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Mixed-Member Electoral SystemsThe Best of Both Worlds?$
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Matthew Soberg Shugart and Martin P. Wattenberg

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019925768X.001.0001

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Evaluating Hungary's Mixed‐Member Electoral System

Evaluating Hungary's Mixed‐Member Electoral System

(p.477) 21 Evaluating Hungary's Mixed‐Member Electoral System
Mixed-Member Electoral Systems

Kenneth Benoit

Oxford University Press

The electoral system adopted by Hungary in 1989 represents a monument to the potential for institutional design through bargaining to produce complex yet stable institutions. The key compromise reached during this bargaining process was the decision to use a mixed‐member system, electing a roughly even number of representatives from both majoritarian single‐seat districts (SSDs) and from multi‐seat, list proportional representation (PR) districts. This decision established Eastern Europe's first mixed‐member electoral system, a format that was to become common in post‐communist electoral systems. In its ten‐year existence, Hungary's mixed‐member system has operated in three elections and seen three different governments come to power. Evaluates the consequences among the electorate of the institutional choice of the mixed‐member system, the consequences for political parties, the role of the electoral system in Hungary's contemporary national politics and political system, discussing its perception by both elites and voters, and finally pointing to its long‐term prospects.

Keywords:   bargaining, electoral reform, electoral systems, Hungary, majoritarian single‐seat districts, mixed‐member electoral systems, multi‐seat list proportional representation districts, national politics, political parties, political system

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