Advanced Search
 
Two-Round System

Two-Round System (TRS), also known as Run-off Voting

How does the Two-Round System work?

Where is TRS used?

• French legislative, presidential and cantonal elections

• The Heads of State in a number of European countries.

The Two-Round System is similar to the Alternative Vote (AV). Voters mark their preferred candidate with an “X”, if the candidate wins a certain level of support (usually 50 percent of the vote) they are elected.

If no one wins 50 percent of the vote, all candidates except the top two are excluded and voters are asked to vote a second time, usually two or three weeks later. In the second round, the candidate who wins the most votes is elected.

 

Pros and Cons of the Two-Round System

The case for

The arguments against

It is slightly more representative than First Past the Post (FPTP) and can be of benefit to smaller parties.

It has similar disadvantages to First Past the Post (FPTP) and is less sophisticated than the Alternative Vote (AV).

It is often said that in the first-round you vote with your heart, and in the second you vote with your head. Hence there is less need to vote tactically in the first-round.

It is highly disproportional and favours large parties.

Second-round bartering encourages parties to remain friendly with each other (although this tends to be true only within broad party “blocs”).

The voting process is drawn out over a period of two or three weeks and possibly longer.

It is easy for voters to understand and is simple to count.

 

Unlike AV, the first-round encourages a certain amount of tactical voting because of risk of the compromise choice not reaching second-round.

 

If no compromise candidate reaches the second-round, it can lead to surprising outcomes: Jean-Marie Le Pen of the French National Front qualified for the second-round in the French Presidential election in 2002 to the horror of many observers. This ultimately gave Jacques Chirac one of the biggest electoral landslides in French history.


Recent News
11th April 2014
What a dispiriting week for women. Following Maria Miller’s resignation, just three out of 22 Cabinet ministers are females – putting the UK government at a 15-year low and near rock bottom in comparison with other European governments. As the Counting Women In coalition has said, we’re going backwards not forwards on women’s representation.   […]
24th March 2014
Last week I attended two different events which discussed the possibilities a written constitution presents to Scotland. This week I am due to attend another. Scotland has already begun to think about what a constitution might look like, regardless of the result of the referendum. The debate around constitutional rights is already a separate conversation […]
24th March 2014
Over the last few years, the European democratic deficit has reached almost epic proportions. Nearly three-quarters of the British people believe their voice doesn’t count in the European Union, and 68% don’t trust it. At the last European election only 34% turned out to vote, and it’s unlikely to be much higher this year. We […]