List Systems

Under list systems, political parties produce ranked lists of nominated candidates. This may be done at national or regional level. Voting takes place in one of two ways:

Under a closed list system, voters simply cast their vote for a party. A formula is used to convert parties’ shares of the votes into seats. If a party wins, say, three seats, then the top three candidates on its list are elected.

Under an open list system, the parties still publish ranked lists of candidates, but voters are able to vote for the candidates they prefer, rather than simply voting for their party of choice. Under an open list system, if a party has enough support to win three seats, it is the three candidates of that party with most personal votes who are elected. 

List systems of different kinds are used in most European countries for the European Parliamentary Elections. List systems come the closest of any electoral system to full proportionality. Larger electoral regions provide the highest levels of proportionality, but a lower degree of local representation, while smaller electoral regions provide less proportionality but more local representation.