From the award-winning team behind the International Encyclopaedia of Political Science... Moving beyond mainstream “traditional” approaches to bring you a new advanced-level introduction to political science. A perfect introduction for postgraduates who are new to political science, as well as upper-level undergraduates looking to broaden and deepen their understanding of core topics, this progressive account: • Guides you through all key areas of political science: origins, methodological foundations, key topics, and current issues • Takes an international and pluralist perspective with all issues explored in a comparative way related to different cultural and historical contexts • Includes pulled-out descriptions of major concepts, further reading and self-assessment questions at the end of each chapter.

Elections and Electoral Behaviour

Elections and Electoral Behaviour

Key terms

  • Direct democracy
  • Electoral volatility
  • Gerrymandering
  • Median voter theorem
  • Populism
  • Referendum


Free and fair elections are a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for modern democracies. They constitute the formal process of selecting persons or parties to fill public offices or of accepting or rejecting a political proposition in a referendum. In such procedures voters must have an effective choice between at least two alternatives. For elections to be ‘free’ means that they are based on the effective existence of civil rights including freedom of information, expression and organization (see below and Chapter 5). ‘Fair’ means that there are no frauds, manipulations, constraints or unequal conditions created by the incumbent authorities to influence the voters. There must be, as in football and many other ...

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