There are no constituencies in this system.
Voters select from a list of candidates drawn up by each of the parties.
Voters vote for a party not an individual.
The party leaderships draw up the lists, placing their more favoured candidates near the top of the list and the less favoured candidates at the bottom.
After the votes are counted, the proportion of votes that a party has is calculated. Candidates from that party are then elected to an assembly in the same proportion i.e.
If a party gets 30% of the votes cast, the top 30% of the party’s list goes through.
A party must get a minimum of votes to be considered for a cut. Below a set figure, a party gets no cut of its list.
A variation is the regional list system. This, rather than being a national list, is a regional list to truly reflect regional feelings. This regional list was used in the 1999 European Parliament elections held in GB.
This system produces an assembly which exactly reflects party support. Few small parties win enough votes to be in the run in for a cut of the seats; therefore this system favours the ‘big’ parties.
It is almost impossible to win an election outright and countries that use this system tend to exist using coalition governments. Coalition governments are usually weak and unstable.
The system does mean that every vote counts and therefore is socially representative.
Voters have no say as to which individuals are chosen as this is left to a party’s leadership and the voters are left without a constituency representative.