Regional List

The closed regional list system is used for electing members of the European, Parliament.




Operation

The country is divided into regions

In each region parties create a list of candidates in their order of preference (this is the 'closed' variation — in the 'open' list system, the voters place candidates in their own order of preference).

Voters choose one of the party lists. In other words, they vote for a party rather than an individual candidate.

Seats are awarded in direct proportion to the number of votes cast. For example, if a party wins 30% of the votes in a region, it is awarded the top 30% of candidates on its list for that region.

The winning candidates represent a region rather than a constituency

Impacts

There is a close correlation between the proportion of votes cast and seats awarded. Every vote is of exactly equal value.

The system helps smaller parties such as the Green Party, the BNP and UKIP.

As it is not used in the UK to elect a government of any kind, the fact that a large number of parties wins seats is of relatively little significance. (In countries where this system is used to elect the main parliament and government, its impact is more significant and tends to produce multi-party systems and therefore coalitions.)