Electoral Systems and Lebanon

Publication Date: 
20 Dec 2009

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What is the role of an electoral system?

An electoral system is of key political and democratic importance as it determines who ‘wins’ an election by the method of translating votes into seats.

Why are there different electoral systems?

Elections have different goals for different people:

  • Should elections give a clear result or reflect the different nuances of public opinion?
  • Should seats be won by those with most votes, or should seats be divided between all those who win votes?
  • Should elections lead to a strong government or to consensus politics?
  • Should elected representatives have close and local links to their voters?
  • Should elections prioritize the equal treatment of all voters?
  • Should elections ensure minority representation?

The choice between the different electoral systems available reflect how decisionmakers wish to answer these and other questions of prime political importance.

What is the best electoral system?

There is no ‘perfect’ system. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages. However, all systems can be seen to have specific advantages and disadvantages, and may also be prone to specific problems.