Political Parties and Party Systems

By Alan Ware | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
VOTER CHOICE AND GOVERNMENT FORMATION

SECTION A
Most theories of representative democracy claim that there is, or at least should be, some kind of connection between the opinions and interests of individual voters and what governments do once in office. This view of the role of parties in a democracy has been well summarized by Laver and Budge who claim:

From the point of view both of describing and of justifying representative democracy, the relationship between party and government policy is obviously crucial. If a party says one thing to the voters and then goes into a government which does something quite different, then its supporters have been disenfranchised (at least as far as getting their preferred policies enacted) just as effectively as if they never had a vote in the first place. 1

Elections supposedly connect voters with the output of government in a three- stage process which, in its crude, popular form, can be summarized as follows:
• First, in voting, people choose between parties that are competing for their vote; because of that competition parties will try to attract voters through the claims they make about the types of policies they will enact if they join the government.
• Secondly, after the election a government is formed either by the single party that has 'won' the election or by a coalition of parties that between them control a majority of seats in the legislature; the composition of a government reflects major shifts in voter preferences.

-317-

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Political Parties and Party Systems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xi
  • List of Tables xii
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • About This Book xvi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Parties 15
  • Chapter One - Parties and Ideology 17
  • Chapter Two - Supporters, Members, and Activists 63
  • Chapter Three - Party Organizations 93
  • Chapter Four - Parties in Non-Liberal- Democratic Regimes 124
  • Part II - Party Systems 145
  • Chapter Five - The Classification of Party Systems 147
  • Chapter Six - Why Party Systems Differ 184
  • Chapter Seven - Stability and Change in Party Systems 213
  • Chapter Eight - Party Systems in Non- Liberal-Democratic Regimes 245
  • Part III - Moving towards Government 255
  • Chapter Nine - The Selection of Candidates and Leaders 257
  • Chapter Ten - Campaigning for Election 289
  • Chapter Eleven - Voter Choice and Government Formation 317
  • Chapter Twelve - Parties in Government 349
  • Conclusions 377
  • Appendix 1 - France 383
  • Appendix 2 - Germany 388
  • Appendix 3 - Great Britain 391
  • Appendix 4 - Japan 395
  • Appendix 5 - United States 398
  • Notes 404
  • Index 417
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