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RUN-OFF ELECTIONS: OVERVIEW AND EXAMPLES



  Jul 10, 2024

RUN-OFF ELECTIONS: OVERVIEW AND EXAMPLES



What is a run-off election?

A run-off election is a second round of voting held when no candidate receives the required majority of votes in the initial election.

When are run-off elections typically held?

Run-off elections are usually held a few weeks after the initial election, allowing time for preparation and campaigning.

Why are run-off elections used?

Run-off elections ensure that the winning candidate has majority support, preventing a candidate with only a small plurality from winning.

Which countries use run-off elections?

Many countries use run-off systems, including France, Brazil, and several African nations. Some U.S. states also use them for certain offices.

How does a run-off election work?

Typically, the top two vote-getters from the initial election advance to the run-off, where voters choose between them.

Are run-off elections expensive?

Yes, they can be expensive as they require organizing a second election, which involves additional costs for staffing, equipment, and administration.

Do run-off elections typically have lower turnout?

Often, yes. Voter fatigue and decreased media attention can lead to lower participation in run-offs.

Can run-off elections change the outcome?

Yes, sometimes the candidate who came in second in the initial round can win the run-off by consolidating support from eliminated candidates.

EXAMPLES OF RUN-OFF ELECTIONS

France

France uses a two-round system for presidential elections. If no candidate wins an absolute majority (more than 50%) in the first round, a run-off is held between the top two candidates. This system has been in place since 1962.

Example: In the 2022 French presidential election, the first round was held on April 10. Emmanuel Macron received 27.85% of the vote, and Marine Le Pen received 23.15%. Since neither achieved a majority, a run-off was held on April 24. Macron won the run-off with 58.55% of the vote.

Bhutan

Bhutan uses a two-round system for its National Assembly elections. The first round involves multiple political parties, and the two parties with the highest number of votes proceed to the second round.

Example: In the 2018 Bhutanese National Assembly election, the first round was held on September 15. The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) party received 31.85% of the vote, and the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) party received 30.95%. These two parties advanced to the run-off held on October 18. In the run-off, DNT won with 54.95% of the vote.

IMPACT ON POLITICAL SYSTEMS

Run-off elections can significantly influence political systems by ensuring that elected officials have broad support. This mechanism often leads to more moderate candidates being elected, as they must appeal to a wider range of voters to win the second round. Additionally, run-off elections can strengthen democratic processes by providing a clear mandate for the winner.




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