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Italian Government

April 30, 1993

Out of 12 longstanding democracies in Europe, at least nine practice elections with some kind of proportional representation in multiseat districts: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Italy.

Editorializing on changes in Italy (April 23), you erroneously claim that a winner-take-all system is "used in the rest of Western Europe." Actually, Britain is alone in Western Europe to use U.S.-style winner-take-all. Germany formally has a mixed system, but it ends up in nationwide proportional representation for parties with more than 5% votes. France has a two-rounds system, and the results often are a far cry from winner-take-all. Stop kidding yourself; the majority of Europe's (and the world's) stable democracies use electoral systems different from the U.S.

REIN TAAGEPERA

Professor of Social and Political Science

UC Irvine

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