Voter Turnout in Western Europe since 1945: A Regional Report

Download Free of Charge

Full PDF

Order Printed Copy

Price: $14.95 / £10
+ Add to cart
Language: English
Pages: 92
ISBN: 91-85391-00-X
Binding: Paperback
Editors: Rafael López Pintor and Maria Gratschew Contributors: Richard Rose, Nina Seppälä, Tim Bittiger, Pippa Norris and Andrew Ellis.

Additional Material

This first Regional Report on Voter Turnout is developed from the IDEA Global Voter Turnout database, which contains statistics from 170 countries for parliamentary and presidential elections since 1945 and is continually updated.

The Report brings together information and analysis of electoral turnout in Western Europe. Is there a general problem of participation in Western European elections? Is the `EuroGap' - the lower level of turnout evident in elections for the European Parliament - a problem specific to the European Union as an institution or is it symptomatic of a wider decline in participation? Are there practical measures that can be taken to increase electoral turnout? Who should be responsible for doing this?

Legislators, election administrators, commentators, civil society organisations and the media may all be involved in seeking the answers to these questions. The Report addresses issues which may be linked to turnout questions, including electoral systems, polling arrangements, compulsory voting and the opportunities and threats posed by new technology. All participants in the debate will benefit from the development of tools which seek to identify the factors which can promote electoral turnout and their impact on the electoral process.

A supplementary chapter entitled “Europe Expands, Turnout Falls: The Significance of the 2004 European Parliament Election”was produced following the EU Parliamentary elections of June 2004. Similarly to the Report, this supplement brings together information and analysis of electoral turnout in Western Europe, but with specific reference to the latest elections to the Parliament in June 2004.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Methodology and Types of Electoral Systems
  • Acronyms
  • Introduction

Part I: Current Issues in Voter Turnout

Part II: Voter Turnout Country by Country

Electoral System, Voter Turnout by Type of Election and Basic Election DataAustria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Part III: The International IDEA Database: Voter Turnout from 1945 to 2003

  • Definitions
  • Parliamentary Elections, 1945-2003
  • Presidential Elections, 1945-2003
  • European Parliament Elections, 1979-99
  • Ranking Tables of Average Voter Turnout
  • Sources

Supplementary Chapter – released in September 2004

  • Europe Expands, Turnout Falls: The Significance of the 2004 European Parliament Election – By Prof. Richard Rose

"“The report shows that there has been a persisting Euro-Gap, that is, the turnout at European Parliament elections can be as much as 40 per cent lower in Sweden and the United Kingdom than turnout in national general elections”, says Professor Richard Rose, IDEA's expert consultant.

We would like to know, for example:

  • how you found out about this publication,
  • what parts of this publication that you found useful,
  • how this publication has been used in your work and
  • any improvements or additions you would like to see in future editions of this publication.

If you would like an answer, please enter your email address: