by any formal mechanism. Terms are up to four years.[xxx]

Portugal has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional Presidente who is directly elected by the two-round runoff system. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Primeiro-Ministro (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Assembleia. The Presidente has discretionary powers to dismiss a government and call elections even if that government is supported by the Assembleia. (last updated July 2015)

Romania – A bicameral Parlamentul of which the lower house is the Camera Deputaţilor, (Chamber of Deputies) a composite assembly of (currently) 319 members. The nation is divided into 43 regional electoral divisions, 41 of which are based on county boundaries, with the capital Bucharest being an electoral division, and a category of overseas electors constituting a final electoral division allotted four seats. Each regional division is allotted one seat for every 73,000 inhabitants, subject to a minimum allotment of four seats. Each regional division is further divided into a number of local electoral divisions (called ‘electoral colleges’) equal to that region’s allotted number of seats. The aggregate of the most recent seat allotments (for the 2016 election) was 312 seats in total. All candidates nominate personally in the local ‘college’ divisions, but the resulting allocation of seats is a blend of single-member division victories and a seat allocation process.

Votes are initially tallied for each local electoral college division, and each candidate who wins 50% of the vote in a college takes that seat. All votes are then pooled within each regional division according to the party of each candidate, and any seats not won on the initial count are allocated within the regional divisions by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula, to parties which win any of: 5% of the total national vote (for coalitions of parties, higher thresholds of 8% to 10% applied), 20% of the vote in at least four regional electoral divisions, or 6 local college seats in the Camera as well as 3 such seats in the Senat (the upper house of the Parlamentul, which has a substantially identical electoral system except with a lower number of seats). The regional division party lists are in fact the lists of candidates nominated in the local college divisions (ordered as the party wishes), so another way of understanding the system is that in each regional division, any majority winners in the local colleges take up the first places allotted to their party under the seat allocation process, prior to resorting to the party list order to award any remaining seats. In the case of a party’s candidates winning more local seats than their party-list allocation within a given region, seats won under either method are retained, resulting in additional ‘overhang seats’, similar to the German Bundestag system.

Finally, one additional seat is awarded to the nominee of the citizens organisation of any of 19 recognised ethnic minorities if that minority is otherwise unrepresented in the Camera. (As of the 2016 elections there are 17 such seats). Terms are for four years.

Romania has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the Preşedintele (President) and also the Prim-ministru (Prime Minister). The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. The Prime Minister is chosen by the Preşedintele, but the government and its program must secure the approval of a joint sitting of both houses of the Parlamentul before taking office. (Last updated December 2017.)

Russia – A bicameral Federalnoye Sobraniye (Federal Assembly) of which the lower house is the Gosudarstvennaya Duma (State Duma), a composite assembly of 450 members. As of the elections of 2016 half of the Duma, 225 members, are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. The remaining 225 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated on a national basis by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, to all parties which win at least 5% of the vote nationwide. Once each party’s seat allotment is determined the party then appoints individual deputies to fill its seats.  Terms are five years.

At the elections from 1993 to 2003 the Duma was also a composite assembly, with half the seats directly elected and half filled by seat allocation. However at the elections of 2007 and 2011 the entire 450 seats in the Duma were filled by party-proportional seat allocation.

Russia has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the Prezident (President) and also the Premʹer-ministr (Prime Minister). The President is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. The Prime Minister is chosen on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Duma. (Last updated December 2017.)

Rwanda – a bicameral Parlement of which the lower house is the Chambre des Députés (Chamber of Deputies), an assembly of 80 members. 53 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties which achieve at least 5% of the vote by the closed party list system of seat allocation in one national pool, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. A further 24 seats are filled by female candidates chosen by electoral colleges in each province and the city of Kigali; of the four provinces, three are allotted 6 seats such seats, the final province 4 seats, and Kigali 2 seats. The final three seats are filled by nominees of the National Youth Council (2 seats) and the Federation of the Associations of the Disabled (1 seat). Terms are 5 years.

Rwanda has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a seven-year term by the two-round runoff method. (Last updated November 2015.)

San Marino – a unicameral Consiglio Grande e Generale (Grand and General Council), an assembly of 60 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Parties may run as coalitions, in which case their number of seats is first allocated to the coalition as a whole on the basis of the total votes for all the coalition’s members, and then sub-allocated to the member parties of the coalition using the D’Hondt formula again. A reinforced majority rule guarantees the coalition winning the plurality of votes a minimum of 35 seats even if its initial allocation was a lesser number, and if necessary the remaining seats seat allocations to other parties will be adjusted downward in proportion to one another so as to total 25 seats. Individual parties must achieve 3.5% of the vote to be eligible to be allocated any seats, and a party with a vote below this threshold is not allocated any seats even if it is a member of a coalition which is allocated seats. Terms are 5 years.

San Marino has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by two Capitani Reggenti (Captains Regent), who are directly appointed by the Consiglio for terms of 6 months. (Last updated December 2015)

Senegal – A unicameral Assembleé nationale (National Assembly) of which the sole house is a composite assembly of 150 members. 90 seats are allocated among 35 electoral divisions based on administrative districts (‘departments’), which are a mix of single member and multi-member divisions in proportion to population, with the largest multi-member divisions currently having 5 seats. Members (‘deputies’) are directly elected by either the plurality voting method (in single-member divisions) or by party block voting (in multi-member divisions). A further 60 seats are not directly elected, but are allocated to parties on the basis of national lists by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Voters cast a single ballot indicating their preferred political party for the purpose of electing both components of the Assembleé. Terms are up to four years. There is currently one dominant political party.

Senegal has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente (President) subject to only limited constraints from the Assembleé. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system. (Last updated September 2015.)

Serbia – A unicameral Narodna Skupština (National Assembly) of which the sole house is an assembly of 250 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated on a national basis by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula, to parties which win at least 5% of the total vote (although lists submitted by ethnic minority parties are exempted form this threshold). Terms are four years.

Serbia has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to two terms of office. However, primary executive power is exercised by the Premijer (Prime Minister), nominated by the President on the basis of the confidence of a majority in the Narodna Skupština. (Last updated September 2015.)

Seychelles – a unicameral National Assembly, a composite assembly of 34 members. 25 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. The remaining 9 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using a modified Niemeyer method in which parties which fail to achieve at least one quota (10%) of the total vote are not eligible to be allocated seats. One political party dominates elections in the Seychelles. Terms are 5 years.

The Seychelles has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected. (Last updated December 2015.)

Sierra Leone – a unicameral Parliament, an assembly of 124 members. 112 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Divisional boundaries are drawn based on population. Members in office who disown affiliation with the party under whose name they were elected must resign from Parliament. The remaining 12 seats in Parliament are filled by 12 Paramount Chiefs selected by electoral colleges to represent each of the nation’s 12 provincial districts. Terms are 5 years.

Sierra Leone has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff method, with the proviso that to win in the first round a candidate must achieve 55% of the vote. A president is limited to two terms of office. (Last updated January 2018,)

Singapore – A unicameral Parliament, the sole house of which is known by the same title, an assembly of up to 99 members. Singapore is divided into a mix of single-member electoral divisions and ‘group representation’ multi-member electoral divisions. As at 2011 this includes 12 single member divisions and 15 group representation divisions, electing 87 members in total. The members in the 12 single member divisions are directly elected by the plurality voting method. In the 15 group representation divisions between 4 and 6 members are elected, in all totalling (as at the 2011 elections) 75 members. In each group representation division a list of members from a single party’s ticket is elected together, with the successful party chosen by the plurality voting method. A ticket for a group representation division must include at least one candidate from an ethnic minority specified for that division. The executive government determines the boundaries of divisions, which divisions are single-member and which are group representation divisions, the number of members elected in each group representation division, and the specific ethnic minorities that must be nominated on the ticket for each group representation division.

In addition to the elected members, up to 6 ‘non-constituency’ members may be appointed to the Parliament to provide some representation of members from political parties not forming the government. This rule was adopted in the context that Singapore’s party configuration is an extremely strong one-party-dominance system. The persons eligible to be appointed as non-constituency members are those candidates not from the governing party who polled at least 15% of the vote in their electoral division. The number of members to be appointed is determined after the number of elected non-government members is known, and the available places are filled from among the eligible candidates in descending order of their vote shares in their constituencies.

Finally, up to 9 unelected ‘nominated members’ may also be appointed to Parliament after the election. A select committee of Parliament invites nominations from the public and makes recommendations for appointment under this system, generally from civic or professional persons not active in party politics who have ‘rendered distinguished service’ to the nation or ‘distinguished themselves’ in their field of expertise.

Terms for ordinary and non-constituency members are up to 5 years. Terms for nominated members are limited to 2½ years.

Singapore has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is directly elected. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Parliament. (Last updated July 2015.)

Slovakia – A unicameral Národná rada (National Council) of which the sole house is an assembly of 150 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated by a partially open party list system of seat allocation (using the Hagenbach-Bischoff/D’Hondt formula) to parties which win at least 5% of the total vote. There is one national list for each party, and the nation votes as a single electoral division. The allocation of seats to individual candidates allows some influence to voters, who may mark preferences for up to four candidates from the party list. All candidates who receive individual votes equal to 3% of the total for that party list is moved, in order of their votes received, to the top of that list. After such candidates are awarded seats the remaining places are filled in the party list order. Terms are four years.[xxxiii]

Slovakia has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional president who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Predseda vlády (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Národná rada. (Last updated December 2017.)

Slovenia – A bicameral Parlament of which the lower house is the Državni Zbor (National Assembly), an assembly of 90 members. (The upper house, the Državni svet (National Council), is limited to advisory roles only, and on this basis the Parlament is often classed as a unicameral one consisting only of the Državni Zbor). 88 of the members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated in eight 11-member divisions (with boundaries determined to attempt to equalise the division populations) by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, to parties which win at least 4% of the total vote. One seat is awarded in each division for each whole quota a party secures. Any seats unfilled are pooled nationally and allocated to parties to best achieve national proportionality by applying the D’Hondt formula to party national vote shares, with seat winners chosen among the highest-preferred unsuccessful divisional candidates. Party lists must present a minimum of 35% candidates of each gender. Voters may indicate a preferred individual candidate within the party they support, and seats are allocated to individuals in order of such preference votes.

An additional 2 members are elected by voters of each of the Italian and Hungarian national minorities using the Borda count voting method (although in the 2014 elections only one candidate nominated for each of these seats). Terms are four years. [xxxiv]

Slovenia has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Predsednik, a constitutional president who is directly elected. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Vlada (Government) headed by the Premier (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Državni Zbor. (Last updated January 2018l)

Solomon Islands – a unicameral National Parliament, an assembly of 50 members.  Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are 4 years. At the last elections in 2014, 32 of the elected members – almost two-thirds of the chamber – were independents.

The Solomon Islands has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister who holds office on the confidence of the Parliament. (Last updated April 2017.)

Somalia – Somalia’s political institutions, and even its unity as a nation, have only recently begun to be restored after civil war and disorder afflicted the people of the nation from 1991 to 2012. The new constitution of the post-2012 political reconstruction officially sees Somalia consisting of six federated states. However two northern states, each representing around a third of the nation’s total population, assert significant degrees of independence. The north-western ‘state’ of Somaliland claims full independence as a nation state, although it has received very little international recognition, and has reached a pragmatic accommodation with the national government. The north-eastern state of Puntland accepts participation in the federation, but claims a range of autonomous political powers. Somalia remains a tribally divided nation, and after decades of disorder levels of literacy, education and openness of public debate are only beginning to return to a condition capable of supporting normal democratic and electoral process.

In any case as of 2012 the federation has a bicameral Federal Parliament (Golaha Shacabka, or Baarlamaanka Federaalka), of which the lower house is the House of the People, an indirectly elected assembly of 275 members. The nation is divided into 275 electoral districts, but in these divisions members are not directly elected. A number of key tribal elders are given responsibility for nominating 51 electors for each electoral district, each of which forms an electoral college with the task of selecting the parliamentary representative for the people of the district. A minimum of 30% of the seats are reserved for female representatives, according to rules under which each of the four largest national ethnic clans (Hawiye, Darod, Dir, and Rahaweyn) must provide at least 18 female members, while the remaining ’others’ ethnic category must provide at least 9 female members. Terms are four years.

A transitional parliament under the new constitution was assembled in 2012, and in late 2016 the constitutional system was applied in its current form for the first time. However the state of Somaliland has (as at early 2017) declined to name its allotted representatives to the Parliament.

Somalia has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive authority is nominally vested in a constitutional President who is selected by the Parliament. Presidents may serve no more than two four-year terms. The President then appoints a Prime Minister and ministry who in practice exercise the executive authority. (Last updated April 2017)

South Africa – A bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the National Assembly, a composite assembly of 400 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each of the 9 South African provinces and also nationally by the closed party list system of seat allocation. Seat numbers for each of the provinces range from 4 to 43, based on population, totalling 200. Each voter casts a single vote for one party, which it used to determine each party’s national total of seats, and also the seats allocated from provincial party lists. The primary basis for allocating the assembly’s full number of 400 seats to the parties is the national vote total. There is no vote threshold for party eligibility to win seats; for example, a party with 0.2% of the national total vote won 1 seat in the 2009 election.

The specific formula for allocating seats is a hybrid method in which seats are first allocated to each party according to the number of whole Droop quotas won by each party. Thereafter up to five seats are allocated using the largest remainder method (based on the application of the initial Droop quota). Finally, any remaining seats are allocated among parties that have won at least 1 seat in the counting to that point, using the D’Hondt formula. Once the total seat entitlements for each party are determined, the seats are then allocated to either the national party lists or the provincial party lists depending on how many parties have chosen to submit either or both of provincial lists and national lists for the election. A maximum of half the members (currently 200 of the 400 seat assembly) may be drawn from national lists. If all parties submit national lists then 200 members will be drawn from the national party lists and 200 from the provincial party lists. If no party submits a national list then all members will be drawn from provincial party lists. (For example, in the 2009 election one party chose not to use a national party list, resulting in 168 members being chosen from the national party lists and 232 from provincial party lists.)

Once these allocations are determined, the places to be filled from provincial lists are determined according to a normal seat allocation process, by the same formula as described above for the initial national calculation, using the party vote totals within each province. Once that process is complete for all provinces, the deficit of seats for each party against their primary national allocation of seats will become apparent, and party candidates will be then drawn from the national list to make up the correct total for each party. Terms are five years.

South Africa has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive authority is vested in a President who is elected by the National Assembly (and holds office subject to the continuing confidence that body). (last updated September 2015)

South Korea – A unicameral Daehan-min-guk Gukhoe (National Assembly) of which the sole house, referred to by the same title, is a composite assembly of 300 members. 253 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Using the national party vote totals of the ballots cast for local members, a further 47 seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula, to all parties winning either a minimum of 3% of the national vote total or else winning 5 or more local division elections. Overall representation of parties in the Gukhoe is not made proportional to national vote totals by any formal mechanism. Terms are four years.

South Korea has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Daetonglyeong (President). The president appoints a prime minister (Gungmuchongni) who must have the support of (but need not be a member of) the Gukhoe, but while this executive serves as vice-chair of the cabinet and succeeds the president should they leave office mid-term (as happened in early 2017), the role is not independent of the president, nor is it specifically accountable to the Gukhoe. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the plurality voting method, and individuals are limited to a single term of office. (Last updated May 2017)

South Sudan – a bicameral National Legislature of which the lower house is the Al-Majlis Al-Tachirii (National Legislative Assembly), an unelected transitional assembly of (up to) 400 members. Members are not directly elected, but are appointees under a transitional agreement arising from the nation’s formal separation from Sudan in 2011. 170 seats were allotted to former members of the Southern Sudanese Legislative Assembly (which was an appointed body dating from 2005 with seats allocated to political parties by agreement), and 96 seats were allotted to former members of the Sudanese National Assembly from electoral districts in territory that had become South Sudan. A further 66 seats were allotted to various political parties for nomination. Finally, an additional 68 members, including 50 representatives of the South Sudanese Armed Opposition, 17 further party nominees, and 1 former detainee were added the transitional assembly in 2016. Departures had reduced the number of members to 383 by late 2016.

South Sudan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President. The current president, the first in the nation’s short history, was not elected but transferred to the role as the former president of the pre-2011 Southern Sudan government.

South Sudan is still transitioning out of civil war with Sudan under the 2011 peace agreement. The nation’s legislature is expected to enact electoral laws for elections of the legislature and presidency in due course. (Last updated April 2017)

Spain – A bicameral Cortes Generales of which the lower house is the Congreso de los Diputados, an assembly of 350 members. 348 of the seats are allocated among 50 electoral divisions which are based on regional boundaries. Each division is allocated an initial 2 seats, and the remaining 248 are allowed in proportion to each division’s population, the result therefore involving moderate malapportionment in favour of small-population divisions. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each province by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Parties must achieve 3% of the vote in any electoral division in order to be eligible for allocation of seats. Finally, one seat is allocated to each of the territories of Cueta and Melila on the African coast, each elected by the plurality method. Terms are up to four years.[xxxv]

Spain has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the King. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Presidente del Gobierno (President of the Government) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Congreso. (last updated September 2015)

Sri Lanka – A unicameral Parliament of which the sole house is also termed the Parliament, a composite assembly of 225 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within the 25 Sri Lankan administrative districts and also nationally by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. The allocation of numbers of seats to each district involves two steps, overseen by a constitutional Delimitation Commission. 22 electoral divisions are established based on the boundaries of the administrative districts. (20 of the 22 electoral divisions represent a single administrative district, and the final two divisions represent combinations of two and three small administrative districts respectively.) The electoral divisions (and thus districts) are grouped into 9 Sri Lankan provinces, each containing 2 or 3 divisions. In the first seat allocation step, each province receives an equal allocation of 4 seats regardless or provincial population. These seats are then allotted to divisions in numbers (1, 2 or 3) based on the population within each division. Next, 160 seats are allotted to each electoral division based on the number of enrolled voters in each. The sum of the allotments for each division from the two processes becomes the number of seats allocated to each division. These 196 members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties using the party list seat allocation system based on the vote total for each party in each division. Finally, a further 29 seats are filled from separate national party lists based on the national vote total for each party. The overall representation of parties in the Parliament is not made proportional to national vote totals by any formal mechanism. Terms are up to six years.

Sri Lanka has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the President and also the Prime Minister. The President is directly elected for a six-year term by the preferential voting system. The Prime Minister is chosen on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Parliament. (last updated December 2011)

Sudan – a bicameral Al-Maǧlis al-Ttašriyʿiy (National Legislature), of which the lower house is the Al-Maǧlis al-Waṭaniy (National Assembly), a composite assembly of 426 members. The nation is divided into 18 electoral divisions based on Sudan’s states. 213 members are directly elected in the electoral divisions (which are allotted numbers of seats ranging from 2 to 36) using the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method. The remaining 213 seats are not directly elected but are allocated in each electoral division by the closed party list system of seat allocation to parties that win at least 5% of the vote in the division. For the allocated seats in each division there are two allocation pools, one pool comprising 60% of these seats using party lists limited to female candidates (totalling 128 seats nationwide), and the other pool comprising the remaining seats for the division using ordinary lists on which male and female candidates must alternate (totalling 85 seats nationwide). Voters cast two votes: one for the SNTV direct election in their division and a second vote for parties, the latter being used for both the female-only and the dual-gender seat allocation pools. Terms are 5 years.

Sudan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a 5-year term by the two-round runoff method.

The most recent Sudanese parliamentary and presidential elections held in 2015 – the first to be held following a period of civil war and the partition of the nation – were boycotted by opposition groups and turnout was low. (Last updated April 2017)

Suriname – a unicameral Nationale Assemblée of which the sole house is an assembly of 51 members. Suriname is divided into 10 electoral divisions based on administrative districts, with seat numbers ranging from 2 to 17 allotted in proportion to population. In the electoral divisions members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Terms are for five years.

Suriname has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is elected by a two-thirds majority of the Assemblée for a five-year term. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Vice President (in effect a post of prime minister) separately elected by the Assemblée. (Last updated April 2017)

Sweden – A unicameral Riksdagen of which the sole house is also termed the Riksdag, a composite assembly of 349 members. 310 seats are allocated among 29 electoral divisions (‘fixed constituencies’), in numbers currently ranging between 2 and 34 seats, based on each division’s proportional share of total enrolled voters as assessed for each election. Division boundaries primarily match those of the 21 Swedish counties, though those containing Stockholm and two other cities are divided into smaller divisions.

Voters receive (and cast) either a ballot paper bearing a vote for a single party (or a blank ballot to be filled in likewise), or a ballot for a named party that lists candidates’ names, from which the voter may choose to support one candidate. Each type of ballot constitutes a vote for the relevant party. All parties receiving at least 12% of the total vote in an electoral division, and/or 4% of the vote nationwide, are eligible to receive seats in that division. Parties may pool their capacity to reach the 12% target by the device of apparentment (a joint party list) within each constituency separately. Seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the modified Sainte-Laguë formula. When determining the individual candidates which receive each party’s allotted constituency seats, any candidate who receives individual votes equal to 8% of the total for that party (or joint) list is moved to the top of that list. After such candidates are awarded seats the remaining places are filled in the party list order.

An additional 39 levelling seats are then filled from separate national party lists such that the total composition of the Riksdag is proportional (again according to the Modified Sainte-Laguë formula) to the aggregate national vote of all parties that received more than 4% of the national vote total. Terms are for four years. [xxxv]

Sweden has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Kung (King). However, actual executive power is exercised by the Statsminister (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Riksdag. (Last updated January 2018.)

Switzerland – A bicameral Bundesversammlung (German) (also Assemblée fédérale (French), Assemblea federale (Italian) and Assamblea federala (Romansh)) (Federal Assembly) of which the lower house is the Nationalrat (German) (also Conseil National (French), Consiglio Nazionale (Italian) and Cussegl Naziunal (Romansh)) (National Council), an assembly of 200 members. Seats in the Nationalrat are allocated to each of the 26 Swiss Cantons in proportion to their populations. The number of seats in each division varies substantially, from 1 (which occurs in six Cantons) to 34 (in Zürich Canton). The distribution of seats is reconsidered every ten years after a population census. Members for all Cantons represented by 2 or more seats are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by an open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. The system is an unusual hybrid using apportionment to allocate seats to parties, followed by cumulative direct voting to allocate individual seats to candidates. Voters may complete a blank ballot paper by marking multiple votes for candidates from any party, and are permitted to cast up to as many votes in total as there are seats available in their electoral division (Canton). However, a maximum of two votes may be cast for any individual candidate. Voters may choose to leave some of their vote lines blank, but they may also choose to indicate support for a specified political party at the head of their ballot, and if they choose to do so any unused votes will be credited generically to that party. Ballots may also be submitted (and indeed most ballots are) using a pre-printed party list ballot paper in a form registered and made available in advance by each political party. Voters may submit such a ballot paper either in an unchanged form, or after editing it by one of several ways including deleting the names of one or more printed candidates, using such deleted spaces to enter the name of one or more candidates a second time (termed kumulieren or ‘accumulation’), and/or using such deleted spaces to enter (either once or twice) names of candidates from other parties (a practice termed panachage or ‘vote splitting’).[xxxvii] All votes cast for the candidates of each party (including any deleted or blank lines found on pre-printed party ballots or ballots indicating a favoured party) are totalled to yield a set of party vote totals, which are then used in the apportionment of seat allocations to parties. The formula for apportionment is the largest remainder method using Hagenbach-Bischoff quota. Once the total number of seats allocated to each party is settled, the individual votes for the candidates of each seat-winning party (from all ballot papers, and including any kumulieren (second votes)) are totalled as in cumulative voting, and each party’s seats are awarded to the candidates with the highest personal vote totals. In Cantons allocated a single seat the system is formally identical, but in practice this amounts to direct election by the plurality method. Terms are four years.

Switzerland has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive authority is vested in and exercised by the Bundesrat (Federal Council), a body of seven Bundesversammlung members elected by the two houses of the Bundesversammlung in a joint sitting. The election procedure sees each of the seven seats on the Bundesrat filled separately by the preferential voting method. However by convention, the four major parties in the Bundesversammlung operate on the basis of a voluntary grand coalition, under which they pre-determine the distribution of the seven seats between themselves in proportion to their national vote shares. The voting to elect a person to each Bundesrat seat is limited to candidates from the relevent party. The Bundesversammlung similarly elects one of the seven members of the Bundesrat as the Bundespräsident (President of the Confederation) for one-year terms, but again by convention this position is rotated among the Bundesrat members in order of seniority. (last updated September 2015)

Syria – Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011 the parliamentary arrangements described below can at best be regarded as merely a nominal description of affairs even in government-controlled areas.

Syria has a unicameral Majlis al-Sha’ab (People’s Council) of which the sole house is an assembly of 250 members. Seats are allocated among 15 regional electoral divisions. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by a modified form of closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Syria is in practice a one-party state, in which 167 of the Majlis seats are reserved to be awarded to the governing political party – the National Progressive Front – thus assuring this party of a continuing majority. Furthermore, all other candidates for “non-partisan” seats are required by law to “accept the leadership” of the governing party. Terms are four years.

Syria has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Rỷys (President) subject to no meaningful constraint from the Majlis. The President’s nominal term of office is seven years. In practice since 1971 the office of President and the dominant political power in Syria has been held by two generations of the al-Assad family. (Last updated April 2017)

Tajikistan – a bicameral Majlisi Oli (Supreme Assembly) of which the lower house is the Majlisi Namoyandagon (House of Representatives), a composite assembly of 63 members. 41 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the two-round runoff method. Second rounds of voting are held in any division where no candidate achieves a majority or where the turnout is lower than 50% of enrolment. A further 22 members are not directly elected but seats are allocated in one nation-wide division using the closed party list system of seat allocation to all political parties which achieve at least 5% of the national vote. Terms are 5 years.

Tajikistan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a 7-year term by the two-round runoff method. There are no term limits, and current a President Emomalii Rahmon has been in office since the nation’s independent constitution came into effect in 1992. (Last updated October 2015)

Tanzania – A unicameral Parliament of which the sole house is the National Assembly, a composite assembly of (currently) 393 members. There are five distinct bases for the holding of seats in the Assembly. The nation is divided into 264 electoral divisions (‘constituencies’). Members are directly elected to these single member divisions by the plurality voting method. In addition, in order to ensure female representation in the National Assembly, each party which wins constituency seats is allocated additional seats in the National Assembly equal to 30% of their number of constituencies, to be filled by female candidates nominated by the party. The number of such seats will vary slightly after each election: for example, 110 such seats were filled after the 2015 election. Five further seats are filled by members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives chosen by that assembly, two of whom must be female. The President of Tanzania may appoint up to 10 additional members to the National Assembly (a practice normally used to give proposed cabinet members a basis for holding executive offices), half of whom must be female. Finally, the nation’s Attorney-General – a public service position – holds an ex officio membership of the Assembly. Terms are five years.

Tanzania has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the President and also the Prime Minister. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, nominally on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the National Assembly. The party configuration of Tanzania has been a strong one-party system for many years, so the National Assembly does not display effective independence of the President in regard to the appointment of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and nor is the Prime Minister or the National Assembly effectively independent of the President. (Last updated April 2017)

Thailand – A unicameral Sapha Nitibanyat (National Legislative Assembly), an unelected assembly of 220 members appointed under a transitional constitutional charter gazetted by the government in 2014.

The last elected assembly, elected in July 2011, was the Sapha Phu Thaen Ratsadon (House of Representatives), a composite assembly of 500 members. All voters cast ballots separately for local representatives and for national parties. 375 members were elected in local single member divisions by the plurality voting method. A further 125 members were allocated to parties in 8 regional electoral divisions by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Overall representation of parties in the assembly was not made proportional to national vote totals by any formal mechanism. Terms were up to four years.

Thailand has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Rama (King). However, actual executive power is exercised by the Nayok Ratthamontri Haeng (Prime Minister) who at present is not accountable to an elected assembly. (Last updated January 2018.)

Timor-Leste (East Timor) – a unicameral Parlamento Nacional (Portuguese) or Parlamentu Nasionál (Tetum) (National Parliament), an assembly of 65 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated in a single national pool to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Parties must achieve at least 3% of the vote to be eligible to be allocated seats. On party lists at least every third candidate must be female. Members in office who disown affiliation with the party under whose name they were elected must resign from the Parliamento. Terms are 5 years.

Timor-Leste has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is shared between a Presidente (Prezidente, President), who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method, and a Primeiro-Ministro (Primeiru-Ministru, Prime Minister) who holds office on the basis of confidence in the Parlamento. (Last updated December 2015)

Togo – a unicameral Assemblée Nationale of which the sole house is an assembly of 91 members. There are 30 multi-member electoral divisions, each allotted only a small number of seats. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation. Terms are five years.

Togo’s party system essentially amounts to a one-party state.

Togo has the presidential system of government, in which executive authority is vested in a constitutional President who is directly elected for five year terms by the two-round runoff method. The President appoints a Prime Minister and cabinet. (Last updated April 2017)

Tonga – a unicameral Fale Alea (Legislative Assembly), an assembly of at least 26 and as many as 30 members. 17 members (termed “commoners”) are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. These are allocated to the island districts of Tongatapu (10 members), Vava’u (3 members), Ha’apai (2 members) and Niuas and ‘Eua (1 member each). A further 9 members (“nobles”) are selected by the 33 noble chiefs of Tonga. Terms are 4 years. Finally, any members of the executive cabinet who are not already Fale Alea members also become members ex officio, but the cabinet may not include more than 4 such persons.

Tonga is a semi-constitutional monarchy in which executive power is vested in the hereditary King. In practice the nation has the plurality parliamentary system of government, since actual executive power is exercised by a Prime Minister accountable to the Fale Alea. However the democratisation process that has unfolded since 2008 still involves tension between (on the one hand) the King, the King’s Privy Council and the nobility, and (on the other) the bulk of the democratically elected commoner MPs. In November 2017 for the first time elected commoners of the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands achieved a working majority of the Fale Area, winning 14 of the 17 elected seats. (Last updated November 2017)

Trinidad and Tobago – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, an assembly of 41 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are 5 years.

Trinidad and Tobago has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is formally held by a President selected by a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament, but is in fact exercised by a Prime Minister and government accountable to the House of Representatives. (Last updated December 2015)

Tunisia – a unicameral Majlis Nawwāb esh-Sha‘b (Assembly of the Representatives of the People), an assembly of 217 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method. Seats are allocated across 33 electoral divisions. 27 electoral divisions are located in Tunisia itself, and in these divisions between 4 and 10 seats are allocated, totalling 199 seats. The remaining 18 seats are allocated within 6 divisions made up of Tunisian electors residing overseas, including two divisions for electors residing in France (each of 5 seats), one division for electors in each of Italy and Germany, one for electors in the remainder of Europe and the Americas, and the last for electors in the remainder of the world. Terms are 5 years.

Tunisia has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is vested in the Président who is directly elected for a term of 5 years by the two-round runoff method. However executive power is in practice exercised by the Chef du gouvernement (Fr., Head of Government) appointed by the President and generally answerable to the Majlis. (Last updated October 2015)

Turkey – A unicameral Büyük Millet Meclisi (Grand National Assembly) of which the sole house is also termed the Meclis (Assembly or Parliament), an assembly of 550 members. Seats are allocated in proportion to population among 85 electoral divisions which are based on the boundaries of the 81 Turkish administrative provinces (with Istanbul administrative province being divided into 3 electoral divisions and Ankara and Izmir provinces each into 2 divisions). Seat allocations are reviewed to reflect changing population before each election. The numbers of seats allocated to the electoral divisions range from small divisions with 1-2 seats up to the large Istanbul divisions with 27-30 seats each. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated within each division by a distorted form of the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula.

The Turkish electoral system is arguably the most vote-distorting of all the world electoral systems which claim to be party-proportional. Seats in the Meclis are only allocated to parties which achieve a threshold of 10% of the total nationwide vote. Parties may however form national alliances and register for the elections as one list. In addition, independent individual candidates (in practice including many nominees belonging to small and local parties) may be nominated in an electoral division and may be allocated a seat if they win sufficient votes personally, without regard to the 10% national threshold. In recent elections only up to four parties have achieved the very high vote threshold, which works strongly against the representation of voters supporting parties which have small vote shares or are regionally concentrated. The seat allocation distortion is even further exaggerated by a rule – unique in world national electoral systems – that in each electoral division’s seat allocation calculations all the votes cast for ineligible parties are re-allocated, being added to the vote tally of the party coming first in the division.

Meclis terms have historically been up to four years, although future terms will be up to five years (see below).

Turkey (currently) has the premier-presidential system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional Başkan (President) who is directly elected. Nominally, actual executive power is exercised by the Başbakan (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Meclis.

However a referendum in 2017 resulted in constitutional changes which will abolish prime ministerial government accountable to the Meclis and increase in a number of ways the executive powers of the presidency (which is no longer to be seen as a non-partisan constitutional office). The package of changes will also increase the size of the Meclis for future elections to 600 members, and extend Meclis terms to five years. The package of changes will take effect after the next elections for the Meclis. While these are not normally due into late 2019, by presidential decree they have been brought forward to 24 June 2018. (Last updated June 2018.)

Turkmenistan – a unicameral Mejlis (Assembly) of 125 members. All members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms are 5 years.

Turkmenistan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a 5-year term by the two-round runoff method. There are no term limits. (Last updated April 2017)

Tuvalu – a unicameral Palamene (Parliament), an assembly of 15 members. Each of the eight main islands or island combinations forms a separate electoral division. Seven of these divisions elect two members each, with the final island of Nukulaelae electing a single member. Members are directly elected by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method or (in the single member divisions) by the plurality voting method. Terms are 4 years.

Tuvalu has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister who holds office on the confidence of the Palamene. (Last updated October 2015)

Uganda – A unicameral Parliament of which the sole house is the National Assembly, a composite assembly of 375 members. 238 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. A further 112 members are elected in special electoral divisions for the representation of women. An additional 25 seats are allocated to appointed special representatives of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (10), youth (5), people with disabilities (5) and workers (5). 13 key government officials also attend Parliament ex officio. Terms are five years.

Uganda has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the President subject to only limited constraints from the National Assembly. The President is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff system. (last updated July 2015)

Ukraine – A unicameral Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council), a composite assembly of 450 members. 2225 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality method. A further 225 members are not directly elected, but these seats are allocated at a national level by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, to all parties which win 5% of the total vote nationwide. Terms are up to four years.

Ukraine has the premier-presidential system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Prezydent who is directly elected. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Uryad (Government, or Cabinet of Ministers) led by the Prem’ier-ministr (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Verkhovna Rada. (last updated September 2015)

United Kingdom – A bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the House of Commons, an assembly of 650 members. All members are directly elected in single member divisions (‘constituencies’) by the plurality voting method. Historically the House was primarily elected in 2-member electoral divisions (with exceptional 1, 3 and 4-member divisions in some locations) in which members were elected by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method. Up to the House elected in 2015 the allocation of seats among the four ‘countries’ of the UK has not been strictly proportional. For the current House there are 533 divisions in England, 40 in Wales, 59 in Scotland, and 18 in Northern Ireland – a distribution which favours voters in Scotland and Wales with increased representation compared to those in England and Northern Ireland. For the next election – due in 2020 – the size of the House will be reduced from 650 to 600 seats, the allocation of seats among the four countries will be made proportional, and all constituency boundaries will be accordingly redrawn. The boundaries of electoral divisions, which are based primarily on local government boundaries, are reviewed regularly and determined by independent Boundary Commissions for each of the four countries. Terms are five years.

The United Kingdom has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Queen. However, actual executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the House of Commons. (Last updated April 2017)

United States – A bicameral Congress of which the lower house is the House of Representatives, an assembly of 435 members. Seats are divided among the 50 States of the Union using the Huntingdon-Hill modified divisor method, including a minimum seat rule requiring at least one seat for each state. Members are directly elected in 435 single member divisions (‘districts’) primarily by the plurality voting method. In 46 of the 50 states elections are held using ordinary plurality voting. The states of California (51 seats) and Washington (10 seats) elect members in contests limited to just two candidates, who are earlier selected in ‘open primary’ elections by single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting, a rule which sometimes results in an election day choice of two final candidates of the same party, or of one party candidate and an independent.  In the state of Georgia (14 seats) each party selects a single candidate during primary elections, but if on the national election day the plurality candidates falls short of 50% of the vote a final two-candidate runoff election is held a few weeks later. The state of Louisiana (6 seats) also uses a two-round runoff method, with candidacy on election day open to multiple candidates from each party; if no candidate secures 50% of the vote a runoff election between the top two candidates (possibly from the same party) is held a few weeks later. Terms are two years, with elections always held on the first Tuesday in November in each even-numbered year.

Five non-voting House ‘members’ (termed delegates) are also elected to represent voters in the five US non-state territories, including Puerto Rico (population over 4 million), three Pacific island territories, and the federal capital territory of the District of Columbia, containing the city of Washington.

Redistribution of allocations of the 435 seats among the US states, and reviews of district boundaries (‘redistricting’) within each state, are conducted after the national census held every 10 years. Reviews of district boundaries are administered by state governments and/or legislatures. Concentration distortion is extensive in many states, and is made worse by redistricting being routinely gerrymandered by partisan legislators and governors without shame.

The upper house of the Congress is the Senate, an assembly of 100 members. Each US state is allocated two Senate seats. The terms of office of senators are six years, and seats are filled in three phases at elections held every two years, such that each state will have one senate seat facing election in two of the three phases. The three phases therefore see 33, 33 or 34 places facing election. Elections are held on the common US election day on the first Tuesday in November in each even-numbered year.

Senators for 46 of the states are elected by simple plurality voting. As with the House electoral methods described above, senators for the states of Washington and California are elected by a system where primary elections result in the elimination of all but the two leading candidates, and senators for Louisiana and Georgia are elected by runoff elections if no candidate achieves 50% of the vote at the main election.

Vacancies in Senate places are filled by appointment by the relevant state Governor in the case of 46 of the states. The remaining 4 states (and, under various conditions, in 9 other states where Governor appointments are used) fresh elections are held to fill a vacancy. The appointment of replacement senators at the discretion of Governors means that an elected senator may be replaced by one of a different party affiliation, except in 5 states (Arizona, Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah and Wyoming) where under state electoral laws Governors are required to appoint new senators of the same party affiliation as the elected senator being replaced.

The United States has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President subject to various constraints by the Congress, which is formally independent of the President. The President is indirectly elected for a four-year term by an electoral college system in which each State is allocated a number of delegates equal to their total representation in the two houses of Congress (which results in malapportionment favouring small States). Constitutionally, the legislature of each State is free to determine the method of appointment of that State’s delegates, but since the early 19th century every State has legislated to allow its College delegation to be directly elected, with almost all States providing that this be done as a single ticket chosen by the plurality voting method. Presidents are limited to 2 terms of office. (Last updated January 2018.)

Uruguay – a bicameral Asamblea General (General Assembly) of which the lower house is the Cámara de Representantes (House of Representatives), an assembly of 99 members. Seats are allocated to Uruguay’s 19 departments in proportion to population, with a minimum of two seats for the smallest departments. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. Terms are 5 years.

Uruguay has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Presidente, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method at elections held simultaneously with the elections for the Asamblea. A Presidente is limited to two terms of office. (Last updated October 2015.)

Uzbekistan – A bicameral Oliy Majlis of which the lower house is the Qonunchilik Palatasi (Legislative Chamber), a composite assembly of 150 members. 135 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the two-round runoff method, with the proviso that 33% of enrolled voters must vote for a first round win to be valid. An additional 15 members are elected by a congress of the Ekologik Hаrаkаti (Ecological Movement) of Uzbekistan (an organisation which is both an environmental movement and a registered political party), including one member from each of 14 territorial subdivisions of Uzbekistan plus one member from the Executive Committee of the organisation. Terms are five years.

Uzbekistan has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidenti subject to only limited constraints from the Majlis. The Presidenti is directly elected for a seven-year term by the two-round runoff system. (Last updated September 2015.)

Vanuatu – A unicameral Parliament of which the sole house is an assembly of 52 members. Seats are allocated in proportion to population among 17 electoral divisions. Division magnitudes range between 1 and 7 members. Members are directly elected by the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method, although in single-member divisions this is in practice a plurality vote. Terms are up to four years.

Vanuatu has the plurality parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in a constitutional President selected by an electoral college consisting of members of Parliament and the presidents of Regional Councils. However, actual executive power is exercised by a Prime Minister elected by a majority in the Parliament. (last updated September 2015)

Venezuela – A unicameral Asamblea Nacional (National Assembly) of which the sole house is a composite assembly of around 165 members. The number of seats is not constant. At each election each of the 23 Venezuelan states and the capital district are allocated three members plus the result of dividing the state population by 1.1% of the total national population. For the 2015 election the resulting number of seats was 164. Approximately 70% of each state’s seats are filled by direct elections in local electoral divisions (called circumscriptions), and the remaining 30% are filled by party-proportional seat allocation. At the 2015 election 113 seats were filled in 87 circumscriptions. 66 of these were single member divisions filled by the plurality voting method, but in a number of circumscriptions two (in 16 cases) or three (in 5 cases) members were elected using the block voting method. The distribution of circumscription boundaries features a significant degree of malapportionment generally favouring rural areas. A further 51 seats were filled by seat allocation in each of the 24 regions (i.e.: the 23 states and the capital district) – with 20 states and the capital district being allotted 2 seats and the 3 largest states by population (Carabobo, Miranda and Zulia) allotted 3 seats – based on a separate vote within each state, using the closed party list system and the D’Hondt divisor formula. A final 3 seats are provided for representatives of indigenous peoples, which are elected separately by all voters (not just those of indigenous background). Terms are up to five years.

Venezuela has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised solely by the Presidente subject to only limited constraints from the legislature. The Presidente is directly elected for a six-year term by the plurality voting method. (Last updated April 2017)

Yemen – a unicameral Majlis al-Nuwaab (House of Representatives), an assembly of 301 members. Members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Terms were 6 years. Yemen was however in practice a one-party state.

Yemen has been in a state of civil disunity or actual civil war since 2011, culminating in the coup d’etat of 2014-15. Due to these conditions as well as constitutional reforms from 2009, which are yet to be effectively implemented, the Majlis, originally due to be re-elected in 2009, has been dissolved, reinstated and had its term of office repeatedly extended by decree. The assembly cannot represent the warring elements of the nation in a normal manner.

Yemen nominally has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the directly elected Rỷys (President), who serves a maximum of two 7-year terms. However as with the Majlis, the normal administration of the nation by the President has been prevented by the current state of civil and international war. (Last updated October 2015)

Zambia – a unicameral National Assembly, an assembly of 158 members. 150 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. An additional 8 members are appointed by the President. Terms are 5 years.

Zambia has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method, together with a Prime Minister appointed by the President. A president is limited to two 5-year terms of office. (Last updated October 2015)

Zimbabwe – a bicameral Parliament of which the lower house is the National Assembly, an assembly of 270 members. The nation is divided into 10 provinces, within which 210 members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method. A constitutional rule provides that for the elections of 2013 and 2018 only an additional 60 seats – 6 in each province – will be allocated to female candidates by the closed party list system of seat allocation. These are allocated in each province in proportion to the relative aggregate votes received by candidates of political parties in the single-member divisional elections. Terms are 5 years.

Zimbabwe has the presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the President, who is directly elected for a five-year term by the two-round runoff method.

Recent presidential and legislative elections in Zimbabwe have been accused of widespread irregularities favouring the incumbent president and governing party. In addition to state media bias, intimidation of voters and security issues, the major technical allegation was that the electoral rolls failed to include the names or around 30% of entitled voters, while including false identifies of non-existent voters amounting to a similar figure. (Last updated November 2015)

Island micro-nations – fifteen remaining small nation-states also feature democratic political systems with assemblies. Most are former British dependencies and remain members of the Commonwealth, but a few have French or Spanish backgrounds.

Of these Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Cook Islands, Grenada, Palau and Saint Lucia directly elect members to assemblies in single member divisions by the plurality voting method.

Micronesia uses the same SMD-plurality system but in two tiers, with local and also larger-district members elected in overlapping geographical boundaries.

Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines also use SMD-plurality, but also add a number of appointees to their assemblies.

The Marshall Islands, Niue and Samoa also directly elect members using plurality voting in a mix of single member and multi-member electoral divisions, the latter of which amount to using the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) voting method.

In Kiribati voters directly elect members by the two-round runoff method.

Finally in São Tomé and Príncipe members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the closed party list system of seat allocation. (Last updated April 2017).

Special status assemblies

image - European_Parliament_Strasbourg_Hemicycle

The ‘hemicycle’ chamber of the EU Parliament, Strasbourg (image: Wikipedia)

European Union – a unicameral Parliament, an assembly of 751 members, created by a series of treaties between the member nations, the most recent being the Lisbon Treaty of 2009. Seats in the Parliament are allocated among the Union’s 28 nations in ‘degressive’ proportion to population. The largest national number of members is currently that for Germany (96 seats), and the lowest is four small states having 6 members, resulting in the per capita representation of the small states being around 10 times that for Germany.

The governing treaty requires that each nation’s members of the Parliament be chosen by some form of proportional representation, for which either the single transferable vote (STV) voting system or any form of party list system of seat allocation are permissible. 22 nations determine their members (MEPs) on the basis of being a single national electoral division, whilst six nations (Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom) create internal subdivisions for the purpose of their MEP elections.

Representatives from the Republic or Ireland (Éire) and those from the Northern Ireland region of the United Kingdom are directly elected by the STV system. Members from the remainder of the United Kingdom and from the remaining 26 nations are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to political parties by systems of party list seat allocation using various models.

Terms are five years, with each nation’s election days occurring during a four-day period in late May in each election year. Voter turnout is relatively low, and has been declining steadily since the first elections in 1979, standing at 42% at the 2014 elections.

Partisan politics within the Parliament is primarily carried out through 7 multi-national political alliances (‘European political parties’), with which political parties in the member nations associate themselves. (A small number of MEPs belong to un-associated parties or are individual MEPs.)

The Parliament sits in both Strasbourg, France and in Brussels, with administrative offices in Luxembourg. (Last updated December 2017.)

Kosovo – Kosovo declared itself independent of Serbia in 2008, and is recognised as an independent state by a 110 UN member nations, including 23 of 28 members of the European Union. Serbia does not recognise Kosovan independence, but in 2013 agreed to recognise the de facto Kosovan government and its institutions.The Kosovan parliament is the unicameral Kuvendi (Assembly), consisting of 120 members. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the D’Hondt divisor formula. 100 seats are allocated in the primary proportional distribution between parties. 10 seats are allocated to separate parties representing the Serbian ethnic minority, and 10 final seats are allocated to parties representing the small ethnic minorities of Romani, Ashkali, Egyptians, Bosniaks, Turks and Gorans. Terms are 4 years.

Kosovo has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which executive power is nominally held by the Presidenti, who is selected for a five-year term by the Kuvendi by a two-thirds majority, but is exercised in practice by a Kryeministri (Prime Minister) and ministry which hold office with the confidence of the Kuvendi. (Last updated December 2017.)

Northern Cyprus – The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus consists of 40% of the island of Cyprus that was invaded by Turkey during tensions with Greece in 1974. A local independent republic is established there, but it is not recognised by the United Nations or by any nation other than Turkey. Cyprus itself has since become a member of the European Union. The legislature of Cyprus still makes provision for the representation of residents of the northern area.

The legislature of Northern Cyprus is a unicameral Cumhuriyet Meclisi (Assembly of the Republic), an assembly of 50 members. The territory is divided into five electoral divisions based on the territory’s administrative districts, each of which is allotted numbers of seats ranging from 6 to 16 in proportion to population. Members are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation. Parties must achieve 5% of the total national vote to be eligible for seat allocation in any district.

Unusually, while candidates are associated with the electoral divisions, voters are able to support candidates from anywhere across the five divisions. Voters may either simply vote for a party, which is equivalent to casting 50 ‘preference votes’, one for each member of that party’s list in all five of the electoral divisions. Alternatively, a voter may mark between 24 and 50 preferences for individual candidates from across the available parties, choosing candidates from any electoral division. The aggregate of all the preference votes cast for a party’s candidates on ballots of either form is taken as the party’s vote total for the purposes of the seat allocation calculations. Once each party’s number of seats won is determined, the individual places are awarded to individual candidates of each party in order of the number of preference votes won by candidates. Terms are 5 years.

Northern Cyprus has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which the head of government is the Başkan (President), who is directly elected by the two-round runoff method. Executive power is in practice exercised by a Prime Minister who holds office on the confidence of the Meclesi. (Last updated January 2018.)

Palestine – The As-Sulṭah Al-Waṭaniyyah Al-Filasṭīniyyah or Palestinian Authority (referred to by itself as the ‘State of Palestine’) is an interim self-government body established by the 1993 Oslo Accords within the West Bank and Gaza Strip territories occupied by Israel. In 2013 the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine and its Authority as a ‘non-member observer state’. Palestine has in practice been divided into two jurisdictions – the West Bank and Gaza – since 2006-07 due to the conflict between rival political movements Fatah and Hamas.

The Palestinian National Authority has a unicameral Al-Majlis al-Tashrī`iyy (Legislative Council), a composite assembly of 133 members. The Al-Majlis was established by the 2004 Constitution and has only been elected once, in 2006. Members for 66 of the seats were directly elected in 16 electoral divisions, electing between 1 and 9 members, by the block voting method. In four specific divisions 1 or 2 seats (a total of 6 overall) were reserved to be awarded to candidates of Christian backgrounds, and where necessary relevant candidates were awarded seats in those divisions above candidates who were higher-placed in the block vote results. A further 66 members were not directly elected, but seats were allocated by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the Sainte-Laguë formula, to all ‘lists’ (which could include candidates from one or more parties) which achieve 2% of the total vote. Each list was required to include at least one woman among the first three candidates listed, at least one woman among the next four candidates, and at least one woman among the five candidates that followed. The President of the Authority is also ex-officio a member of the Al-Majlis. Terms are nominally four years, but due to the deep division between Fatah and Hamas, the Al-Majlis – to which Hamas won a majority at the elections in 2006 – has not met since 2007. In 2007 the President of the Authority – Fatah leader Mohammed Abbas – issued a decree mandating the use of a party list seat allocation electoral system for future elections of the Al-Majlis.

The Palestinian National Authority has the premier-presidential system of government, in which executive power is exercised jointly by the Rỷys (President) and the Rỷys Alwzrạʾ (Prime Minister). The President is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff system. However the only election for the office of President was that held in 2005, and political events have since prevented a second election. A Prime Minister is appointed by the President subject to the continuing confidence of a majority in the Al-Majlis. (last updated April 2016)

Taiwan – Taiwan, while regarded by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (and recognised by most other nations) as a province of China under extra-legal administration, is de facto an independent state under the administration of the Republic of China (ROC) government. The Republic of China existed and governed all of China from 1911 to 1949. The PRC regards the ROC as having been dissolved in 1949 with the PRC becoming its successor state; the administration on Taiwan regards itself as continuing the existence of the ROC nation and its government.

The Taiwan Guómín Dàhuì (National Assembly) existing from 1949, a continuation of the ROC constitutional structure, was abolished in 1989. The present system of government includes – as one of its five branches of government – a unicameral legislative chamber, the Lìfǎ Yuàn (Legislative Court), now commonly referred to as the guóhuì (Parliament), a composite assembly of 113 members. All voters cast ballots separately for local representatives and for national parties. 73 members are directly elected in local single member divisions by the plurality voting method. Every Taiwanese county has a minimum of 1 electoral district, resulting in moderate malapportionment. A further 34 seats are allocated to parties by the open party list system of seat allocation, using the simple quota and the largest remainder method, based on the national vote total for each party. Finally, Taiwanese aboriginal voters cast a separate ballot to directly elect 6 members in two 3-member divisions using the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) method. Terms are four years.

Taiwan has the separated powers system of government, in which executive power is exercised by the Zhōnghuá Mínguó Zǒngtǒng (President of the ROC) subject to a division of responsibilities and powers shared with the Guóhuì, which is independent of the President; for example, the President has no veto over legislation. The President is directly elected for a four-year term by the two-round runoff system, and individuals are limited to 2 terms of office. (last updated January 2012)

Notes
[i] OPPD describes this system as ‘preferential’
[ii] Mackie and Rose 1991, pp 24-5
[iii] OPPD indicates that there are 20 divisions, not 11.
[iv] Mackie and Rose 1991, pp 39-40
[v] OPPD indicates that the method is D’Hondt, not largest remainder.
[vi] Mackie and Rose 1991, pp 66-67
[vii] OPPD indicates that the number of divisions is 8, not 14.
[viii] OPPD indicates that the Hagenbach-Bischoff, not D’Hondt method is used.
[ix] Mackie and Rose 1991, pp 87-89
[x] Elklit 1993
[xi] The first open multi-party elections under this system were held in June 2012. However following the elections, the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt ruled that the result for around one third of the seats was unconstitutional. Part of the ruling was based on the fact that some seats were contested on a proportional party list system, while others were contested on the plurality system, which led the court to find that registered political parties had been allowed to compete for seats set aside for independent candidates.
[xii] OPPD 2011
[xiii] OPPD 2011
[xiv] OPPD 2011
[xv] Mackie and Rose 1991, pp 130-5
[xvi] OPPD 2011
[xvii] OPPD 2011
[xviii] OPPD 2011
[xix] OPPD 2011
[xx] OPPD 2011
[xxi] http://pomed.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Libyan-Party-List-Results.pdf
[xxii] OPPD 2011
[xxiii] OPPD 2011
[xxiv] OPPD 2011
[xxv] Johnson and Hoyo 2012, p.138
[xxvi] See Louis Massicotte in Colomer 2012, p 103
[xxvii] Results of the 2013 Monégasque elections: http://www.electionguide.org/election.php?ID=1653
[xxviii] OPPD 2011
[xxix] OPPD 2011
[xxx] OPPD 2011
[xxxi] The complex formula for this threshold is explained in OPPD 2011.
[xxxiii] OPPD 2011
[xxxiv] OPPD 2011
[xxxv] OPPD 2011
[xxxvi] OPPD 2011
[xxxvii] OSCE report on 2007 Swiss elections – http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/switzerland/26212
[xxxviii] OPPD 2011
[xxxix] “Instead of voters choosing their congressmen, this is where congressmen choose their voters”, Hartcher 2011

 

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