Abdulaziz Alawi Al-Issawi/ researcher specializing in electoral affairs and democracy studies.
The mixed electoral system appeared after some countries resorted to mixing the two systems of majority and proportional representation; To take advantage of the positives of the two systems, and avoid the negatives, and achieved relative success in several countries, including Germany and Japan.
The mixed electoral system aims to achieve harmony between more than one electoral system, that is: it does not have distinct characteristics, but rather has some majority and some proportional representation, and there are two main types of mixed system applications, when the majority and proportional representation systems work in isolation from each other that is: the mechanism for distributing seats in either of them does not affect the other, it is called the parallel electoral system, but if there is overlap between the majority and proportional representation, then the mixed system is called the mixed membership system.
Parallel Mixed System
It works on linking two different electoral systems, i.e.: part of the seats are distributed according to the electoral system by the proportional majority in individual electoral districts, while the others are distributed separately according to party lists that operate under the proportional representation system. This system separates the two systems while calculating the seats, and it does not work to sort the results together.
Some countries rushed towards a parallel electoral system; To get out of the problems caused by the majority system, or the proportional representation system, as this system produces two groups of voters and two groups of representatives. Electors who vote based on majority representation, others who are elected on the basis of proportional representation, as well as representatives who are chosen based on majority election, and others who are chosen by proportional representation.
In the parallel system, each voter either gets one ballot paper used to cast his vote for the candidate and the party on the same paper, as is the case in South Korea, or two separate ballot papers, one for the majority seat and the other for the proportional representation seat, as is the case in Japan and Thailand. Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Armenia, Guinea, Russia, Thailand, and Ukraine use the PR system for individual circles with components of PR. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Tajikistan use the two-round system for the individual circuit components of their systems. It is noted that there is a difference in the balance between the number of seats obtained by proportional representation, and those obtained by the majority system from one country to another. In South Korea, the proportion of proportional representation seats is often 80% compared to 20% for the majority system seats, but in most cases, the balance is closer. Japan, for example, elects more than 60% of its representatives by the majority system and the rest by the proportional representation system.
The parallel system may achieve some balance, and sometimes some countries put guarantees in it for the existence of the opposition while not harming the fortunes of the large parties. As is the case in Senegal, where the electoral system was changed from a system of proportional representation through national lists in force until the 1978 elections to a parallel system from the 1983 elections to the present. During that period, the electoral system was amended several times, as most of the amendments focused on achieving more democratic legitimacy by adopting guarantees that would ensure that the opposition would obtain adequate representation, while preserving the electoral weights of the parties, including the ruling party. As is the case with many mixed systems, Senegal adopts the national list to elect a portion of the parliament’s seats, unlike many parallel systems in which the seats allocated to the majority system are elected by party bloc in multi-representative districts in the majority, rather than in single-representative electoral districts. Relative seats (representing about half of the seats) are allocated to national party lists. As for the other seats, they are allocated according to the majority system in multi-representative districts in 30 districts, each of which elects from one to five representatives. Opposition parties and small parties always demand an increase in the number of seats allocated to the proportional representation system to achieve an acceptable level of balance.