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Factors in a Two Party and Multiparty System - Duverger Appunti scolastici Premium

Materiale didattico per il corso di Politica comparata del prof. Marco Giuliani. Trattasi dell'articolo di Maurice Duverger dal titolo "Factors in a Two-Party and Multiparty System" all'interno del quale sono analizzati gli effetti sul sistema poltico e partitico dei diversi sistemi elettorali.

Esame di Politica comparata docente Prof. M. Giuliani



Duverger: The Electoral System

The gap is generally quite large, with the proportion of seats far below the

proportion of the votes received. In 1964, the British Liberal party received

11.2 per cent of the votes cast, but only 1.4 per cent of the parliamentary seats.

This under-representation tends to eliminate the effects of any votes cast for a

third party. But voters are aware of this phenomenon. They also know that a

division of votes between two parties holding similar views favors their

common adversary. In the case mentioned before, the moderate voters would

see clearly that a split between the moderate candidates guarantees a

Communist victory: in a subsequent election they would drop the weaker of the

two moderate candidates. Thus it is that voters tend to abandon the third party

in order to concentrate their votes on the two strongest parties. This tendency

toward polarization, a psychological phenomenon, strengthens the mechanical

factors conducive to a two-party system.

In a system of proportional representation, the situation is quite different. The

very principle of proportional representation explains the multiplicity of parties

it produces. Since every minority, no matter how weak it may be, is assured of

representation in the legislature, nothing prevents the formation of splinter

parties, often separated only by mere shades of opinion. If the conservative

party has 6 million votes in the country, corresponding to 300 seats in

parliament, and if it splits into three groups about equal in numbers,

proportional representation will give each of these about a hundred deputies,

and the conservative family will have the same strength in parliament. In other

respects, this electoral system does not encourage parties to unite. A coalition is

useless from an electoral point of view since the entire system tends to permit

everyone to take his chances at the polls.,Hence the reciprocal independence of

the political parties.

In a system in which elections arc decided by a majority vote on the second of

two ballots, political parties are numerous because the existence of a second

ballot permits each party to test its chances on the first one without risking

irrevocable defeat through the splintering of parties holding similar views; the

regrouping occurs on the second ballot through the game of "withdrawals." Let

us again use the illustration of an election district in which the conservatives

have 100,000 voters and the communists, 80,000. If the conservative electorate

divides into two parties, with the first receiving 60,000 votes and the second,

40,000, while the communists vote as a bloc on the first ballot, there will still be

a second ballot. For the second round, the weaker conservative candidate will

withdraw. His supporters will switch their votes to the stronger candidate, who

will normally be elected. New parties can thus multiply, but they are usually

driven to form alliances with one another to check their opponents by means of

"retreats" and "withdrawals." The second ballot is essentially a voting by

coalitions, as was seen in France during the Third Republic and in Imperial

Germany, the two large countries that have practiced this system.

Although the preceding laws have been much discussed, often in heated debate,

they have never been seriously challenged. The criticism directed against them

has not questioned the reality of the phenomenon they express, which is fairly

obvious, as much as the precise extent of its influence. It is clear that an

electoral reform by itself will not create new parties: parties are a reflection of

social forces; they are not born of a simple legislative decision. We can be sure

that the relationship between electoral systems and party systems is not

something mechanical and automatic. A given electoral regime does not

necessarily produce a given party system; it simply exerts an influence in the

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Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in scienze internazionali e istituzioni europee
Università: Milano - Unimi
A.A.: 2011-2012

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Atreyu di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Politica comparata e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Milano - Unimi o del prof Giuliani Marco.

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