The origins of electoral systems are varied, with some brought into being with all-party consensus and others being introduced by majorities for clearly partisan motives. Turning to the impact of electoral systems, the existence of the patterns highlighted by Duverger’s Law is evident, yet it is also clear that electoral systems do not by themselves shape party systems. The impact of electoral systems upon intra-party power, and upon the representativeness of parliaments, is assessed in the light of the evidence from 22 countries. The chapter discusses the criteria that might be employed to decide the question of which electoral system is best.
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