Political Parties and Elections

Political parties and elections

Elections—and hence political parties—are at the heart of all theories of liberal democracy. In defining democracy most people start with basic personal freedoms and the rule of law. Nonetheless, every definition of the term that I am aware of includes the free and competitive elections that determine who governs.

That is the case because parties and elections offer average citizens the most important way to have an impact on the political choices facing France or any other democracy. To return to the terminology developed by Gabriel Almond and his colleagues in the early days of the systematic study of comparative politics, interest groups discussed in the preceding chapter “articulate,” or give voice to, the needs or positions of relatively ...

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