No. 14




Presidential Election Systems in Europe *

18 December 2006


RiTo No. 14, 2006

  • Allan Sikk

    adviser to the Economic and Social Information Department of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu

Once again, Estonia was not able to elect a new president in the Riigikogu.

This deepened the understanding, both in parties as well as among the public, that our current procedures for electing the head of state are cumbersome and must be made simpler. Yet the key requirement for changing the electoral system is finding a replacement method that is both democratically functional and which will meet with the greatest amount of consensus in society. This in turn will require a sufficient understanding of existing alternatives. The aim of the article is to further this understanding. Since it would be complicated to list all of the possible sets of rules that could be used to elect the president, the writer limits himself primarily to introducing and grouping the systems used in Europe. In individual cases, the article discusses rules used in other parts of the world.

*The author thanks Rein Taagpera for his comments to the earlier version of the article. Marquis de Condorcet was an 18th century French scientist, one of the first to apply mathematics in the social sciences.

Full article in Estonian