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Mixed-Member Electoral SystemsThe Best of Both Worlds?$
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Matthew Soberg Shugart and Martin P. Wattenberg

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019925768X.001.0001

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The Consequences of Electoral Reform in Japan

The Consequences of Electoral Reform in Japan

Chapter:
(p.380) 17 The Consequences of Electoral Reform in Japan
Source:
Mixed-Member Electoral Systems
Author(s):

Steven R. Reed

Michael F. Thies

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019925768X.003.0018

In January 1994, the Japanese Diet (Parliament) passed two major political reform laws, the first changing the system used to elect its Lower House (the House of Representatives) and the second aimed at cleaning up campaign finance practices. After this, Japanese parties, candidates, and voters were faced with a completely new set of rules for Lower House elections, and the purpose of this chapter is to assess the effects of this electoral system revision. First describes the old electoral system, in which the members of the Lower House were elected by single, non‐transferable vote (SNTV) from multi‐member districts, and the new one, which is a mixed‐member majoritarian (MMM) system; key changes are pointed out. The following two sections describe the political changes that seem to have followed from the electoral reform, discussing first the interparty dimension (party‐system consequences) and second, the intraparty dimension (party organization and personalistic politics), with specific reference to whether or not the MMM system has solved the problems of the SNTV system (intraparty competition and its personalistic consequences) and thereby increased the efficiency of the electoral system. The last part briefly discusses the inadequacy of equilibrium‐based analyses for the study of dynamic processes.

Keywords:   electoral efficiency, electoral reform, electoral systems, intraparty competition, Japan, mixed‐member electoral systems, mixed‐member majoritarian systems, party system, personalistic politics, political reform, single non‐transferable vote system

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