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The Politics of Electoral Systems$
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Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199257566.001.0001

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(p.535) 26 Conclusion
The Politics of Electoral Systems

Michael Gallagher (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The origins of electoral systems are varied, with some brought into being with all-party consensus and others being introduced by majorities for clearly partisan motives. Turning to the impact of electoral systems, the existence of the patterns highlighted by Duverger’s Law is evident, yet it is also clear that electoral systems do not by themselves shape party systems. The impact of electoral systems upon intra-party power, and upon the representativeness of parliaments, is assessed in the light of the evidence from 22 countries. The chapter discusses the criteria that might be employed to decide the question of which electoral system is best.

Keywords:   electoral system origins, Duverger’s Law, party system, representativeness, intra-party power

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