Semi-proportional representation characterizes multi-winner electoral systems which allow representation of minorities, but are not intended to reflect the strength of the competing political forces in close proportion to the votes they receive.[1] Semi-proportional voting systems can be regarded as compromises between forms of proportional representation such as party-list PR, and plurality/majoritarian systems such as first-past-the-post voting.[2][3] Examples of semi-proportional systems include the single non-transferable vote, limited voting, and parallel voting.

Semi-proportional systems

Most proportional representation systems do not yield precisely proportional outcomes due to the use of election thresholds, small electoral regions, or other implementation details that vary from one elected body to another. This article deals primarily with systems inherently designed to produce moderately proportional election results.

The choice to use a semi-proportional electoral system may be a deliberate attempt to find a balance between single-party rule and proportional representation. Semi-proportional systems can allow for fairer representation of those parties that have difficulty gaining individual seats while retaining the possibility of one party gaining an overall majority when there is a landslide victory.

Because there are many measures of proportionality,[4][5] and because there is no objective threshold, opinions may differ on what constitutes a semi-proportional system as opposed to a majoritarian or a fully proportional system.

Non-partisan systems

Election systems in which parties can only achieve proportionality by coordinating their voters are usually considered to be semi-proportional.[6] They are not majoritarian, since in the perfect case the outcome will be proportional, but they are not proportional either, since such a perfect case requires a very high degree of coordination. Such systems include the single non-transferable vote and limited voting, the latter of which becomes less proportional the more votes each voter has. The cumulative voting also allows minority representation, concentrating votes over the number of candidates that every minor party thinks it can support.

This group of non-partisan systems is, at least technically, non-partisan. Certainly, a group of candidates can coordinate their campaigns, and politically present themselves as party members, but there is no obligation for electors to respect those party links, and forms of panachage are usually possible.

Single transferable vote

Main article: Single transferable vote

Some consider STV to be a semi-proportional system.[7] The degree of proportionality across the country depends on the average size of constituencies. In the 2011 Irish general election, Fine Gael came nine seats (4.8%) short of an overall majority with just 36.1% of the first preference votes. However the result of the election was exceptional, and Fine Gael benefited from a high level of transfers from those who did not rank them first. Under STV a party can win an overall majority with significantly fewer than 50% of the votes, but only if the party also gains a high level of transfers from those who do not rank them first. As it lacks any arbitrary nationwide election threshold, even with the Irish 3 to 5 seat system the level of proportionality does not veer too far from countries with such thresholds.

Partisan systems

Other forms of semi-proportional representation are based on, or at least use, party lists to work. Looking to the electoral systems effectively in use around the world, there are three general methods to reinforce the majoritarian principle of representation (but not necessarily majoritarianism or majority rule, see electoral inversion and plurality) starting from basic PR mechanisms: parallel voting, the majority bonus system (MBS), and extremely reduced constituency magnitude.

In additional member systems (AMS) where the additional members are not sufficient to balance the disproportionality of the original system can produce less than proportional results, especially in the National Assembly for Wales where only 33.3% of members are compensatory. The electoral system commonly referred to in Britain as the "additional member system" is also used for the Scottish Parliament, and the London Assembly, with generally proportional results. Similarly, in vote transfer based mixed single vote systems the number of compensatory seats may be too low (or too high) to achieve proportionality,[8] such a system is used in Hungary in local elections[9] The "scorporo" system used for the Parliament of Italy from 1993 to 2005 and the electoral system for the National Assembly of Hungary since 1990 are also special cases, based on parallel voting, but also including compensatory mechanisms – which however are insufficient for providing proportional results.

A majority bonus system takes an otherwise proportional system based on multi-member constituencies, and introduces disproportionality by granting additional seats to the first party or alliance. Majority bonuses help produce landslide victories similar to those which occur in elections under plurality systems. The majority bonus system was first introduced by Benito Mussolini to win the election of 1924, then it was later used in Italy again, with additional democratic limits, and then again expanded in some neighboring countries like San Marino, Greece and France.

The simplest mechanism to reinforce major parties in PR system is a severely reduced constituency magnitude, so to reduce the possibility for minor national parties to gain seats. If the Spanish electoral system is still considered a form of proportional representation, the binomial voting system used in Chile effectively establishes by law a two-party rule over the country.

The last main group usually considered semi-proportional consists of parallel voting models. The system used for the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico since 1996 is considered a parallel voting system, modified by a list-seat ceiling (8%) for over-representation of parties.

Usage

Country Legislative body Latest election (year) Type of majoritarian system (Seats per

constituency)

Electoral system Total seats Constituencies Governmental system Notes
Andorra General Council 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 2 (local districts) / 14 (nationwide constituency) Parallel voting / superposition (MMM):

Party block voting (PBV) locally + list PR nationwide

28 7 parishes,

1 nationwide constituency

Parliamentary system
Democratic Republic of the Congo National Assembly 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 1–17 Coexistence mixed majoritarian (MMM):

First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) in single-member districts and List PR in multi-member districts (Largest remainder)

500 Electoral districts[citation needed]
Djibouti National Assembly 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 3–28 Fusion / majority jackpot (MBS):

80% of seats (rounded to the nearest integer) in each constituency are awarded to the party receiving the most votes (party block voting), remaining seats are allocated proportionally to other parties receiving over 10% (closed list, D'Hondt method)

65 Regions Presidential system
France French Polynesia Assembly 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 4–17 Two-round majority bonus system (MBS) in multi-member constituencies 57 Electoral districts
Georgia Parliament 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts),

120 (national constituency)

Parallel voting / superposition (MMM):

Party-list PR (closed list) + First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP)

150 Electoral districts[citation needed] Parliamentary system
Greece Mixed-member majoritarian Majority bonus system (MBS)
Guinea National Assembly 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts),

76 (national constituency)

Parallel voting / superposition (MMM):

Party-list PR (Hare quota) + First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP)

114 Single-member constituencies based on the 33 prefectures and five communes of Conakry
Hungary National Assembly (Országgyűlés) 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts), 93 (national constituency) Supermixed / Mixed-member majoritarian (MMM):

First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) + national list-PR for 93 seats (combination of parallel voting and positive vote transfer)

199 Local electoral districts within country/capital borders and a single nationwide constituency that includes non-resident with Hungarian citizenship as well Parliamentary system Before the 2014, a different mixed system was used with a two-round system in single-member districts
Iraq Single non-transferable vote (SNTV)
Italy Chamber of Deputies 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts), 12 (Italians abroad constituency), ?-? (multi-member districts)[citation needed] Superposition / Mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) using a single vote

List PR + First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP)

630 Electoral districts[citation needed] Parliamentary system
Senate 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts), 6 (Italians abroad constituency), ?-? (multi-member districts)[citation needed] Superposition / Mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) using a single vote

List PR + First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP)

315 Electoral districts[citation needed] Parliamentary system
Republic of Korea (South Korea) National Assembly 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts), 17 supplementary seats (parallel voting), 30 additional seats (AMS), Supermixed / Mixed-member majoritarian (MMM):

First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) and List PR (hybrid of parallel voting and AMS)

300 Electoral districts[citation needed] Presidential system
Kuwait Single non-transferable vote (SNTV)
Kyrgyzstan Supreme Council 2021 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts), 54 (nationwide constituency) Parallel voting / superposition (MMM):

Party-list PR (open list) + First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP)

90 Electoral districts[citation needed] Presidential system
Lithuania Seimas 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts), 70 (nationwide constituency) Parallel voting / superposition (MMM):

Two-round system (TRS) for 71 seats + List PR (Largest remainder) for 70 seats

141 Electoral districts[citation needed] Semi-presidential system
Madagascar National Assembly 2019 Mixed-member majoritarian 1–2 Coexistence: First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) in 87 single-member districts, party-list PR (Closed list, highest averages method) in 32 two-member districts (64 seats in binomial system) 151 Electoral districts[citation needed] Semi-presidential system
Mauritania National Assembly 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 1–3 (local districts), 40 (nationwide constituency) Coexistence+superposition (parallel) supermixed/hybrid:

Two-round system (TRS) in single-member districts, two-round block voting (BV) in dual-member districts, and List PR (simple quota largest remainder; closed-list) in larger districts + twice 20 nationally List PR (one set of 20 reserved for women)

157 Electoral districts[citation needed] Semi-presidential system
Monaco National Council 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 24 (nationwide constituency) Superposition / Mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) using a single (panachage) ballot:

Plurality block voting (BV) in single nationwide constituency for 16 seats; D'Hondt method (8 seats)

24 Single nationwide constituency Parliamentary system[citation needed]
Palestine Legislative Council 2006 Mixed-member majoritarian 1–9 (local districts), 66 (nationwide constituency) Parallel voting / superposition (MMM):

First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) in single-member districts and Plurality block voting (BV) in two-seat districts for 66 seats in total (some reserved for Christians) + List PR for 66 seats

132 Local electoral districts and a single nationwide constituency Semi-presidential system In the 1996 elections, 88 PLC members were chosen from several multi-member constituencies via block voting
Panama National Assembly 2019 Mixed-member majoritarian Coexistence mixed majoritarian (MMM):

First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) in single-member districts, Saripolo or Sartori method (Largest remainder, but remainders only for those with no seats) in multi-member districts

71 Electoral districts[citation needed] Presidential system
Philippines House of Representatives 2019 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts), 61 (nationwide constituency) Parallel voting / superposition (MMM):

First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) in single-member districts (243 in 2019) + List PR (closed lists; modified Hare quota with 3-seat cap and no remainders) (61 in 2019)

304 Electoral districts[citation needed] Presidential system
Russian Federation State Duma 2021 Mixed-member majoritarian [citation needed] Parallel voting / superposition (MMM):

First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) and List PR

450 Electoral districts[citation needed] Semi-presidential system
San Marino Majority bonus system (MBS)
Senegal 2017 Mixed-member majoritarian Parallel 165 Presidential system
Seychelles 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian Parallel 35 Presidential system
Singapore 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) and party block voting (PBV) 104 (93 directly elected)
Sudan 2015 Mixed-member majoritarian Parallel 450
Switzerland Council of States

Only in:

  • names of cantons
2 Single non-transferable vote (SNTV) 46
Taiwan 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian Parallel 113
Tajikistan 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian Parallel 63
Thailand 2019 (using MMP) Mixed-member majoritarian Parallel 500 The next election is scheduled to be held under parallel voting again, after one election (2019) held using a single vote MMP system
British Overseas Territories (United Kingdom) Gibraltar Limited voting (LV)
Pitcairn Islands Single non-transferable vote (SNTV)
Vanuatu Single non-transferable vote (SNTV)
Venezuela National Assembly 2020 Mixed-member majoritarian Parallel voting (MMM):

First-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) and list PR

280 (277 directly elected) Electoral districts[citation needed] Presidential system
Zimbabwe National Assembly 2018 Mixed-member majoritarian 1 (local districts),

10 (proportional constituencies)

Mixed-member majoritarian (MMM):

210 seats by first-past-the-post (FPTP/SMP) in local districts

60 seats reserved for women by list PR

270 Electoral districts[citation needed] Presidential system Voters cast a single vote

References

  1. ^ Douglas J. Amy. "Semiproportional voting systems". Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  2. ^ Giovanni Sartori (2005). Parties and Party Systems. A framework for analysis. European Consortium for Political Research. ISBN 9780954796617.
  3. ^ Douglas J. Amy (2000). Behind the Ballot Box: A Citizen's Guide to Voting Systems. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780275965860.
  4. ^ P. Kestelman (June 2005). "Apportionment and Proportionality: A Measured View" (PDF). Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  5. ^ Barry R. Weingast; Donald A. Wittman (19 October 2006). The Oxford handbook of political economy. Oxford University Press. pp. 105–. ISBN 978-0-19-927222-8. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Semi-Proportional Electoral Methods". Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  7. ^ Norris, Pippa (1997). "Choosing Electoral Systems: Proportional, Majoritarian and Mixed Systems" (PDF). Harvard University.
  8. ^ Golosov, G. V. (2013). "The Case for Mixed Single Vote Electoral Systems". The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies.
  9. ^ "2010. évi L. törvény a helyi önkormányzati képviselők és polgármesterek választásáról" [Act L. of 2010. on the election of local government representatives and mayors] (in Hungarian).((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)