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Geoffrey K. Roberts

2 The German electoral system Do electoral systems matter? Evidence suggests that electoral systems do matter, and that politicians and the public think that they make a difference. There have been many examples of electoral systems which have been changed: some in order to obtain partisan advantage, such as Mitterrand’s self-serving experiment with proportional representation for the French National Assembly elections in March 1986. In other cases, reform has been undertaken in order to improve the representation function of the electoral system: the change to

in German electoral politics
Liam Weeks

6 Independents and the electoral system Introduction One factor frequently cited to explain the rare and unusual presence of independents in Ireland is the use of a rare and unusual electoral system, PR-STV. Strom (1990, 103) says that ‘to a large extent the survival of these independents is a function of the Irish PR-STV electoral system’; Carty that ‘the single transferable vote can lead to the proliferation of independent candidates’ (1981, 23); Coakley that ‘the most distinctive consequence of Ireland’s version of proportional representation is the presence

in Independents in Irish party democracy
Geoffrey K. Roberts

The principles of the German electoral system The German electoral system is a key feature of the political process. Some understanding of its detailed aspects is necessary for an appreciation of how the party system and the processes of government work. Even some of the less familiar provisions of the electoral system, such as ‘surplus seats’ (see Box 4.1 ), have at times in the past affected significantly the composition of the Bundestag, and hence have influenced the range of possible coalition governments which can be formed. Box 4.1 The German

in German politics today (third edition)
Ron Johnston
Charles Pattie
, and
David Rossiter

3 Creating an electoral system: 1832–1918 The years after the French and American revolutions witnessed growing demands for electoral reform in what was soon to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The main demand was for the franchise to be widened from a very small proportion of the male population, almost all of them property owners; a working-­ class mass demonstration in Manchester demanding the right to vote resulted in the Peterloo ‘massacre’ of 1819, when a crowd of some 70,000 protesters was charged by cavalry, with several hundreds

in Representative democracy?
Geography and the British electoral system

Representational democracy is at the heart of the UK’s political constitution, and the electoral system is central to achieving it. But is the first-past-the-post system used to elect the UK parliament truly representative? To answer that question requires an understanding of several factors: debates over the nature of representation; the evolution of the current electoral system; how first-past-the-post distorts electoral politics; and how else elections might be conducted. Running through all these debates are issues over the representation not only of people but also of places. The book examines all of these issues and focuses on the effect of geography on the operation of the electoral system.


Building on earlier work, this text combines theoretical perspectives with empirical work, to provide a comparative analysis of the electoral systems, party systems and governmental systems in the ethnic republics and regions of Russia. It also assesses the impact of these different institutional arrangements on democratization and federalism, moving the focus of research from the national level to the vitally important processes of institution building and democratization at the local level and to the study of federalism in Russia.

Abstract only
A comparative study of compulsory voting

This is a book-length study of compulsory voting. About a quarter of all democracies in the contemporary world legally oblige their citizens to vote, making this an important aspect of electoral systems in many settings. Moreover, numerous commentators and policy-makers in voluntary voting states are coming to see mandatory attendance at the polls as an attractive option in the context of declining turnout. Yet, we know relatively little about this practice beyond its effects on rates of electoral participation; there has been a dearth of systematic examination of the way in which compulsory voting shapes attitudes, behaviour and outcomes in the political process. This book seeks to fill that gap by providing a comprehensive description, analysis and evaluation of compulsory voting as it is practiced throughout the world. Specifically, the study systematically examines the history of the institution, the normative arguments for and against it, and the influence it has on a range of political phenomena. These include electoral campaigns, political attitudes, electoral integrity and legitimacy, policy outcomes and turnout. The book also considers the feasibility of introducing compulsory voting in a contemporary democracy, as well as variations on the institution designed to broaden its appeal.


Democratization is a major political phenomenon of the age and has been the focus of a burgeoning political science literature. This book considers democratization across a range of disciplines, from anthropology and economics, to sociology, law and area studies. The construction of democratization as a unit of study reflects the intellectual standpoint of the inquirer. The book highlights the use of normative argument to legitimize the exercise of power. From the 1950s to the 1980s, economic success enabled the authoritarian governments of South Korea and Taiwan to achieve a large measure of popular support despite the absence of democracy. The book outlines what a feminist framework might be and analyses feminist engagements with the theory and practice of democratization. It also shows how historians have contributed to the understanding of the processes of democratization. International Political Economy (IPE) has always had the potential to cut across the levels-of-analysis distinction. A legal perspective on democratization is presented by focusing on a tightly linked set of issues straddling the border between political and judicial power as they have arisen. Classic and contemporary sociological approaches to understanding democracy and democratization are highlighted, with particular attention being accorded to the post-1989 period. The book displays particularities within a common concern for institutional structures and their performance, ranging over the representation of women, electoral systems and constitutions (in Africa) and presidentialism (in Latin America). Both Europe and North America present in their different ways a kind of bridge between domestic and international dimensions of democratization.

Elisabeth Carter

the impact electoral systems have on parties of the extreme right. It begins by concentrating on the two main dimensions of electoral systems – the district magnitude and the electoral formula – and it investigates the ways in which these features may influence how well right-wing extremist parties perform at the polls. Then, by examining their disproportionality profiles, it considers the overall effect that electoral systems have on the West European parties of the extreme right. Since electoral systems form only a part of the electoral laws of a country, in a

in The extreme right in Western Europe
Geoffrey K. Roberts

asserted that electoral politics is one of the most pervasive elements of the German political process, indeed the bedrock upon which the political system is supported. It is also still an important approach – if not always in the ways in which it is important in other European democracies such as the United Kingdom or France. In this book, the case is made for retaining some degree of concentration on electoral politics in order to understand and appreciate the German political system and political process. The starting-point has to be the electoral system. The

in German electoral politics