Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook Volume 1: North by Dieter Nohlen

By Dieter Nohlen

This quantity maintains the sequence of election facts handbooks released by way of OUP. It offers the 1st ever compendium of electoral facts for all 35 states within the Americas from their independence, or the creation of common male suffrage, to the current. Containing contributions from popular students, Elections within the Americas is a hugely authoritative source for ancient and cross-national comparisons of elections and electoral systems.

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The Dominican Republic has maintained plurality in SMCs for senate elections. Haiti is the only country on the continent to use a system of absolute majority for both its chambers of parliament. With regard to the proportional systems in MMCs, it must be noted that district magnitude is relatively low. Most seats are distributed in small and medium-sized constituencies. Panama is unique in terms of districting: 26 SMCs with plurality and 14 MMCs (see table 8). Voters have one vote in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.

It was only in the Dominican Republic that the plurality system was replaced by absolute majority with runoff in 1996. Some countries have retained the plurality systems, such as Honduras (absolute majority before 1966), Nicaragua (since 1947, with a threshold of 45% since 1995), and Panama (since 1904). In other cases, the absolute majority system was modified with regard to the regulation to be applied if no one candidate wins an absolute majority. In El Salvador (1984) and Guatemala (1985), the decision by congress was replaced with a runoff election between the two top candidates.

In the other countries of the sub-region, most changes made to electoral systems since the end of the 1970s concerned the number of seats in parliament. The number of deputies rose in the Dominican Republic in 1997 from 120 to 149, in El Salvador in 1988 from 60 to 84, and in Guatemala after continuous changes in 1998 from 80 to 113. In Honduras the size of parliament was increased from 82 to 134 in 1985 and reduced again to 128 in 1988. These changes required redistricting of constituencies and had an impact on their magnitude and thus on the proportionality of the electoral system.

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