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Proportional Representation in Most Robust Democracies

The following chart lists the different voting systems used by the world's 35 major, well-established democracies -- meaning countries with high human rights ratings and at least two million inhabitants. Proportional representation (PR) systems are by far the most common.

Of the six nations that don't use PR to elect representatives in their most powerful national legislative body, only three countries (US, Ghana, and Canada) don't use it for at least one of their national elections (PR is used in the upper house in Australia and European Parliament in UK and France).

 

THE LOWER/SINGLE HOUSE ELECTORAL SYSTEMS

OF THE WORLD'S MOST ROBUST DEMOCRACIES*: 2012

COUNTRY ELECTORAL SYSTEM
Australia IRV
Austria PR
Belgium PR
Canada Plurality
Chile PR
Costa Rica PR
Croatia PR
Czech Republic PR
Denmark PR
Finland PR
France Runoff
Germany MMPR
Ghana Plurality
Hungary MMPR
Ireland STV
Israel PR
Italy PR
Japan Parallel
Lithuania Parallel
Netherlands PR
New Zealand MMPR
Norway PR
Panama PR
Poland PR
Portugal PR
Slovakia PR
Slovenia PR
South Korea Parallel
Spain PR
Sweden PR
Switzerland PR
Taiwan Parallel
United Kingdom Plurality
United States Plurality
Uruguay PR
   
Number with Plurality/Runoff 5 of  35

 

*Countries with a population of at least 2 million with a 2012 Freedom House Average Freedom Score less than 2.

  • PR: List Proportional Representation. Twenty-One Countries.
  • Plurality. Four Countries.
  • Parallel: Parallel use of List PR and Plurality. Four Countries.
  • MMPR: Mixed Member PR. Three Countries.
  • IRV: Instant Runoff Voting. One Country.
  • STV: Single-Transferable Vote. One Country.
  • Runoff. One Country.

 

Source: Mark Jones, Professor of Political Science at Rice University