Electoral systems are key tools of representative democracy.
They lay down the rules designed to organise elections and to transform
votes cast into political mandates and seats in parliament, and
have a strong impact on the representativity, legitimacy of, and
public confidence in, democratic institutions.
The report provides a comparative analysis of various electoral
systems in Europe and concludes that different systems do not provide
an equal degree of fairness. While the constitutional and legal
mechanisms of an electoral system may be consistent with democratic
principles, the results of elections are often not, as voters do
not obtain the election of persons they voted for. This is one of
the reasons why populism and extremism are gaining ground.
The report further argues that a discrepancy between the political
choices of the constituents as expressed in elections and the composition
of elected institutions is a sign of democratic deficit and puts
the fairness of the electoral system in doubt.
Accordingly, the report suggests inviting the Venice Commission
to reflect on setting up minimum standards with which electoral
systems must comply in order to be deemed as guaranteeing not only
free elections but also fair results thereof.In addition, the report
suggests considering updating the 2002 Code of good practice in
electoral matters in order to keep pace with the evolving political
realities observed in European societies and to face new challenges.