General elections and election systems
DOI link for General elections and election systems
General elections and election systems book
This chapter considers general-election rules and looks at their political consequences, primarily in terms of the number of parties they encourage and how easy they make it for new parties to start up and gain significant numbers of votes. It reviews the workings of the main decision-making institution in modern democracies, the general election. Enough voters will switch at the next election to make its leading rival the plurality choice and give it all the advantages over the seat-vote translation which its rival enjoyed before. The electoral system which most effectively privileges the popular plurality party and transforms it into the legislative majority party is the single member district plurality (SMDP). There are thus exceptions to the general ‘law’ that SMDP produces single-party legislative majorities by privileging the plurality party and that proportional representation produces multiparty legislatures with no clear majority.