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Electoral System by Kumar Ingnam. Importance of Electoral System. One of most important institutional decision for democracy, Profound effect in future political life of country concerned, Fundamentally political process and technical matter,

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Electoral System by Kumar Ingnam

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Electoral SystembyKumar Ingnam

Importance of Electoral System

  • One of most important institutional decision for democracy,

  • Profound effect in future political life of country concerned,

  • Fundamentally political process and technical matter,

  • Impacts on political and institutional frame work and constitutional structure.

Directly relates to:

  • Encourage conflict resolution,

  • Involve democratic process “directly”,

  • Include in the main stream,

  • Empower through representation and full status,

  • Recognize existence equally,

  • Establish party and individual liberty side by side and

  • “Through the rascals out”.

Relates to

  • The Structure of State,

  • Federal or Unitary

  • Symmetrical,

  • Asymmetrical ,

  • Influential political institution and governance.

Electoral System

  • Effective mechanism that automatically convert vote to representation,

  • Vote= of Woman Feeling

    Minorities of

    Indigenous Unity

    Representation Geo.balance Belief Among Federal unit and centre

Electoral System Focus on:

  • Equal opportunity to become a candidate for election,

  • Right to join, establish, a political party for competing an election.

  • Role of Party, free & fair election environment

  • Condition of Voters and

  • Settlement of conflict as possible by means of;

1. Representation

  • Descriptive; Woman, Ethnic, Linguistic, Religious

  • Geographical; Region, District etc

  • Political party; Political Influence

  • Ideology; Ideology either Party or Individual identity.

2. Accessible and Meaningful Election

  • Easy voting

  • Secret Voting By PR

  • Max. use of vote Repre’n Make

  • Ensure equal right

  • Safeguard Minority

    Respect wasted votes.

3. Incentive for Conciliation

  • Inclusive support unity and balance from exclusion,

    4. Accountable Government

    5. Making election process sustainable

  • Bychoice, cost, administrative capacity, method and simplicity.

6. Stability and efficient Government

  • Stability depends on fairness of election,

  • Common agenda and achievement and

  • Political treatment rather Party interest.

    7. Accountable Representation

  • Locally popular representatives can be tested making them represent,

  • Can prove direct responsible to voter and

  • Possible to the open list candidate.

8. Encourage political parties

9. Strong opposition

10. Account of International Standard

  • Free and fair, periodic, secret, adult franchise,

  • Voter's equality and equal representation and special consideration to physically disabled and minorityvoters.

Impact of election

  • On political situation, system, legitimacy and support,

  • Ultimate source of political and legal change,

  • Legitimate ground of “change” or “amendment”,

  • Directly identify and cure the burning problems and

  • Accepted democratic process

    Electoral System links to “problems”

    in general.

Election system based on the Principle

Internationally recognized element of election






Commonly used Electoral System

Single Seat


  • The plurality voting system is a system used on single member constituencies.

  • The most common system, used in Canada, India, the UK, and the USA, is first past the post or winner-take-all,

  • Single winner is chosen in a given constituency by having the most votes, regardless of whether or not he or she has a majority of votes,

  • This system is known "one person, one vote" or OMOV for "one man, one vote"

  • Each voter votes separate constituencies for one candidate from a list of candidates.

  • Winner represents the entire electoral district.

  • In single seat election i.e. President candidate who receives the largest number of votes represents the entire population.

  • FTPT is compared to Horse ridings

  • Applied in 81/217 states at present

Good Practice FPTP/UK/81

  • Tory and Labor Party get majority in 1951 & 1974 in minority vote.

  • In 1997, labor party get 63.6% Parliament seat on 43.2% vote.

  • Tory + Liberal Democrats got 32.3% seat on 47.5% vote.

  • In 2005, 36% vote success to get majority in parliament but 70% (52% of losers and 18% of electors) vote was wasted.

  • No Party had form government on majority since 1935, so small parties are suffered by “Majoriterian Dictatorship”.

  • Political Party Election year

  • 1997 2001

  • vote % Numbervote % Number

    Liberal Democrates16.8 46 19 52

    Tory 30.7165 – -

    Laber 43.2419 43 413


  • Simplicity; quicker, easier to administer, and easy to explain voter. Alternative voting systems may alienate some voters find hard to understand, and detached from the direct effect of their own vote.

  • FPTP gives voters a direct choice of single candidate.

  • Better choice between two parties

  • Most probability for constant government

  • Direct relation ship between voters and representatives

  • Make more responsible


  • Encourage tactical voting techniques, like "compromising".

  • Excludes minorities, minority parties and woman.

  • Wastage majority votes and rules by minority votes.

  • No direct relation between voters and representatives.

  • Lead gerrymandering and boundary delimitation.

  • Leader and candidate may misuse money, muscle, post and public resources for more secure constituency.

  • Voter failed to represent became frustrate at last and choose alternate.

Majority: Runoff votingTwo-round system

  • Runoff voting hold multiple rounds of plurality voting to ensure that the winner is elected by a majority.

  • Two round system voting, the second most common method,holds a runoff election between the top two options if there is no majority. Only two candidates with the most votes survive to the second round.

  • Used to elect a single winner and the voter simply casts a single vote for her or his choice candidate for second round too.

  • Using to elect French National assembly, presidents of France, Brazil, Portugal, Australia, Finland, Ghana, and for many primary election in the US (i.e. Louisiana).

  • In French National Assembly election any candidate with fewer than 12.5% of the total vote is eliminated in the first round, and all remaining candidates are permitted in the second round, in which a plurality is sufficient to be elected.

  • Historically, the President of Weimar Germany was popularly elected by a two round system that did not require an absolute majority in the second round, that need now.

  • Using in 32/217 countries.

Exhaustive ballot

  • The exhaustive ballot (EB) is similar to the two round system, but involves several rounds of voting rather than just two. If no candidate receives an absolute majority in the first round then only one candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, before further round. There are then as many rounds as necessary, with one candidate being eliminated each time, until one candidate has an absolute majority.

  • Limitted scope because of several times voting, i.e. smaller contests (selection of prospective candidates,Conservative paery/uk)

Instant-runoff voting (IRV)

  • involves multiple rounds of counting and elimination of candidate with fewest votes each time.

  • unlike exhaustive ballot and the two round system, under instant-runoff voters vote only once.

  • voters votes for a single candidate and ranks all other candidates in order of preference and used to 'transfer' the votes.

  • IRV often elects a different winner and tends to produce the same results as the exhaustive ballot.

  • IRV is known by different names i.e. in Australia; Preferential voting;

  • United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Alternative Voting, or AV;

  • US, Ranked choice voting

  • Used for election of;

  • House of Representatives = Australia, Fiji, Legislative Council of Tasmania, New zealand.

  • National Assembly = Papua New Guinea

  • President = Srilanka, Ireland

  • Total country = 30


  • Representation of Majority

  • Opportunity for good candidates

  • Economic, because of single voting

  • Simple to understand though voting or counting is exhaustive.


  • Exhaustive and costly (two round/instant run-off)

  • Not convenience to ordinary voter to prefer

  • Same disadvantages of plurality

  • Time consuming, some times threat of instability.

Multi SeatPreferential voting (PV)

  • Preferential voting has a type of ballot structure in which voters rank a list or group of candidates in order of preference,

  • voter writes '1' for first, a '2' for second preference, or Ranked A B and so on. In multiple-winner elections the PV is known as Single Transferable Vote (STV), a form of proportional representation.

  • Voter can show his choice candidate in preference.

  • Popular candidate have chance of election

  • Empower minor community or groups candidates

  • Ranked ballot can use S.N., name, number, ovel mark and touch screen

  • Practice in; Australia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea (1964-1975), Fiji (1999)

    Australia: One of few country of compulsory voting. Vote ratio 95%.

  • Used instant runoff and STV system for single and multi seat constituency.


  • Respects voters as to their preference

  • Maintain good relationship between voters and representative

  • Higher chances of choosing qualified candidates

  • Prevent the cost and time of instant election

  • Results what voters likes

  • Establish harmonious relation between political parties.


  • Exhaustive vote counting

  • May not so appropriate in single member seat

  • Requires qualified voters, so technical problems to few literate community

  • May not represent all community.

Proportional Representation

  • Electoral Formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes and the percentage of seats

  • Representation determined on Quota; Quota depends on the number of seat (seat ÷ number of votes).

  • Useful only in multi seat constituency or through out the country.

  • More popular because it deserve fair representation.

  • Equal chances of representation of marginalized, social, political and racial minorities in small homogenious society/ country.

  • Popular in Europe, i.e. Germany and most of Northern and Eastern Europe.

  • Eelection system for the elections of the European Parliament.

  • France, adopted the process at the end of world war II in order to prohibit the communist from being elected to power, but went back to a majority system after Charles de Gaulle came to power (1958). Placed again for parliament elections (1986) by the socialists to limit socialists losses, but was immediately terminated after they lose that election.

  • Now gaining popularity in Canada i.e.five provinces: British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick currently debating whether to abolish FPTP.

  • New Zealand opted (1993) Mixed Member Proportional Representation and Canada is heading towards the same direction

  • United States. i.e. New York City, Cincinnati, Ohio, was adopted in 1925 but Republican party overturned proportional representation in 1957. Though still used in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Peoria, Illinois.

Proportional voting (74+23=97)

  • Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland used the system.

  • New Zealand apply it by 1993 replacing century long FPTP system.

  • UK has recommend it in 1998.

  • German use it to elect 50% (299 seat) of Bundestag.

  • Voter use two vote, one for Party & one for candidate of concern constituency.

Party List (62 Countries)

  • Party-list proportational representation, is popular allover the world except US. Its further division, depending on whether a voter can influence the election of candidates within a party list, open list and closed list.

  • Open list; voters may vote, depending on the model, for one person, or for two, or indicate their order of preference within the list.

  • Voter has wider freedon of choice. But may cause defficulties if the list is long.

  • the Netherlands , Finland (open list)

  • Closed list; voters vote for a list, not a candidate. Each party is allocated seats in proportion to the number of votes, using the ranking order on its list.

  • Israel (whole country is one closed list constituency), and member of European Parliament in all European Union countries, Spain, Porchugal, Austria, Finland, Poland, New Zealand, Germany (use closed list).

  • Voters may vote directly for the party, as in Israel, or they may vote for candidates, as in Turkey and Finland.

240 Member ConstituenciesClosed Party List

240 Member ConstituenciesOpened Party List

Seat allocation process in party-list PR Largest Reminder


  • Represent proportionality

  • Representation of minority, woman, as to the setting of population

  • Prevent to hold by-election

  • No vote wastage

  • Participation in parliament as possible

  • Restrict limited and regional feeling

  • Block gerrymandering.


  • Weak geographical representation

  • Lack of accountability to voters and weak relation ship between voters and represent

  • Applies only in multi seat

  • High chances of party splitting in simple confrontation

  • Party became more and more autocratic in absence of transparent indicators

  • Ordinary voter can not prefer candidate, in open list

  • Voter may confuse with unfamiliarity candidates

  • Probability of coalition or minority government causing instability.

Mixed-member (MMP)

  • Generally FPTP and List PR is used at the same time, and attempting to achieve combine positive features of both of these.

  • Helpful in countries with large populations, widely varying voting populations, i.e. geographic, social, cultural and economic realities, with the fairness and diversity of representation.

  • Mixed-member proportional representation also names; "compensatory PR," the "two vote system," and "the German system."

  • Generally half of the members are elected in single-member district plurality and half are elected by a party list vote and added on to the district members so that each party has its appropriate share of seats in the legislature.

  • Mixed-member proportional voting (MMP) is the best of both worlds: providing geographical representation and close constituency ties of single-member plurality voting.

  • Though it is still one of the least used PR systems.

  • Bolivia, Germany, Lesotho, Mexico, New Zealand, Scottish Parliament, Welsh, Italy and Hungary has introduced this systems.

  • Voters used two ballot; one for constituency and next for politiccal party.

  • In Germany two ballot is used, few state use single, for both single constituency and seat filled as to number of vote received. Generally same candidate is not use for both election.

  • Number of both seat: Venezuela 10 PR and 87 FPTP, Mexico 200 PR list and 300 FPTP

Mixed Ballot paper

Seat on second ballot


  • Used all votes

  • Tie up relation between national and local constituencies

  • Minorities from all communities and woman get much greater representationaddition to balance with geographical representation.

  • Accountability

  • Disadvantages

  • Create class on representation

  • Complicated process

  • All disadvantages same to party list

Single Transferable Vote (STV)

  • STV, is a preferential voting system designed to minimise wasted votes

  • PR ensur that votes are explicitly for candidates rather than Party lists.

  • STV use only in multi-seat constituencies and by transferring votes that would otherwise be wasted.

  • STV allocates vote to their most preferred candidate, and then subsequently transfers unneeded or unused votes after candidates are either elected or eliminated, according to the voter's stated preferences.

  • In multi-seat it is known as Proportional Representation through the Single Transferable Vote or PR-STV (except Israel and the Netherlands/Sseat)

  • In 2006, STV was used for elections in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Malta. It is also used for federal Senate and few regional and local elections in Australia, and New Zealand.

  • It is planning for council elections in Scotland in 2007.

  • US is using for city elections in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and planning Minneapolis, Minnesota, starting in 2009.

  • Australia knows it as the Hare (Clark -1857) Proportional method, while the US knows it as choice voting and preference voting.

    Used: Local election of Ireland, Australia & New Zealand

  • In STV the voter ranks the candidates in order of preference, i.e. a.b. or '1‘, '2' and so on.

  • A quota is a proportion or share.

  • A number of different quotas can be used in STV, but the most common is the Droop quota. This is given by the formula:

  • Votes = the total number of valid (unspoilt) votes cast

  • Seats = the number of seats to be filled

  • In STV election a candidate requires a certain minimum number of votes or the quota/threshold to be elected.

  • Any candidate with either more than enough, or too few, votes to be elected has votes transferred to other candidates, and the process continues until all positions have been filled.

  • If candidates have not reached the quota, then the candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated one by one and their votes are transferred accordingly.

  • Candidates who obtain the required quota are declared elected and surplus is distributed to the remaining candidates. This process continues until all candidates have been declared elected.

Ballot Count and Transfer Process (Quota 2800 )


  • Select candidate as to vote strength or proportionality

  • More micro-democratic process

  • Minimum wastage of votes

  • Inclusive of all cast, sex, minorities and geographical condition

  • Encourage multi coalition Gvt.

  • Problems in accountability.


  • Complicated system

  • Create two class representation and instability

  • Problems to uneducated voters

  • Counting and other process took long time.

Semi-proportional (22 country)

  • Parallel voting (19 country)

  • The legislature consists of a block of seats elected by plurality or majority from single-member districts,

  • Another block of seats elected in multi-member districts under a proportional system.

  • The proportional seats are awarded independently.

  • Choice expressed by voters in other blocks are not considered declaring winner.


  • Stop splitting party

  • Equally representation from constituency and voting setup

  • Inclusive and chance minority too


  • Process complex

  • It is more justifiable though can not help to them who have vote less than threshold

  • Limits Political party relation to PP representative and constituency those contested there

  • Draw class between them.

Single non-transferable (SNT)

  • Voters can only cast a single vote among candidates for X seats. The top X vote-getters became elected.

  • SNTV is used in multi-member constituency elections.

  • Each voter casts one vote for one candidate in a multi-candidate and the candidates with the most votes wins.

  • But excess vote of winer can not be transferd to onother same party candidte or else.

  • Used in Russia and Andora 50% seat, Afganistan, Jordan (HoR), Indonesia , Thailand (National Assembly)


  • Simple voting and counting

  • Became more accountable to constituency

  • Little bit chances of proportional representation


  • Waste some vote

  • Unethical competition within a party

  • Voters have limited chance of choice for single vote

  • Party can easily lose seat if fail to evaluate properly

  • Helpless system to scattered voters

Non Proportional Multi seat

  • Bloc voting (11country); a class of voting used to elect several representatives from a single multimember constituency.

  • Variations of bloc voting depends on the ballot type used.

  • Plurality-at-large; all candidates run against each other for n number of positions. Each voter selects up to n candidates on the ballot.

  • Preferential bloc voting; each voter places the numbers 1, 2, ..., on the ballot paper. Candidates with smallest tally of first preference votes are eliminated and their votes transferred as in instant runoff voting until a candidate has 50+1 vote. The count is repeated with the elected candidates removed and all votes returning to full value until the required number of candidates are elected.


  • Voter use more votes, more power

  • Voter may choice candidate on his ability


  • Same defects of FPTP system

  • Probability of lose election if fail to analyze position properly

Party block

  • Voters choose from among party lists, and seats are awarded in proportion to the vote received by each party. Candidates are seated in the order listed.


  • Simple process

  • Help to balance among language, community, sex and minority


  • Same defect of FPTP because of plurality

    Used; Palestinian, Bermuda, Kuwait, Laos, Mauritius, Thailand, US (Georgia),

Limited Voting country 15

  • Voters are allowed no more than half the votes as there are seats to be filled (in 5member voters 2 votes).

  • The top vote getters are elected. This system has also been used in Voting Rights cases to ensure minority representation. A version of it is used in Japan.

  • Used in; Mexico, Bolivia and Argentina


  • Easy to represent candidate

  • Maximum use of vote

  • Good relation between voters and representatives.


  • Minority and homogeneous society can not success to represent from each community

  • Probability to misuse of the seat.

Relation between use & process of election

Indicator of free and fair Election

  • No discrimination for candidate, access registrtation of voters,

  • free and faire election compaign,

  • Freedom of pary formation, Assembly, campaign,

  • Security of polling, counting and candidates,

  • Election supervision by national & international supervisors and jornalists,

  • Free access to polling station,

  • Free and fair election commission; sufficient polling station and ballot paper,

  • Appropriate election system

  • Photo in ballot paper

  • Scientific ballot counting

  • Scientific ballot paper and use of technology i.e. "Touch screens/push bottom"

  • Election code of conduct

  • Election law and provision of re-election in case of unfair election.

International Instruments

1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Article 2 …the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration without distinction of … race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status...

  • Article 211. right to take part in the government, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

  • 2. right of equal access to public service in his country.

  • 3. people shall be the basis of the authority of government;…will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by quivalent free voting procedures.

1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

  • Article 5 … States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, to enjoyment following rights:

  • (c) Political rights, rights to participate in elections, to vote and to stand for election on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, to take part in the Government, conduct public affairs and to have equal access to public service;

  • (d) Other civil rights, in particular:

  • (viii) The right to freedom of opinion and expression;

  • (ix) The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

  • 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

  • Article 3 The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.

  • Article 25 Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:

  • (a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

  • (b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;

  • (c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.

1979 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

  • Article 2 condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, without delay … eliminating discrimination against women…:

  • (a) embody the principle of the equality of men and women

  • (b) … prohibiting all discrimination against women...

  • Article 7 …eliminate discrimination against women …:

  • (a) To vote …;

  • (b) To participate in the formulation of government …;

  • (c) To participate in …public and political life ….

  • 1948 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man

  • Article 20 …legal capacity …to participate in the government … through representatives, and to take part in popular elections, …, periodic and free.

  • 1952 Convention on the Political Rights of Women

  • Article 1 Women shall be entitled to vote in all elections on equal terms with men, without any discrimination.

1950 European Convention on Human Rights: Protocol 1

  • Article 3 The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, …free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice.

    1969 American Convention on Human Rights

  • Article 23: Right to Participate in Government

  • 1. Every citizen shall enjoy the following rights and opportunities:

  • (a) to take part … public affairs, chose representatives;

  • (b) to vote and to be elected …

  • (c) to have access, …public service ….

  • 2. …the exercise of the rights …

    1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

  • Article 13 1. Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government …chosen representatives….

  • 2. …right of equal access to the public service….

  • 3. Every individual shall have the right of access to public property and services ….

Additional Practice

  • Warsaw Declaration 2000,

  • Sole plan of Action 2002

  • Santiago Conference


  • United communist Party v. Turkey 1998

  • Welfare Party. Turkey 2003

Constitutional Provisions 2064

  • Preamble:”…Guaranteeing the basic rights of the Nepali people to frame a Constitution for themselves and to participate in the free and impartial election of the Constituent Assembly in a fear-free environment;”

  • Article 63.1 “…Constituent Assembly … formulate a new Constitution by the Nepalese people themselves,

  • 61.3 constituent Assembly consists;

Basic provision of Int’m Cons.

  • Principle of inclusiveness selecting 240 Constituency candidates by the political parties.

  • Ensure proportional representation of women, Dalit, oppressed tribes/indigenous tribes, backwards, Madhesi and other groups for another 240 seats.

  • Should ensure at least 33% woman.

  • Mixed system of close parallel list.

Confusion about election

  • Rational of nominating 17 persons,

  • Democratic importance of the signature of 10,000 voters for new party registration (Article 142 though Article 141 do not restrict to corporate any party,

  • use of Article 66 for disqualification of member and Article 118 of constituent Assembly court to hear complain against election.

  • Indicator of making list of party or process of inclusion.

Complying it ?

  • "Comprehensive Peace Accords" (Bishtrit Shanti Samjhauta) concluded between the Government of Nepal and Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) on 5 Mangsir 2063 (November 21, 2006) and

  • the agreement regarding the ‘Monitoring of Arms and Army Management‘ reached on 22 Mangsir 2006 (December 8, 2006).

Critical analysis of representation

  • Woman of 50% pop. has maximum 5.8% in HoR and 11.7% in NA,

  • Hilly Bahun/Chetry of 30.9% pop. has 55-63%,

  • Hilly indigenous of 23% pop. Has maximum 17%,

  • Hilly & Tarai dalit of 11.6% pop. has 0.5%,

  • Muslim of 4.3% pop. Has 2.5%,

  • Newar of 5.5% pop.has 6.8%

  • Tarai Indigenous of 8% pop. has 8.8%

  • Taraibasi of 15% pop. Has 14.2% and

  • General Election of 1991, 1994 and 1999 shows that except hilly Bahun/Chetry/Taraibasi and Newar representation is decreasing.


  • Unequal representation

  • Minority dictatorship i.e. in first and third general election, 1991 & 1999, Nepali congress got 110 (53.6%) and 111 (54.2%) seat on just 37.7% and 36.14% respectively.

  • NCP (ML) and RPP (Chanda) fail to got single seat in return of 3.3% and 6.4% of total cast vote respectively,

  • No one seat was elected by 12, 19 and 32 political parties in the general election of 1991, 1994 and 1999 respectively.

Voting Ratio in %

Voting ratio in Germany

1949 (78.5), 1953 (87), 1957 (87.8),1961 (87.9), 1965 (86.8), 1969 (86.7), 1972 (91.1), 1976 (90.2), 1980 (88.6), 1983 (89.1), 1987 (84.3), 1990 (77.8), 1994 (790 and 1998 (82.2).

Australia 95.5

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