Two-round electoral systems and democracy

Birch, S. (2003) Two-round electoral systems and democracy. Comparative Political Studies, 36(3), pp. 319-344. (doi:10.1177/0010414002250678)

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Taking as its point of departure a little-noted recent increase in use of two-round electoral systems in parliamentary elections, this article assesses the impact of such systems on democratic performance. It argues that the possibility of holding a second round of voting is a destabilizing factor that inhibits democratic development and encourages the use of nonelectoral means of exercising power. This is because the institution of the double ballot works to fragment the party system by establishing district-specific strategic incentives and by diminishing the element of uncertainty that is key to securing cooperation by important political actors. This proposition is tested on a data set of all states that as of 1 January 1999 held elections to the lower houses of their national assemblies, as well as on a smaller database of democratizing countries.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Birch, Professor Sarah
Authors: Birch, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Comparative Political Studies
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1552-3829

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