Voting System

Limited Preferential Voting (LPV) was introduced in 2002 by the National Government in the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections. It was also introduced in the Autonomous Bougainville Government elections in 2007 through the Bougainville Elections Act 2007.

Preferential stems from the word ‘prefer’ which simply means to choose or select. It means you favour or have an interest shown in one thing from another.

Limited Voting means there is a set number of preferences a voter can make. This means a voter can prefer a limited number of candidates running in an election. In National and ABG Elections voters have to write down three preferences for candidates contesting an election to represent their people in parliament. Their preferences are ranked 1, 2 or 3.

Absolute Majority is the term used to describe the number of preferences a candidate must receive to be declared the winner. Further information on this can be found on the Absolute Majority page.

How LPV works
In the LPV system, a candidate must secure more than half (50% + 1) of the total formal votes before a winner can be announced. This is designed so that the majority of people will elect a candidate they have a preference for.

To better understand LPV and how preferences are distributed to different candidates, have a look at the Activity: Understanding LPV.


  • The candidate who gets the absolute majority of votes will be declared the winner. In other words, the majority of voters prefer the candidate who wins.
  • Candidates and their supporters will be supporting other candidates while doing their campaigns, as each voter selects three candidates.


  • The candidate with the highest number of first preference votes is not always the winner.
  • Declaration may be delayed because of a longer counting process.