Choosing an Electoral System

  • Giovanni Sartori
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


As regards the translation between votes and seats electoral systems can be considered continuous, since the major variable is here the constituency size, and given the fact that sizes that range continuously (serially) from 1 to about 40–50 all exist in some country or another. But as regards their ends and their underlying reason for being, I insist that electoral systems must be neatly disjoined into majoritarian and proportional. The alternative may be stated as follows: ‘Representational systems belong to two main patterns ... The English type sacrifices the representativeness of parliament to the need of efficient government, while the French type sacrifices efficient government to the representativeness of parliament... [And] we cannot build a representational system that maximizes at one and the same time the function of functioning and the function of mirroring.’1


Electoral System Party System Coalition Government Strategic Vote Exchange Bargain 
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Copyright information

© Giovanni Sartori 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Sartori
    • 1
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityUSA

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