Indirect election
Indirect election is a process in which voters in an election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 don't actually choose between candidates for an office but rather elect persons who will then make the choice. It is one of the oldest form of elections and is still used today for many upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

s and presidents. This process is also used in many union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 elections and sometimes in professional, civic, and fraternal organizations.

Some examples of indirectly elected bodies include:
  • the election of the US President
    President of the United States
    The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

     is an indirect election. Voters elect the electoral college, who then elects the President. The college votes in disproportionate measure to the percentage of votes cast per state, 48 states cast 100% of their electoral vote to the majority candidate. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
    National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
    The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement among U.S. states designed to replace current state rules governing the electoral college system of presidential elections with rules guaranteeing election of the national popular vote winner...

     would cause the Electoral College result to mirror the national popular vote.
  • the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe
    Council of Europe
    The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

    , OSCE
    Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
    The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

    , the WEU
    Western European Union
    The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

     and NATO - in all of these cases, voters elect national parliamentarians, who in turn elect some of their own members to the assembly
  • the election of the government in most parliamentary system
    Parliamentary system
    A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

    s - the voters elect the parliamentarians, who then elect the government from among themselves
  • the German Bundesrat, where voters elect the Landtag
    A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

     members, who then elect the state government, which then appoints its members to the Bundesrat
  • most bodies formed of representatives of national governments, e.g. the United Nations General Assembly
    United Nations General Assembly
    For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

    , can be considered indirectly elected (assuming the national governments are democratically elected in the first place, which is often not the case).

Many countries with parliamentary systems elect their president indirectly (Germany
President of Germany
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...

, Italy, Czech Republic
President of the Czech Republic
The President of the Czech Republic is the head of state of the Czech Republic. Unlike his counterparts in Austria and Hungary, who are generally considered figureheads, the Czech President has a considerable role in political affairs...

, Estonia
President of Estonia
The President of the Republic is the head of state of the Republic of Estonia.Estonia is a parliamentary republic, therefore President is mainly a symbolic figure and holds no executive power. The President has to suspend his membership in any political party for his term in office...

, Latvia, Hungary, India
President of India
The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. President of India is also the formal head of all the three branches of Indian Democracy - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary...

, Israel
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...


In a Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

, the leader of the majority party in the parliament almost always becomes the prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

. Therefore, it could be said that the prime minister is elected indirectly.

In Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, the Congress of Deputies votes on a motion of confidence of the king's nominee (customarily
Constitutional convention (political custom)
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most...

 the party leader whose party controls the Congress) and the nominee's political manifesto, an example of an indirect election of the Prime Minister of Spain.

Indirect political elections have been used for lesser national offices, as well. In the United States, the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 was elected by the legislatures of the states until 1913, when the Seventeenth Amendment
Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. The amendment supersedes Article I, § 3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures...

 instituted direct elections for those office-holders. In France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, election to the upper house of Parliament, the Sénat
French Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of France, presided over by a president.The Senate enjoys less prominence than the lower house, the directly elected National Assembly; debates in the Senate tend to be less tense and generally enjoy less media coverage.-History:France's first...

, is indirect, with the electors (called "grands électeurs") being local elected representatives.

The Electoral College of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, whose task is to elect a president, is a form of indirect election. However, electors rarely change their actual vote from their pledged vote. Although historically some electors have changed their pledge vote (referred to as faithless elector
Faithless elector
In United States presidential elections, a faithless elector is a member of the Electoral College who does not vote for the candidate they have pledged to vote for...

s), this has never made a difference in any presidential election to date.
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