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World Political Science

Ed. by Cardinal, Linda

CiteScore 2018: 0.35

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Mixed Electoral Systems: A Hybrid or a New Family of Electoral Systems?

Bartłomiej Michalak
  • Corresponding author
  • Faculty of Political Science and International Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland
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Published Online: 2016-03-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wps-2015-0012


The main research question posed in the article is whether the mixed electoral systems are separate third class of electoral systems? Although, they were primarily designed as a tool for implementing completely contradictory objectives of the majoritarian and proportional representation, as a consequence, they created fully new quality, which cannot be reduced to the sum of effects being produced by their components. Reasons for this include, among others, their genesis and political purpose (the desire to combine the best features and characteristics of the majoritarian and proportional systems into one system), mechanics (multi-formula and multiple-tiered seat allocation mechanism), multiplicity of variants and detailed technical solutions (presence or lack of mandate transfer and/or of vote transfer between majoritarian and proportional subsystems). The distinctiveness of mixed electoral systems is, however, determined primarily by self-relevant political consequences generated within strategies of nominating party candidates (the number of candidates listed within single-mandate constituencies of the majority part has a positive effect on the party’s results in proportional subsystem), electorate voting behaviors (the psychological effect is acting on voters toward honest and not strategic voting), the level of disproportionality of election results (the mixed system are in general less proportional than traditional systems of proportional representation, however, they are more proportional than the majoritarian voting systems) and the degree of party dispersion (the mixed systems are usually correlated with three-body format of the party system).

Keywords: contamination; electoral formulas; mixed electoral systems; strategic voting; typology of mixed systems


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About the article

Corresponding author: Bartłomiej Michalak, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Political Science and International Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland, e-mail:

aBartłomiej Michalak is also a researcher at the Centre of Electoral Studies. His work mainly focuses on electoral systems, electoral law and electoral behavior.

Published Online: 2016-03-25

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Citation Information: World Political Science, Volume 12, Issue 1, Pages 87–106, ISSN (Online) 2363-4782, ISSN (Print) 2363-4774, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wps-2015-0012.

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