Electoral Systems and Political Reforms: Portugal in Comparative Perspective

  • André FreireEmail author


The chapter reflects on some of the fundamental problems associated with electoral reform or, more generally, with the choice of electoral systems. Different types of electoral system tend to have different underlying fundamental goals. To achieve the objectives underlying each electoral system different instrumental solutions are employed. The different fundamental objectives the various electoral systems target, as well as the differentiated solutions they adopt to achieve them, are not easily reconcilable, at least fully, and therefore there must always be some form of trade-off. However, some solutions seek precisely to reconcile goals that are to some extent contradictory. Considering the performance of Portuguese electoral system in terms of proportionality, cabinet stability and quality of representation (i.e. the pattern of relationships between the voters, parties and candidates/members of parliament), as well as the necessary trade-off in each and every choice, the chapter reflects on the aspects of the electoral system that need more or less of reforms and how to reconcile the maintenance of proportionality, the strengthening of executive stability and increasing the intensity of links between voters and deputies.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISCTE-IUL, CIES-IUL (Centre for Sociological Studies and Research)Lisbon University InstituteLisbonPortugal

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