Electoral Systems

Electoral systems can be conceptualized in both a broad and a narrow sense. Although there is a tendency to understand the term for descriptive purposes as encompassing everything relating to the electoral process, including suffrage, electoral administration, and, recently, also electoral behavior, for analytical reasons, a narrow concept is preferable. Correspondingly, electoral systems are the mode by which voters express their political preferences through votes and according to which votes are transformed into parliamentary seats or executive offices. This narrow concept is usually applied when electoral systems are regarded as instruments for shaping party systems.

Institutionalists, among them the most reputed experts on electoral systems, ascribe great significance to the latter as the most fundamental element of representative democracy, especially important for the functioning of the ...

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