June 3, 2017
With elections coming up to the U.K. House of Commons and the French National Assembly, Americans might be excused for assuming that they are like our House of Representatives elections. Both are, it is true, lower houses in bicameral systems, and both, unlike in other parts of Europe, are winner-take-all district elections with no provisions for proportional representation.
But the House of Commons has 650 members and the National Assembly 577 members compared to the 435 members of the House of Representatives, which covers a much greater population size. That works out to one representative for approximately every 100,000 U.K. and French citizens compared to one per 700,000 in the U.S.—a representation gap that is over seven times as large. Put differently, UK and French citizens potentially have seven times as much national legislative representation as do U.S. citizens.