Panachage is the name given to a procedure provided for in several open list variants of the party-list proportional representation system which gives voters more than one vote for the same ballot and allows them to distribute their votes between individual candidates from different party lists. It is used in elections at all levels in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland, in parliamentary elections in Ecuador, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as in local elections in a majority of German states and in French communes under 1,000 inhabitants.


Until a 1899 reform in favour of open list electoral system and the parliamentary elections in 1900, panachage was possible for provincial and parliamentary elections in Belgium, candidates were placed on a list in alphabetical order.[1] Municipal elections were still held under the panachage system until the 5 July 1976 Law. This change was adopted before the first elections (October 1976) following the 1976 communes merger which reduced the number of Belgian communes from 2,359 to 596. Law proposals were introduced in 1995 and 1999 by senators from the Volksunie to reinstitute it, but they were never put to votes.[2][3]


In the Ecuadorian parliamentary elections, voters have as many votes as there are seats to be distributed, and they may use them to support candidates over the party lines, but also to give several votes to a single candidate.[4]

El Salvador

El Salvador adopted an open list proportional system for the 2012 legislative elections, and introduced panachage for the 2015 elections: "For the first time, voters will be able to select individual candidates from any party rather than being forced to vote for a single party with an established list of candidates. Voters can still opt to simply choose a party.".[5][6][7]


For French municipal elections in communes under 1,000 inhabitants (26,879 communes representing 73.5% of all communes) since 2014, under 3,500 before, voters may cast one or several ballot paper(s) with candidates names, either a list or an individual candidate, cross the name(s) of some candidate(s) and add any other, the total of selected candidates may not exceed the number of available seats.[8] Since the reform of 17 May 2013, a nomination filed with the prefecture or sub-prefecture is required, and voters may no longer add any name of non-candidates on the ballot paper.[9]


Out of sixteen federal states, two (Bremen and Hamburg) adopted electoral systems including panachage (Panaschieren) for state and municipal elections, and eleven others only for municipal elections, the three exceptions being Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland. Except in Schleswig-Holstein, in the states allowing panachage the voter may also give more than one vote for one or several candidate(s) (Kumulieren).[10] [11]


Panachage within an open list proportional system was adopted since 2005 for legislative elections in Honduras.[12]


The Italian concept of voto disgiunto is not equivalent to the panachage concept as understood in other countries. It means the possibility at regional and municipal (in communes over 15,000 inhabitants), but not provincial, elections to vote for a list or a specific candidate on it (whose name has to be written on the ballot paper by the voter) and for a candidate to the presidency or the mayorship that may be on another list.


For legislative elections in Liechtenstein there are two constituencies, Oberland and Unterland, the first has 15 seats, the second 10. The voter must use only one ballot paper from one party, and has the right to vote for as many candidates as there are seats to be filled, which means either all the candidates on the party list or some of them and other, handwritten under "deleted" candidates. Using highlighters, writing comments on the ballot paper or put more than one ballot paper in the ballot envelope voids the vote.[13]


For all proportional elections,[14] the voter in Luxemburg has got as many votes as there are seats to be filled, and can vote either for candidates on the same list or for candidates on different lists.[15]


In Switzerland, voters may as well panachate, "cumulate" and delete (Streichen or Reihen in German, latoisage in French) the names of some candidates, a system also used in Austria until the 1970s.[16]


  1. French: "Evolution de la législation électorale", SPF Intérieur - Direction des Elections (Federal Public Service Interior - Elections Office), 26 January 2010
  2. French: Jan Loones, Bert Anciaux, Christiaan Vandenbroeke, "Proposition de loi modifiant la loi électorale communale et instaurant le vote panaché", Senate of Belgium, 13 July 1995
  3. French: Vincent Van Quickenborne, "Proposition de loi modifiant la loi électorale communale et instaurant le vote panaché", Senate of Belgium, 24 November 1999
  4. Craig Arceneaux, Democratic Latin America, Routledge, 2015 ISBN 9781317348825 p.339
  5. George Rodriguez, "Voters head to the polls in El Salvador to elect legislators, mayors", Tico Times, 28 February 2015
  6. Spanish: "Papeletas para las elecciones 2015 (reproduction of ballot papers and explanation of the new voting system)", Tribunal Supremo Electoral
  7. Matthew S. Shugart, "El Salvador joins the panachage ranks, president’s party holds steady", Fruits and Votes, 8 March 2015
  8. French: "LOI n° 2013-403 du 17 mai 2013 relative à l'élection des conseillers départementaux, des conseillers municipaux et des conseillers communautaires, et modifiant le calendrier électoral" [LAW No. 2013-403 of 17 May 2013 concerning the election of departmental councilors, city councilors and community councilors and amending the electoral calendar] (in French). Legifrance. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2014..
  9. French: "Code électoral – Article L255-4" [Election Code – Article L255-4] (in French). Legifrance. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014..
  10. German: Martin Fehndrich, Panaschieren,, 19 March 2009
  11. German: Interactive vote simulation, 2016
  12. "Honduras", Election Passport
  13. German: Wie wählen, Information und Kommunikation der Regierung (a Liechtenstein's Government website), 2013
  14. some communes use the system of relative majority, cf. Local Elections, (The official presentation website of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), Updated 28 April 2015
  15. IFES Election Guide: Country Profile - Luxembourg. Retrieved on 23 April 2008.
  16. "Splitting the vote", "Accumulating" and "Deleting a name", The Election Dictionary, on the website of the Swiss Parliament
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