I mentioned earlier that Indonesia was the largest democracy to use proportional representation (PR), and that it uses open lists, as does the fourth largest democracy, Brazil. India, the largest, uses First Past the Post (FPTP, or plurality), as does the USA, the second largest democracy. By my count, all the world’s largest democratic countries use FPTP, OLPR, or mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) until we get to Germany (16th largest country, democratic or otherwise), which is mixed-member proportional (MMP). One does not encounter the first purely closed-list system till Italy (bonus-adjusted PR), the 23rd largest country. And, of course, Italy was OLPR till 1994 and then MMM till 2006. So the first country down the list to have been entirely closed lists for at least twenty years (upon its vote, due later this year) would be South Africa. Along with Spain (#28), these are the only closed-list systems among the world’s top 30. After that, Argentina (#32) and Mozambique (#50) are the only other closed-list systems in the top fifty.* It seems we have an almost-iron law that big countries do not use closed lists.
* Yes, I skipped right over one very big country, Russia, because I don’t consider it a democracy, and in any case it is soon to abandon closed lists for a return to its former MMM system.