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Study Notes

Hybrid system

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

A hybrid system refers to an electoral system in which two systems are merged into one.

The best example of this in the UK is the Additional Member System (AMS), which is also known as the Mixed Member Proportional System (MMS). It is used for elections to the Scottish Assembly, elections to the Bundestag in Germany, and also for elections to the New Zealand Parliament.

The aim of a hybrid system is to try to take the positive features from more than one electoral system, and mixing them together. Thus, AMS mixes the representative – constituent link provided by First-Past-the-Post (FPTP), with the more proportional relationship between vote % and seats% from the Party List system. Voters have one vote for a candidate in their constituency, with seats being won under FPTP rules, and one vote for a party, with the remainder of the seats in the Parliament being filled, usually on a strictly proportional basis (in Germany), although the Scottish AMS systems sees “top-up” seats being awarded to parties in the Party List system if they have been disadvantaged by the FPTP system.

Two classes of MP are thus created under a hybrid system. For instance in AMS there is one class with a constituency to look after, and the other class of MP having no personal mandate. Also, voters can sometimes ‘split their ticket’ by voting say for Labour in the FPTP ballot, and for the Greens in the Party list vote, where they are more likely to win seats.

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