Chapter

Representation: The Relationship between Seats and Votes

Richard S. Katz

in Democracy and Elections

Published in print December 1997 | ISBN: 9780195044294
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854752 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195044294.003.0009
Representation: The Relationship between Seats and Votes

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This chapter examines the consequences of electoral arrangements, particularly the relationship between seats and votes. It discusses the process by which distributions of votes translate into distributions of mandates among competing parties or candidates and analyses the consequences of electoral formulas as revealed in practice. It concludes that large-district proportional representation is most appropriate for those views of democracy that require the direct representation of minorities or a high degree of proportionality in the distribution of seats among parties, while plurality systems are most appropriate for views that value indirect representation of minorities.

Keywords: electoral arrangements; votes; political seats; proportional representation; democracy; political minorities; plurality system

Chapter.  8953 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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