On some issues of electoral barriers in a party lists ballot system

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DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2017-2-75-91

Keywords: elections to the Russian State Duma; electoral barrier; electoral system; majority system; party lists elections; percent treshold


The article addresses the party lists election system with the electoral threshold, which for a long time has being used in many countries, and the recent experience and workability of this electoral instrument in the Russian State Duma elections. Using imitated numerical examples the author shows limited efficiency and gaps following from the extreme simplicity of the wording of the electoral law. In this paper, the author makes an attempt to fill a gap in this theoretical issue of legal regulation, which could be employed in practice of electoral politics. The author comes to the conclusion about the absence in the contemporary world of a strict and sound approach to establishing the proper dimensions of the electoral threshold. In order to judge the usefulness of the percentage barrier as a limiting tool of ensuring the homogeneity of the representative and legislative body, it needs to be able to calculate its heterogeneity. As a quantitative measure of heterogeneity the author suggests to use Shannon’s entropy measure, supplemented by the conversion to natural units: the number of equal shares in a whole composition. Based on these methods, the author calculates heterogeneity of the party composition after the State Duma elections between 1993 and 2016 – before and after introducing of the barrier. It has been found that the effect of the electoral threshold at various polls was very disparate. The author also proposes a method of converting the share of votes into share in representation, which allows obtaining any pre-determined degree of heterogeneity of representation of parties in the legislative branch.

About the author: Konstantin Sibarov – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Technics and Technologies, Associate Professor at Saint Petersburg Law Institute of the Academy of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Citation: Sibarov K. (2017) Nekotorye nedostatki zagraditel’nogo bar’era v izbira­tel’noy sisteme po partiynym spiskam [On some issues of electoral barriers in a party lists ballot system]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.2, pp.75–91. (In Russian).


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