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Presidents with Prime MinistersDo Direct Elections Matter?$
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Margit Tavits

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553327

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553327.001.0001

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Decrease of Political Disillusionment and Apathy?

Decrease of Political Disillusionment and Apathy?

(p.207) 6 Decrease of Political Disillusionment and Apathy?
Presidents with Prime Ministers

Margit Tavits (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 addresses a third prevalent issue regarding presidential elections—the extent to which direct elections strengthen democratic practices. Empirical analyses using global and European samples of parliamentary systems with elected heads of state demonstrate that citizens' satisfaction with government, political disillusionment, their commitment to democratic values and level of political involvement are not significantly affected by introducing direct presidential elections. In fact, the additional election increases voter fatigue and decreases turnout in parliamentary elections by about seven percentage points. Since direct presidential elections are no more likely to decrease citizen disillusionment with the government and strengthen democratic practices than indirect elections, this chapter concludes that these systems have indistinguishable effects on democratic attitudes. The noticeable effect of introducing additional elections on voter behavior, however, merits the attention of institutional designers.

Keywords:   democratic attitudes, democratic values, political disillusionment, political involvement, satisfaction with government, voter fatigue, voter turnout

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